Google Webmaster Guidelines
Follow Google’s SEO and Webmaster Guidelines
Google has been kind enough to give us some great tips about what they want (and don’t want) in a website. Because so many
search engines depend on Google’s feed, either directly or indirectly, if you get good search engine ranking in Google, you can
get good search engine ranking almost everywhere else. The following tips are copied verbatim from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. We’ve followed each of them with few a tips of our own.
Orphan File – A file that is not linked from any other page(s) on your website.
Google Says – Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
Search engines have trouble finding orphan files, and because orphan files are sometimes used to spam (doorway pages, link farms), search engines are also suspicious of them. Most people end up with orphan files as they update their site and forget about older files still on the server. Use Xenu Link Sleuth to detect broken links and orphan files on your website.
Google Says – Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.
A site map should be useful to visitors as well as search engines, so don’t make it just a collection of links. The Xenu Link Sleuth mentioned above will create a basic site map for you. You can start with that, but you will want to clean it up. Add some meaningful headers to create an outline of your website, so people can find what they need quickly. When you’re done name your site map sitemap.html or something similar to announce it to search engines.
- Create a useful, information rich website and write web pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
- Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images.
Create a website meant for visitors with plenty of content. Try not to make pages too long. In general, it is preferable (from a users point of view) to create a site that is deep, rather than large and flat.
A Deep Site – A website that has several tiers of links. The user is able to access general knowledge immediately, but must drill down through links to access more specific, in-depth information.
- Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate.
- Check for broken links and correct HTML.
To learn more about TITLE and ALT tags see META Tags and Alt Tags, respectively. Xenu Link Sleuth is great for checking broken links. To check correct HTML, see our HTML validator.
Google Says – If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a ‘?’ character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static web pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them small.
Be aware that pages of a website that track member information through PHP or ASP – such as pages for members only-may not be spidered by search engines. Although Google does claim to be able to read PHP and ASP pages, these pages are still sparse in Google results. Furthermore, search engines with smaller budgets may still not have the technology to index these web pages. If you have a members-only area or a shopping cart system that requires the use of pages with a ? character, make sure that you have plenty of “regular” pages on your website available for spidering.
Google Says – Keep the links on a given web page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).