Google is generally reticent when it comes to doling out advice on how to make websites more search engine friendly, although in recent weeks it has made greater efforts to engage webmasters directly, without the vagueness and misdirection of the past.
Perhaps the best example of this is a new guide released by the search giant, which is intended to directly address the needs of webmasters who are brand new to the experience of operating a site for their business.
Although most people who are web-savvy will find it hard to believe that a modern business can operate without a website, there are still a significant number of companies that are only just waking up to the online revolution.
This means that Google’s new beginner’s guide to SEO might be worth examining for anyone who falls into this group of first timers.
The guide covers a single page and is composed in easy to understand sentences, so that those with little or no understanding of the technical side of SEO will not be overwhelmed. It has also been localised into 13 different languages, so that it can have as broad a reach as possible.
There are three sections to the guide, the first of which is designed to highlight why it is important that your website looks good when it appears on a SERP (search engine results page).
Google points out that it is important to use the title of a webpage to describe your business while remembering to be brief, because it is all about condensing information into the most compact and efficient package.
Google also recommended that the URLs used by sites are uncomplicated and informative, outlining a preference for the use of full words and phrases for sub pages of a site, rather than opting for simple numeric representations that do little to describe the content.
The final piece of advice for looking good on SERPs is to add meta descriptions so that the engine can showcase a concise piece of content, that gives a bit more detail on the purpose of your website.
Next Google goes on to talk about images, alighting on the importance of keeping file names brief but remembering to add information about the nature of the image in the alt attribute section, which gives the engine a better chance of ranking it appropriately.
Newbies are also reminded that it is always best to insert important information about the business into the written content of a page, rather than assigning it to an image. This might change in the future, but for the moment, your site will always be more searchable if you take this approach.
Google’s final suggestion to first time webmasters is that they need to keep their content up to date, as well as ensuring that it remains relevant and useful for visitors.
As an introduction to SEO from Google’s perspective, the existence of this guide is a pleasant surprise and means that you do not need to go trawling through pages of dry explanatory material to get off the ground.