Here are 68 Google Webmaster Guidelines You Should Know
Google is the top search right now. These are sets of rules and suggestions that can help you achieve top ranking. If you want to know what Google is looking for, follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Google has an extensive set of webmaster guidelines that helps you not only to rank better but also to provide excellent user experience to website visitors. Now and then, Google would add, remove, or amend this documentation to help website owners understand what Google wants.
Google has been prioritizing mobile-first indexing for a while now and it’s now a must for website owners and developers to check the webmaster guidelines to be in the loop with what has changed. Digital marketing is not the same without Google webmaster tools, after all. This article gives you insight into what is relevant in the Google Webmaster Guidelines to your website’s success.
What Are Google Webmaster Guidelines?
The Google Webmaster Guidelines are divided into two basic sets. These are the General Guidelines and the Quality Guidelines.
The General Guidelines present how you can improve your pages aside from search engine optimization. It also discusses the principles and working mechanisms of how Google understands these pages, and what you should do so that Google can better index your content and the likes. The General Guidelines provides tips and tools that further enhance the user experience.
On the other hand, the Quality Guidelines offer how you can avoid deceptive tactics that Google finds misleading and manipulative. Most of these tactics are often considered grave and severe violations of the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Are you ready?
Determine Keyword Relevance
Make sure that your website is discoverable. Your website and content should include the keywords that visitors use to search for your pages. You want to tell Google that you are an expert on the topics shown on your website.
Avoid Broken Links
All your links must be active and go to live, working pages so these can be easily crawled. Additionally, your links should have an anchor text related to that linked page
Don’t Break the Rules
Taking shortcuts and using tricks that aim to increase your search engine ranking isn’t going to do your website good. Breaking the guidelines set by Google or utilizing blackhat SEO tactics can get your website blacklisted. Follow what Google recommends for the best practices for adding images, videos, and the likes.
Schema.org Article markup
You should use the Schema.org article markup so that your content can be read by the leading search engines aside from Google.
If your website is geared towards children, you have to inform Google if the entire site is tagged as child-directed or just a section of it. This complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This action would not affect your ranking in any way. However, the approval may take some time to effect. Another thing, Google reserves the right to limit the number of domains it covers under the child protection tag.
You should avoid iFrames at all times. Not only can these be problematic for your SEO, but iFrames can also pose a threat to your security. Content inside iFrames are not indexed, so having that content is practically futile. If you intend to add iFrames, you must include text-based links to the content inside these elements so Google can index the content by crawling.
Regional and Language-specific Pages
Use hreflang to signal Google that you have several lingual versions of a particular page. Localized pages happen when you are trying to target an audience using their language. While Google automatically translates and provides localized versions of your page, it is still a better practice to explicitly tell Google of these things using the hreflang tag.
Make Your Site Responsive
Your website should be easily accessible in any kind of device, be it a smartphone or desktop. Using responsive website designs and mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor now that more and more people are using smaller gadgets to access information online. You can check how your website fares with this mobile-friendliness testing tool by Google.
Images add visual appeal to your otherwise ordinary text content. Place them near or beside texts, and you have to make sure that these images are related to the content. Also, place your most significant image near the top of the page.
People use a browser to access your online content. Each browser may have a slightly different way of interpreting your content, so there are a few differences in how your website would look in each browser. As a rule, don’t create your website to suit just one kind of browser. To ensure that your website has cross-browser compatibility, do the following:
- Review your site on several browsers
- Create your website using valid CSS and HTML
- Check your codes using HTML and CSS validators such as Jigsaw and W3C Validator
- Add the character encoding on top of your frame
- Provide text-only alternatives for your videos and images for better indexing
Inform Google immediately that you want to remove the snippet and cached results from the Google Search results. File a removal request, provided that the page where the video is embedded already returns a 404 code, or that video needs login access. Take note that this removal request also works for images and pages. However, if the removal of rich content is about legal information or the copy has some legal issues, use this request.
Submit New Sites and Content to Google
Are you interested in having your new content crawled by Google? First, identify the kinds of content you have. Is it a website? You can submit a sitemap for new sites or update your content so that more visitors can lookup your content.
Are you using your content for business? You can promote your products by informing Google of your product catalogs. Do you want to know more about how Google can help your small business? Or do you want your business on Google Maps and give a virtual tour of your location?
When you have multiple URLs directed to a single page, or various pages containing similar content, it’s best to pick one to be used as the canonical version of those pages. All other pages of the same copy and the likes are to be considered as duplicates. The canonical page is what Google would often crawl but not the duplicates. If you don’t specify which is the canonical page, Google might pick one for you or consider all canonical pages, which can lead to other issues.
Avoid Unnatural Links
Unnatural links are those links that have been placed but not approved by the site owner. These can also refer to link activities that manipulate page ranking using inbound and outbound linking acting activities—doing this a severe violation of the Webmaster Guidelines. These activities include buying or selling links and sending free products so the other can promote your products in their sites and links back to your website, among others.
Image Meta Data
Your image should contain enough description and related keywords so that Google can also identify your image. This can help in your ranking on Google.
Provide Good Context for Your Image
Your images included on your web pages should be relevant and connected to the content these images represent. Use the alt attribute to include descriptions. Whenever possible, include your relative keywords in the alt tags for these images.
Check If All Pages Are Linked
Make sure that all your pages linked from another page. An orphaned page or a page that doesn’t contain any link is a big no-no since bots can’t find it through indexing. You can’t rank these said pages; they won’t show up in search results.
Image Alt Text
Your alt texts should be able to describe the image to which these tags are attached. If you can, use your keywords as your alt text provided that those keywords contextually describe the content. O