Google's SEO Guidelines

January 29, 2021

Search Engine Optimization is about helping Google understand and present your website so it’s shows up prominently in the search results. This is an overview of the basics of SEO according to Google.

You should build a website to benefit your users, and any optimization should be geared toward making the user experience better. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content.

Here are a few basic questions to ask yourself about your website when you get started.

  • Is my website showing up on Google?
  • Do I serve high-quality content to users?
  • Is my content fast and easy to access on all devices?

SEO is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. Though they may seem insignificant when viewed individually, they could have a noticeable impact on your website when combined with other optimizations. Here is a list of simple things you can do to help Google (and users) understand your content.

  1. Create unique, accurate page titles for each page on your site

        <title>Akshay's Blog</title>
  2. Create good titles and snippetes in search results

  3. Use the ‘description’ meta tag which tells Google what the page is about. It can be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph.

        <title>Akshay's Blog</title>
        <meta name="description" content="Thoughts on software development and programming">
  4. Use heading tags to emphasize important text.

    Create a hierarchical sturcture for your content, making it easier for users to navigate through the content.

  5. Use meaningful URLs that convey content information.

  6. Know what your readers want and might search for, and give it to them.

  7. Avoid distracting advertisements.

  8. Write meaningful link text, i.e. the text visible inside a link. It should tell users and Google something about the page you’re linking to.

  9. Optimize your images. Use alternative text to make your site more user-friendly.

What follows is advice that’s hard to follow but more effective than any other technical hack that you could use for better search engine optimization.

Make your website interesting and useful.

Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it.

Optimize the content for users, not search engines.

You could break all the above rules, but people will still read it and link to it, improving the SEO, if your writing is useful. On the other hand, even if you follow all the rules and guidelines, no one will visit your site if your content is dull and boring.

Act in a way that cultivates user trust

Users feel comfortable visiting your site if they feel that it’s trustworthy. Avoid spam or any dishonest techniques to hack Google or attract more visitors.

Build a reputation

Cultivate a reputation for expertise and trustworthiness in a specific area. Provide information about who publishes your site, provides its content, and its goals.

Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. Creating high quality content takes a significant amount of time, effort, expertise, and talent. Be prepared to invest into your website over the long term. Cultivate it like a beautiful garden.