Archive for November 28th, 2008

Google’s Quality Guidelines

Friday, November 28th, 2008

This blog discusses the quality section of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which discusses which practices to avoid when creating a site. This is important for both web designers and SEOs as bad practices can lead to a complete drop in listings even when they are implemented with good intentions.

Make Pages For Users - Google suggests writing pages for users not search engines. Take this one with a pinch of salt. Of course Google would suggest this and although it is good advice, you should bear both users and search engines in mind when writing pages. However, never sacrifice user experience for search engine experience. Google are becoming increasingly adept at determining user experience and interactivity. Write good content and you will keep your audience coming back and find that your back-links and listings increase naturally.

Avoid Tricks - Distinguishing tricks from techniques can be seen as a bit of a grey area but asking “does this help my user?” question gives a good idea of what to avoid. Black hat techniques are becoming more sophisticated but they are still clearly unethical. Cloaking, for example, is just a glorified version of hidden text. Avoid this technique and also avoid all other black hat techniques such as keyword stuffing, scraping and so on.

Don’t Participate In Link Schemes - Link Building is an important part of the SEO process but there are many ways to do this. In general, Google will not penalise your site for links to it that you can not control. However, reciprocal links and many directory links have been devalued significantly over the years. Avoid linking to irrelevant sites or sites that are in bad neighbour hoods (adult sites etc.) as these can negatively affect your site’s standing. Some reciprocal links and directory links are still valuable but the best way to get links to your site is to create content that is worth linking to.

Don’t Use Unauthorised Programs - Programs that automatically generate pages are a bad idea and should be avoided at all costs. Programs that check listings and run ranking reports are quite commonly used by SEO companies and although they have their use, they are generally not necessary. Of course, you should be aware of where you rank for major terms but all site owners and SEOs should be focusing on traffic rather than listings and this is provided in detail by analytics reports.