ss_blog_claim=73b1cd073bba6e6518705e046b696b7d Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide Summary

Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide Summary

When developing a new site, new page or editing an existing site or page, the following Search Engine Optimization considerations need to be taken into account. This is a summary of Google’s SEO Starter Guide, which you should also read.

Page Titles

  • Every page should have unique, accurate page titles

  • If page was pre-existing, the page title should stay exactly as it was before

  • Title should reflect page’s targeted keyphrase

Description Meta Tags

  • Ensure you prevent search engines from displaying Open Directory Project descriptions

  • Descriptions should be accurate, unique, descriptive of page content and should reflect page’s targeted keyphrase

  • Descriptions will be displayed in search results and should entice a searcher to click

  • Use tags if applicable, such as Brand:, Size:, Price:, etc.


  • Always maintain exact existing URL structure when working on a site or page. If URL structure must change, a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new URL is absolutely necessary

  • When creating new URL’s, use descriptive categories and filenames

  • Use only words in URL’s, avoid parameters, search strings or session ID’s

  • Never use generic page names such as page1.html

  • Do not keyword stuff URL’s

  • Create simple, but descriptive directory structure

  • Provide only one version of a URL to reach a document

  • Always use only www version of a URL to link, such as

  • Never use capitalization in URL’s

Navigation (for search bots)

  • Create logically organized “silo’s” of information

  • Create an organized html sitemap

  • Create an XML sitemap

  • Use mostly text for navigation

  • Use breadcrumb navigation

  • If part of a URL is removed, the link should always work

  • Have a useful 404 page


  • Write easy to read text

  • Do not embed text in an image or flash

  • Avoid grammatical and spelling errors

  • Stay on topic

  • Use relevant language and work keyword variations into a page

  • Avoid keyword stuffing

  • Create fresh, unique content

Anchor Text

  • Chose short but descriptive anchor text, don’t link entire sentences

  • Do not use generic anchor text like “click here”

  • Do not link to a page with its URL as the anchor text

  • Do not use CSS that makes links look like regular text

  • Do not keyword stuff links

  • Do not overlink

Heading Tags

  • Use H tags to reflect the main topic and sub-topic(s), or keyphrases, of a page

  • Use H tags to define the structure of a page

  • Do not use H tags instead of <em> or <strong> tags.

  • Use H tags sparingly


  • Use descriptive alt tags

  • Use descriptive filenames

  • Alt tags and filenames should complement one another

  • Avoid long filenames

  • Avoid generic filenames like “logo.jpg” or “header.jpg”

  • Avoid keyword stuffing alt tags or filenames

  • Store images in their own directory


  • Always ensure there is a robots.txt file at the root level of your site and one at each sub-domain of your site

  • Use the robots.txt to point to your sitemap.xml

  • Use robots.txt to block search results pages


  • “Nofollowing” a link is adding rel=”nofollow” inside the links anchor tag and tells Google not to pass your reputation on to the page being linked to

  • Nofollow is a controversial subject, but when used for search reasons, nofollow should be used anytime you are linking to an insignificant area of your site such as a contact form. It’s been suggested (not by Google) that nofollow should also be used when linking to documents such as .pdf files. Nofollow should also be used when linking to any outside website that you don’t benefit from passing reputation on to

Promotion (link building)

  • Effectively promoting your site will either directly or indirectly build incoming links to your site. These incoming links will help your site be discovered more quickly by search engines, and depending on the search engine and whether or not there was a nofollow tag on the incoming link, will help increase your site’s page rank.

  • Blog about new content or services

  • Blog about anything, really…Just blog with targeted keyphrases as your topics

  • Use social media to promote your site and your blog posts

  • Add your site to Google Local Business Center

  • Develop incoming links from related websites

  • Do NOT EVER purchase links

Google Webmaster Tools

  • Use Google Webmaster Tools effectively

  • Upload your sitemap.xml

  • Analyze or generate your robots.txt file

  • Specify the preferred domain

  • Identify issues with title or meta tags

  • Receive notification of quality guideline violations

  • File for a site reconsideration

Google Analytics

Use analytics to measure impact of search engine optimization

Use analytics to ensure your SEO is targeting keyphrases that CONVERT, not just ones that generate traffic


Use the following Google resources

Google Webmaster Help Group

Google Webmaster Central Blog

Google Webmaster Help Center

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Guidelines

Google Analytics

Google Website Optimizer

Tips on Hiring an SEO


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