Brains back in Google are striving hard to make the internet a better place. They have introduced and removed many strategies from their SEO inventory for a better virtual experience. Some of their most recent changes were done to follow the Google Webmaster guidelines.
What is Google Webmaster Guidelines?
By definition, Google webmaster is a free service offered by the search engine giant. It is used to monitor and manage the performance of web pages. The webmaster comes with a huge number of features and options that can make website management an effortless chore. However, the tool is not mandatory. This is why a lot of people are still unaware of its characteristic traits! Factors that can be monitored using Webmaster would be as follows:
- Does your site have any errors?
- How much traffic does your website enjoy?
- Does the site work well on mobile platforms?
- Does your website have spam or malware problems?
- Does your site have valid data in the Google database?
- How often was the web page crawled by the search engine?
- How well does your web page perform in the virtual market?
- What do you achieve by indexing and crawling? These are two important operations that can influence your virtual performance.
Google webmaster guidelines are broken into several segments. Most of these are HTML sitemap guidelines, paid links guidelines, XML Sitemap guidelines, blocked resources guidelines and many other factors that you have to take care of them.
#1: Robot.txt Guidelines
A major problem faced by many WordPress users would be blocked online resources. This is because Webmaster is programmed to turn off wp-includes and wp-contents of conventional WordPress installation. To solve this issue, “Disallow: /wp-content and Disallow: /wp-includes” lines should be removed from the robot.txt file. Before you decide on blocking or unblocking any resources, the robots.txt guidelines must be read completely.
#2: Blocked Resources Guidelines for Mobile Friendly Websites
Google’s blocked resources guidelines are quite stern and discreet. According to marketers, most mobile users are hunting for green widgets that can offer quick services. In another few years, Google would provide mobile users with sites that are mobile-friendly. This is because the search giant wishes to delight mobile searchers with the best possible mobile experience. And, if your website blocks external resources it will fall deep down in Google’s website ranking. To avoid such consequences, Google’s blocked resource guidelines must be followed carefully.
#3: XML Sitemap for Search Engines
Submitting an XML sitemap for search engines is a must-have rule to satisfy the hungry bots for indexing your site faster. As we all know, Google spiders are just bots and no one can guarantee to index all your pages, posts, and links but an XML sitemap can do it.
Your XML sitemap helps search engines to better crawl, fast index, and learn more about your website structure. Creating XML sitemap is one of the most important factors for better On-page optimization and one of the best practices to increase your website presence in search engines results and boost your organic traffic.
#4: HTML Sitemap for Users
Moving on, Google HTML sitemap guidelines is a must have for all web developers. These are special content and design rules that can improve your website’s virtual traffic drastically. The guideline comprises of the following points:
- HTML web pages should be accessible from at least one external static link.
- The sites should be carefully structured and aligned in a neat hierarchy. Both text and image links must be positioned carefully on the website.
- To make websites user-friendly, provide users a site map that has links to different parts of your web page. In case the site map is too long, break it into smaller segments. Likewise, if the site map is too wide, try to re-organize its components. This way, users will not find your web page tacky or tough to understand.
- When you give links in the site map, make them as meaningful as possible. Nevertheless, try to reduce the number of links provided on each page.
Words/links provided in the HTML Sitemap must be rich and useful. It should describe the web page accurately and clearly. There are two important characteristics any keyword in the sitemap must satisfy. If a user types or searches for a keyword, they should be able to spot it accurately in the sitemap. Meanwhile, never use images in sitemaps. This is because Google crawler is not fine-tuned to decode text in images. Also, be aware of the fact that search engine spiders will not be able to identify the keywords in dynamic sitemaps. The foremost rules can be applied to both XML Sitemap guidelines and HTML sitemap guidelines.
#5: Image alt Description TXT
Image alt text description is well known abandoned factor in the SEO world. Choosing the descriptive and accurate text for your images will help you to generate huge traffic from Google images search because it will help search engine spiders to understand the meaning of your images.
At the same time, don’t stuff keywords while you describe your images with long description words because it’s worthless. Even worst, it may hurt your rank instead of helping you to gain a better position.
<img src="seo-practices.jpg" alt="Best Seo Practices" />
#6: Dynamic Links
A static link is a page that has a permanent URL. For example, your homepage or “About Us” page. In the other hand, dynamic links are the results of a database search caused by a visitor looking for specific information in your website.
For instance, a dynamic page link might be like the following example:
If you decide to use dynamic pages, you have to keep the parameters short as could as possible. You can use .htaccess rewrite rules to convert dynamic links into static links to be more readily for search engines as well as your users. To continue with the above dynamic link example, here is the perfect static page link.
#7: If Modified Since HTTP Header
I know the name is a bit confusing but the meaning is quite simple. The 304 if-modified-since header is used to send a signal to crawlers that your website is not updated and there is no need to fetch your URL again and over again. You should have a 304 If Modified Since HTTP Header so that crawlers can check when is the last time the page or post has been updated.
If you choose to not provide “if-modified-since HTTP header“, crawlers will fetch your website and compare the current content with the already indexed content to check whether anything new has been updated on your website or not. Which leads to a lot of server resources and bandwidth consumption.
Hint: You can check your website http headers by online free tool.
#8: Paid Links
Paid links guidelines are a very important section in Google’s Webmaster post. It is a collection of documents with information on linking schemes and optimized anchoring of text. Four critical topics in paid links guidelines include the following:
- If you have to place paid links on your site, make sure they are nofollowed or blocked by robots.txt, to ensure that advertisements do not affect search engine rankings.
- A new set of articles on how optimized anchor text works and press releases should be distributed across different sites.
- Comprehensive information on native advertising and advertorials that are posted on behalf of paid articles. This covers links that have passed PageRank too.
- Details on guest posting and large-scale articles that have keyword-based text links. In general, website builders are expected to keep track of anchor texts. Internal or external, these links play a major role in how websites perform.
#9: Static Text Links
Linking each page of your website with at least one static text link is a critical SEO practice because it’s very important to improve users’ experience, increase page views, reduce bounce rate and help search engines to index all your pages easily.
A Static text link or hyperlinks (also known as Anchor Text) is more visible, readable and recommended by Google:
Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
Hint: You have to choose relative keywords while you link to another page on your website, but don’t use the same txt many times to prevent over-optimize anchor text issue.
#10: Amount of Links
“How many links should be used in your page, What is the maximum amount of links should be used?”
It’s the most confusing SEO question in Google Guidelines and there is no magic number to be safe. Generally, Google used to index only about 100 kilobytes of a page. So, Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).
Quality Guidelines for Top Notch Websites
“Google webmaster guidelines link building” would remain incomplete without “Quality”. These are interesting points that describe the manipulative and deceptive behavior of websites. Google responds negatively to sites that don’t follow quality guidelines. It would be unsafe to go against Google Webmaster when it comes to quality. After all, webmasters are professionals who spend lots of time and energy understanding principles that can boost user experience.
Wrapping Up …
On the whole, Google Webmaster Guidelines will help you create successful websites. These guidelines are carefully drafted by professionals who have several years of experience in the field. They are aware of the requirements bestowed by ardent onliners. Thus, all web developers must abide by these Google guidelines for SEO to achieve virtual success.