Google rules a huge part of the web! Whether you are just starting your online venture or you are a confirmed blogger / webmaster, you just can’t deny that an important part of your website traffic is coming from Google. They totally own the search engine business, and the efforts of Bing/Yahoo to counter it didn’t prove me wrong yet.
That being said, if you want to get your website indexed properly and to get your share of traffic from Google, you better not try to trick them and you should abide by their rules. Here is a recap of DOs and DONTs to get some love from Google.
Design and content guidelines
- Your website should be organised with a clear hierarchy
- Provide a text link navigation (forget flash menus)
- Keep the link count on every page reasonnable (pages with hundreds of links can be spotted as spam attempt)
- Create a useful, content-rich website (bring value to visitors)
- Target keywords relevant to your website content
- When using images, always put an “Alt” attribute (crawlers can’t recognize image content by themselves)
- Put a “Title” attribute on every page and make sure it’s relevant
- Test your websites links to spot broken links and repair them
- Use correct Html syntax
- Try not to use dynamic Urls (links with “?” sign and variables)
- Avoid Frames (crawlers may have trouble indexing pages with frames)
- Do not use Session ID’s (crawlers will be unable to access and index your site)
- Make use of the robots.txt file (this file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled)
- Make your advertisement links “NoFollow” (they won’t affect your rankings)
- Optimize load times (Faster sites are generally ranked better)
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines (search engines determine keyword percentage and check if your text is “humanly-readable”)
- Avoid deceptive or manipulative behavior
- Avoid cloaking your webpages (presenting different content to users and crawlers)
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings (any form of link spam could result in a Google Ban)
- Avoid links intended to manipulate PageRank
- Avoid links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web (forget about spammy directories, porn, pharmacy,…)
- Avoid excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (I guess as long as it’s not excessive, it’s ok)
- Avoid buying or selling links that pass PageRank (use rel=”nofollow” when needed)
- Avoid hidden text or hidden links (writing black text on black background to spam your keywords is not clever at all and will get you banned)
- Avoid creating pages with duplicate content
That is a long list of rules but a lot of them are just common sense. As long as you are not doing sneaky stuff, you should be able to get away with it.
Any suggestion about additional questionable behavior that might get you in trouble with Google?
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!