What Does Google Really Think About SEO? (Part Two)
This is the second post in the What Does Google Really Think About SEO? series. If you haven’t read it already, be sure to check out Part One.
Don’t Make Users Think to Navigate: When it comes to navigation, simpler is always better. Although Google encourages you to create some kind of directory structure, you shouldn’t make your structure excessively complicated (ex. fifteen clicks to get to deep content). Other navigation tips provided by Google include using text (which helps not only Google, but also users; especially if they are on a device like the iPhone, which does not support Flash) and providing breadcrumb navigation links (see the image above for their example).
In addition to their navigational tips, Google also discusses the two types of sitemaps. The first type of sitemap is a single page on your website which provides a link to all of the pages on your website (if you’re a WordPress user, I recommend the Sitemap Generator Plugin), while the other type of Sitemap is an XML file that you can submit directly to Google through their Webmaster Tools (once again, use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin to accomplish this task with WordPress).
Content is King: You have all heard this one a million times, so instead of recapping this information, I want to provide you with a link that presents a different point of view on this subject: “Just Make Good Content” is Bullsh*t . Regardless of whether or not you agree with this post from John Andrews, it is nonetheless interesting to read.
SEO 101: Since this is Google’s Starter Guide to SEO, they devoted a few pages to talking about the importance of using descriptive anchor text, along with how to properly use the h1 through h6 tags. The main thing that you need to keep in mind about the tags is that you should use them to give your content an outline format, and should avoid using them excessively (for an additional tip, because these tags normally change the size of your text, they can be used quite effectively to create content that is easy for readers to scan). If you still want more information on this topic, check out the post that Garry wrote back in November.
Since we are on the topic of anchor text, if you need a tool that shows you the anchor text of incoming links, take a look at Joost de Valk’s free SEO Link Analysis tool for Firefox.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: In addition to using an ALT description that is explanatory but brief, other good practices for images include giving your pictures descriptive file names (ex. baseball-bat.jpg instead of picture1.jpg) and storing all of your images in their own directory.
Take Advantage of robots.txt: First off, although robots.txt can help you control search engines, Google does emphasize that you should use more secure methods for protecting content that is sensitive. Since it’s always best to go to the horse’s mouth for this kind of information, you should check out the following video from Matt Cutts: Remove your content from Google.
Although robots.txt isn’t perfect, Google still recommends using one, and even offers a tool to help you easily create one.
Good Ahead and nofollow: Before this document came out, there was a belief among many within the SEO community that by using nofollow to sculpt PageRank within a website, it could alert Google to the fact that the website had been “SEO’d.” However, now that Google is recommending the use of nofollow to all webmasters, it’s safe to say that using nofollow isn’t going to raise any red flags for your website.
Promoting (and Promotion): The last three pages of this document discuss how to promote your website “the right way,” and also promotes several of Google’s free tools and resources.
Since the promotion techniques provided by Google are fairly basic, I would like to end this two part series with several links to posts that will provide you with some legitimate but creative ways to build links and market your website: