Powerful SEO Advice Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

When it comes to learning SEO (search engine optimization) on the internet, there’s a lot of fluff out there.  There are experts who claim to know everything and know very little, and there are people with hidden agendas – one of which is to make money off of you by promoting a product or getting you to opt into their e-mail list.  We accept this reality, and many of us embrace it.

That’s why it’s a breath of fresh air when the masters of SEO – the search engines themselves – provide guidance.  They have no hidden agendas, or at least, none that really bother us.  They want to create useful search engines and meaningful results, so it’s in their best interest to come up with a ranking algorithm that accomplishes these objectives.

A Hidden (Yet Not So Hidden) SEO Gem

It’s funny that sometimes all the noise that surrounds the internet actually drowns out the most authoritative voice – Google.  If you follow Google’s webmaster blog, you know that they often provide a lot of useful content with respect to SEO.  Because this information comes straight from Google, I have full confidence that it is accurate information.  No, they won’t spill every secret (after all, they don’t want you to exploit their search engine ranking algorithm), but they also won’t lie to you or take guesses about what might be important.

Therefore, I decided to compile an entire blog post dedicated to highlighting all of the wonderful SEO advice Google has published over the past weeks and months.  If you’re unsure of what to believe about SEO, you know you can believe this.

The SEO Starter Guide

One helpful resource that Google has published is an SEO starter guide that goes over the basics of SEO.  If you’re new to SEO, or still a bit fuzzy on the basics, this is an awesome resource.  This 32-page resource covers a lot of information, and its focus is primarily “on-page SEO,” or SEO that can be done within the confines of your website (i.e. it doesn’t involve backlinks).  Here’s the table of contents, to give you an idea of the exact topics covered:

SEO Basics

  • Create unique, accurate page titles
  • Make use of the “description” meta tag

Improving Site Structure

  • Improve the structure of your URLs
  • Make your site easier to navigate

Optimizing Content

  • Offer quality content and services
  • Write better anchor text
  • Optimize your use of images
  • Use heading tags appropriately

Dealing with Crawlers

  • Make effective use of robots.txt
  • Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links

SEO for Mobile Phones

  • Notify Google of mobile sites
  • Guide mobile users accurately

Promotions and Analysis

  • Promote your website in the right ways
  • Make use of free webmaster tools

One thing I really like about this guide is that they use an example website throughout the guide, so that you can see exactly how each concept applies to an actual website.  Although this is a “basics” guide, it covers a lot of things that I don’t pay enough attention to, like optimizing images.  Even if you think you know everything about SEO, it’s still worth reading this guide to refresh your memory on some simple concepts that you may have forgotten.

Google’s Tips for Good Backlinking

As you probably know, the most time consuming (and perhaps the most difficult) part of SEO is building backlinks.  Backlinks vary widely in strength, relevancy, and overall quality.  A small amount of high quality backlinks is often more effective than thousands of low quality, irrelevant ones.  In this article, Google speaks a bit about backlinking.  I’ll highlight some of the key points here.

1) If your site is new or unknown, get involved with a community. Google’s point here is that if you contribute positively on forums and/or blogs, it can help build your reputation.  Not only will this get you traffic, but it will often cause people to organically link to your site (without you asking for links or building them yourself).  Writing great content is one thing, but actually getting involved somewhere on the internet is going to be what allows people to even know your great content exists.  For example, if you’re looking to network with other people who are into internet marketing, you might join Warrior Forum and participate in various discussions there.

2) Publish tutorials, find solutions to problems, or develop a tool. These types of content are very share-friendly, and have a much higher liklihood of being linked to by other sites.  I don’t think Google is implying that you need to develop the next Market Samurai software or a massive 120-page tutorial.  Sometimes it’s as simple as a post about the top free WordPress plugins.  When you find solutions that you put time into explaining, you give people a reason to link to it – it saves them time.

3) Create humorous and amusing content. This is the type of content that is more likely to “go viral,” so it makes sense.  A funny cartoon or infographic, a funny video – there are several possibilities, but it really depends on your niche.

4) “Any legitimate link building strategy is a long-term effort.” Google makes some great points here, so rather than paraphrase them, I’ll quote them:

“Buying PageRank-passing links or randomly exchanging links are the worst ways of attempting to gather links and they’re likely to have no positive impact on your site’s performance over time. If your site’s visibility in the Google index is important to you it’s best to avoid them.

Directory entries are often mentioned as another way to promote young sites in the Google index. There are great, topical directories that add value to the Internet. But there are not many of them in proportion to those of lower quality. If you decide to submit your site to a directory, make sure it’s on topic, moderated, and well structured. Mass submissions, which are sometimes offered as a quick work-around SEO method, are mostly useless and not likely to serve your purposes.”

5) Make your site easy to link to. This one is a fairly obvious one – by providing social networking/bookmarking buttons at the beginning and/or end of your posts, you make it easier for your content to be shared.

Great SEO Videos by Google

In addition to blogging about these SEO tips, Google actually puts out a number of surprisingly helpful videos about SEO.  Normally, I would embed these videos (they’re from YouTube) right into this post, but Google actually disabled that feature for their own videos, so the best I can do is link to them.  Here are several videos that I think are helpful (UPDATE: I have added a short one line summary of each video’s content or answer to the question):

This is really just a small sample of the videos available – I tried to just compile links to the ones that I think would be relevant to you.  There are many more, and not all of them pertain to SEO.  I’d definitely recommend going through the videos that interest you.  Most of them are very short, so it won’t take a lot of your time!

Hopefully this compilation of SEO tips from Google helps you out a bit, especially if you are new to SEO.  It’s good to pay attention to those who are experienced in SEO and have great tips to offer, but it’s critical that you pay attention to those who actually drive SEO (i.e. Google)!

Do you know of any other “authoritative” sources on SEO?  I’d love to hear about them.

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7 Responses to “Powerful SEO Advice Straight From The Horse’s Mouth”

  1. Solid post Eric.

    Quick suggestion, but if you have time it’d be cool if you could write out quick one line answers summarizing what the youtube video’s say.

    For me, I don’t really have the time to watch all the videos, but a bunch of the titles of the videos (phrased as questions) peaked my interest, so reading the one line summary would be pretty cool.

    Eitherway – thanks for the google seo roundup,


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the suggestion, Dinesh – I will try to go back later when I have the time, to summarize the answers to the questions asked in each video (maybe sometime this weekend).


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Dinesh, just wanted to let you know that I’ve updated the post to include one line summaries for each video. Hope that helps!


  2. Never thought about looking for piece of advice straight from the source!
    This is great tip!
    Good call Eric :)


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Dome. Hope it helped you out!


  3. Eric, this is great stuff! Thanks for sharing. I’m very impressed with Google’s effort on this! Google is doing a lot of great stuff.


    Eric G. Reply:

    I was also kind of surprised to see how much helpful SEO information they were publishing – it’s definitely helpful to people like us, and there’s little doubt that the information is accurate. Thanks for the comment, Ian!


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