‘This document first began as an effort to help teams within Google, but we thought it’d be just as useful to webmasters that are new to the topic of search engine optimization and wish to improve their sites’ interaction with both users and search engines.
Although this guide won’t tell you any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first for queries in Google (sorry!), following the best practices outlined below will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.’
And that, folks is pretty much the manifesto for the document. The contents page (enlarge from the thumbnail, right) takes you through the main headings you need to build a website the right way to get the best search ranking.
Every page contains nuggets of wisdom, although it’s a while until you get the gem: “Search engine optimization affects only organic search results, not paid or “sponsored” results such as Google AdWords.”
I also like the description: “Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications
to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your
site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.
The guide is all about taking the essential ingredients for any web page and making the most out of them.
Mostly it is less of a book than one of the best training slide decks you’ll ever see, an easy read, the 32 pages don’t take too long. Going through topic by topic, with examples, pictures, diagrams and either a glossary or related links in the page footer. After the initial run through of a topic, the following page usually outlines Best Practices.
For example, revisit your site structure and navigation and see how that affects the page addresses (URL’s) and therefore their search worth.
You will get tips such as ‘prepare two sitemaps: one for users, one for search engines’ to exploit the value of XML for search engines.
Almost half way when we get to Optimizing Content – with the gem ‘Offer quality content and services.’
Other sections include tagging of images, anchor text, descriptive text and how to combat comment spam with the “nofollow” tag. It also touches on outreach through social media sites and Google webmaster tools.
Forget the SEO Snake Oil merchants. Sit down with the Google SEO Starter Guide and save yourself a lot of money and patience. AJS
Related: How-to: Understand On-Page SEO