While Google continues to be elusive about practices that automatically give blogs higher authority, they have this 32-page long PDF guide which tells us the primary unavoidable factors from SEO perspective.
Many of you may have already read this guide and other might be reading about this for the very first time. In both cases, it is a good practice to recon the technical aspects of any blog at regular intervals.
Google SEO Guidelines Checklist
Print out the checklist below and find out what’s wrong with your blog!
- Every blog page should have title tag for easy search engine scalability. The
tag should be placed within the tag of the HTML document, says Google.
- Every blog page should have unique title, nothing even remotely vague.
- The same title tag should not be used for all the blog pages.
- The titles should be brief but effective. Too long titles do not appear completely in Google search results.
- Each blog page should have a unique summary, alternately known as Meta description, within 160 characters.
- The URL structure should be easily search engine scalable.
- It is good if the URL of a blog contains the keyword as the chances of those URLs ranking on SERP is better. But, don’t spam the URL with keywords.
- Use dynamic URLs only if you know how to create them flawlessly. Otherwise, Google is fine with static URLs.
- Set up a 301 redirect if there is more than one URL pointing to the same page.
- The blog structure / navigation should be well crafted.
- Well thought out navigation structure helps not only the audience but the search engine bots too.
- Use breadcrumb lists.
- Add 404 – page not found – for non existing URLs.
- Create two sitemaps: one for users (HTML sitemap) and one for search engines (XML sitemaps).
- Focus on Text navigation rather than Java or Flash navigation.
- Drop-down menus should not be excessively used.
- Focus on content recognition from organic sources.
- Create niche content.
- Use Google Keyword Tool as a reference point, not as the Bible!
- Avoid sloppy content with spelling and grammatical errors.
- Avoid embedding text in images because search engines will not be able to crawl them.
- Blog content should be formatted.
- Revising existing content is a good practice.
- Content pages should not have irrelevant keywords.
- Add suitable anchor text, which is not necessary to be the desired keyword.
- Anchor text should be user-friendly and Googlebot-friendly.
- Avoid using generic anchor text.
- Using the URL as anchor text is bad unless the purpose is to reference a website.
- Anchor text should neither be short nor too long.
- Distinguish between regular text and anchor text by avoiding text styling measures.
- Use ‘alt’ attribute.
- All images should be consolidated into a single directory.
- Use image types supported by almost all browsers like PNG, JPEG, GIF and BMP.
- Every image should have a distinct title, no ‘image1, image2, image3′ and so on.
- Site navigation should not be based on image links only.
- Image description should have ‘alt’ description too.
- Submit an Image XML sitemap in Google.
- Use header tags to signify important things.
- Use H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 header tags.
- H1 should be used only once.
- Don’t use too many header tags in one page.
- Header tags are not for stylistic purposes.
- Use robots.txt file to deny access to parts of your blog, that is, parts which you don’t want the search engine to crawl.
- Use the robots.txt generator from Google Webmaster Tools for this or add ‘NOINDEX’ to robots Meta tags or use .htaccess to password protect directories.
- Sub domains should have separate robots.txt file.
- Add rel=”nofollow” for links you don’t the crawler to crawl from your site and interpret it as your support for that site.
- Avoid comment spam with comment moderation features or turning on CAPTCHA.
- Use the Google Webmaster Tools to create Mobile sitemap and submit it.
- Allow “Google Bot – Mobile” to access the blog because some mobile sites refuse access to anything but mobile phones.
- Ensure that the page URL’s DTD (Doc Type Definition) declaration is either in Compact HTML or XHTML Mobile format.
- Both the desktop and mobile version of the website should be accurately indexed and formatted.
Promotion and Analysis:
- Add new content regularly.
- Make use of RSS Feed.
- Sign up for Google Places if you are running a local business.
- Build social media interaction.
- Do not send spamming link requests.
- Do not purchase links for increasing Page Rank.
- Use Google Webmaster Tools to understand how Google interacts with the website.
- Use Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics regularly.
This was quite an exhaustive list, don’t you think? I am sure you have found at least one or two things you need to mull over and apply them on your blog. I did. Honestly, my blog is very little mobile optimized…have to work on that!
What do you have to work on?
PS: Any complaints / criticisms about the above list should be directed towards Google, spare me!
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Source: Blogging Tips
Revisiting Google SEO Guidelines