Google Webmaster SEO Tips

From the Google Webmaster YouTube channel

31 Jul 2013


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Google Webmasters is a channel on YouTube setup by the folks over at Google to take questions from developers, users, and SEO gurus alike. There are hundreds of videos, and because we know you might not have the time to watch them all we’ve compiled a list of SEO tips from a select group of videos.

1. Manual + Machine spam filtering

The Google Web-spam team is not a machine, but it’s not a sweatshop either. Google use a combination of manual filtering as well as an algorithm approach.
Source: What are some examples of SEO misinformation?

2. Don’t bother with the “keywords” meta tag

Yep, that’s right, Google doesn’t care about the ‘keywords’ meta tag yet many still insist to use it for Google SEO.
Source: What are some examples of SEO misinformation?

3. Keywords in the domain name

Keywords in the domain name, OK, so Google has been criticized for allowing keyword heavy domains to rank higher than non keyword laden domains in the same search area. The good news is that the search engine algorithm is being tweaked to better balance a keyword loaded domain name vs a ‘brandable’ domain name. So you don’t necessarily need to buy anymore.
Source: How important is it to have keywords in a domain name?

4. Code Validity & SEO

So your website is W3C, and IE5+ compatible? Good for you, but the reality is that Google doesn’t care that much about code validity, only ‘browser’ render-ability. In short, super anal W3C and code validity won’t net you much of a SEO return. Focus on clean, functional code, and more importantly on good content and usability for your audience.
Source: Is HTML validation necessary for ranking?

5. The ideal “Keyword Density”

Don’t spam your article with the same keyword, which may be deemed as ‘keyword’ stuffing. Apparently, one or two instances in your article or page is enough.
Source: What is the ideal keyword density of a page?

6. Hidden content & Google

Having ‘hidden’ (display:none) text in your content which becomes visible with java-script interaction is fine, don’t worry the Google bot is smart enough to know that this is a common practice on the web with things like accordion menus, tab systems, and other fancy JS based effects.
Source: How does Google treat hidden content which becomes visible when clicking a button?

7. Broken sites & Google Rank

If your site drops for a day it should be fine, the bot will try to recrawl and return to your site. If the downtime is any longer, then this could cause you some pain, and you might lose ranking. Moral of the story is: have a good reliable fast host/server.
Source: If my site goes down for a day, does that affect my rankings?

8. Use of stock photography

Contrary to some belief Google does not really care if you use stock photos or original photos, although it does sound like in the future they might get smarter about this and reward original content in photography the same way original web content is assessed.
Source: Does using stock photos on your pages have a negative effect on rankings?

9. The “Panda” update actually decreased revenue for Google

Believe it or not the Panda update decreased revenue according to Google. Remember, their policy is don’t be evil. So the ranking/search engine changes were in place to improve search results for users, even if that meant a loss in revenue for the tech giant.
Source: What are some misconceptions in the SEO industry?

10. Content (and design) is king

Too many SEO ‘gurus’ focus on link building and miss the bigger picture of trying to create compelling and useful content for users. This includes designing an experience for the user that has a great UX. In short, don’t focus just on search engines says Google, focus on design, user experience, and then marketing.
Source: What are some misconceptions in the SEO industry?

11. Biggest SEO mistakes

A run down of the common big mistakes include: broken links, uncrawlable sites, or missing keywords in your copy altogether. Other common pitfalls include focusing on link building, as opposed to traditional marketing or a stronger focus on content.

Another common mistake is lack of meta description. Meta description effects the search result snippet and is the first thing users will see in search results. And finally, not using Webmaster tools is one of the biggest mistakes made according to this video.
Source: What are the top 3-5 SEO areas where webmasters make the most mistakes?

12. Single page websites and Google

The web is changing and there are many great examples of websites that roll all off of a single page. How does this effect your SEO rank? It shouldn’t be a problem, but the main thing is to remember to test the site with Webmaster Tools. Provided the content works for the user, it should work for Google as well.
Source: What does Google think of single-page websites?

13. SEO of legitimate business leaders vs the rest

This particular section focuses on a question from a user, who from the sounds of things, is being beaten on SEO rank by businesses that are not true competitors or legitimate operators in the same industry.

The response from Google is that there are many businesses like this out there, businesses who might be the single market leaders but for one reason or another are being outranked in search by lesser real world competitors because they are not keeping up online.

The solution, according to Google, is to try and have a user friendly, concise, and functional website. Relevant content, functional design and a great user experience all help. Leverage your real world business success online, tap into your existing customer base, use some of your real world marketing strength, be responsive and adaptive to your user needs and wants, and as always make sure you have a functional website with great resources for your users.
Source: How can a legitimate business compete online?

14. What to expect in the coming months from Google and SEO

As of writing (July 2013) and as of the video source (May 2013)

Source: What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?

A summary

There is a consistent theme throughout the Google Webmaster YouTube videos:

  • Google focus on quality of content
  • Google focus on rank sites that provide a strong user experience
  • Google are actively trying to stop people who cheat or try black hat SEO
  • Google have a very complex and constantly evolving search engine algorithm, so don’t believe anyone that tells you they know exactly how it works, because the reality is that no one except Google themselves truly do
  • Too many businesses focus on keywords, and link building, and forget about content, design, UX and traditional marketing

We believe in common sense SEO, we believe in designing and delivering a site that caters for your users first and then meets the requirements of the search engines.