Google and other search engines continue to evolve as there are new pages and social channels providing the information users are looking for as well as spammers that constantly look for ways to impact the search results.
Recently, Google announced an updated version of their Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Not only are these simple rules that your Webmaster should follow, but as a marketing manager or small business owner, you should also understand.
There is no magic potion to make your site rank number one. A combination of quality content that helps the reader, with links to your site from authority sources will send the proper signals that the search engines are looking for. As you read your content, ask yourself: "Is this page helping the reader? Does it have the language they use?"
Do not duplicate content from other sources, or provide a doorway page that forces the user to click to find the real source of information on a different page. Google will penalize you for such low quality.
Consider creating videos that answer the "How do I ... " search query users have. Look at your web site data for the words that helped users find your pages. Do you have information on related topics that will also help users? If you create a video, upload the video to YouTube, optimize the video title, description and tags, then create a Web page on your site and embed the video to your page.
Technical SEO Strategies
On previous posts we mentioned that you should Forget Keyword for SEO -- Concentrate on the Properties and Associations of "Things" to Improve Search Optimization. We also shared Tips for Athletes and Brands to Improve Their Online Profiles.
Google needs to understand the structure and content of your web site. By creating a Sitemap and letting the different search engines find this document, you inform the engines when your site was last updated, how important one page is relative to other pages on your site and how often they usually change.
But now that you have a sitemap, and you added properties to your content, use the guidelines from the Webmaster tools to improve the "snippets" of information the engines will use to summarize the content of your page.
Many times I find press releases that start with the words "press release" then the company name, then the actual information. Product pages have similar problems. There are a limited number of characters the user will see for your headline and description on search results. Put the important information first. Limit the title of your page snippet to 70 characters and the description of the page to 156 characters. If you have a service where people need to call you to make a reservation, add the phone number to the title and the description. Check your results from a mobile device and double check that the user can see why they should contact you instead of a competitor.
Exact Match Domains
Many business owners are proud of having the "perfect" URL. You have a company that makes Green Plastic Widgets and your domain is GreenPlasticWidgets.com. In the search world we call them Exact Match Domains (EMD). Google's Matt Cutts announced a few days ago that they are looking at EMD with low quality content and will push them down the ranking results. In other words, if your domain is WidgetsWidgetsWidgets.com and you have good content about green plastic widgets, with the proper inbound links, sitemaps and item properties, you have an opportunity to rank, even above the exact matching domain.