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What is a Google-Friendly Site?

     -     Aug 6th, 2018   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

When building a new website or launching a new web campaign many marketers are faced with the task of examining their website to make enhancements that will improve their ranking in Google. There is no shortage of information on the web about what one needs to do to make a site attractive to Google (and other search engines). The latest trend is on quality content and before that it was having a mobile (responsive) site and prior to that it was about keyword selection and ranking. The truth is that Google regularly changes/adds criteria to their ranking formula which makes it difficult for a marketer to be in complete compliance with these standards. However, this doesn’t mean you should not consider what Google is looking for from a website. Google has issued several guides, blog posts and videos that when reviewed together provide a general framework for how marketers can do well with the search engine. To help clients, prospects and others position their website for success, FlashPoint Marketing has provided a summary of best practices as provided by Google below.

Creating a Google-Friendly Site

  • Image in Text – Many marketers are surprised to learn that text that is built into an image is not indexable by any search engine (including Google). The simple fact is that search engines are not able to “see” images like humans and so any text built into the image is simply ignored. According to Google, “Don’t use images to display important names, content, or links. Our crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in graphics. Use ALT attributes if the main content and keywords on your page can’t be formatted in regular HTML.” They mention the ALT TXT tag which is a field where a marketer can describe the content of the image for the search engine. Since Google has this limitation we recommend ensuring that all ALT TXT fields are populated accordingly.
  • Pages for Visitors – Over the years Google has cracked down on the use of pages with content that are designed to influence ranking but offer no value to users. Examples include keyword stuffed content and cloaking. Google requires that content on your site be designed to educate and inform site visitors and not for any other purpose. According to Google, “If your site contains pages, links, or text that you don’t intend visitors to see, Google considers those links and pages deceptive and may ignore your site.” Therefore please don’t get too tricky with your content strategy and think there is an easy way to “trick” Google to inflate rankings. They have repeatedly stated that attempts to deceive the search engine will result in harsh penalties. The best thing to do is develop high-quality content that enhances the user experience.
  • Site Structure – Since user experience is so important, it makes sense that Google desires a site structure that is logical and easy to follow. When a website has a navigation structure that’s confusing and hard to understand, it frustrates visitors. According to Google, “Build your site with a logical link structure. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.” The only exception to this rule are landing pages. Landing pages are pages that are intentionally hidden from the navigation system and are generally used as part of a special marketing campaign or for Google Adwords or similar digital marketing program.
  • Quality Content – This is one that is essential to the success of any search engine marketing program. I have remarked many times that its interesting how marketing used to mean marcom for many, but it’s now about publishing thought leadership and other content. This is true in digital marketing anyway. According to Google, “Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site” Given the importance of content, it’s necessary for marketers to spend time developing and growing their content marketing strategy and plan.

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It’s clear from the above information that Google is interested in ranking websites that have high value content and create a pleasant user experience. These are two essential concepts that, if embraced, will help your company climb in rankings, attract more visitors, conversions and ideally new business.

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