Google is getting into the SEO consulting business. Well, not quite. But, Google is now formally offering an “SEO Starter Guide” with practical advice for webmasters about improving search engine visibility and increasing traffic to a web site.
It comes in the form of a 22-page PDF announced today on the Webmaster Central blog and at the PubCon show in Las Vegas. According to the Google reps at PubCon, this is the same guide Google uses internally for its own sites (YouTube, etc.).
The guide is well written and geared toward webmasters and business owners who need a basic training in SEO. Topics covered include:
- Page Titles
- Description Meta Tag
- URL Structure
- Site Navigation
- Creating Quality Content
- Anchor Text
- Heading Tags (H1s, H2s, etc.)
- Image Optimization
- Website Promotion
- Webmaster Tools
- More Resources
As a longtime SEO, I’m most struck by the fact that an entire section of the guide is devoted to how to use the rel=”nofollow” attribute on individual links. Many in the SEO industry have thought this attribute is a red flag, something that tells Google that a professional SEO has been tweaking the page, and not something that an average webmaster would even know about. That’s clearly not the case anymore; rel=”nofollow” is more mainstream now thanks to a full page of explanation in this SEO guide. Have a look:
There are one or two other minor issues that some SEO consultants might quibble about (like the recommendation to use an XML Sitemap, something that many SEOs feel is unnecessary for most websites). But on the whole, it’s an excellent document covering many of the things you’d want in an SEO 101-type guide.