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It has been quite a while since Google updated their Webmaster Guidelines and the recently announced update is long overdue, as the original guidelines did not accurately reflect Google’s current position on certain issues. Google have finally got to grips with this and have recently published updated guidelines and best practices for designing and marketing a successful website.

If you are not familiar with these guidelines then I would recommended that you read the complete, updated Webmaster Guidelines, as you will find it a useful resource of information.

The following is the official announcement from Google on the updated guidelines:

“Today we’re happy to announce an updated version of our Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Both our basic quality guidelines and many of our more specific articles like those on links schemes or hidden text) have been reorganized and expanded to provide you with more information about how to create quality websites for both users and Google.

The main message of our quality guidelines hasn’t changed: Focus on the user. However, we’ve added more guidance and examples of behavior that you should avoid in order to keep your site in good standing with Google’s search results”…

More at Google Webmaster Guidelines updated – Google Webmaster …

Important Google Webmaster Tools SEO Tips

According to Vanessa Fox at Search Engine Land, the main changes deal with updated  guidelines for rich snippets and link schemes, as follows:

If the rich snippets markup on a page is spammy, misleading, or otherwise abusive, our algorithms are much more likely to ignore the markup and render a text-only snippet. Keep in mind that, while rich snippets are generated algorithmically, we do reserve the right to take manual action (e.g., disable rich snippets for a specific site) in cases where we see actions that hurt the experience for our users.

Examples and details were added to several of the existing guidelines. For instance, the detail about link schemes had these examples added:

  • Text advertisements that pass PageRank
  • Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence, for example: most people sleep at night. you can buy cheap blankets at shops. a blanket keeps you warm at night. you can also buy a wholesale heater. It produces more warmth and you can just turn it off in summer when you are going on france vacation.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites, for example: Visitors to this page: 1,472 car insurance
  • Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites
  • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature, for example: Thanks, that’s great info! – Paul pauls pizza san diego pizza best pizza san diego have been updated, the spirit behind them hasn’t changed.

Write great content for your audiences and don’t try to manipulate search engine algorithms….

More at Google Updates Their Webmaster Guidelines To Include Details On …

More Reading

You may also be interested in viewing the following short video which provides a basic insight into the topics covered by the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Note that the information contained in this video is prior to the the latest update.

As mentioned above it is extremely important that you understand and respect these Google Webmaster Guidelines as failure to comply may result in your website struggling to achieve high search engine ranking results or even worse being de-indexed from Google’s database! Therefore to protect your website development and Link Building efforts, please review the new guidelines as soon as possible.

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By registering your website with Google Webmaster Tools you will obtain useful information on how Google perceives your website. You will be able to identify any potential problems with your sites navigation and overall design structure. This will enable you to make appropriate changes to your website, in order to improve your search engine optimisation results. Google provide their Google Webmaster Tools for free, you simply need to sign up and follow the verification process.

Once your website has started to generate a certain amount of data you will be able to analyse a wide range of statistics and information relating to your sites performance. By utilising this data you will be able to finely tune your website and increase your chances of achieving higher search engine ranking results.

The following are my top 5 essential settings, which you should pay particular attention to.

Upload a Google XML Sitemap to your server

This will help to ensure that Google indexes all of the individual pages of your website; this can be found under Site Configuration/Sitemaps.

Uploading an XML Sitemap will provide Google with a detailed map of your website, which will help them to crawl all of your web pages. This is especially important for bigger websites that have a large number of brand and product pages and is an established Search Engine Optimisation practice.

Set Your Geographic Target

This will help to improve your local search engine ranking results and can be found under Site Configuration/Settings.

Setting your geographic target will help Google to understand the particular country or region you are targeting. This is a very important setting, so please ensure that it is correct for your website.

Review Google’s HTML suggestions

Rectifying any HTML suggestions highlighted by Google will help to improve your position in the search engine listings and can be found under Diagnostics/HTML Suggestions

Google’s HTML suggestions will include any issues that they have found when they were crawling your website. These may includes duplicate or missing Meta Tag information as well as any problems encountered when attempting to index your content.

Review Your Sitelinks

This will help to improve the click through rates to your core pages and can be found under Site Configuration/Sitelinks

Sitelinks are links to a website’s internal pages that may be listed in the search results. Google automatically generates these links for some websites, however these can be modified using the webmaster tools.

Monitor Your Web Page Loading Times

The speed of your web page loading times will help to improve both your search engine ranking results and customer satisfaction. This data can be found under Labs/Site Performance

Google now uses your web page loading speed as one of their many ranking factors, it is therefore important to ensure that your web pages are loading as fast as possible.

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