Search engines, including web search engines, selection-based search engines, metasearch engines, desktop search tools, and web portals and vertical market websites have a search facility for online databases.
If you own, manage, monetize, or promote online content via Google Search, this guide is meant for you. You might be the owner of a growing and thriving business, the website owner of a dozen sites, the SEO specialist in a web agency or a DIY SEO expert passionate about the mechanics of Search: this guide is meant for you. If you're interested in having a complete overview of the basics of SEO according to our best practices, you are indeed in the right place. This guide won't provide any secrets that'll automatically rank your site first in Google (sorry!), but following the best practices will hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index, and understand your content.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site's user experience and performance in organic search results. You're likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide, because they're essential ingredients for any web page, but you may not be making the most out of them.
You should build a website to benefit your users, and gear any optimization toward making the user experience better. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content. SEO is about helping search engines understand and present content. Your site may be smaller or larger than our example site and offer vastly different content, but the optimization topics in this guide apply to sites of all sizes and types. We hope our guide gives you some fresh ideas on how to improve your website, and we'd love to hear your questions, feedback, and success stories in the Google Search Central Help Community.
Google is a fully automated search engine that uses web crawlers to explore the web constantly, looking for sites to add to our index; you usually don't even need to do anything except post your site on the web. In fact, the vast majority of sites listed in our results aren't manually submitted for inclusion, but found and added automatically when we crawl the web. Learn how Google discovers, crawls, and serves web pages.
The Search Essentials outline the most important elements of building a Google-friendly website. While there's no guarantee that our crawlers will find a particular site, following the Search Essentials can help make your site appear in our search results.
An SEO expert is someone trained to improve your visibility on search engines. By following this guide, you'll learn enough to be well on your way to an optimized site. In addition to that, you may want to consider hiring an SEO professional that can help you audit your pages.
Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time. Make sure to research the potential advantages of hiring an SEO, as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:
Before beginning your search for an SEO, it's a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend going through the entirety of this guide and specifically these resources:
If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.
The first step to getting your site on Google is to be sure that Google can find it. The best way to do that is to submit a sitemap. A sitemap is a file on your site that tells search engines about new or changed pages on your site. Learn more about how to build and submit a sitemap.
A robots.txt file tells search engines whether they can access and therefore crawl parts of your site. This file, which must be named robots.txt, is placed in the root directory of your site. It is possible that pages blocked by robots.txt can still be crawled, so for sensitive pages, use a more secure method.
You may not want certain pages of your site crawled because they might not be useful to users if found in a search engine's search results. Note that if your site uses subdomains and you wish to have certain pages not crawled on a particular subdomain, you'll have to create a separate robots.txt file for that subdomain. For more information on robots.txt, we suggest this guide on using robots.txt files.
A robots.txt file is not an appropriate or effective way of blocking sensitive or confidential material. It only instructs well-behaved crawlers that the pages are not for them, but it does not prevent your server from delivering those pages to a browser that requests them. One reason is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing just the URL, no title link or snippet) if there happen to be links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet (like referrer logs). Also, non-compliant or rogue search engines that don't acknowledge the Robots Exclusion Standard could disobey the instructions of your robots.txt. Finally, a curious user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and guess the URL of the content that you don't want seen.
A element tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. Place the element within the element of the HTML document, and create unique title text for each page on your site.
If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the element may appear as the title link for the search result (if you're unfamiliar with the different parts of a Google Search result, you might want to check out the anatomy of a search result video).
elements can be both short and informative. If the text in the element is too long or otherwise deemed less relevant, Google may show only a portion of the text in your element, or a title link that's automatically generated in the search result.
A page's meta description tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. A page's title may be a few words or a phrase, whereas a page's meta description tag might be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph. Like the element, the meta description tag is placed within the element of your HTML document.
Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your meta description tag as a snippet in a search result. While there's no minimal or maximal length for the text in a description meta tag, we recommend making sure that it's long enough to be fully shown in Search (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search), and contains all the relevant information users would need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.
Having a different meta description tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (for example, searches using the site: operator). If your site has thousands or even millions of pages, hand-crafting meta description tags probably isn't feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate meta description tags based on each page's content.
Structured data is code that you can add to your sites' pages to describe your content to search engines, so they can better understand what's on your pages. Search engines can use this understanding to display your content in useful (and eye-catching) ways in search results. That, in turn, can help you attract just the right kind of customers for your business.
For example, if you've got an online store and mark up an individual product page, this helps us understand that the page features a bike, its price, and customer reviews. We may display that information in the snippet for search results for relevant queries. We call these rich results.
In addition to using structured data markup for rich results, we may use it to serve relevant results in other formats. For instance, if you've got a brick-and-mortar store, marking up the opening hours allows your potential customers to find you exactly when they need you, and inform them if your store is open/closed at the time of searching.
The various Rich result reports in Search Console shows you how many pages on your site we've detected with a specific type of markup, how many times they appeared in search results, and how many times people clicked on them over the past 90 days. It also shows any errors we've detected.
Correct structured data on your pages also makes your page eligible for many special features in Google Search results, including review stars, fancy decorated results, and more. See the gallery of search result types that your page can be eligible for.
Search engines need a unique URL per piece of content to be able to crawl and index that content, and to refer users to it. Different content (for example, different products in a shop) as well as modified content (for example, translations or regional variations) need to use separate URLs in order to be shown in search appropriately.
A fragment (in this case, #info) generally identifies which part of the page the browser scrolls to. Because the content itself is usually the same regardless of the fragment, search engines commonly ignore any fragment used.
The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the website owner thinks is important. Although Google's search results are provided at a page level, Google also likes to have a sense of what role a page plays in the bigger picture of the site. 041b061a72