While the guidelines are basic, they offer a lot of insight into what Google is looking for as it ranks pages.
Google has set four basic guidelines for site owners that will help them achieve rankings. These guidelines are meant to help businesses create websites that search engines can crawl and rank, so more people will find them through organic search results.
1 — “Make Pages Primarily for Users, not for Search Engines”
The first guideline is simple and means you should put your users first. As you design pages, write content and update your blog, do so with your customers and visitors in mind. This means making your site easy to navigate and using high-quality content that provides real value.
After designing your website or adding a new page of content, go back and optimise it for search engines as it makes sense, without sacrificing the site’s quality. Add keywords and links naturally.
2 — “Don’t Deceive your Users”
This is a rather broad guideline, but it’s similar to the first one. Putting your users first means not using tactics that deceive them. Using content that isn’t original, irrelevant keywords or phishing schemes all fall under the umbrella of deceit.
You can ensure you meet this guideline by making sure your website provides value and is ethical and professional. Don’t do things that will harm your reputation or your business and always keep your website professional.
3 — “Avoid Tricks Intended to Improve Search Engine Rankings”
Google suggests a simple way to make sure you aren’t using tricks to try to improve your search rankings: ask yourself, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
Tactics like keyword stuffing, cloaking, using hidden text or links, setting up doorway pages and sending automated queries to Google are generally meant to trick search engines or game the system. Google disapproves of these strategies and may even penalise your site if you use them, harming your search rankings.
Of course, many of these tactics are also detrimental to the quality of your site, so you won’t be benefiting your marketing efforts or business in general by using them. You will scare visitors away and harm your reputation.
4 — “Make Your Website Stand out from Others in Your Field”
One of the best ways to serve your visitors well and make your site more effective is to enhance what makes you stand out in your industry. This will help you find new ways to make your site valuable to users and create compelling, valuable content.
Google suggests finding “what makes your website unique, valuable or engaging,” and then using those things to improve your website. This approach will also benefit your marketing and branding campaigns.
Google has also provided a list of search engine optimisation tactics to avoid, which you can see on the Webmaster Guidelines page. Following these guidelines will help you achieve higher rankings and make your website a more effective marketing and branding tool.