Does your site follow the Google

webmaster guidelines?

not affiliated with Google Inc

Introduction to the Google webmaster guidelines

The Google webmaster guidelines are a set of recommended practices provided by Google to help those seeking to be ranked, indexed and displayed by Google.

These guidelines are the foundation of all SEO efforts, and anyone wanting to rank well in Google should be following them. Some of the guidelines are common sense, some are very technical and all of them are very important to how your website ranks in Google. 1

Let's look at each one of them one by one...

webpage standing out

Be clearly better

Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

person loving a webpage

Make pages for users

Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.

useful pages

Create useful pages

Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.

connected webpages

Clear hierarchy & text links

Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.

a title on google

Titles and alt tags

Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.

map on a webpage

Give users a map

Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site.

google looking at webpage

Ensure Google sees

If Google can not see or understand your webpages, they can not be ranked in Google. Make sure your webpages are understood by Google.

robot and text file

Use of robots.txt

The content of your robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers how they should visit your site. Don't block Google by mistake.

link with dollar sign

Paid links and Ads

Paid links and advertisements should not pass pagerank. If it does on your webpages, you will likely be penalized.

webpages with dollar signs

Add value to affiliate pages

Affiliate web pages need to have original useful content to rank well in Google results. Content provided by another website adds no value.

an x over webpages

Block unuseful pages

Blocking pages that do not add much value can really boost your rankings. Every page Google has indexed from your site should be amazing.

automatic generated pages

Avoid Auto generated pages

Auto-generated pages or content will not rank well in Google. Make sure your information is original and useful.

webpages bunched together with links

Avoid link schemes

Who you link to and who links to you affects your ranking in the Google results. Make sure you are not in any bad neighborhoods. Link relationships are described in depth.

game plan with x and zeros

Don't try to trick Google

Spend time improving your webpages, not on SEO tricks or shortcuts. If you use tricks or shortcuts, you will be ranked lower than your competitors.


Don't cloak

Cloaking is sending users to a different place than Googlebot or other search engine spiders. Make sure you are not doing this as this behavior is heavily penalized by Google.

sneaky redirect

Avoid sneaky redirects

Hiding redirects in javascript or other manipulative methods is bad. Users should always be sent where they expect to go.

hidden text

Don't use hidden text or links

Using hidden text or links on your webpages is easily detected by Google. Your site will be penalized if you do this.

webpages leading to one web page

Avoid doorway pages

Doorway pages are webpages that are "optimized" for particular keyword phrases and only exist to capture that keyword phrase in search engine results.

copied content from another webpage

Don't use scraped content

Using scraped or stolen content is against the Google webmaster guidelines and it is also against the law. Not a good idea.

overly used repeated word on webpage

Don't keyword stuff your pages

Keyword stuffing is not only bad for your users, it is against the Google guidelines. Using keywords over and over unnaturally will not please your users.

evil looking man in trenchcoat

Don't add badware to pages

Don't be mean. Adding viruses, trojans, or other badware to your webpages is a sure fire way to lose trust, traffic, and ranking.

spammy search engine result

Don't abuse rich snippets

Misleading or false information in your rich snippet mark up will result in lower rankings.

links on a webpage

Use the right amount of links

Too many links can overwhelm a user. Make sure every link has a truly good reason to be there.

a question mark over the google search input

Choose words wisely

Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.


Text links are more reliable

Text is well understood by search engines, images are not. If you use images for important links on your page, they might not be understood or recognized as well as text is.

frustrated user

Broken links and correct HTML

No one enjoys clicking on a link that seems to be exactly what they are looking for only to find that no web page is there.

dynamic url

Dynamic pages

Dynamic pages must be able to be understood by Google. They face special challenges which are described in this guideline.

scary looking webpage

Don't deceive users

Users hate being deceived. You hate being deceived. Google hates it too.

files giving 304 or 200 responses

Support if modified since

The if modified since http header lets Google know if your web pages have been updated.

googlebot confused over webpage

Session IDs and tracking

Don't confuse Googlebot with session id's and other tracking methods.

arrow pointing to google homepage

Submit content to Google

It is very easy to add all kinds of content to Google. This guidelines tells you how.

by Patrick Sexton

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