What the Google SEO Guide Doesn’t Tell You

Mitz Pantic
Mitz Pantic Blogger, Tips4pc

Posted on January 3rd 2013

What the Google SEO Guide Doesn’t Tell You

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The Google SEO guide, better known as the Google Webmaster Guidelines, doesn’t really tell you anything about actual Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Instead it spreads a false idealism by telling you to just write great content. Don’t get me wrong here, the guide is educational but not really about SEO.

Great content is important—and it’s the number one thing most sites don’t do—but it won’t help you get your site to the top of the rankings in a Internet where everyone else is using SEO. Remember the article I wrote called “Content is Not the Only King“, you should make the effort to read this as it makes some serious sense. I agree that content is important but that is not all you need to rule the internet world. (evil laugh in the background)

So what else did Google forgot to mention in the Google SEO guide? 

Choose Your Keywords Wisely

The choices you make early in your website’s life will affect it for years to come, so choose your keywords wisely. The Google SEO guide hardly addresses keywords at all, but the basic facts are clear.

1.   Short keywords do better than long keywords because they match more possible search queries.

2.   Small sites must be careful about choosing keywords used by larger sites because out ranking a larger site is difficult. (But it’s not impossible.)

3.   Do your keyword research using free or paid tools before choosing any keyword. Make sure the keyword receives the amount of traffic appropriate to your site and try to find any related keywords you can also use.

4.   Consider the long tail—infrequently-searched keywords which you can rank for very easily for guaranteed regular traffic.

My free E book about how to build a WordPress website shares some insights into keyword research also. It is a must read! Go to this page to access the download. No signup required. (password wwb)

Get Incoming Links

The Google SEO guide does mention Google’s original special sauce—PageRank—but then the guide downplays how important incoming links are.

Links are still important.

In fact, links may be the most important thing for your website after high-quality content.

There are many ways to get links for your site from the legitimate—such as guest posting—to the illegitimate—such as link farming.

The Google SEO guide, of course, shuns the illegitimate methods, and so should you—in general. (Many SEO specialists try to walk the fine line between “white hat” and “black hat” SEO, but I suggest you only try this if you can afford to have your site blacklisted.)

The five best ways I know to get links are:

1.   Guest posting—every site needs more content, so most webmasters will love hearing that you want to provide them with a free article. Of course, if you’ve run a site for any amount of time, you’ve probably received more automated offers for guest posts than you care to count—so don’t be the person who sends them. When you offer to write a guest post, write a personalized letter and demonstrate that you’re familiar with the other site’s core audience.

2.   Link baiting—put up a controversial opinion or valuable (but short) resource to get other people to link to your blog with a response.

3.   Run a contest—people love free stuff and they’ll often tell their friends about contests by linking to it. You can pay for the contest prizes out of your own pocket or you can get vendors to donate the prizes for you.

4.   Proactive linking—link to other people and you’ll find they may link back to you. One way to do this is to revise an old article with medium popularity on your site to link to someone else’s site. If they don’t link back to you within a month, revise the article again and link to someone else. Note, I suggest that once you do get a link back, you stop revising the article—you don’t want to disappoint anyone kind enough to link to you. See my linkbuilding tutorial for more tips.

5.   Ask for help—if you make your readers happy, they’ll probably want to help you, so ask them to go out and link to your site. Be careful with this technique—you may get low-quality links and, if you overuse this technique, your readers will get tired of helping you.

Use Meta Tags

You probably know that there are special tags you can add to the head section of your webpages which will be read by the spiders that build Google’s index. The Google SEO guide doesn’t really talk about these tags, so I will.

The main tag looked at by these spiders is the keywords tag. Before Google came on the scene, this was the tag all spiders looked at to determine what your page was about. Unfortunately, many people used keyword stuffing to make these tags practically worthless.

When Google appeared with its new PageRank algorithm, keywords became less important than incoming links, so a lot of early SEO experts stopped filling in the meta keywords tag. But Google and other search engines never stopped looking at it.

Filling in you meta keywords tag can help search engines such as Google figure out what you think your page is about. Google still has anti-keyword stuffing protection built in, so don’t put any keywords in your meta keywords tag which don’t pertain to the current page, but don’t hesitate to use a plugin for your blog or CMS software to fill in these valuable tags.

Don’t Focus On Google

But the most important thing the Google SEO guide doesn’t tell you—and probably never will tell you—is that Google dominates search less and less every year.

It was true two or three years ago that almost no other search engine mattered, and it’s still true that Google sends more traffic to more sites than all other search engines combined. But unless you want to ignore thousands of potential visitors to your site, you should not focus only on Google.

When you check your search engine ranking, take a moment to check Bing as well as Google. Also scan the search engine optimization guides from search engines besides Google.

Because of patents, all of the search engines work differently—they’re not just Google wannabes. That creates an opportunity for you to make small adjustments to your pages which can help you greatly increase your rankings on these alternative search engines.

Remember also that social media strategy is becoming an increasing important driver of traffic to many websites, and that focusing on the Google SEO guide to the exclusion of non-search traffic methods can be detrimental to your business.

In short, don’t take at face value everything you read in the Google SEO guide.

Mitz Pantic

Mitz Pantic

Blogger, Tips4pc

My name is Milica Pantic (aka Mitz) and I am a serial full-time blogger. I started out with one website many years ago and it went so well, I sold my businesses and began living the Internet dream. Since then I have been perfecting the system of blogging to earn money online and I will never stop learning. This is an ever changing business and I love the challenge! I have been developing the best information about successful blogging for years now and give it all away free at my blog. :) Hope to see you there!

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Comments

This. Is Absurd!  In 2013 content like this should not be spread to any webmaster.  "The main tag looked at by these spiders is the keywords tag."  Google's Matt Cutts pointed out that Google no longer utilizes this tag as a ranking factor back in 2009 - http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/09/google-does-not-use-keywords-meta-tag.html

Furthermore Bing's Duane Forrester has been very vocal about the fact that using the meta keywords tag can actually hurt you and cause your site to be flagged as spam.

Sure both crawl it, but neither one of these should be the "main tag looked at".  The tags that matter are your Title and Description.  These are the tags that are going to help identify your site and ultimately increase your clickthroughs.  Very dissapointed to see this on Social Media Today...

The article is saying that Google is not the only search engine on the planet and that the SEO guide does not promote SEO. I do not see how this information should be kept hidden?

RE: Matt Cutts Video from 2009

At the end of the article they also say that it is possible that they could use this information again. They totally left it open. Why, because they know they are useful and they were not committed enough to give a straight answer.

Quote”Q: Does this mean that Google will always ignore the keywords meta tag? A: It's possible that Google could use this information in the future, but it's unlikely. Google has ignored the keywords meta tag for years and currently we see no need to change that policy.”

My question is.. why are search enignes reading the tag if they are not using it?Just in case??

Google had to say that they were not using kw tags because people were stuffing keywords in to fool the search engines and it was working! This made the search engines look useless.

I personally do not listen to what others say and judge my SEO on total results. For many years we have been told to do this and don't do that and it become confusing to say the least. Google has not even finished perfecting their algorithms so how can we discount any small process?

That is totally fine if you do not agree about the tags being important today. The answer is easy, don't use them.

In fact, if our goals to do search engine optimization are to increase sales, we don't have to depend solely on search engine. We can go for social media marketing.

Hi Kent

Totally agree with you Kent.

You can use social media just as you can SEO.

But still there would be less traffic , if you are trying to go one way. To increase sales through your online platform, you need more traffic on your site, and that can be achieved by doing good SEO, not just social media marketing. Infact, promotion on scial media platforms is only a part of the whole SEO process.