Here in no particular order, with the exception of #1… which is and shall always remain #1 are 10 things that are important to Google.
- The User. The user is their reason for being…everything else is a distant second. Don’t forget this rule, it’s what got Google where they are and they’re an intelligent group of people. They understand what got them there and they will do everything in their power to make sure their success continues.
- Avoid Black Hat SEO. Google wants to deliver what the user wants to find. Google is constantly on the search for unethical websites practicing black hat SEO. The people who run Google are smarter than I am and probably smarter than you are too when it comes to the web and search (sorry, but you know it’s true). Don’t waste your time trying to outsmart them and never hire someone who thinks they can either.
- Relevant Content. Google likes lots of content. But not just any content, the content has to be important to the user, it has to provide the user with information related to the reason for the visit to your site in the first place.
- Fresh Content. Google believes that there is always more information out there. Spiders (robots on the web) are very busy as they regularly crawl websites looking for information to keep Google’s database full of fresh information. Because of the vast amount of data available, spiders have become very strategic in their crawling, visiting more frequently those sites with fresher information. If you feed the spiders more frequently, they’ll visit more often.
- Load Speed. Make sure it doesn’t take forever for your site to load (lots of videos, graphics, etc.) will slow it down, causing the user to get frustrated and leave the site…remember Google likes the user, not you.
- Order. Google is a machine and machines like order. Create a logical site structure…main page, categories; every page should be linked to within the structure of the site.
- Keyword Strategy. Your keyword strategy, in fact the strategy should be key phrase strategy, not keyword. One word is too general; your strategy should mimic the way the user (yes there’s that word again) is looking.
- Multiple Platforms. Make sure your site can be viewed correctly on multiple platforms (tablet, PC and mobile phone). If someone tries to view your site from a device other than a PC and can’t see it, they’ll hit the back button. Google hates when users hit the back button too quickly. They know if the user does hit the back button too quickly, it’s because they didn’t find what they wanted to find…bad for the user and bad for Google.
- Active Social Presence. Is your social presence active an integral part (linked) to all the other pieces of you online presence? Adding fresh information to social channels not only attracts visitors and potential customers, it also reinforces to the search engines that your business cares about engaging with users and offering something of value. Google is not interested in sending searchers to neglected, outdated, or empty social profiles.
- Well Designed Websites. Once the user gets to your site, can they use it with having to think too much? Here are just a few examples.
- Is the navigation system clear, easy to find and use buttons with a minimal amount of pull down menus.
- Is there depth to the site…can they find answers to multiple questions if they choose to dig deeper?
- Can they find your key information (address and phone number) immediately?
- Is it easy to figure out how to contact you?
These 10 items will make Google happy. Remember Google wants you to be found by the people who are genuinely searching for what you’re offering. If you keep your focus on providing an honest site loaded with fresh, relevant content, avoid the latest SEO gimmicks promoted by individuals and companies who profess to able to outsmart Google (think about the odds of that happening) and ignore the sales pitch from every directory representative who comes through your door you’ll be just fine.