Most site business owners, webmasters and bloggers know how challenging it can be to ensure that they are only using white hat SEO methods, while also strictly adhering to the current Google guidelines and recommendations. However, there is an extremely handy resource available as a PDF document from Google (thanks Google!), which clearly lays out what is required from website owners, bloggers and webmasters to ensure that their sites are fully compliant – and remain so.
Here is the outline:
As you can see the table of contents is pretty awesome!
When going through this handy SEO guide, readers will see that it has been divided into sections according to the different aspects that need to be addressed. The first section provides a general overview of the current Google guidelines, and it addresses topics such as basic internet safety information, the purpose of search quality rating, how website owners have to represent the users in the locale that they are representing, basic browser requirements and ad blocking extensions. Users will see that information that pertains to virtually every aspect of the quality of their site content as well as their SEO practices is covered in a lot of detail.
Here’s a break down:
- General Guidelines Overview
- Page Quality Rating Guideline
- Understanding Mobile User Guidelines
- Needs Met Rating Guideline
- Using the Evaluation Platform
Page Quality Ranking Guidelines
This part covers numerous topics pertaining to the quality of page content and whether the content in question serves its intended purpose. An entire section is devoted to the overall purpose and quality of a webpage in that each page on a website must have a purpose. Are the pages helpful to site visitors, or have they been set up purely with the intention of making money? Has a specific page been set up purely to harvest visitor information in order for it to be used for malicious intent (hacking)? (Hint: if any page has been set up with the intention of harming end users or solely to make money and not provide useful information, it will immediately be classified as low quality).
Meeting the Needs of Mobile Users
There has been much discussion over the past year or two about ensuring that websites are mobile-friendly, as more and more smartphone users are accessing the internet by means of these devices. One of the best ways to ensure this is to use a website template that has been tested and deemed to be fully responsive, as this will enable it to be fully functional on screens of all sizes. This aspect of web design has become such an important aspect of SEO that 20 pages of this guide have been dedicated to it. As a result, it is recommended that webmasters and site owners test the sites from as many mobile devices as possible before allowing them to ‘go live’ and be viewed online.
Needs Met Rating Guideline
When it comes to ensuring that a site is responsive, the ranking scale goes from Fully Meets (FullyM) down to Fails to Meet (FailsM). Very few sites receive the FullyM rating, because it would have to cater for absolutely every mobile user and platform (which is almost impossible). Sites that are rated Highly Meets means that the site is of great help to most mobile users. Receiving the Moderately Meets ranking means that a site is helpful to some mobile users, but others still require additional information. The Slightly Meets ranking means a site is helpful to fewer users, and most need more information, while a FailsM ranking means that it does not meet the needs of any mobile users.
Other Important Rating Factors
Many other rating factors are taken into consideration when sites are being evaluated for adherence to the Google guidelines. These include, but are not limited to foreign language barriers, didn’t load, hard to use and illegal images categories. Sites that are not displayed in English or that have poor translations available, pages that don’t load or that are too difficult for users to navigate properly and sites containing illegal images will receive low rankings. Illegal images are usually those that are classified as hosting copyrighted images, other photos that belong to someone else, while sites that are defined as being difficult to use are usually those that have been poorly laid out.
Webmasters who may have been tearing their hair out trying to ensure that their sites are fully complaint with the current white hat SEO practices as well as the required Google guidelines and requirements will be able to benefit tremendously when they read through and apply all of the information contained in this handy step by step guide.