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November 19, 2008

Google Releases Guide to SEO

Google has raised the collective eyebrows of the SEO industry this week with the release of their free PDF download: the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

The Guide offers a very thorough introduction to SEO, including advice on creating search engine friendly pages and optimized META tags, as well as excellent tips on general web site usability and best-practice design methodology.

As a tutor in SEO, I was very impressed with the level of detail included in the 22 page document and will be recommending it to my students as an additional resource for their studies.

Apart from the more obvious elements of search engine compatibility, the Guide includes coverage of usability topics often overlooked by SEO advocates such as:

  • – Best practice for URL structuring
  • – Site hierarchy and navigation flow
  • – Using a custom 404 error page
  • – Best practice for using anchor text
  • – Link formatting and styling
  • – Correct usage of robots.txt
  • – Offline site promotion
  • – Usage of web site analytics

The Guide began life as a list of best practices for teams within Google, but staff felt that external webmasters would benefit from the advice, which could improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing.

Google’s Search Quality Team plan on updating the guide at regular intervals to keep the technical advice current.