An introduction to search engine optimization.

This guide is intended for website owners, webmasters, and anyone who monetizes content online or promotes it using Google Search. The information presented here can also be useful for entrepreneurs who are expanding their business, owners of multiple sites, optimization specialists, and simply those who are interested in how search engines work. In addition, this article will be useful for users who need more information on which search engine optimization methods are recommended by our experts. The guidelines in this guide do not guarantee that your site will rank high on Google. However, by following them, you can make it easier for the Google crawler to crawl, index, and process web content.

For search engine optimization, it is often enough to make small changes to some sections of the site. Each of these changes individually may seem insignificant, but in combination, they can significantly improve the usability of the site and its position in the search results. You are probably familiar with many of the topics in this guide, as they are directly related to web design, but may have been overlooked in the past.

To make a website user-friendly and to improve its position in search results, it needs to be optimized. Search engine optimization helps search engines interpret your content correctly and present it to users. Your site may differ from our site example.com, which we use for examples, but the optimization principles below apply to web resources of all sizes and types. By following our recommendations, you can improve your site. If you would like to ask a question, provide feedback, or share your success story, visit the Google Search Center Help Forum.

Where to begin.

Glossary.

Below is a brief explanation of the most important terms in this guide.

Index. Google stores information about all crawled pages in an index. Each index entry contains information about the content and location (URL) of the corresponding page. Index – load the page, process the content on it and add it to the index. Example: Googlebot indexed several pages on my site today. Scan – Search for new and changed web pages. Google finds URLs by following links, reading information from sitemaps, and in other ways. Google scans the internet for new web pages and then indexes them as needed. A search robot is a special program that scans (views) pages on the Internet and indexes them. Googlebot is the generic name for Google’s crawler. Example: Googlebot is constantly scanning the Internet. Search engine optimization is a process that aims to make the structure of the site and its content more accessible and understandable for search engines. You may also come across the abbreviation SEO (Search Engine Optimization), for example, an SEO specialist is a search engine optimization specialist.

Is your site listed on Google?

Find out if your site is included in the Google index.

To do this, search using the site: operator and the URL of your home page. If you see results, then the site is in the index. For example, here are the results for site: wikipedia.org.

What to do if your site isn’t on Google.

Google crawls billions of pages, but may miss some of them. Most often this happens for the following reasons:

Other sites rarely link to your pages. If the site is new, it is possible that Googlebot did not have time to crawl it. The structure of the site makes it difficult to crawl. An error occurred while trying to scan. Google access to the site has been blocked by you.

How to add a site to Google.

Getting into Google search results is easy. You don’t have to pay anything or even send us information about the site. Our search engine is fully automated and uses search robots that constantly scan the Internet and add new pages to the index. This is how almost all sites presented in Google Search are found. Learn more about how Google discovers web pages, crawls them, and matches search results …

Our webmaster guidelines will help you ensure that your site is crawled effectively by Google bots. If they are done, your site will most likely be included in search results, although this cannot be guaranteed.

Search Console has tools to add content to Google and check how it looks in search results. You may also receive notifications from Search Console about errors found on your site. You can sign up for Search Console using this link.

Before moving on, please answer the questions below.

Are your site pages appearing in Google search results? Does your site’s content meet quality standards? Does Google have information about your business? Does the site’s content load fast enough on different devices? Is your site safe for users?

More information on getting started is available at https://g.co/webmasters.

Other sections of this document provide tips for optimizing your site for search engines, grouped by topic. At https://g.co/WebmasterChecklist you can download guidelines to help you successfully submit your site to Google. You can print this document if necessary.

Do you need a search engine optimization specialist.

Such a specialist is able to improve the position of your site in search engines. All the basics about website optimization are covered in this guide, but you can hire a professional to review your pages.

Seeking an SEO specialist is an important step in improving your website and saving you time. Be sure to analyze all the potential benefits as well as the possible risks of poor search engine optimization. Many SEO professionals, agencies, and consultants provide useful services to website owners, including the ones listed below.

Analyzing the content or structure of your site. Technical guidelines for website development such as hosting, redirects, error pages, JavaScript. Content creation. Online business promotion campaign management. Keyword analysis. Search engine optimization training. Consultations for specific countries and regions.

Before choosing a search engine optimization specialist, it is useful to expand your knowledge and understand how search engines work. We recommend that you read this guide in its entirety and familiarize yourself with the following resources:

A brief and detailed description of how Google Search works. Our webmaster guide. (video in English).

If you decide to use a search engine optimization service, contact the specialists as soon as possible. It is especially useful to do this before creating a new site or redesigning an old one. This way you can best adapt the site to the requirements of the search engine. However, a good specialist can improve an existing site as well.

For more information on this topic, see a separate article.

How to help Google find your content.

To get Google to index your site, help us find it. We recommend using a Sitemap file for this. It is posted on your site and contains information about all new and changed web pages of the resource. Learn how to create and submit a sitemap to Google.

Also Google finds pages by links from other pages. To find out how to help users find your site, read the Website Promotion section below.

Please advise which pages do not need to be crawled.

To prevent crawling of pages with non-confidential information, use the robots.txt file.

The robots.txt file contains information for search engines about which sections of the site can be crawled. This file must be located in the root directory of the site. In some cases, pages can be crawled even if they are denied access in the robots.txt file. If they contain confidential information, use more reliable methods to keep it safe.

If you want to block certain pages from being crawled (for example, those that do not contain useful information), you can do this using a robots.txt file. You can create it in Google Search Console. Please note that if your site has subdomains, then you will need to create a separate robots.txt file for each of them. More on this in our guide.

Note that there are other ways to prevent Google from showing your content in search results.

Allow crawling of pages that display search results for your site. By clicking on links from Google Search, users expect to see directly the content that interests them. Allow crawling URLs generated by proxy services.

For confidential information, use more reliable methods.

The robots.txt file is not suitable for blocking crawling of sensitive pages. It only indicates that search robots do not need to crawl certain pages, but does not prevent these pages from showing in browsers. Search engines can display blocked URLs (only theirs, but not the corresponding titles and page descriptions) if they are linked on the Internet (for example, in conversion logs). In addition, some search engines and so-called “spiders” may ignore instructions in robots.txt files. Finally, users can look at the directories and subdirectories in your robots.txt file and find out the URL of the content you want to hide.

If you want to prevent the page from showing on Google, but do not hide it from users who can go to it via a direct link, use the noindex tag. For even greater reliability, use various authorization methods, for example, asking for a password, or completely remove the page from the site.

Help Google and users know what your site is about.

Give Google access to your pages as they appear to users.

When a Googlebot crawls a page, it should perceive it in the same way as a regular user. To ensure that pages are indexed and displayed correctly, you need to give Googlebot access to JavaScript, CSS, and graphics on your site. If the robots.txt file does not allow access to these resources, then Google will not be able to properly analyze and index the content. This can degrade your site’s search rankings.

Recommended actions. Use a URL validation tool. This tool simulates the process of crawling and displaying pages. It can help you find and fix site indexing errors.

Avoid repetitive and inaccurate page titles.

Tag lt; titlegt; points both users and search engines to the page title. Tag lt; titlegt; need to be placed inside the section lt; headgt; HTML document. Choose a unique title for each page on your site.

Create meaningful titles and page descriptions for Google search results.

The content of the title tag can appear in the first line of a search result associated with your document (see this video for more information on the structure of Google search results).

The title tag of the home page can contain the name of the company or site, as well as other important information, such as address, industry or special offers.

Describe the page content accurately.

The title should sound natural and match the content of the page.

Create titles that are not relevant to the content of the page. Use boilerplate and meaningless headings such as “Untitled” or “New Page 1”.

Don’t duplicate page titles.

Give each page on your site a unique title so that they can be distinguished from each other. If your site has mobile versions of pages, be sure to check their titles as well.

Use the same title on several or all pages of the site.

Use short but meaningful headings.

The title should be short and informative. If it is too long and unrelated to the content, Google may only show part of it or the title automatically generated in search results. In addition, Google may show different titles depending on the search term or the device being searched on.

Create titles that are too long because they are useless to users. Add unnecessary keywords to title tags.

Use the description meta tag.

The description meta tag on a page helps Google and other search engines understand its content. The page title can be composed of multiple words or phrases, and multiple sentences or even a small paragraph can be added to the description meta tag. Like tag lt; titlegt; , the description meta tag should be in the section lt; headgt; HTML document.

Benefits of description meta tags.

Description meta tags play an important role as Google can target them when choosing descriptions for your pages. Also, Google can choose a fragment of the visible text of a page as a description if it matches a search query. It is recommended that you add description meta tags to all pages in case Google does not find a snippet of text that matches your search query. The Google Search Center blog has information on how to improve descriptions using description meta tags. We also recommend reading the article on creating informative titles and descriptions.

The description should accurately reflect the content of the page.

Remember that the description from the description meta tag can be shown in search results, so it should be not only informative, but also interesting for users. There are no restrictions on the size of the text in the description meta tag. However, it must be long enough to display on a search results page (description sizes may vary depending on device type and other factors), and contain information to help the user determine how well your page is suitable for them.

Add a description meta tag with a description that is not related to the page content. Use generic descriptions such as “This is a webpage” or “Antique coins page”. Add descriptions that contain only keywords. Copy all page content into the description tag.

Try to create unique descriptions for all pages.

Adding a unique description to the description meta tag on each page will help both users and Google, especially in an environment where multiple pages of your site may appear in search results (for example, when requested with the site: operator). If your site has thousands or millions of pages, then it is hardly advisable to place the description meta tags manually. In this case, description meta tags can be generated automatically based on the content of each page.

Use the same description meta tag values ​​on all or many pages of the site.

Use heading tags to highlight important text.

Additional headings help draw attention to important topics, structure your content, and make it easier to navigate your document.

Imagine you are writing a review.

As with writing a large text review, outline the main points and sub-paragraphs of the document and think about where to use heading tags.

Highlight text with heading tags that does not help define the structure of the page. Use headers where other tags are better suited, such as lt; emgt; and lt; stronggt; … Violate the structure (hierarchy) of headings.

Don’t overuse headings.

Use heading tags where they make sense. Too many headings on a page make it difficult to see the content and make it difficult to determine where one topic ends and another begins.

Add too many titles on one page. Create titles that are too long. Use headings only to style the text, not to structure it.

Add structured data markup.

Structured data is code that helps search engines interpret the content of web pages. This makes describing your content in search results more interesting and useful to users. So you will attract not just visitors to the site, but potential customers of your company.

For example, if you have an online store and page markup with product descriptions, it will be easier for us to understand which product is presented on the page, what is its price, what customers say about it, etc. We can show this information in search results by relevant queries. These search results are called rich search results.

Structured data markup can also be used to display relevant search results in other formats. For example, if you have a regular store, you can specify opening hours in the markup. Then potential customers will be able to see in the search results whether the store is closed or open.

What can be specified in structured data markup:

The products you are selling. Company address. Links to videos about the company and its products. Opening hours. Lists of events. Recipes. Company logo and more.

We recommend using structured data to describe your web content when working with any modern markup. It can be added to the HTML code of pages manually or using tools such as Marker and Markup Wizard.

Ensure the markup is correct with the Rich Results Validator.

Use the Google Rich Results Checker tool to find errors in your markup. You can specify the URL of the content or inspect the markup HTML.

Implement incorrect markup.

Use Marker and Markup Wizard.

If you need to add structured data markup without changing your site’s source code, use Marker, a free tool integrated into Search Console that supports a variety of content types.

If you need to generate markup code and add it to your page, use the Markup Wizard.

Edit the site’s source code if you don’t have sufficient knowledge of how to add markup.

Track the performance of your markup pages.

The Search Console Rich Results Status report shows how many pages on your site have specific markup types, how many times they have appeared in search results, and how many times users have clicked on those results in the last 90 days. It also lists the errors encountered.

Add markup data that is not visible to users. Create fake reviews and add irrelevant markup.

Make sure your site appears properly in Google search results.

Pages with well-structured data can appear in search results with additional features and elements such as star ratings and specially designed descriptions. Find out what options are available for your pages.

Set up the site hierarchy.

How search engines use URLs.

For search engines to crawl, index, and suggest specific content to users, that content must have a unique URL. Different content (for example, related to different products in a store) and materials presented in several variants (for example, regional versions or translations into other languages) should be placed on separate URLs so that there is no confusion in search results.

A URL usually has several parts:

We recommend using the https: // protocol on all sites where possible. The hostname indicates where your site is hosted and is usually the same as the domain name that is a component of your email address. Google considers URLs to be different that differ from each other only by the presence of the www prefix (for example, www.example.com and example.com). We recommend that you add all versions of your site URL to Search Console: with the http: // and https: // protocols, as well as with and without the www prefix.

The path, filename, and query string determine what content your server will send. These three parts are case-sensitive, so the URLs with FILE and file will not be the same. The hostname and protocol can be entered case-insensitively.

The anchor (fragment, in the example – #info) usually indicates where the browser should scroll to the page. Search engines generally ignore the anchor as not affecting the content of the page.

When specifying the URL of the main page, the presence of a slash at the end does not matter, because both with it and without it it is a link to the same content (as in the case of https://example.com/ and https: // example .com). When it comes to paths and file names, adding a slash changes the URL. For example, https://example.com/fish leads to a file, and https://example.com/fish/ leads to a directory.

Navigation is important for search engines.

Site navigation is important because it allows users to quickly find what they need. Also, the navigation structure helps search engines understand what content, as intended by the site owner, is most important. Google search results usually include page descriptions, but it is also important for the search engine to know where the page is in the overall structure of the site.

Consider site navigation based on the home page.

Each site has a home page that usually starts navigation through the site and is therefore visited more often than the rest of the site’s pages. If your site is complex enough, you need to consider how visitors will navigate from the home page to the content they want. Does the site have many pages on a specific topic? Perhaps you should add a page with their list and description, for example, like this: home page> list of pages on the same topic> topic. If you have a lot of products, it makes sense to categorize them and list those categories on separate pages.

Using navigation bars.

A navigation bar is a series of internal links at the top or bottom of a page that allow visitors to quickly return to a previous section or home page. Typically, the navigation bar starts at the home page, followed by the sections and subsections of the site. If your site has navigation bars, we recommend that you use special structured data markup for them.

Create a simple navigation page for your users.

A navigation page is a page on a site that shows its structure (usually in the form of a hierarchical tree). This page will help users find the section they want. The information on it can be useful to search engines, but it is mainly intended for site visitors.

Use logical hierarchy.

Try to make it as easy as possible for users to navigate from general topics to the content they want. Add navigation pages where you need them and make them work efficiently with internal links. Make it so that visitors can go to any page of your resource without resorting to site search. Where appropriate, link to pages of the same topic to provide additional information to users.

Overly complicate navigation (for example, place links on every page to all other pages). Splitting the same content into many parts, as a result of which you have to make many clicks to go from the main page to the desired one.

Use text links for navigation.

Text links within a site make it easier for search engines to crawl and analyze content. If you are building pages with JavaScript, use a elements with the URL as the value for the href attribute. In addition, all menu items should be available immediately after loading the page, and not appear after a certain action by the user.

Use only graphic or animated images as navigation links. Use scripts and plugins for navigation.

Create a visitor navigation page and a search engine sitemap.

Create a simple page for your visitors with a sitemap (or its most important sections if you have hundreds or thousands of pages). Also add an XML Sitemap so that search engines can quickly find new and changed pages on your site. In it, include the URL and dates of the last modification of all these pages.

Take long breaks between updates to the navigation page. This can lead to the fact that the data on it will become outdated, and the links will stop working. Create navigation pages that contain a simple, unstructured list of materials that you have published on the site.

Create informative 404 pages.

Sometimes a user can land on a page that is not on your site, for example, if they click on a broken link or enter the URL incorrectly in the browser address bar. By creating your own 404 page that helps visitors navigate to the active sections of your site, you will make it much more user-friendly. On the 404 page, it is advisable to place a link to the home page and links to popular sections of the site or to sections of similar topics. Google Search Console can help you find URL sources that lead to non-existent pages.

Allow search engines to index the 404 page. Make sure your web server is sending the HTTP 404 status code, and in the case of JavaScript sites, use the noindex tag. Block the crawling of a 404 page using directives in your robots.txt file. Use non-informative text for 404 pages (for example, “Not Found” or even just “404”). Be sure to make sure the 404 page is set up correctly. Format 404 pages in a style that differs significantly from the overall site design.

Simple URLs are more informative.

Descriptive categories and file names on your site will not only improve its structure, but also make links to your content more understandable for users. Visitors may be confused by too long URLs with components whose meaning is not obvious.

An example of a long, obscure URL:

When a URL is composed of words, it is easier to understand and therefore useful. Here’s an example:

URLs are shown in search results.

As a reminder, a link to a document may appear next to its title in various variations of our search results.

Google can crawl any URL, even with a very complex structure, but we recommend using simple and clear URLs.

Use words in the URL.

URLs with words that reflect the content of the site and its structure are more understandable for visitors.

Use long URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs. Leave generic page names, for example page1.html. Overuse keywords like this example: baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseballcards.html.

Use a simple directory structure.

Organize your content so that the directory structure allows users to easily navigate the site, and the URLs reflect the content of the pages.

Use complex multi-level subdirectory structures, for example:. /dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/page.html. Give directories names that are not related to their content.

Use one URL for each document.

To prevent visitors from navigating to the same content at different URLs (this can affect the importance of individual URLs due to the division of traffic between them), each page on the site must have one unique address. If visitors are navigating to the same content at different URLs, set up a 301 redirect from the non-canonical URL to the main URL. If redirects are not available, use the link rel = “canonical” element.

Place pages with the same content in the subdomain and in the root directory at the same time. Example: domain.com/page.html and sub.domain.com/page.html.

Optimization of content.

Make your site interesting and useful.

Creating engaging and useful content is arguably more important to a site’s popularity than any of the factors listed here. Users always appreciate interesting content and willingly share it with others on blogs, social networks, email, forums, or in another way.

User recommendations are very important for a site’s reputation, and quality content is the key to a good reputation.

You need to know what your readers need.

Think about what keywords potential visitors might use to find your content. Users who are well versed in your site’s topic may use different keywords compared to those who know less about it. For example, experienced fans can search for “fifa playoff”, while those who are not usually interested in football can simply search for “soccer championship”. Try to keep these differences in mind when choosing keywords. Google Ads has a handy tool called Keyword Planner. With its help, you can easily find new variants of search phrases, as well as find out the approximate number of queries for each variant. And in the Search Console Performance Report, you can see the top queries for which your site appears in search results and the queries that brought the most visitors to your site.

Try to offer your visitors something that they won’t find on other sites. You can also publish original research, sensational news, or appeal to your regular users. Perhaps other sites do not have such competencies and resources.

Write easy-to-read texts.

The text should be understandable to users. Try to maintain style and avoid mistakes.

Make grammatical and spelling mistakes. Publish poorly written, low-quality texts. Use images and videos to convey text content: Users will not be able to copy such text, and search engines will not be able to read it.

Organize your site clearly by topic.

The site should be organized so that it is clear to visitors where one topic ends and another begins. Breaking content into logical chunks and sections helps users quickly find the information they need.

Combine a large amount of text on different topics without highlighting with paragraphs, subheadings or design tools.

Create original content.

Constantly update your content: this will not only keep the interest of those who are already familiar with your site, but also attract new visitors.

Re-publish old content with minor changes: This will not give users anything new or useful. Post similar versions of the same content in different parts of the site.

Optimize your content for users, not search engines.

When designing a website, think about users, but don’t forget about its availability for search engines.

Insert unnecessary keywords into the text that are intended for search engines, but meaningless and annoying for users. Add snippets of text that are not of value to your visitors, such as “frequent typos leading to this page.” text in the body of the page that is available to search engines.

Users need to trust you.

If your site is trustworthy, users will be more likely to visit it.

Sites with a good reputation are credible. Work to build a reputation in your field. Provide information about the owner of the site, the authors of the content, and the purpose of publishing it. If the site sells goods or makes money transactions, visitors should have access to a support service to solve the problems that have arisen. News sites should clearly indicate the source of the information.

Also remember to use the right technology. If the checkout page is not using a secure connection, visitors will not trust the site.

Authoritative opinion of experts.

The opinion of reputable experts improves the quality of the site. The content should be prepared (or edited) by specialists in the subject matter of the site. For example, visitors will appreciate it if you include the name of a specialist or reputable sources. If you are dealing with a scientific issue, be sure to mention what is the generally accepted opinion on the subject.

Provide sufficient material on the topic.

It takes a lot of time, effort, knowledge, talent and skills to create quality content. Content should reflect real facts, be comprehensive and well articulated. For example, if a page contains a recipe, it should be clear instructions on how to prepare it, not just a set of ingredients or a general description of the dish.

Publish content on your pages that does not contain all the necessary information.

Avoid distracting advertisements.

Users must see ads. However, it should not distract them or interfere with their website experience. For example, interstitial ads (which appear as you navigate between pages and take up the entire device screen) shouldn’t make it difficult to view your content. More details …

Place distracting advertisements on your website pages.

Use links wisely.

Think carefully about your link texts.

Visible link text helps users and Google understand the content of the page. Links on a page can be internal (point to other pages on the site) or external (point to other sites). In any case, the clearer the text of the link, the easier it is for users to navigate the site, and it is easier for search engines to understand what the page to which the link leads is about.

Well thought out link text helps users and search engines understand the content of the page it links to.

Use informative text.

The link text should, at least in general, describe the content of the page to which the link leads.

We do not recommend it.

Use common words in link texts such as “page”, “article” or “click here”. Use words that are not related to the topic or content of the page to which the link leads. Too often use the page URL as the link text (sometimes this is allowed, for example, to promote or indicate a new site address).

The text should be concise.

The text should be descriptive, but as short as possible: a few words or a short phrase.

We do not recommend it.

Make long sentences and even more whole paragraphs as links.

Highlight links with formatting.

Users should easily distinguish plain text from link text. Otherwise, they may not notice them or click on them accidentally, and this can annoy your visitors.

We do not recommend it.

Use formatting (using CSS or other means) that blends links with normal text.

Match link text for internal URLs as well.

Do not forget that links are not only external, but also internal. Carefully thought-out internal link text will help to better navigate your site not only for users, but also for search engines.

We do not recommend it.

Use long text with a lot of keywords intended for search engines. Create unnecessary links that do not make navigation on the site easier.

Be careful with links.

By posting links to other web resources on your site, you contribute to the growth of their popularity. Sometimes visitors can add links to their resources in the comments and testimonials section of other sites. A situation may arise when you link to a site in a negative light, but do not want to contribute to its promotion. Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about comment spam and want to mention a resource that was recently linked as spam in your blog comments. To warn your readers, you link to this site in your article. However, you naturally do not want this link to be taken into account by search engines. In such cases, the nofollow attribute should be used.

It can also be useful to nofollow links in widgets. If you are using a third-party widget to improve your site and attract visitors, check to see if it contains links that you do not want to host. Some widgets may add links to the site that are not agreed with you, containing text that you, as the owner of the resource, cannot change. If you cannot remove unwanted links from the widget, you can always accompany them with the nofollow attribute. If you provide your widgets to other sites, add the nofollow attribute to the links in the widget source code.

Finally, if you want to apply the nofollow attribute to all links on the page, you can add the tag lt; meta name = “robots” content = “nofollow” gt; to section lt; headgt; … Read the article on the robots meta tag on our blog.

Prevent comment spam with the nofollow directive.

To tell Google not to click on some of the links on your site or to increase the importance of the pages that follow those links, add a rel attribute with a value of nofollow or ugc. The main attribute is rel = “nofollow”, but more specific values ​​can be specified in the link anchor, in particular ugc. Example:

When should you use this technique? In the sections of the site where any visitor can leave a comment, spam often appears. If your site has such sections, then adding the nofollow attribute to unwanted links will block transitions to sites that you do not want to promote or recommend.

Auto add nofollow attribute in comments and forums.

Many blogging platforms automatically add the nofollow attribute to links in comments. Even if this function does not work, in most cases it can be enabled manually. You should also check the links left by users in other sections of the site: in the guest book, on the forums, in the list of domains linking to your resource, etc. If you are ready to vouch for the links left by the visitor, the nofollow attribute can be omitted. But if Google finds spam sources among them, you risk undermining your site’s reputation. You can find out what else you can do to prevent spam from appearing in comments (for example, add a verification code and enable moderation) here.

How to optimize images.

Use HTML elements.

Insert images into your content using custom HTML elements.

Add HTML elements to pages lt; imggt; or lt; picturegt; …

Semantic HTML markup helps search engines find and process images. In addition, using the element lt; picturegt; you can specify multiple versions of an image to display on different sized screens. You can also use the loading = “lazy” attribute for images to make the page load faster in the browser.

Apply CSS to display images to be indexed.

Use the alt attribute.

Give images meaningful names and add alt attributes with descriptions. The alt attribute contains text that is visible to users when the image is not shown for one reason or another.

What is this attribute for? A visitor using an assistive technology to view the site, such as a screen reader, will be able to understand what is depicted in the picture thanks to the text in the alt attribute.

In addition, if you are using an image as a link, then the alt text will play about the same role as the text of a regular link. However, we advise you not to overuse images where text links can be used to navigate the site. Finally, optimizing the names of image files and text in alt attributes makes it easier to find images, for example in Google Images.

Use short but descriptive file names and text in alt attributes.

Like many other page elements that can be optimized, the filenames and text in the alt attribute should be short but meaningful.

We do not recommend it.

Use boilerplate and meaningless names such as image1.jpg, pic.gif, 1.jpg (if possible). If your site has thousands of images, try automating their naming. Use names that are too long. Add keywords and whole sentences to alt text.

Add text to alt attributes when using images as links.

If you choose to use an image as a link, then the text in the alt attribute will help search engines understand the content of the page to which the link leads. Consider that you are writing text for a normal link.

We do not recommend it.

Add too long text in the alt attribute (it will be considered spam). Use only images as links to navigate the site.

Help search engines find your images.

Use image sitemaps to provide Googlebot with more information about the image files on your site and increase the likelihood that your images will appear in Google Images. Sitemaps of this type are similar in structure to sitemaps for web pages.

Use standard graphic formats.

Use common file types. Most browsers support JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and WebP formats. Also, try to keep the file extension always consistent with its type.

Optimize your site for mobile viewing.

The popularity of mobile devices in the world is constantly growing. Today, Google searches are most often performed on mobile devices. Regular sites are generally uncomfortable to browse on smartphones. Therefore, if you have not adapted your site for mobile devices, visitors can leave it. Moreover, in late 2016, Google began experiments in which mobile versions of content are used to rank pages, analyze structured data, and create descriptions in search results.

Features of different devices.

Smartphones. In this document, mobile devices refer to Android smartphones, iPhone and Windows Phone. Mobile browsers, like computer browsers, support a wide range of HTML5 features, but their windows are smaller and generally use vertical orientation by default. Tablets. We consider tablets as a separate class of devices. Therefore, we usually do not mean them when we talk about mobile devices. Many tablets have larger screens than smartphones. If your content is not intended for them, it will appear in much the same way as on a regular computer. Multimedia phones. Browsers on these devices can render pages that conform to the XHTML standards, support HTML5, JavaScript, and ECMAscript markup, but may not support some of the extension APIs in the HTML5 standard. This includes phones that are 3G capable and not smartphones. Mobile phones of the middle class. Their browsers cannot display regular web pages with standard HTML code. These browsers include those that only support cHTML (iMode), WML, XHTML-MP, etc.

Our recommendations apply primarily to smartphones, but they can also be useful for site owners for multimedia phones and mid-range phones.

Choose a mobile strategy.

There are different ways to optimize a website for mobile devices, and here are some of the methods that Google supports:

(recommended)

You can check if your site is mobile optimized from Google’s perspective and if your pages will be tagged accordingly in search results. You can also look at the Search Console Mobile Usability report and fix any issues it contains.

If your site has a lot of pages with static content (for example, posts or product landing pages), we recommend using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology. It is a special kind of HTML that provides speed and ease of use, and can be further accelerated through various platforms, including Google Search.

Set up mobile sites for accurate indexing.

Listed below are the basic principles to follow regardless of which way you choose to optimize your site for mobile devices.

If you are using a dynamic impression or a standalone version of a mobile site, tell Google that the page is designed for mobile devices (or has an equivalent designed for them). Then Google can accurately guide users who search on mobile devices to the right pages. If you have a responsive site, tell browsers how to adjust content parameters using the meta name = “viewport” tag. For dynamic serving, use the Vary HTTP header to signal changes based on user agent. If you have different URLs for smartphones and computers, communicate the relationship between these URLs using tags lt; linkgt; with rel = “canonical” and rel = “alternate” attributes. Resources must be available for scanning. Blocking pages may cause Google to receive incomplete information about your site. This often happens when a robots.txt file blocks access to all or some of the web pages. If the Googlebot does not have access to the CSS, JavaScript, or images of the page, we will not be able to determine how it will be displayed in a mobile browser. That is, Google may not recognize that a page is mobile-friendly and may show it incorrectly to those searching on smartphones. Avoid common mistakes that interfere with your mobile browsing experience. In particular, do not post videos in unsupported formats. Mobile pages that are inconvenient for searchers may receive lower rankings or may be shown in mobile search results with a warning. Among other things, this can result from the display of full-screen interstitial ads. Provide full functionality for all devices. A mobile site should have the same content and the same sections as a regular site (for example, a comment or checkout section). In addition to text content, mobile users should also have access to the main images and videos of your resource. In all versions of pages, add structured data and other metadata for search engines: link elements, titles, descriptions, and other meta tags. Make sure structured data, images, videos, and metadata from the desktop site are also on the mobile site.

Recommendations.

, to see how convenient it is for phone users from Google’s point of view. If you have separate mobile versions of your pages, check them along with the desktop URLs to make sure the redirects are correct.

Promote your site.

Although links to your site will be added gradually as users find your content through search engines or other means, we understand that you will want to report it as soon as possible. Promotion of a new resource will allow interested users to quickly find it. As with the rest of the cases covered in this guide, overuse of the guidelines provided here can damage your site’s reputation.

A blog post on your site is a great way to educate visitors about adding new content or services. Other site owners who follow your resource or RSS feed will also be able to share this news.

More traditional ways of promoting a company or website can also produce good results. For example, if your company has a web resource, include its URL on business cards, letterheads, flyers, etc. You can also notify users about new content using mailing lists.

If you have a store, atelier, or a beauty salon, add information about it to Google My Business to attract Google Maps and Search users.

Use social media.

If your site has thought out user interactions and added social media widgets, it will be easier for you to find interested visitors.

Promote minor site additions: Only report significant, interesting changes. Engage in link exchange schemes that dishonestly raise search engine rankings.

Find other resources on similar topics.

Find sites with similar topics and contact their owners: this will help in promoting your resource. Discussing topical issues on your topic will give you new ideas that will help create a community of interested users.

Send spam with link requests to all related sites. Buy links from other sites in order to increase the ranking in the PageRank system.

Analyze your site’s search performance and visitor behavior.

Analyze the positions of your resources in search results.

Major search engines provide website owners with free performance analysis tools. Such a tool from Google is called Search Console.

Search Console provides information in two important categories: a site’s availability to Google and its performance in search results.

Search Console does not improve your site’s rankings. However, using this tool, you can identify gaps, the elimination of which will improve the position of your resource in the search results.

Search Console allows you to:

Find out which parts of the site the Googlebot does not have access to. Test and submit sitemaps. Analyze and generate robots.txt files. Remove URLs already crawled by Googlebot. Specify preferred domain. Identify issues with title and description meta tags. Learn about the most popular searches for which users found the site. Find out how Googlebot sees pages on your site. Receive notifications of violations of quality assurance guidelines and send repeated requests to review the site.

Free tools for site owners are also available on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine.

Analyze user behavior on the site.

If you’ve improved the crawling and indexing of your site using Search Console or other services, you probably want to know how its traffic has changed. Web analytics programs such as Google Analytics are suitable for this. With their help you can:

find out how visitors get to your site and what actions they take on it; find the most popular content on your site; evaluate the effectiveness of site optimization, for example, whether traffic from search engines has increased after changing the title and description meta tags.

Information from analytics systems, combined with your server’s log data, can tell even more about how visitors interact with your documents (for example, you can find out what other keywords they use to find your site).

Additional resources.

Google Search Center Blog This is the official blog that provides the latest information on changes to Google Search, new features in Search Console, and more.

Google Search Center Help Forum This is where you can ask questions about how your site works and find tips for building websites. Power users, product experts, and even Google employees will come to your aid.

Google Search Center Twitter Page Read great news and tips for building great websites.

Google Search Center YouTube Channel View hundreds of videos created for the webmaster community and get questions answered by Google employees.

How Google Search works Here is a clear illustration of how we select results for user search queries. You will discover a lot of new things!

Get Your Business Online Program If you are running a small business, you can register your site for free through the Google-Homestead Partnership Program. This program allows entrepreneurs to receive free sites for a period of one year.

Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, and code samples are licensed under the Apache 2.0 License. For details, see the Google Developers Site Policies. Java is a registered trademark of Oracle and / or its affiliates.

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