Recent Google Webmaster Blog posts highlight the new features in Google’s Webmaster Tools which webmasters and site owners can use to submit information to Google. Also highlighted is the need for businesses to keep an eye on what the search engines are asking them to do, else they risk being left behind their more savvy competitors!
I will be concentrating on Google here, but we can apply the below to other search engines.
A lot of people will already know the basics of SEO
- Create page titles which carry information, rather than just one or two word titles.
- Create the page content & copy with audience and keywords in mind.
- Structure the page using headings, paragraphs and lists in the code.
- Give images descriptive alt text and titles.
- Add metadata descriptions to your page. (This is becoming less and less important, but it is still often used on the search engine results page!)
Following the above guidelines goes a long way to achieving a good ranking on any search engine you care to mention, but any SEO consultant will be at pains to tell you that there’s a lot more you can do.
How to submit your site content to Google
Informing search engines of your site content is nothing new, but Google seem to be driving a real dialogue with webmasters via Google webmaster tools. Register your website to access all sorts of useful information about how Google’s spiders are indexing the site, including top keywords, links to your site, any crawl errors and so on. It’s extremely informative, and provides a real insight into how your site ranks in queries made to Google search.
More useful is the information you can explicitly provide to the spider. While Google make pretty light work of rummaging around your website and sending visitors to the right place, it’s entirely possible that they miss sections unique to your taxonomy, so this is a golden opportunity for you to fill in the blanks!
Google have stated that they now want 2 types of site map:
- Page sitemap – detailing all the pages on your site
- Video sitemap – detailing all the videos on your site
The video sitemap is a new innovation, born out of necessity as it is notoriously difficult to point search engines at Flash video content. By providing an XML video sitemap to Google as well as having a YouTube channel, video content is sure to rank high in both Web and Video searches using Google.
There are in fact all sorts of “maps” or snippets being created to assist search engines:
- Contact details
- People / staff members
If you’re working on any websites which have video, event or recipe content and driving traffic to the site is important to you, I’d suggest you need to get your web development team looking at these with some urgency!
Content Formula are expert at managing the effort to improve rankings for sites with varied and rich content (even if we do say so ourselves), so if you’d like to find out more then please get in touch!