Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet. The Webmaster Central Blog has informative posts on improving snippets with better description meta tags18 and better snippets for your users19. We also have a handy Help Center article on how to create good titles and snippets20.

When your business is listed in an online directory, it is known as a structured citation. These citations increase exposure and website domain authority while associating your business name with existing high-authority sites like Yelp—all of which is favorable to Google. To create an effective structured citation, include full business contact information on your directories and be consistent with formatting.
I was wondering if you by this reply really meant 410? Also, what is your take on the many suggestions out there saying that making 301 redirects is always better than deleting pages? I understand that reason is that it is (or is in risk of) being spam-ish to just redirect everything. Also I’m guessing that too many redirects will slow down the page.

If you own, manage, monetize, or promote online content via Google Search, this guide is meant for you. You might be the owner of a growing and thriving business, the webmaster of a dozen sites, the SEO specialist in a Web agency or a DIY SEO ninja passionate about the mechanics of Search : this guide is meant for you. If you're interested in having a complete overview of the basics of SEO according to our best practices, you are indeed in the right place. This guide won't provide any secrets that'll automatically rank your site first in Google (sorry!), but following the best practices outlined below will hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.
An anchor hyperlink is a link bound to a portion of a document[3]—generally text, though not necessarily. For instance, it may also be a hot area in an image (image map in HTML), a designated, often irregular part of an image. One way to define it is by a list of coordinates that indicate its boundaries. For example, a political map of Africa may have each country hyperlinked to further information about that country. A separate invisible hot area interface allows for swapping skins or labels within the linked hot areas without repetitive embedding of links in the various skin elements.
When the cursor hovers over a link, depending on the browser and graphical user interface, some informative text about the link can be shown, popping up, not in a regular window, but in a special hover box, which disappears when the cursor is moved away (sometimes it disappears anyway after a few seconds, and reappears when the cursor is moved away and back). Mozilla Firefox, IE, Opera, and many other web browsers all show the URL. In addition, the URL is commonly shown in the status bar.
To get started, you will need to either claim your current business page or create a new one, depending on whether or not a page already exists for your business. If you are unsure, you can go to Google.com/business to search for the name of your business. For more information, read our step-by-step guide to setting up your Google My Business account.
Stellar post as always Brian! For marketers who have the time and budget we can do all of these things, however for most people who run small/local businesses they simply don’t have the time to do most of these things, and then it’s not cost feasible to pay someone to do this because that would require a full time position or paying an agency $xxxx/month which they can’t afford either. It’s a quandary of a position they find themselves in and makes it almost impossible to compete in modern day search against established giants. I wish Google would place more emphasis on relevancy and what’s actually on the page versus domain authority. Maybe one they’ll move towards that, but for now, all I see in the serps is giant sites then comes relevancy.

Tablet - We consider tablets as devices in their own class, so when we speak of mobile devices, we generally do not include tablets in the definition. Tablets tend to have larger screens, which means that, unless you offer tablet-optimized content, you can assume that users expect to see your site as it would look on a desktop browser rather than on a smartphone browser.
Brain I got a question. I will be glad if you could answer it. So, you said that it is important to use keywords in the title and headings. But sometimes I observe that plugins like Yoast will recommend us to insert keywords in more and more subheadings. For example on a long post if I have 50 subheadings and 8 of them have my target keyword. Yoast is actually not happy with it and it wants me to add keywords into more number of subheadings. I felt that 8 itself is a bit too much. Does Google also looks at my content in the same angle of Yoast?. Ideally, as a good practice how many subheadings should have the target keyword?.
Additionally, the title must also be interesting enough that people will actually want to click on it! A good example of this would be PT from PTMoney.com, who wrote a great post about "making extra money." However, rather than a boring title, like "Make Extra Money," he titled it "52 Ways to Make Extra Money." Now that is something I would want to read.

If I have 2 pages that are on the same topic and basically the same info re-written with the same image, but both are very popular pages, what is your advice? Over the last 9 years the 2 pages have gotten more than a million pageviews combined, almost equally between them. Should I permanently redirect one to the other, or try to improve them each and distinguish them slightly more so that they cover a different angle of the same topic?


These are all great. I am working on implementing most of these. My biggest issue is my site is brand new (2 months). I am ranking for a lot but seem to be limited because, I am assuming, google will not give enough trust to a new site. What should I be doing to overcome the newness of my site? I buy houses in the Dallas Fort Worth area and if you are not number 1 on google then you might as well be on page 10! Any advise would be well received and please keep up the great work!
An inline link may display a modified version of the content; for instance, instead of an image, a thumbnail, low resolution preview, cropped section, or magnified section may be shown. The full content is then usually available on demand, as is the case with print publishing software – e.g., with an external link. This allows for smaller file sizes and quicker response to changes when the full linked content is not needed, as is the case when rearranging a page layout.
The great thing about the long tail for new sites that have no backlinks and no authority, is that it is possible to rank for these terms, assuming great on-page SEO, quality content etc.. So therefore focusing on the long tail is a strategy that is often recommended and in fact Rand himself (and indeed others of good repute) have cited 4+ words and lower LMS to avoid the med-high volume kws due to their kw difficulty. Have I completely missed the point in your guide or do you indeed have a slightly different view on the long tail?
Robots.txt is not an appropriate or effective way of blocking sensitive or confidential material. It only instructs well-behaved crawlers that the pages are not for them, but it does not prevent your server from delivering those pages to a browser that requests them. One reason is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing just the URL, no title or snippet) if there happen to be links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet (like referrer logs). Also, non-compliant or rogue search engines that don't acknowledge the Robots Exclusion Standard could disobey the instructions of your robots.txt. Finally, a curious user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and guess the URL of the content that you don't want seen.
If I have 2 pages that are on the same topic and basically the same info re-written with the same image, but both are very popular pages, what is your advice? Over the last 9 years the 2 pages have gotten more than a million pageviews combined, almost equally between them. Should I permanently redirect one to the other, or try to improve them each and distinguish them slightly more so that they cover a different angle of the same topic?
The response rate here was huge because this is a mutually beneficial relationship. The bloggers get free products to use within their outfits (as well as more clothes for their wardrobe!) and I was able to drive traffic through to my site, get high-quality backlinks, a load of social media engagement and some high-end photography to use within my own content and on product pages.
This is another master piece. You’re not only a top SEO but your writing skills are also amazing. Good to see that I am doing most of the things already that you mentioned under On-Page SEO tips. The only thing I am currently struggling with is to get my content published on top sites. Can you come up with a detailed article about how to approach top sites in your niche and get your content approved? Thanks
Link roundups are selected and organized updates from bloggers that link out to their favorite content during a given period. Roundups are mutually beneficial relationships. It’s really hard to curate content as it involves a lot of work. The bloggers creating these roundups are actively seeking content to link to. You can land links in bunches. Over time, you will gain roundup coverage naturally. After you pitch the blogger who curates the roundup, you should connect on social media. That way, they’ll discover your future updates naturally. I’ve gained some backlinks from link roundups.
Brain I got a question. I will be glad if you could answer it. So, you said that it is important to use keywords in the title and headings. But sometimes I observe that plugins like Yoast will recommend us to insert keywords in more and more subheadings. For example on a long post if I have 50 subheadings and 8 of them have my target keyword. Yoast is actually not happy with it and it wants me to add keywords into more number of subheadings. I felt that 8 itself is a bit too much. Does Google also looks at my content in the same angle of Yoast?. Ideally, as a good practice how many subheadings should have the target keyword?.

It appears that the reason this page from a little-known website is able to rank amongst the bigger players is that the content itself is more focussed. It talks about how to name images for SEO, whereas most of the other pages are more general guides to image SEO—which all presumably mention the importance of naming images correctly, amongst other things.
If you own, manage, monetize, or promote online content via Google Search, this guide is meant for you. You might be the owner of a growing and thriving business, the webmaster of a dozen sites, the SEO specialist in a Web agency or a DIY SEO ninja passionate about the mechanics of Search : this guide is meant for you. If you're interested in having a complete overview of the basics of SEO according to our best practices, you are indeed in the right place. This guide won't provide any secrets that'll automatically rank your site first in Google (sorry!), but following the best practices outlined below will hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.
To do this, I often align the launch of my content with a couple of guest posts on relevant websites to drive a load of relevant traffic to it, as well as some relevant links. This has a knock-on effect toward the organic amplification of the content and means that you at least have something to show for the content (in terms of ROI) if it doesn't do as well as you expect organically.
Expertise and authoritativeness of a site increases its quality. Be sure that content on your site is created or edited by people with expertise in the topic. For example, providing expert or experienced sources can help users understand articles’ expertise. Representing well-established consensus in pages on scientific topics is a good practice if such consensus exists.
This content will help you boost your rankings in two primary ways. First, more content means more keywords, and therefore more opportunities for Google to return your site in the search results. Second, the more content you have, the more links you generally accumulate. Plus, having lots of content is great for getting visitors to stay on your site longer. Win-win!
Killer post, Brian. Really want to know how to create those charts you keep using throughout your posts. I searched Google for them but couldn’t find them so I’m guessing they’re custom designed but with what tool is the question… Would love to see a flat architecture diagram for blogs and non-ecommerce sites. Look forward to your upcoming Blab with Dmitry.
These are all great. I am working on implementing most of these. My biggest issue is my site is brand new (2 months). I am ranking for a lot but seem to be limited because, I am assuming, google will not give enough trust to a new site. What should I be doing to overcome the newness of my site? I buy houses in the Dallas Fort Worth area and if you are not number 1 on google then you might as well be on page 10! Any advise would be well received and please keep up the great work!
Keep resources crawlable. Blocking page resources can give Google an incomplete picture of your website. This often happens when your robots.txt file is blocking access to some or all of your page resources. If Googlebot doesn't have access to a page's resources, such as CSS, JavaScript, or images, we may not detect that it's built to display and work well on a mobile browser. In other words, we may not detect that the page is "mobile-friendly," and therefore not properly serve it to mobile searchers.
A few links down and I've noticed that Brian has a link from WordPress.org. Not bad! Turns out that his content has been referenced within one of WordPress's codex posts. If I were to reach out and offer some additional insight, citing one of my articles, there's a chance I could bag a similar link, especially considering they have a 'Useful Resources' section.
A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page. Many breadcrumbs have the most general page (usually the root page) as the first, leftmost link and list the more specific sections out to the right. We recommend using breadcrumb structured data markup28 when showing breadcrumbs.
Hey Brian first off all I want to say thanks to you for this epic post. I cant say how much I had learnt from you showing your post you are really a genius when it comes to SEO and linkbuilding. Though I have one question currently I am working on a project and that don’t have any blog so I have only links and social signals to boost my ranking. So can you please tell me what strategies should I follow for higher rankings with out blog ???

Paid search results are those in the top and bottom of the results page, indicated by the small “ad” icon. These are placements that businesses pay for to show up when users search specific keywords. Google Ads can be a very effective way of utilizing ad spend for those who are new or struggling to compete against businesses that rank higher in organic search results. It’s also great for businesses targeting keywords with high revenue potential.
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