You should build a website to benefit your users, and any optimization should be geared toward making the user experience better. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content. Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content. Your site may be smaller or larger than our example site and offer vastly different content, but the optimization topics we discuss below should apply to sites of all sizes and types. We hope our guide gives you some fresh ideas on how to improve your website, and we'd love to hear your questions, feedback, and success stories in the Google Webmaster Help Forum1.
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.
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.
As keywords are essentially the backbone of on-page SEO, you need to pay a lot of attention to them. There is no reason not to include them in your URLs.  The inclusion has its benefits. When you assimilate the targeted keyword into the URL, you are ensuring that Google’s has another reason and way to consider your article as more relevant for a particular phrase.
In a graphical user interface, the appearance of a mouse cursor may change into a hand motif to indicate a link. In most graphical web browsers, links are displayed in underlined blue text when they have not been visited, but underlined purple text when they have. When the user activates the link (e.g., by clicking on it with the mouse) the browser displays the link's target. If the target is not an HTML file, depending on the file type and on the browser and its plugins, another program may be activated to open the file.

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.
Can you offer any commentary that is more specific to web-based stores? I definitely see the value in some of this and have made a few positive changes to my site, but I’m not a blogger and am ideally looking to direct more traffic to the site through other means. As it stands, we get only a few orders/month, and I’d like to dive deeper into how we can simply (though not necessarily easily) expand our market.

Having large groups of content that all revolve around the same topic will build more relevance around keywords that you're trying to rank for within these topics, and it makes it much easier for Google to associate your content with specific topics. Not only that, but it makes it much easier to interlink between your content, pushing more internal links through your website.


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?.
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!

Thanks for sharing these tips, Brian. Agree with all of these, except maybe #3 Delete zombie pages. A better strategy would be to update these pages with fresh content and convert them into a long form blog posts/guides. Deleting them entirely would mean either setting up a 404 or 301 redirect – both of which can hurt your organic traffic in the short run.
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?
The W3C Recommendation called XLink describes hyperlinks that offer a far greater degree of functionality than those offered in HTML. These extended links can be multidirectional, linking from, within, and between XML documents. It can also describe simple links, which are unidirectional and therefore offer no more functionality than hyperlinks in HTML.
Simply look around at other sites—your clients, your partners, your providers, associations you’re a part of, local directories, or even some local communities or influencers. These are all websites that can have a huge impact on your SEO as well as help you get traffic and raise awareness for your business. You are probably already doing business with most of them, so simply ask for a mention, a case study, a testimonial, or other types of backlinks.
Can you offer any commentary that is more specific to web-based stores? I definitely see the value in some of this and have made a few positive changes to my site, but I’m not a blogger and am ideally looking to direct more traffic to the site through other means. As it stands, we get only a few orders/month, and I’d like to dive deeper into how we can simply (though not necessarily easily) expand our market.
Google loves speed and they actually got tired of waiting for people to speed up their sites. For this reason, they launched the AMP project. This is a special page structure which strips away some of the fancy styling to leave a much simpler page. Simpler pages load faster, and while there’s some debate in SEO circles about the ranking benefits that come with AMP, if you are running a website on budget hosting, this is almost certainly a winning concept. If you’re running a blog on WordPress, this is a relatively simple deployment, too.
Being on the 3rd place and at the same time having such a low CTR, serves a search intent. Isn’t that right? By changing the meta description in to a PERFECT DESCRIPTIVE TEXT, I am going to trigger different actions from the users. Many people will start clicking at my result just out of curiosity, their search intent won’t be satisfied and rankbrain will start to slowly ruining my ranking as my post, that won’t be fulfilling their searches.
Hey Brian, This is my first ever comment in Backlinko. I am silent lover of Backlinko. Whenever I stuck and feel numb about what to do next for my site ranking , I always come and find peace in backlinko planet. You are awesome man. Just a quick suggestion for you, Whenever I click on “Show only Brian’s favorite tips: NO” then it also shows your favorite tips too. It might be a problem ! See I learned from you and now I am helping you 😛 LOL …. Now Give me a authority link for my site 😀 Just Kidding !
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.
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.
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!
The tip that resonates with me the most is to publish studies, which you back up by linking to the study you collaborated on. That is spot on. It feels like having genuinely useful in depth content is THE strategy that will not be “Google updated” at any point. (Because if you were building a search engine, that’s the content you’d want to serve your users when they search for a topic.)
Provide full functionality on all devices. Mobile users expect the same functionality - such as commenting and check-out - and content on mobile as well as on all other devices that your website supports. In addition to textual content, make sure that all important images and videos are embedded and accessible on mobile devices. For search engines, provide all structured data and other metadata - such as titles, descriptions, link-elements, and other meta-tags - on all versions of the pages.

Creating high quality content takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill. Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. So, for example, if you describe your page as a recipe, provide a complete recipe that is easy to follow, rather than just a set of ingredients or a basic description of the dish.

Once you claim your Google My Business listing and verify it, you’ll need to take plenty of pictures of your office (both internally and externally), as well as plenty of photos of your staff. Get in the habit of snapping photos of your business in action, before-and-afters (if applicable), and post all of these assets to your Google My Business profile. A verified and optimized Google My Business profile stands out in search results, especially among customers in the local area. The more information and visuals you provide, the more likely they are to call or contact you online.


Many blogging software packages automatically nofollow user comments, but those that don't can most likely be manually edited to do this. This advice also goes for other areas of your site that may involve user-generated content, such as guest books, forums, shout-boards, referrer listings, etc. If you're willing to vouch for links added by third parties (for example, if a commenter is trusted on your site), then there's no need to use nofollow on links; however, linking to sites that Google considers spammy can affect the reputation of your own site. The Webmaster Help Center has more tips on avoiding comment spam40, for example by using CAPTCHAs and turning on comment moderation.
Kelly Main is a staff writer at Fit Small Business specializing in marketing. Before joining the team, she worked as an analyst at firms like Lincoln Financial Group. She has also founded a number of successful startups, including OpenOnion under the Google Tech Entrepreneurs Program, which was later acquired under the name Whisper. She holds an MS in International Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University.
Link text is the visible text inside a link. This text tells users and Google something about the page you're linking to. Links on your page may be internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you're linking to is about.

The scientific literature is a place where link persistence is crucial to the public knowledge. A 2013 study in BMC Bioinformatics analyzed 15,000 links in abstracts from Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science citation index, founding that the median lifespan of Web pages was 9.3 years, and just 62% were archived.[10] The median lifespan of a Web page constitutes high-degree variable, but its order of magnitude usually is of some months.[11]
One of your tips is “Make your content actionable”…I feel like this is not always the case depending on the context of the blog post. If I am to write a post on, say, “35 Incredible Linear Actuator Applications”, I feel like that’s something extremely hard to be actionable about. Rather, I feel my purpose is to be informative. Both of us are going for backlinks, but your blog I feel is more aimed towards giving awesome tips & advice for SEO’s. Whereas MY BLOG is about informing people about “linear actuators and their applications”.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site's user experience and performance in organic search results. You're likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide, because they're essential ingredients for any web page, but you may not be making the most out of them.
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.
Quora is a website where users generate the content entirely. They post questions via threads and other users answer them. It’s basically a yahoo answers type social network that works like an internet forum. Both threads and answers can receive “upvotes” which signify the answer was worthy and popular. The answers with the most upvotes are put at the thread’s top.

This is a great list of SEO tips. One tip you can add to your broken links section is that there is a free tool called Xenu Link Sleuth. It will automatically crawl your website (or a competitor’s site) and find all the broken backlinks (and lots of other things). It’s very helpful if you have a large site or need to find broken links you aren’t aware of. (like images and .pdf files)

Structured data21 is code that you can add to your sites' pages to describe your content to search engines, so they can better understand what's on your pages. Search engines can use this understanding to display your content in useful (and eye-catching!) ways in search results. That, in turn, can help you attract just the right kind of customers for your business.
The world is mobile today. Most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. As a result, having a mobile ready site is critical to your online presence. In fact, starting in late 2016, Google has begun experiments to primarily use the mobile version of a site's content42 for ranking, parsing structured data, and generating snippets.
Google loves speed and they actually got tired of waiting for people to speed up their sites. For this reason, they launched the AMP project. This is a special page structure which strips away some of the fancy styling to leave a much simpler page. Simpler pages load faster, and while there’s some debate in SEO circles about the ranking benefits that come with AMP, if you are running a website on budget hosting, this is almost certainly a winning concept. If you’re running a blog on WordPress, this is a relatively simple deployment, too.
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