A beginner's guide to SEO
Use this guide if you own, manage, monetize or promote your own online content through Google search. Whether you are a thriving business owner, a multi-site owner, an SEO expert at a web agency, or an SEO expert who loves Google's search mechanics, you can benefit from this guide. If you want a comprehensive understanding of the basics of SEO based on our best practices, you have come to the right place. This guide doesn't offer any secrets to automatically getting #1 on Google, but following best practices can make your site easier to crawl, index, and get recognized by search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is usually small tweaks to certain parts of a website. Individually, these changes look like incremental improvements, but when combined with other improvements, they can have a measurable impact on your site's performance in organic search results and user experience. You may be familiar with many of the topics in this guide because they are an essential part of any web page, but you may not get the most out of them.
The design of the site should benefit the user, and the goal of any improvement should be to improve the user experience. These users include search engines that help other users discover your content. The goal of SEO is to help search engines understand and display content. Your site may be smaller or larger than the site we used as an example, and offer completely different content, but the optimization topics we discuss in this guide apply to sites of all sizes and types. We hope our guides give you some new ideas on how to improve your site, and we'd love to receive your questions, comments, feedback and success stories in the Google Search Suite Help Forum.
Beginning glossary of terms
Below is a brief glossary of important terms used in this guide:
Indexing: Google's search engine stores all web pages it selects in an index. The index entry for each page describes the content and location of that page (URL). Indexing occurs when Google fetches a page, reads it, and adds it to the index: Google indexes many pages on my site today.
Crawling: The process of searching for new or modified web pages. Google discovers URLs by following links, reading sitemaps, and many other ways. Google crawls the web in search of new pages and indexes them (when applicable).
crawler: an automated program that crawls (or fetches) pages from the web and indexes them.
Googlebot: The generic name of Google's crawler. Googlebot is constantly crawling the web.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of optimizing your website to better suit search engines. The term is also used as a job title for someone who is looking for profit: We have hired a new SEO employee to improve our web presence.
Does your website appear on google?
Determine if your site is in the Google index
Create a website: Search the homepage URL of your website. If it shows results, your site will be in the index. For example, searching for site: wikipedia.org returns these results.
If your site is not listed in Google
Google crawls billions of web pages, and it's normal to ignore some sites. And when a crawler loses a website, it's often due to one of the following reasons:
Other sites do not have many links to this site.
The site is new and hasn't been crawled by Google yet.
Website design does not make it easy and efficient for Google to crawl website content.
Google received an error message when trying to crawl your site.
Your policy prevents Google from crawling this site.
How do I show my site on Google?
Google is a fully automated search engine that uses web crawlers to constantly explore the web and search for sites to add to our index, usually just to publish your site. In fact, the vast majority of sites included in search results are not submitted manually, but are automatically found and added as our programs crawl the web. Learn how Google finds, crawls, and displays pages
We provide Webmaster Guidelines to help create Google-compliant sites. Note that we do not guarantee that our crawlers will find a specific site, but following these instructions may help your site appear in search results.
Google Search Console provides tools to help you submit content to Google and monitor your performance on Google Search. Search Console can send you alerts if you want to know about serious issues Google has with your site. Subscribe to Search Console.
Here are some basic questions to ask yourself about your website in the beginning.
Will my site appear on Google?
Do I provide high quality content to users?
Will my local business appear on Google?
Is my content fast and easy to use on all devices?
Is my website secure?
For more information on getting started, visit https://g.co/webmasters.
Later in this document, you will find instructions on how to optimize your site for search engines, organized by topic. You can also download a short checklist in PDF format.
Do you need an SEO expert?
A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist is someone who has been trained to increase the visibility of your website on search engines. By following this guide, you will have enough information to help you improve your website. Additionally, we recommend that you hire an SEO expert to help you view your pages.
The decision to hire an SEO expert is an important one that can improve your website and save time. Therefore, you should be sure to research the potential advantages of hiring an SEO expert, and the damages the expert can do to your website if they are not responsible. There are many other SEO experts, agencies and consultants that can provide useful services to website owners, including:
View the content or structure of the site
Manage online business development activities
Search engine optimization training
Experience in specific markets and regions
Before you start looking for an SEO expert, it's a good idea to be a well-informed client and familiar with how search engines work. We recommend reading this guide in its entirety, especially the following sources:
Google Basics: How Google crawls, indexes and serves websites
Google Webmaster Guidelines
How to Hire an SEO Expert
If you want to hire an SEO expert, it is best to do so as soon as possible. The best time to hire an SEO expert is when you are considering a website redesign or planning to launch a new website. This way, you and your experts can ensure that your website design is SEO friendly from the start. A good SEO expert can help you improve your existing website.
For an in-depth collection of articles on the need for an SEO expert and what to do, read the article Need an SEO Expert?
Help Google find your website content
The first step in including your site in Google is to make sure that Google can find it. The best way is to submit a sitemap. A sitemap is a file on your website that informs search engines about new or changed pages on your website. Learn more about how to create and submit a sitemap.
Google also finds pages through links embedded on other pages. Learn how to encourage users to discover your site through promotion.
Tell Google which pages you don't want to crawl
You can use robots.txt to prevent unwanted crawling of non-sensitive information.
The robots.txt file tells search engines if they can access and crawl certain parts of your site. This should be a robots.txt file, located in the root directory of your site. Blocked pages can be crawled using a robots.txt file, so we recommend a safer method to prevent sensitive pages from being crawled.