10 Great SEO Tips Directly From Google

10 Great SEO Tips Directly From Google

In an effort to encourage good SEO practices that will be beneficial to real people, Google has started making a lot of helpful information available to website owners. One resource that stands out is their comprehensive Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. Since it’s a long read, we took the liberty of summarizing the top 10 most valuable points for you here:

1. Create Page Titles That:

  1. accurately describe the page content.

  2. are unique by page.

  3. are brief, but descriptive.

Sample job page title: Front End Web Developer JobThe page title accurately describes the job with relevant keywords.

Common job page mistake: Careers at MyCompany.comThe page title doesn’t reference the job and is often repeated on every page of the career site.

2. Make Use of the "Descriptive" Meta Tags

Description meta tags give Google and other search engines a summary of what each page is about. This content is generally not used for ranking purposes, but it is still important because it’s commonly displayed in search results as a descriptive snippet of your site.

It is important to:

  1. accurately summarize the content of the page.

  2. use unique descriptions for every page.

  3. invite or entice the online job seeker to view the page.

3. Improve the Structure of Your URLs

Clear, readable URLs help search engines understand the context of your page. They also help real people make decisions about the content of the page, and whether it is what they’re looking for or not.

Make sure that your URLs:

  • relate to the page content.
  • include keywords (e.g. job titles).
  • are concise (shorter is better than longer).
  • are easy to read (i.e. contain proper sentence structure).
  • create a simple directory structure.
  • exclude dynamic parameters when possible (e.g. "type=blog&id=44").

4. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

Navigation is very important for search engines. A straightforward hierarchy and clear internal links down through the pages in the hierarchy will make it easier for both search engines and users to find your content.

  1. Allow users to easily backtrack by providing them with 'breadcrumb lists' (e.g. "Home > Resources > Articles > Blog")

  2. Allow for the possibility of removing part of the URL (i.e for a URL like mycompany.com/jobs/atlanta/softwarejob1 - if you remove the last piece, the result should return a real page at mycompany.com/jobs/atlanta/—ideally that page would list all the jobs in Atlanta).

  3. Prepare two sitemaps: one for users, and one for search engines.

  4. Create a naturally flowing hierarchy

  5. Use mostly text for navigation; avoid image links or complex javascript menus.

5. Offer Quality Content

Search engines like Google rank sites better when they provide quality content.Anticipate differences in online users' understanding of your topic, and offer unique, exclusive content. For career sites, this might include employment videos and details about the work environment, culture, etc.

Content is considered high-quality when it is:

  • Unique (e.g. does not replicate content from other sites)
  • Useful and informative (think 5 W’s, answer questions)
  • More valuable and useful than other sites (look at competitors)
  • Credible (e.g. testimonials)
  • Engaging (e.g. images, widgets, interactive features)
  • Error-free (spelling, grammar)

6. Write Better Anchor Text

Anchor text is the readable text of a link as it appears on a page, such as, “view our available jobs." Suitable anchor text makes it easy to convey what content is linked.

  1. Choose descriptive text—don’t use “click here.”

  2. Be concise.

  3. Format anchor text so they're easy to spot (i.e. underline them and make the font blue)

  4. Think about anchor text for internal links too.

For example: If you have a list of open jobs that each link to job description page, the anchor text should ideally be the title of each open job.

7. Optimize Your Use of Images

You can provide image-related information by using the "alt" attribute in the HTML.

  1. Use concise but descriptive file names and alt text.

  2. Supply alt text when using images as links.

  3. Supply an Image Sitemap file.

8. Use Heading Tags Appropriately

Use heading tags to emphasize important text. Heading tags are: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. They are used to indicate headers and sub-headers on the page, and to establish a clear hierarchy. These are different from the the HTML <head> tag, which is included at the top of every HTML document.

Your <h1> is usually the most important header or statement on the web page. Everything on the page should relate to the <h1>. Your <h2> is your second-most important statement, and so on. Think of it like an outline for an essay. What is the essay about, and then what is each paragraph about?

On a job page, the job title would typically be designated as the <h1>. This emphasizes the title for candidates on the page as well as search engines. Then, each of the different sections within the job page would get <h2> tags, such as "Job Duties & Responsibilities" or "Experience Required."

Note: Remember that sentences are not headings, so they should never get heading tags.

9. Promote Your Website in the Right Ways

Effectively promoting your new content will lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject. You might use a company blog, social media accounts, your customer email list, and/or offline methods to make people aware of new developments with your business.

Keep in mind that overly aggressive or spammy techniques (e.g. paying for thousands of links to your site) can get you in trouble with search engines.

10. Make Use of Free Webmaster Tools

Google’s Webmaster Tools is a great resource to help understand how Google sees your site. They provide a number of reports to let you know how your site is performing and make you aware of any potential issues. You can also use it to improve Google’s access to your site by, for example, submitting an XML sitemap.

Whether you are just starting to plan for your career site, or looking to improve your current search engine performance, these tips from Google are a great place to start. In fact, we kept these guidelines in mind when we built the Recruiting.com Site platform, and we often refer to them as we build out new client sites. If you’d like to talk about how you might be able to improve your career site’s SEO, just give us a ring.

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