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Webmaster Academy: A Primer on Search Engine Optimization

If you have a website, you probably want it to be easy to find. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines” (Wikipedia). While the most important thing to do is to always focus on providing your users with a great experience, here are some great optimization tips to get you started:

Optimizing Content
If there’s one thing to remember, it’s to make sure your website has high-quality content. Your content should be concise, relevant, and unique. Remember to use words that users would search for, which you can find more data on in Webmaster Tools.

Improving HTML
Make sure that your website contains all the proper HTML tags necessary for search engine crawlers to understand each page. Each web page should have a relevant title (created with the <title> element in HTML) that concisely describes that page’s content. Images should have alternate text (the alt HTML attribute) because Google is much better at understanding text than looking at pictures.

Relevant Publicity
While Google pays attention to everything on your website, it can also learn a lot about your site from other websites. Consider sharing your website with other communities online. Don’t know where to start? See if your local chamber of commerce website lists local businesses. Google uses external signals like these when evaluating your website.

Because doing all of this can be a daunting task, many businesses hire search engine optimizers (also called SEOs). Just like with anyone you hire, before bringing on an SEO make sure to complete your due diligence - here are some tips to make sure you are bringing on a great fit that abides by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

While search engine optimization can seem overwhelming at first, remember that it’s all about creating the best website for your users. A comprehensive list of SEO best practices can be found in Google’s SEO Starter Guide. For more information about how to build a great website that performs well in search, make sure to visit the Webmaster Academy.

Posted by Garen Checkley, Search Quality Team

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