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29 March 2021 / 2N1K Blog / Author: Orkut GÜLER

Search Engines Guidelines

Although search engine guidelines differ from search engine to search engine, the basic principles are generally the same: So don’t try to fool search engines. Instead, focus on providing your visitors with a great online experience. To do this, follow the search engine guidelines and make adjustments for users’ search purpose. Let’s take a look at the Search Engine based guidelines;

  • Google Webmaster Guidelines
  • Basic principles:
  • Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.
  • Do not deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks aimed at improving search engine rankings. Ask yourself this; “Will this help my users? Would I do this without search engines?”
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable or attractive.

Things to avoid:

Automatically generated content

  • Participating in connection schemes
  • Creating pages with little or no original content (copying from another site)
  • Cloaking – the practice of showing search engine crawlers different content from visitors.
  • Including hidden text and links
  • Hyperlink pages – pages created to rank well for certain searches to drive traffic to your website.

Bing Webmaster Guidelines

Basic principles:

  • Provide clear, deep, engaging and easy-to-find content on your site.
  • Create clear and relevant page titles.
  • Links are considered a popularity signal, and Bing rewards links that grow organically.
  • Social impact and social posts are positive signals and can affect how you rank organically in the long run.
  • Besides a positive, beneficial user experience, page speed is also important.
  • Use “alt” attributes to describe images so that Bing can better understand the content.

Things to avoid:

  • Pages that show thin content, mostly advertising or affiliate links, and / or redirect visitors to other sites by some other method will not rank well.
  • Malicious linking tactics that aim to inflate the number and nature of inbound links, such as buying links, participating in linking plans, can lead to non-indexing.
  • Make sure that clean, concise, keyword URL structures are in place. Dynamic parameters can contaminate your URLs and cause duplicate content issues.
  • Make your URLs descriptive, short, keyword-rich whenever possible, and avoid non-letter characters.
  • Embedding links in Javascript / Flash / Silverlight; exclude content from them.
  • Avoid duplicate content.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Cloaking – the practice of showing search engine crawlers different content from visitors.

Guidelines for Representing Your Local Business on Google

If the business you’re doing SEO work for is running locally and / or going to the customer location to provide services, you should open a Google My Business registration. For local businesses like this, Google has guidelines for what you should and shouldn’t do when creating and managing these listings.

Basic principles:

  • Make sure you are eligible for inclusion in the Google My Business directory; Even if you have a home address, you must have a physical address and serve your customers face-to-face at your location (like a retail store) or at their location (like a plumber).
  • Fill in all the details of your local business data honestly and accurately, including name, address, phone number, website address, business categories, opening hours and other features.

Things to avoid:

  • Creation of Google My Business listings for ineligible businesses.
  • Misrepresentation of any of your basic business information, including “filling” your business name with geo or service keywords or creating entries for fake addresses.
  • Use of mailboxes or virtual offices instead of real street addresses.
  • Misuse of the review portion of the Google My Business listing through fake positive reviews about your business or fake negative reviews from your competitors.
  • Errors caused by not being able to read the finest details of Google’s guidelines.

User’s Purpose for Searching

For search engines to rank you higher, do not violate guidelines and focus on understanding and fulfilling user intent. When a person is looking for something, he expects to get / see a desired result. Whether it’s an answer, concert ticket, or a cat photo, the requested content is their “user intention”.

As an SEO specialist, your job is to quickly provide users with the content they desire, in the format they want.

User Intent Types:

Informative: Information is being sought. Example: “What is the best type of camera for photography?”

Navigation: Search for a specific website. Example: “Turkcell”

Transactional: Searching to buy something. Example: “Best prices for MacBook”

You can get a glimpse of user intent by searching for desired keywords on Google and evaluating the available SERP. For example, if there is a photo cycle in the search results, people searching for that keyword are very likely to search for photos.

Also consider what content are provided by sites that you do not currently serve, but which you identify as competitors based on search results. How can you provide more value in terms of content on your website? I recommend that you search for an answer to this question.

Providing your website with relevant, high-quality content will help you rank higher in search results and, more importantly, build credibility and trust in your online audience.

Before doing any of these, you need to clarify your website goals in order to execute a strategic SEO plan.

Goals of Your Website / Customer

Every website is different, so take the time to really understand the goals of a particular site. This will not only help you identify which areas of SEO you should focus on, where to track conversions, and how to set criteria, but it will also help you create talking points to negotiate SEO projects with your clients.

What will your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) be to measure the return on SEO investment? More simply, what is your barometer to measure the success of your organic search efforts? Even if it’s that simple, you’ll want to document:

My primary SEO KPI for website _ is _.

I’d like to share a few common KPIs below to help you get started:

  • Sales
  • Download
  • Form records
  • Contact form submissions
  • Phone calls

If your business has a local component, you’ll also want to define TPGs for your Google My Business listings. These can include:

  • Clicks to search
  • Website clicks
  • Clicks for directions

Have you noticed that things like “ranking” and “traffic” are not on the KPI list and this is for measurement?

Yes! You heard it right. SEO can help your website rank higher in search results and ultimately drive more traffic to your website, ranking and / or traffic alone is a purpose-built tool. Ranking is of little use if no one is clicking on your site, and there is little use in increasing your traffic if that traffic is not reaching a larger business goal.

For example, if you run a lead generation site, would you prefer to have:

Do 1,000 monthly visitors and 3 people fill out a contact form? Or…

Do 300 monthly visitors and 40 people fill out a contact form?

If you are using SEO to drive traffic to your site for conversion, I hope you will choose the latter! Before starting SEO, make sure you set your business goals, then use SEO to help you achieve them – not the other way around.

SEO accomplishes much more than show-off metrics. When done well, it helps real businesses achieve real goals for their success.

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