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1 Apr 2010

Some SEO Pearls of Wisdom from Google

by Richard Lyne

On March 23rd Google’s Matt Cutts gave an interview that highlighted a few areas Google look at when ranking and indexing a website. It’s not every day that Google offers an insight into how its algorithm works, so I thought I’d share a few gems with you today. Of course, most of this isn’t new to the SEO community, but it forms the next part of Google’s drip by drip strategy, dangling the carrot in front of Webmasters and SEO enthusiasts alike!

Recently, Google introduced “Site Performance” to their Webmaster Tools platform. It therefore comes as no surprise that Google consider page download speed in their indexing criteria. However, the interesting point here is that if sites have a slow server (typically caused by cheap shared hosting), Google may cap the total number of pages it will index at any one time, limiting your site’s ability to rank better and quicker. This reinforces the view of our own Head of Development who recently published a blog about the importance of good web hosting and follows our best practice recommendations too. Well done Ian!

The number of quality inbound links to your site has always been important in terms of improving Page Rank and keyword positions. However, Google also state that the number of pages they will index is proportional to the number/quality of inbound links. So, developing content is one thing, but if you want it indexed you must develop links.

Duplicate content causes problems. Again, nothing new here. However, Matt Cutts indicated that if you link from one page to a duplicated page, this may affect your page rank. Therefore, it’s very important that if your site does contain a lot of similar content, you should limit the number of links pointing to it to avoid loss of Page Rank.

The final pearl of wisdom relates to site architecture, navigation and how best to influence the flow of Page Rank. In this instance, Matt Cutts said that the best way to flow Page Rank is to link to related and similar content wherever possible. In other words, make important content accessible at all times and recommend relevant content through good navigation structure and links. Again, this sits nicely in line with Wickedweb’s practices of accessibility and usability testing.

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