What the Google SEO Guide Doesn’t Tell You

The Google SEO guide, better known as the Google Webmaster Guidelines, doesn’t really tell you anything about actual Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Instead it spreads a false idealism by telling you to just write great content. Don’t get me wrong here, the guide is educational but not really about SEO.

Great content is important—and it’s the number one thing most sites don’t do—but it won’t help you get your site to the top of the rankings in a Internet where everyone else is using SEO. Remember the article I wrote called “Content is Not the Only King“, you should make the effort to read this as it makes some serious sense. I agree that content is important but that is not all you need to rule the internet world. (evil laugh in the background)

So what else did Google forgot to mention in the Google SEO guide? 

Choose Your Keywords Wisely

The choices you make early in your website’s life will affect it for years to come, so choose your keywords wisely. The Google SEO guide hardly addresses keywords at all, but the basic facts are clear.

1.   Short keywords do better than long keywords because they match more possible search queries.

2.   Small sites must be careful about choosing keywords used by larger sites because out ranking a larger site is difficult. (But it’s not impossible.)

3.   Do your keyword research using free or paid tools before choosing any keyword. Make sure the keyword receives the amount of traffic appropriate to your site and try to find any related keywords you can also use.

4.   Consider the long tail—infrequently-searched keywords which you can rank for very easily for guaranteed regular traffic.

My free E book about how to build a WordPress website shares some insights into keyword research also. It is a must read! Go to this page to access the download. No signup required. (password wwb)

Get Incoming Links

The Google SEO guide does mention Google’s original special sauce—PageRank—but then the guide downplays how important incoming links are.

Links are still important.

In fact, links may be the most important thing for your website after high-quality content.

There are many ways to get links for your site from the legitimate—such as guest posting—to the illegitimate—such as link farming.

The Google SEO guide, of course, shuns the illegitimate methods, and so should you—in general. (Many SEO specialists try to walk the fine line between “white hat” and “black hat” SEO, but I suggest you only try this if you can afford to have your site blacklisted.)

The five best ways I know to get links are:

1.   Guest posting—every site needs more content, so most webmasters will love hearing that you want to provide them with a free article. Of course, if you’ve run a site for any amount of time, you’ve probably received more automated offers for guest posts than you care to count—so don’t be the person who sends them. When you offer to write a guest post, write a personalized letter and demonstrate that you’re familiar with the other site’s core audience.

img http://www.socialmediacommando.com/

2.   Link baiting—put up a controversial opinion or valuable (but short) resource to get other people to link to your blog with a response.

3.   Run a contest—people love free stuff and they’ll often tell their friends about contests by linking to it. You can pay for the contest prizes out of your own pocket or you can get vendors to donate the prizes for you.

4.   Proactive linking—link to other people and you’ll find they may link back to you. One way to do this is to revise an old article with medium popularity on your site to link to someone else’s site. If they don’t link back to you within a month, revise the article again and link to someone else. Note, I suggest that once you do get a link back, you stop revising the article—you don’t want to disappoint anyone kind enough to link to you. See my linkbuilding tutorial for more tips.

5.   Ask for help—if you make your readers happy, they’ll probably want to help you, so ask them to go out and link to your site. Be careful with this technique—you may get low-quality links and, if you overuse this technique, your readers will get tired of helping you.

Use Meta Tags

You probably know that there are special tags you can add to the head section of your webpages which will be read by the spiders that build Google’s index. The Google SEO guide doesn’t really talk about these tags, so I will.

The main tag looked at by these spiders is the keywords tag. Before Google came on the scene, this was the tag all spiders looked at to determine what your page was about. Unfortunately, many people used keyword stuffing to make these tags practically worthless.

When Google appeared with its new PageRank algorithm, keywords became less important than incoming links, so a lot of early SEO experts stopped filling in the meta keywords tag. But Google and other search engines never stopped looking at it.

Filling in you meta keywords tag can help search engines such as Google figure out what you think your page is about. Google still has anti-keyword stuffing protection built in, so don’t put any keywords in your meta keywords tag which don’t pertain to the current page, but don’t hesitate to use a plugin for your blog or CMS software to fill in these valuable tags.

Don’t Focus On Google

But the most important thing the Google SEO guide doesn’t tell you—and probably never will tell you—is that Google dominates search less and less every year.

It was true two or three years ago that almost no other search engine mattered, and it’s still true that Google sends more traffic to more sites than all other search engines combined. But unless you want to ignore thousands of potential visitors to your site, you should not focus only on Google.

When you check your search engine ranking, take a moment to check Bing as well as Google. Also scan the search engine optimization guides from search engines besides Google.

Because of patents, all of the search engines work differently—they’re not just Google wannabes. That creates an opportunity for you to make small adjustments to your pages which can help you greatly increase your rankings on these alternative search engines.

Remember also that social media strategy is becoming an increasing important driver of traffic to many websites, and that focusing on the Google SEO guide to the exclusion of non-search traffic methods can be detrimental to your business.

In short, don’t take at face value everything you read in the Google SEO guide.


  1. says

    I currently have 25 guest posts approved in genuine website which provide me lots of link juice. Frankly saying mitz, its not an easy task to get one approved as most of the times the content we write is not required by the webmaster. I usually have to write 5 articles to get one of them approved. But worth the effort if the site is in your niche.
    geoge recently posted..Physical Therapist Assistant-job description, salary, career

  2. says

    Hi Mitz,
    Honestly, Google was never told it to us, and I think Google is full of mystery because it did not inform its SEO secrets to the public. But you are very kind enough to have shared your SEO experience to all of us. Thank you Mitz

  3. says

    Not all these details are shown or are shared it’s good to know that you’re willing to share this to the public. I salute you!

  4. says

    I agree with you completely about the fact that not much attention is paid on meta tags, but they are still important and can bring much value

    Julia Spencer’s recent post.. How to Target Your Clients Using Facebook and Promoting Your Products Effectively

  5. says

    Hey MItz! Thanks for the great article!

    I didn’t realize that google is losing customers year by year. I don’t know about Bing and when I asked my friends none of them use bing. I remember times when altavista and yahoo were searchengines for most of the people but since like 10 years ago i’ve been only using google.

    My question is, is there really a trend trend that google may one day be not the most used search engine in the world? and if yes which search engine could replace google?

    Thx again and cya around!
    grega recently posted..Pregnancy Miracle – Lisa Olson

    • mitz says

      I guess the search engine that finally comes up with the magic algorithm. All it takes is an idea and someone to develop it.

      I think Bing could do more to beat Google..They could worm their way into many computers and software that is standard on all computers. They have an untapped power.

  6. says

    Oh thank you for these details, it’ll definitely help in building my new site. The more traffic the better, and we all know that SEO is the center of everything.

  7. Henry Silva says

    I disagree with the section of this article that addresses the use of meta keywords. It’s been know for quite some time already that Google doesn’t consider them at all anymore, so don’t bother implementing them on your site, Google will just ignore them. Do consider, though, that meta descriptions tags are very important. You should implement these.

    • Mitz says

      Hi Henry
      Most people do disagree but there are advantages to sticking with them… One is that other search engines might use them now or in the future… Also the fact that Google said they read the tags still… Why do all search engines read the tags? Also Google never clearly said that they would not look at this info again. Unfortunately they had to say that these tags were useless because people were taking advantage of this feature and it was working well.

      • Henry Silva says

        Hi Mitz!
        Well, meta keyword tags were working well at the end of the 90’s and during the first years of 2000, when you could probably get your site in top spots in Google by choosing the right meta keyword tags, but not anymore. Even if Google would decide to consider them again, there are so many different factors to rank now that easily outrank meta kewords tags that it would still make no sense to implement them.

        “Why do all search engines read the tags?”
        They might all read (index) them, but we are not sure that ALL of them consider them in their ranking algorithm. If they do, it’s probably because they still don’t have a better way to measure relevancy, as Google does.
        Henry Silva recently posted..Cómo iluminar el logo del iPhone (como en la MacBook)

  8. says

    appreciate your thoughts these are really worthy as per the updates of google panda and penguin are effecting sites to much thees will be the prevention steps from google 2 P’s

  9. Connor Harley says

    Hi Mitz, even with all the articles agreeing that great content is the way. This actually make a lot of sense. It’s not just quality content you need to get to the top. You have to put some work on these areas as well. What’s great content without it being easily accessible.
    Connor Harley recently posted..7 Ways to Get Promoted

  10. says

    Haha! The best point which I liked here is “Don’t focus on Google”. The biggest thing that Google doesn’t want you to know is: there is no secret to SEO. The real secret to conquering search results is to create quality content that people want to consume and share. So, think for best content and you can conquer Google. Nice piece of article buddy!

  11. frank says

    Thanks Mitz, with all of the new updates at Google, it’s very difficult for me as a small business owner to know what is best or even the most recent information. I am the chief, cook, and bottle washer and it can be very confusing. I also downloaded your Keyword guide.

  12. says

    Yeah, agree with you that content is not only responsible for promotion of our website and increasing traffic and Page Rank. Other On-page and Off-Page activities are also very important for consideration. On-Page activities like Title tag, Keywords, Meta Tag, Heading etc. these all activities also plays a major role in SEO. After that Off-Page activities like Article Submission, Forum Posting, Directory Submission, Guest Blogging, Social Bookmarking these also very important for website promotion.
    Swet recently posted..Social Media Marketing Techniques: Secrets on Facebook

  13. Elena says

    I really like you 5 best ways to get links – those are the best and most effective ways. I would also mention one more way to get links is commenting on high traffic blogs. Those links might be not as powerful, but can bring some steady traffic to your blog. Thanks for great tips! They are always appreciated!
    Elena recently posted..Best YouTube Videos: Adele’s Incredible Song “Skyfall”

  14. Silas says

    Though short keywords might be better they have more competition so i target those long tail keywords that have a monthly search of 450 – 500 searches a month. even though that might not seem like much imagine if you have 5 articles targeting long tail keywords and they all after 30 days rank first or on the first page of Google. If they have adsense on them calculating the potential earnings could be as easy as 450 x $2 = $900.00. Im not gonna give you large figures that look unrealistic. That is reality.
    Silas recently posted..How to name your blog

  15. Michael Dufficy says

    You said “Google Does Not tell You” But I am realy Thankful to you That No one Tell me this kind of useful information. I am now a Big fan of yours.

  16. says

    This along with the other posts on SEO is definitely a reference guide to SEO. Thanks
    Sometimes, it doesn’t quite work until a lot of tweaking is done and the search volume of the keywords is correct.
    I know a blogger who does not pay much attention to SEO. He is number 1 for several keywords by just concentrating on great content and earns $15,000 a month from his blog.
    Owen recently posted..10 Simple Business Start-up Ideas That Made $100 Million and Over

  17. says

    Although I admit it, that links are still important, they aren’t as effective in traffic generation and getting a higher page rank as they used to be. The new updates of Google have made the lives of the SEO workers harder; a strong and deep link could help the site to reach a higher ranking, but untrusted and fake links can downsize you value and trust. And Google has nothing to do with ‘natural’ links, they still are important for the off-page optimization. Btw I really like your point on the importance of focusing on other engines and platforms as well, social media might be the new way of online advertising and marketing, people usually use these platforms as well for their purchases and searches. Thanks for sharing your useful tips, I bet they’re going to help a lot of bloggers in this blurry post-penguin SEO-environment.
    bonooobong recently posted..Digitális építészet – parametrikus dizájn

  18. says

    Hi Mitz,

    Great article. There guide is pretty general, as it was created awhile ago. They would never actually tell you how to get to the top, but they tell you the correct practices that could possibly get you there.
    Justin Musiker recently posted..Local SEO

  19. says

    I fully aggree with you, that content is not the only king. Using seo is so important if you want to rank in a competitive niche. Of course valueable content is the foundation for a successful website.
    Thanks for the compilation of important ranking factors.
    Anna recently posted..Mückenschutz in den Tropen

  20. says

    Over the years I’ve learned that quality content is not enough if we want to get traffic to a blog. We also have to “advertise” our sites, by blog posting and social media. The more people get in contact with our blogs the more successful they can become.
    Julian recently posted..Grape Arbor Plans

  21. KevinR says

    The bottom-line is that if there’s one thing that Google absolutely HATES with all its heart, its SEO. Which is why it is understandable why they would try to lead the industry down a false path and not provide full disclosure. As important as good, quality content might be, it isn’t all what SEO’s about despite what Google says. Your article does a good job of listing down some of the other essentials that, like you said, Google “forgot” to tell us 😉
    KevinR recently posted..Facebook EdgeRank 101

  22. says

    Good primer on keywords. Choosing the best keyword is very essential for page ranking. I often ask clients what keywords they want to rank for, if that draws a blank I ask them, “what do you think people type into Google when they are looking for your goods or services?” They usually identify a few keywords and here I get my all answers of getting accurate keywords. I would also recommend using the Scribe SEO or the Google Keyword Tool to find out which keywords could be the most profitable for your website or clients website. Enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for the share!

  23. says

    I guess you are right, you just can’t rely on Google to get your site to top on SERPS. You need to join some courses related to SEO if you are a newbie.

  24. says

    Great article Mitz. Google keeps on trying to downplay the role of SEO on ranking high in search engine. However, the truth is quality content and SEO are really important to rank high in search engines.

    Infact, mediocre-to-average articles can dominate the search engines if you get your SEO right. Take a look at a number of Demand Media properties and you would understand what i mean.
    Steven Jude recently posted..Internet Web Site Marketing Tips – Selecting Keywords + What Is Low Blood Pressure?

  25. Annu says

    I think it is a good overview of SEO and what Google is looking for in terms of rankings.

    But the one problem I found with the video is she talks a little too technical – the video is intended for new businesses who are trying to rank on Google, so these folks may not know what a meta description is and where it goes.
    Annu recently posted..Tips For Using Facebook in Your Job Search Hunt

  26. Rinkesh says

    I guess you are right, you just can’t rely on Google to get your site to top on SERPS. You need to join some courses related to SEO if you are a newbie. No doubt, content is the king but the other SEO techniques that you will employ will take your site past those who have been in SERPS for quite some time.
    Rinkesh recently posted..How to Shop Smart and Help the Environment

  27. Sam says

    When you will update content on regularly basis then you can see how google will give you more importance to your site/blog because content is the still king in the eyes on google and much number of people are using Google search engine than others. So you should target your site/blog with white hat technology in SEO.
    Sam recently posted..Goa Holiday Packages

  28. Aasma says

    Hey Mitz,

    I agree with your points, Google never tells you complete truth about SEO. You can only find truth by experimenting yourself or by asking someone expert in this field. Thanks for sharing these useful points.
    Aasma recently posted..PG in Delhi

  29. says

    “1. Short keywords do better than long keywords because they match more possible search queries.”

    This is correct. But short keywords has high competition than long keywords.So my opinion is, selecting long keywords is better than selecting small keywords.
    Raplus recently posted..15 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

    • mitz says

      I agree that long keywords are easier to rank for but shorter keywords are gold if you can get them and they are well worth trying for. :)

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