How to Make Your Content Search-Friendly

Last Edited February 2, 2017 by Garenne Bigby in Search Engine Optimization

How to Make Your Content Search Friendly

As some people might not know, it is absolutely free and totally easy to be included within Google's search results with little to no effort on your part. This is because Google is a totally automated search engine that relies on software called web crawlers that explore the internet regularly to find sites to add to their index. Many of the websites listed on Google's search results have not been manually submitted to be included, thanks to the bots that have been crawling the internet periodically. In order to determine if your website is already on Google's index, search for your website's URL. Even though Google crawls and indexes literally billions of websites, it is possible that some get overlooked. When this happens, it likely one of a few reasons; Google got an error when trying to crawl the site, the website design makes it hard for Google to effectively crawl the content, it's a new site that hasn't had time to be crawled yet, or the website isn't well connected from other websites on the internet.

Google offers guidelines for helping to build a website that is crawler friendly. There can be no guarantee that a crawler will find the website, but when the guidelines are followed it makes it much more likely that it will be crawled, thus appearing in Google's search results. If the problem is with a mobile app on Google, you should look into implementing App Indexing for the application. Google's Search Console is able to provide tools that aid in submitting content to Google, and are able to monitor how the website is performing in the search results. Search Console is even able to send website owners alerts on important issues that have been encountered with a website or mobile application.

Are You In Need of an SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization/optimizer, and hiring someone to do this is a huge decision that has the potential to exponentially improve a website while saving time. On the flip side, this can also potentially damage the website and its reputation. If you are thinking about it, you should research the advantages and disadvantages from hiring someone depending on their skill level.

Many SEO agencies and consultants will provide useful services including but not limited to:

  • Content development
  • SEO training
  • Keyword research
  • Reviewing a website's content and/or structure
  • Technical advice
  • Information on specific markets and geographies


Do know that Google's search results pages will include both organic search results as well as paid advertisements. When you choose to advertise with Google, there will not be any effect on the presence of the website within the search results—the money paid isn't for increasing rank in search results. As a matter of fact, it is totally free to appear in the organic search results pages. There are many free resources from Google to provide information about how to optimize a website for organic search results, like: Search console, their discussion forum, and the official Webmaster Central blog.

While starting a search for SEO, work to become educated on how search engines actually work. Also, the earlier in the process of creating a site that you hire someone for SEO, the better. This can be when launching a new website, or even if you are thinking about a website redesign. That way, the website will be search engine friendly from top to bottom.

What to Ask Someone Helping with SEO

It is vital that you hire someone that is trustworthy to work on your SEO. Some topics to ask them about include: their previous work, their familiarity with Google's Webmaster Guidelines, their marketing services, their experience regarding the industry and location of the site, their length of time in the business, and what is the best way to communicate with them. Those who work in SEO have the ability to provide valuable services, but those unethical SEOs have tainted the industry through overly aggressive marketing techniques and attempts to unfairly manipulate search engines. It is vital to know that anyone who violates Google's guidelines will receive negative consequences, like a lower adjustment in search results presence or even total removal all together.

These are some things to consider when looking for someone to help you with your SEO: there is no possible way that anyone can guarantee a number 1 ranking on Google. A company should not be secretive and needs to be able to clearly explain what they intend to do. You should also not never be asked to link to their firm.

Making a Google-Friendly Site

It is not difficult to design your own website that will reap benefits within Google's search results pages, there are just a few things that should be done.

You will need to give your visitors high quality information—especially on the main page. If the pages of the site contain information that is useful, the content is likely to attract more visitors and even provoke other webmasters to link to your site on theirs. To create the type of information that will get this reaction, the content should be helpful and rich in information that accurately and clearly describes your chosen topic.

While you want other websites to link to yours, you should be linking other websites on yours as well. This helps web crawlers to find the website and then give it greater visibility in the search results. This is possible because Google uses advanced text-matching software to provide pages that are important and relevant to the search. Pages that link to each other are essentially a vote of confidence in one another, and shows them to Google as being more important. These algorithms have the ability to distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links are those that develop as a normal part of the web when other websites discover your content and find it valuable and helpful to their audience. On the other hand, unnatural links are those that are placed with a specific strategy in mind in order to make a website appear to be more valuable, this more popular in search engines. Do know that only those links that are natural are the ones that matter when crawling and indexing a website in order to determine the ranking.

A website needs to have a logical structure of the links. Each page needs to be reachable from one or more static text links. It is recommended to use a text browser like Lynx to review your website. Viewing it like this is similar to how many web crawlers will see it, so just in case any extra features keep you from seeing the entire site through it, you'll know that it is difficult for a bot to crawl it.

What You Should Avoid

Do not stuff your content with lists of keywords, attempt to hide pages, or make pages only available to crawlers. If there are pages, text, or links that are not intended for visitors to see, then Google sees this is deceptive and could ignore the website.

You should also not feel obligated to pay for an SEO service. Some companies will claim to give you a higher ranking for your site, while others will realistically improve the content and flow of the website. It is vital to be able to distinguish the good from the bad when looking at SEO services.

Images should not be used when displaying important names, links, or content. The crawlers do not recognize the text within the graphics. If images are needed, you should be using the ALT attributes to give information about these graphics.

You should also not be creating more than one copy of a page under different URLs. Many websites opt to have text only or printer friendly version of their pages, and they contain the same information as their graphic-rich counterpart.

Appear as a Featured “In-depth article”

These are the articles that appear when searching for things like a specific person or an organization. They are highlighted in the search results, as they provide high quality content that will help users to learn more about a topic. This feature is based on an algorithm, but there are certain steps that can be taken as a webmaster that will help Google to discover your high quality, in depth content for users that are looking for it.

You should have all of the following features in place: a headline, alternative headline, an image that can be crawled and indexed, a description, the date published, and a body for the article. If the content is broken up into multiple parts, it should have proper pagination that will aid the algorithm in being able to correctly identify the extent of the articles. Also, it is very important to correctly canonicalize the pages of the content broken up into multiple pages.

A logo is a great way for any user to recognize the source of content in just a simple glance. Being a webmaster, there are a few ways that you can let Google know which logo should be used for your website. You can generate a Google+ page and then link it to your website. Here, you will choose an icon or official logo to use as the default image. Or, you can use organization markup in order to pinpoint your logo. If either of these things are done, it may take a little time for the changes to be reflected in the search results.

The Basic Principles

Your main goal with providing quality content on the internet should be to please users, and not search engines. You should not be working in a way that will deceive users that visit the page—more often than not it will also try to deceive the search engine as well. You should be avoiding tricks that are used to improve rankings in search engines. One way to think about it is to ponder whether or not you would feel comfortable explaining what you have done to the website to a brand that is your competition or to an employee of Google. Ask yourself, will this help my users? Would I still do this if search engines did not exist? Think about what it is that makes your website valuable, unique, and engaging. Your website should be developed so that it will stand out among others in the same field.

More Things to Avoid

Some of the things that seem like a good idea, really do nothing but negatively impact a website. This is because Google's algorithms are privy to all of the tricks.

Here are some of the things that should be avoided:

  • Link schemes. This is when links are added with the intention of manipulating a site's ranking in Google's search results, including buying or selling links, excessive link exchanges, and large scale article marketing/guest posting.
  • Cloaking. This is when different content or URLs is presented to the human users and search engines. It is a clear violation of Google's guidelines.
  • Sneaky redirects. Sending a visitor to a URL that is different than the one that was originally requested.
  • Doorway pages. These are created only to rank highly for certain search queries. They will lead to many similar pages while each result will take the user to the same destination.
  • Text or links that are hidden
  • Scraped content. Copying and republishing content from a website and not adding any sufficient original content or value to it.
  • Affiliate programs that do not add sufficient value
  • Stuffing irrelevant keywords
  • Pages with malicious behavior (viruses, etc.)

Good Practices to Follow

In reality, doing the right things is not very difficult. You should always be monitoring your website for hacking, and then removing any content that has been hacked as soon as it is discovered. You will also need to work to prevent and remove any spam that is user-generated. These things may cause your website to violate Google's guidelines, and they will take action on it. Once the problem has been taken care of, it can be submitted to be reconsidered.

Garenne Bigby
Author: Garenne BigbyWebsite: http://garennebigby.com
Founder @dynomapper
Garenne Bigby is freelance Chicago developer and founder of DYNO Mapper with over 10 years experience in both agency and freelance roles in design, development, user experience, SEO, and information architecture.

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