The Five Most Important Webmaster Guidelines
Webmaster guidelines play a major role in the SEO game because it helps you rank better in search results and also keeps your site from being banned by the search engines. Not following these roles will definitely hurt the traffic that comes from search engines. I have looked at and compared the webmaster guidelines published by Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. Here are the five major items that are common throughout the three different guidelines.
- Content is King – Provide useful information for your viewers.
- Google: “Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first” (Google).
- Yahoo!: “Original and unique content of genuine value” (Yahoo!).
- Microsoft: “The best way to attract people to your site, and keep them coming back, is to design your pages with valuable content that your target audience is interested in” (Microsoft).
- Sitemaps – Make it easy for the search engines to crawl and index your website.
- Google: “Google uses your Sitemap to learn about the structure of your site and to increase our coverage of your webpages” (Google).
- Yahoo!: “Yahoo! Search will retrieve your Sitemap and make the URLs available to our crawler” (Yahoo!).
- Microsoft: “Add a site map. A site map helps MSNBot to find all of your pages. Links that are embedded in menus, list boxes, and similar elements are not accessible to web crawlers unless they appear in your site map” (Microsoft).
- Focus on Users – Design your website with the users in mind, not the search engines.
- Google: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines” (Google).
- Yahoo!: “Pages designed primarily for humans, with search engine considerations secondary” (Yahoo!).
- Microsoft: The following is not an appropriate technique. “Attempting to increase a page’s keyword density by add lots of irrelevant words” (Microsoft).
- No Link Schemes – Don’t participate in excessive cross-linking to raise your rank.
- Google: “Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank” (Google).
- Yahoo!: “Sites cross-linked excessively with other sites to inflate a site’s apparent popularity” are unwanted (Yahoo!).
- Microsoft: The following is not an appropriate technique. “Using techniques, such as link farms, to artificially increase the number of links to your page” (Microsoft).
- No Hidden Text or Links – Don’t hide text or links so that they are only viewable to search engines and not users.
There are a number of other specifics and guidelines that you can read about in the pages linked above. I have only listed five of the most important ones that show up in many posts and articles. Be sure to follow all of the guidelines for each search engine to ensure that your site will be included in their index. Not following the guidelines can result in your site being banned. Search engines provide a lot of free traffic and it is worth reading through the guidelines.