Making life easy for Google – making your SEO more effective

Google wants to index and rank you web page well, the reason for this is simple, the more pages it can rank the more authoritative the index looks and ultimately the more Google can make off the back of this.

From an SEO perspective the easier we make the job for Google to rank our page correctly, the better the potential pay-off. While not a magic bullet for all web ranking ills it will help.

Factors which are helpful for Google.

  • Speed of website
    Although Google have said page loading speed is not as important as is was, a fast loading page probably means Google can use its time scanning more of our pages more of the time.
  • Good and helpful navigation links
    When Google comes visiting, you can think of it like a blind (or near sighted) web user. If a good inter page linking structure exists it allows Google not only to understand each page better but also how pages relate to each other. Finally it allows page rank to be evenly spread amongst pages, which reduces the need for deep linking.
  • Clean mark-up
    Although your web page may look visually great, you need to remember that Google sees your page from the matrix like source code it reads. Web pages overloaded with presentational mark-up runs the risk of separating areas of the page which a human would visually see as related.

Semantic HTML5 and the power to improve Google’s understanding of your webpage

With semantic HTML5 we can go beyond using HTML tags to control the look and feel of a page, we can give content a meaning with a view to allow search engines to understand the meaning of the content.

With HTML4 mark-up you would typically use DIV’s to make the content visually attractive. Through this process, within the mark-up you may use DIV’s to separate for instance the heading from the following content. With HTML4 areas like the header, Footer and global navigation were seen as part of the content.

With HTML5 we have the ability to tell search engine, this is the header area of the page, this is the footer and this is the global navigation.

This shift allows Search engines like Google to weight areas of the page differently and actually give better weight to the more important areas of the page like the actual body copy.

By using CSS to define standard HTML tags as display:block and using other CSS tricks we can start to remove DIV’s from mark up and make sure Google is able to see the relationship between mark-up as clear as possible.

This has two very positive effects.

  • With less presentation only tags, source code is smaller and loads faster.
  • The meaning of the web page is clearer to search engines like Google.

And the upshot is by using these techniques, which out changing copy you may see a general increase in your SERP’s. Which at the end of the day is what SEO is all about.

Although current information shows Google is not actively ranking HTML5 pages over HTML4 pages, as the proportion of semantic HTML5 pages grows we are likely to see algorithm changes which will eventually give semantic HTML5 pages a boost in the Google search engine.