I’ve written about Search Engine Optimization on here quite a few times over the years, as there’s a lot of details involved in it. From a high level, though, there’s really just three things:
- Make sure your site isn’t doing something stupid.
- Produce great content.
- Don’t confuse Google.
I’ve talked a lot about the first two in the past, but not as much about the item three. Google’s John Mueller recently addressed it on Twitter when a user asked a fairly strange and complicated question (explained over on Search Engine Roundtable). John’s response was simple:
In practice: if you want something to happen, your job as an SEO is not to confuse search engines about it.
That’s really it. Sometimes the confusion can come from big messes, like in the example above, but it’s often more subtle (and more common) than that. A great example is the “services” page on many sites.
If you have a single page for all of your services, and then you list details of every service on that one page, Google doesn’t really know what to do with it. You have one page talking about ten different things, so Google will essentially just skip it. Instead, if you create ten separate (high-quality!) pages, one for each service, Google can clearly see what each one is about and you’ll have a better chance of one of them coming up when a potential client searches for that information.
Google is pretty smart, but there are roughly 30 trillion pages that could come up for any given search. Give yourself every chance you can to rank well for the terms that matter most, and make things super clear when Google comes around.