There has been a lot of attention recently from Google on content and design of a website. Content is, and always has been, important to ranking a website. This is especially true with the last two major launches of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. It is always good to review Google’s guidelines, from time to time, as it pertains to design and content of a website.
Google’s Design and Content Guidelines:
- Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
- Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map has an extremely large number of links, you may want to break the site map into multiple pages.
- Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.
- Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
- Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the “ALT” attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
- Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
- Check for broken links and correct HTML.
- If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.
It is important to read between the lines on these guidelines, as Google typically will not give a lot of details. So when they say something like “keep links on a given page to a reasonable number,” means that they are ranking pages based on this factor, and it is important to pay attention to this.