Until this week, the closest Google has ever come to publishing anything on recommended Search Engine Optimization practices has been the well known and rather vague Google Webmaster Guidelines. Just the fact that they used the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none term ‘webmaster’ hints at the rather limited potential value of the document to anyone that’s been involved with the industry for say, a few days. The guidelines are a great starting point for someone new to web development, but aside from advice and hints posted by Matt Cutts on his and others’ blogs, the public hasn’t ever had any Googficial (How’s that for a word – Come on Oxford and Websters, I dare you) documentation on how to get better website visibility in Google.
2 days ago, however, Google’s SEO Starter Guide appeared on the Official Google Webmaster (shudder – there’s that word again) Central Blog. Now in terms of the information value in the guide, I’d say it’s a step up from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, but not by much. New to SEO or web development and need a reliable source of information on how to make your site more search engine friendly? Need information you can trust, since you are new to the game? Well here it is. Which brings me to the real value of these guidelines as far as SEOs and Internet marketers go.
Trust. We know that having the experience with the basic SEO practices outlined in the SEO Starter guide and far beyond is what really makes the difference in a competent Internet Marketing professional, and if there is even a single piece of information in this guide that you aren’t familiar with, you might want to reassess your worth to your clients. However, the basics of SEO, now officially outlined by Google in their guide, will help to take some of the mystery out of SEO for business owners when wondering whether what they’re paying for is actually worth it. Nothing in this guide is new to us, except that Google has finally put it’s stamp of approval of the most basic of SEO principals that we’ve all been using for a long time; and they finally refer to it as SEO as well. Potential clients often want to understand what basic steps you’re taking to help their internet presence in exchange for their hard earned money. Just the fact that Google has official documentation on the basics of SEO is a step in the right direction. Thanks Google.