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Want to learn about SEO? Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

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Most online entrepreneurs using a third-party web designer have little or no desire to learn about SEO or web promotion. As business owners, however, they should at least know enough to be able to retain an overview of the general methods employed by their designer to ready their website for its promotion.

For example, this year has seen a marked increase in the number of new clients approaching us with variations of the same question:

"My site was doing fine until about a week ago, and then it simply disappeared from Google’s search results. What’s gone wrong?

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The root-cause can usually be found in Google's Webmaster Guidelines

While there are of course a large number of reasons for a website to lose ground in Google’s rankings, one common denominator during recent times seems to have been hidden text. That is to say, text on a web page which is the same or a very similar colour to the page’s background, thus making it invisible to the human eye, while keeping it in plain view of search engine spiders at the code level.

This tactic is a fairly old one, and one which Google openly condemns as unethical in its webmaster guidelines, and has gradually been taking measures against over the past couple of years or so. From an ethical web designer or promoter’s point, hidden text is not only an unethical practice; it is also a counterproductive one, since search engine algorithms, in their quest for ever more genuinely relevant search results, are gradually catching up with this practice, along with many others which are deemed shady, in all their weird and wonderful forms.

There are, however a large number of professionals who have yet to learn about SEO, or at least ethical SEO, and are still using design techniques which have long since been frowned upon by the search industry as a whole, because they are effectively designed to fool both search engines, as well as human visitors.

This comparatively large number of inexperienced web designers out there has created a need for online business owners looking to use a third-party designer to have at least a basic knowledge of search engine quality guidelines so as to be able to keep an eye on their webmaster’s activities. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines represent one piece of essential reading for this purpose, since they plainly outline the ‘dos and don’ts of web design’ without going into eye watering length on the topic.

A little light reading about SEO

In fact, Google's guidelines are phrased in such a way that even a novice should be able to read, and understand, them in about twenty to thirty minutes.

From your perspective as an online business owner, which is worse; taking half an hour to learn about SEO at its most basic ethical level, and then asking a couple of informed questions at Google’s Webmaster Help Forum, or suddenly finding that your site has disappeared without trace from the search engine results.


Why take a chance with your website's future?

Is it really worth to take such a huge risk with your business’s ongoing success? Given the many new clients contacting us with the same problems over the past few months, a little time invested now may well save major loss of income and redesign costs later.

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