Google's SEO Starter Guide

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 15, 2008
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Development, Search

Search Engine Optimization is essential for webmasters who want to promote their websites to their fullest extent. It is usually divided into onpage and offpage SEO. Onpage SEO describes the process of optimizing the website itself while offpage SEO describes all methods of attracting links to the website.

Most search engines do not talk about SEO. This has lead to an incredible amount of SEO related content on the Internet which is usually a mix of experience, rumors, false assumptions and guesswork.

In a somewhat surprising move Google published the SEO Starter Guide on their website. The guide concentrates on onpage SEO and mentions offpage SEO only briefly. Experienced webmasters will not find anything revolutionary in the pdf document which is clearly aimed at webmasters who never came in contact with SEO articles before.

It's a good read for those webmasters. One thing that's done well in the SEO guide is the screenshots that are tied to Google search results to show the effects of certain elements on the website.

Table of contents

  • SEO Basics
  • Create unique, accurate page titles
  • Make use of the "description" meta tag
  • Improving Site Structure
  • Improve the structure of your URLs
  • Make your site easier to navigate
  • Optimizing Content
  • Offer quality content and services
  • Write better anchor text
  • Optimize your use of images
  • Use heading tags appropriately
  • Dealing with Crawlers
  • Make effective use of robots.txt
  • Be aware of rel="nofollow" for links
  • SEO for Mobile Phones
  • Notify Google of mobile sites
  • Guide mobile users accurately
  • Promotions and Analysis
  • Promote your website in the right ways
  • Make use of free webmaster tools

No secrets are revealed in the guide but since it is only 22 pages it might be a good read for just about anyone.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. iampriteshdesai said on March 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Well, some time ago some guy (me) used to copy some of your articles with backlinks, but you said no.

  2. techandlife said on March 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I came across an interesting blog post where they mentioned using Tracer to insert a script on your blog. If any part of your page is copied, it adds a link back to your site to the copied content.
    Here’s the link:

  3. Kaushik said on March 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    If you publish full feeds, which you do, you should include a link to the original article or link to the homepage at the bottom of each article. This can usually be done with plugins or simple hacks.

    This way everytime a spam blog republishes your feed, you automatically get an inbound link.

    You should do that.

  4. Daniel Pataki said on March 26, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I personally hate it if people copy my content and I ask them to remove it every time. The reason is, that if they copy most of my article and link back, the article is still a copy and this does not bode well for me in search engines.

    Apart from that, I just get irked by it, it’s my article, not yours :)

    Kaushik, that’s a great tip, thanks!

  5. iampriteshdesai said on March 26, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Well, I have read that google picks out the seeds from the fruit.
    If there is a link pointing back to the original article, google attributes the article to the place where the link points.
    Also your PR goes up dues to the links.

  6. Alfonzo Carco said on May 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

  7. Mansoor said on August 27, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I have a web portal designed to help students find educational content as they go online. My idea is to let them utilize their time effectively rather than just monkeying around on social networking sites. For the same, I need resources that I possibly can’t generate on my own. Resources like subject matter for example, for English I need grammar rules, summary writing rules etc. Now if I find some useful stuff on a website and I wish to copy it on my own providing the link of the source with it, will that be legal?

  8. Mel said on February 1, 2012 at 5:06 am

    If you’re going to copy content, always make sure to have at least a 3:1 ratio of commentary. For example, for every 3 paragraphs that you cite, make sure you have at least a paragraph of commentary for it. This tends to result in favorable SEO.

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