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Google’s 2019 SEO Guidelines According to, Well, Google

February 1, 2019

Google SEO
Earlier this month, Google Data Scientist Sean O’Keefe shared a rare peek into how Google manages the SEO efforts for their 7,000+ websites. The typically tight-lipped titan of the SEO universe is known for being secretive about the algorithms that determine search engine rankings. Below are some key Google SEO guidelines in 2019 that you can take away from the big reveal.

Small, incremental changes can have a significant impact on SEO.

When it comes to website updates, bigger is not always better. Google shared an example of how, by gradually implementing fundamental web best practices, organic traffic to the Google My Business marketing site nearly doubled from July 2017 to July 2018. Some of the SEO guidelines they followed include:

  • Implementing canonicals to inform search engines which URLs to index.
  • Improving metadata to give searchers quick insights into each page’s content from the search results page.
  • Updating the XML sitemap with hreflang tags to provide search engines with a roadmap of the site content organization.

SEO in 2019: Adapt or be left behind.

As technology becomes more efficient and advanced, the ways users interact with it evolves as well. To keep up with ever-changing search behavior, Google continually updates search features and algorithms to show the most relevant results. O’Keefe wrote, “Today, over 50% of website traffic comes from mobile, and Google Search has quickly been adapting in response, with new developments such as AMP and Progressive Web Apps.” Rather than becoming overwhelmed, Google recommends gradually experimenting with updates to improve search engine rankings.

Beware of duplicate content.

Digital marketers understand the allure of creating multiple versions of a site (or even just a single webpage) to appeal to unique audiences. A client recently asked us if we recommend changing tones on specific product pages to fit each demographic that was being targeted. The response we gave the client was twofold. Not only should they try to retain a consistent personality throughout the site to support their brand, but that by duplicating content for different audiences, they would be breaking one of the most important SEO guidelines and the site’s organic ranking and traffic would suffer as well. According to Google, “Duplicate content is not only confusing for users; it’s also confusing for search engines. Creating one great site instead of multiple microsites is the best way to encourage organic growth over time.”

Learn more about Google’s SEO guidelines and internal optimization practices in this article by Search Engine Land.

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