This article was originally published on HubPages but Google Adsense “requested” that I remove it because its against their TOS to actually tell publishers how to make money from their program – at least by using the term Google in the url! So here is the article reproduced!
This article was specifically written relating the official Google Webmaster Guildelines to HubPages.
Google has just released their Search Engine Optimization Guide That’s a pdf – you may want to download it now and follow along the rest of this article.
Just lets be clear about the importance of this document: it is by definition the definitive way to get your site or hub ranked in Google. Its written by Google and it free. The information is not new – but finding your way around the whole Google Webmaster group is tedious. So now they have put out the readers digest version.
I doubt none of this information is new but it has been a bit hidden by Google itself and into the void has come far too many self-proclaimed experts.
The document is put out for webmasters: those who own sites – so much of the information doesn’t affect authors at HubPages. HubPages deals with a lot of stuff automatically. For the purposes of the jargon that Google uses: HubPages.com is the overall website and our individual hubs are individual pages or articles on that site.
The document is here only 22 pages so open it up and I will refer to its page numbers:
On-Page SEO For HubPages Create Unique, Accurate Page Titles (p2)
The equivalent for a hub: is the Hub’s Title. Ideally it should be unique, comprehensible and relevant to the hub – easy enough! Don’t be too clever. Google is a machine and doesn’t do well analogy: Hub is a Gold Mine will tell Google the page is about hubcaps or network hubs and mining – even though you write about making money on HubPages
Make use of the Meta Description (p4)
Thats the summary text box. The recommendation is to make it unique – so turn off the automatic feature and write something different in there.
Google says: Avoid:
- writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page
- using generic descriptions like “This is a web page” or “Page about baseball cards”
- filling the description with only keywords
Good Practice for URL Structure (p8)
You can’t control the overall structure of urls at HubPages EXCEPT for the end part of the URL. When you create a new hub as you type the Title the url is automatically generated – but you can change it and may have to if the url is already in use.
Google says: Avoid:
- using excessive keywords like “baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseballcards. htm”
Provide Compelling and Useful Content (p11)
According to Google this is the most important thing of all! Yeah duh! The next quote is interesting in the detail though:
“Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means.” My emphasis.
So if you want to know where to promote your hubpages then you just got the list from Google!
Google also mentions:
- good spelling and grammar
- staying on topic – focus your hub on ONE topic
- use relevant jargon: the terms your readers will use to find the page. I never use the term vacation in real life (its not English (UK) usage) but many of my readers do so I use it from time-to-time
- avoid duplicate or near-duplicate content
Google also specifically talks about exclusive content: original research or an exciting news story. Content that is topical and new does definitely get indexed faster than anything else. I have had some success with new content on my “Australia News” blog.
Good Practice for Anchored Links (p13)
Use a good descriptive link to another hub/website. Rather than linking to “my blog” link to my blog about “Australia News” The anchor text should describe what the site or hub linked to is about.
(Sub)-Heading Tags (p15)
Hubpages makes this really easy to do but many people don’t use it.
- imagine you are writing an outline
- use heading sparingly
For a hub H1 tag is the same as the title of the Hub H2 tag the title for the text capsule. You don’t have to have a title and you can add further H2 headers within the hub by using the format drop-down box H3 and H4 are lower level sub-headings.
Always use the provided header formats to highlight your sub-headings rather than using bold/italic etc – Google uses the sub-heading tags as a guide – just like your readers do.
- Create an Attractive Hub Page
Designing an attractive article using HubPage’s tools isn’t too hard, even for the design-challenged like myself. However you do need to know a few tricks to avoid the frustrations…
Optimize Your Use of Images (p15)
Use the “alt” tag to explain what your image is about. Search engines can’t “read” photos: they don’t know what they are about unless you tell them. You use the “alt” tag to tell them (also computers for blind people use the alt tag to describe that photo).
On a Hub your alt and caption tags are automatically populated from the text you put in the caption. At HubPages it doesn’t matter what the name of the file you upload is because the HubPage’s software automatically renames it on upload.
Off-Page SEO For HubPages Promote Your Website in the Right Ways (p20)
What Google says:
- Blog about new content on your website
- Don’t Forget About Off-Line Promotion
- Know About Social Media Sites
- Add your Business to Google’s Local Business Center
- Reach out to those in your site’s related community but don’t have paid links for purposes of getting PR
What Google doesn’t say is even more interesting and this is my interpretation guys!
- they don’t mention article directories
- they don’t mention blogrolls.
So if you haven’t already done so setup a blog which promotes your Hubs! For anyone who has their own site you need to read the document in full: if this document gets well-known it may put out of business some of the more dubiously competent “professional” SEO’s out there.
What do You Think?
I hope this article is of use to those authors new to promoting their own material on the web and gives them the idea that its not either rocket science or even that difficult.
The original post at Google Webmaster seems to have stirred up some comment on twitter and elsewhere in the webmaster world. To me it doesn’t seem that jaw dropping – the on-page stuff has been around for ever.
The off-page stuff may be a bit newer. They don’t explicitly mention article directories – but my articles on ezines and other major directories are often picked up by other blogs, but they are duplicate content then so are they are a waste of time? They do explicitly mention social media – but what tiny % of the world’s population use social media? Most of my real world friends are not confident commenting on a blog never mind following me on twitter LOL
It seems to me too that they are saying that the website is the important thing and the blog is what promotes the website: does that mean that the day’s of specific money-making blogs are numbered and that they would be better off as websites?