For all the naysayers who were so sure that Google Instant was the death of SEO (and those before them who thought the "Mayday" update was the death of SEO and so on and so forth), Google has once again made it blatantly clear that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn't going anywhere. Almost two years to the month, Google has just published a fresh new starter guide to SEO. Via Matt Cutts' Twitter:
Having combed through it, I can definitely say that this guide beats the pants off of the previous guide and is worth a glance even to seasoned SEOs (even if just for checking up on how Google currently views SEO)! For those of you who are interested in taking on SEO yourself or getting into SEO in general, this new guide provides you with plenty of content and action items to start working on. Though there is more information overall in comparison to the first guide Google published, the major addition within this guide is the "SEO for Mobile Phones" section where Google helps you understand why having a mobile version of your site is so important and how you can go about implementing SEO for it. See below where I've taken a screen shot of the full table of contents: There's a lot that I could discuss based on that list above, but I'm not going to delve into any specifics since they're all freely available in the document. What I am going to do, however, is chime in with a couple of things that will help you make the most out of the information contained within the new guide.
Keyword research: When the new Google starter SEO guide makes reference to using better anchor text, page descriptions, page titles, et al, you can take it a step further by researching the best keywords to use and not simply leaving it up to your best guess. Good keyword research alone can be worth the cost of paying someone to do SEO for you initially. Until I complete the keyword research article I'm working on, go here to learn all about it.
Link-building: When the guide speaks about promoting your content, waiting on people to share it and create links to your page can be a very long process. I've recently outlined an extensive introduction to link-building for you to delve into. It will allow you to promote your site in a more proactive manor than simply posting content and waiting on the masses to share it for you. As I've noted in prior posts, SEO isn't rocket science but there is a lot to learn and it takes time and perseverance. If you want clear-cut, white hat SEO, then here's your guide. And while you don't need an SEO professional to go and do everything outlined within this new SEO guide, I do want to reiterate the fact that this *is* just a starter guide. There is much more to the process of SEO as a whole, so don't go expecting this guide to take you from page 100 to page 1 (though it may very well do that depending on the topic of your site and the keywords you choose) or make you an "SEO guru."
If you want to take it to the next level, start getting into off-page optimization (link-building, social media, etc.). That's when you really step outside the boundaries of this starter guide and into more creative territory (where every decent SEO really flourishes and provides value). In conclusion, I'd like to applaud Google for going ahead and doing this update. In 2010, there are still SO many rumors and so much BS going around about SEO that it's nice to have this guide to help cut through it all. And although Google's starter guide is a relatively minor offering in the grand scheme of SEO, it speaks loud-and-clear for the integrity, validity, and longevity of SEO.
Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide: Download Here (4MB PDF Document)