Google is constantly changing and updating their algorithm and many web designers, web developers, and companies must continue coming up with new ways to be listed in the Google search engine as a top ranking.
In the old methods, otherwise known as Black Hat SEO, tricks may have been used to try and boost rankings without much effort and many small SEO companies began springing up promising that they could get anyone listed as #1 on a Google Page Listing. Of course, these were lies, and they would rank their customers for keywords that were not even part of the business or their website.
This worked for the short-term, but you cannot fool the giant search engine, Google. While many may think Google is against them, Google loves new content and loves websites with fresh and innovative ideas. For the “get listed quick” schemes, Google developed Ad Sense. For everyone else, Google has the answer right in their philosophy, and if you follow their philosophy, everything else will follow and you will be listed naturally; and many of your visitors, readers, and customers will find you naturally.
You can read the entire Google Philosophy on their website.
Rather than just focusing on Google Philosophy, I wrote a quick crash course to summarize Google Philosophy in my own words on what you need to be doing in order to be a successful website or business that actually gets listed or recognized by Google. They tell you everything you need to know, no cheating and no shortcuts necessary, but you do need to follow and understand their philosophy in order to succeed.
Apply Google Philosophy to your website and you will never be hit by a Google Panda, Google Penguin, or Google [insert animal here]. While there are never any guarantees, Google will always do its best to abide by its own philosophy, which is probably drilled into the engineers, the programmers, the webspam team, the security team, and all the employees of Google. Follow the Google Philosophy and your website will most likely be safe.
There may be times where it will look like your website got hit, but in retrospect, your information is old and outdated, and newer information is put forth above yours. If you are constantly updating and putting out new and valued information, you will always have the advantage of being listed in a Google search, especially for specific keywords that you are focusing on.
Google claims they began this list when they first started up and they chose a top 10 list. Why a list of 10 as their philosophy? Because 9 is too little and 11 is too much. Only Google knows why but 10 is good enough.
1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
Google cannot exist without visitors (e.g. customers), so everything they do, they always have you in mind. They want to give you the best Internet experience possible; an experience without difficulty or struggle; an experience of fast uncomplicated Internet.
Design your website this way, design easily readable content backed up by resources and research if possible, focusing on delivering the most useful knowledgeable content or products to your visitors, and everything else will follow.
2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.
Google's primary function and reason for existing is to focus on search and delivering the closest, most accurate results of that specific search. Since Google was created in 1998, they have almost 20 years of experience, if you count the brainstorming and vision that went into building the company. While Google has rolled out other products, they are still good at one thing: delivering to their visitors the most accurate search results.
If your company or website is focused on one thing, your chances of success will be better for you and your visitors. If you know coffee, than focus on delivering knowledge, information, and products on coffee. If you know fashion, than focus on delivering knowledge, information, and products on fashion. Focusing on too much at once without a clear vision is like focusing on nothing at all and you are likely to lose visitors who cannot understand your goals, visions, or your information.
3. Fast is better than slow.
Google does its best to deliver you results in seconds because it values your time. It has no patience for slowness, just as it knows most human beings want things right yesterday (or now). Speed is highly valued and when Google provides you results in an instant, it knows it has done its job.
There is nothing worse than going shopping and having to wait in a long line to pay for the merchandise you just picked out, as you wait for the cashiers to ring up other customers. Having the correct amount of staff on during the day when its mostly keeps the lines down and customers happy. Keeping a customer waiting on line or on the phone will drop satisfaction, as most people do not want to wait. They want to pay for their merchandise and leave, or if on the phone, they want answers right away. Keeping any customers or visitors waiting that are dealing with your business is not good for business.
Compare that to being on your website: If your website is loaded with advertisements and unnecessary clutter, you are making your visitor or customer wait for your website to load, waiting for content or images to load, and you are basically doing the same thing: making them wait. No one wants to wait for anything to load, especially in this day and age of fast Internet connections and speed.
Make sure your website loads fast, your content is delivered fast, and customers can navigate quickly and thoroughly through your website without interference. Delivering to them the best experience will keep them coming back.
4. Democracy on the web works.
Google is always open to new ideas and innovation from its employees and open-source programmers that contribute to projects. Google uses analytics to determine which websites are more popular than others and what gets more clicks, visits, and return visits. In doing so, Google can deliver the best results to its visitors and searchers.
If a customer or visitor has an idea or suggestion about your business or website, take it literally and take it seriously. They took the time to think up and write to you about your business, so if it is applicable and will help your business, be open to new ideas and innovation to help improve your business or website. The moment your business begins to lack ideas and innovation is the downfall of your business or website.
5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
Google knows people are not just sitting at home, on their computers, looking up information. In fact, they know this very well, as they are the ones who developed the Android OS, which is on millions of smartphones. Google wants the world to be able to access information at any time they want.
Your business or website should be able to provide visitors or customers with access to information anytime they want, no matter where they are, no matter how they access it, and no matter what time of day it is. Make your website accessible to both computer, mobile, and tablet users by developing a user-friendly interchangeable design. Read more about CSS Responsive Design.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
While Google is a for-profit business and enjoys the benefits of making money like any other company, Google is not after ripping people off, cheating people, or getting money from them. Google wants to deliver its business and ensure their customers are satisfied with the product. Anything less and Google did not do its job well.
Just like a customer who orders a sandwich without cheese, but receives cheese on it, the final result was not delivered well, and all measures should be taken to ensure that customer is satisfied. Your website or business should do all it can to ensure your customers are first. Old crude business practices were about getting money from the customer, regardless of whether the customer was satisfied or not. This business practice is not sustainable in the long run and is a guaranteed method to lose customers. By having satisfied customers, even if it means losing some money in the short-term, your customers will be very happy with your business or website services and continue to return, use them, and recommend them to friends and family.
In this day and age of business and company reviews, with emphasis from Google Plus, Yelp!, or the BBB, your business or company website cannot afford bad reviews. These review websites are like your permanent record, and recovering from them may take many years, if recovery is ever possible at all. A customer review goes a long way because the majority of customers, despite whether they gave an accurate or inaccurate review, have great say when it comes to your business, and they may be what draws in many new customers, or prevents many new ones from ever giving your business a chance. Do your best to ensure your customers are satisfied.
7. There's always more information out there.
Google knows that new information is created and published everyday. They have thousands of machines, robots, and algorithms, discovering new information, categorizing new information, and figuring out new ways to classify this new information into their search database. From searching old archives, new patents, academic journals, medical conditions, new images, or even the contents of books, Google is always seeking new ways to archive our world from the physical to the digital.
Your business or website should always be looking for new ways to provide updated relevant accurate useful information to your visitors or customers. In our ever-changing fast world of technology and information, within a week, most information is already old and outdated. Whether you are a news website, a website dedicated to selling coffee products, there is always new information out there, so focus on delivering the latest up to date information to your visitors and being a company that is always prepared and ready for change, especially with the latest trends and technology.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
Although Google is based in the United States in the state of California, it is not just a company dedicated to Americans or a business that only understands the English language. Google's visitors and customers involve people and businesses from around the world, who do not speak a word of English. Google offers their services in over 130 languages and does its best to improve everyday, including hiring employees who speak other languages and can help improve their services for all countries. Google has made itself a global business dedicated to delivering information to the entire globe without the barriers of language blocking its progress.
Your website or business should focus on delivering products, knowledge, and information to a global audience, if your company wishes to expand. Language should never be a barrier and by hiring employees who speak other languages, or delivering services to a country outside of the United States, your chances for success and being discovered are increased greatly. Consider becoming an international business or website.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
While Google is a professional business that takes itself very seriously, it still knows how and when to have fun, encouraging fun activities among its employees, and providing the services to do so. Even in its own products, the "fun" can be seen in Google - from the constantly changing Google logo, which caters to holidays and days in history, to the ever-changing products Google is always improving. Not being serious all the time does inspire more creativity, innovation, and new ideas.
Your business or website should also seek to inspire creativity, innovation, and new ideas. From design, to content, to products, your business has the opportunity to change the world and make a difference. However your business or website decides to present its image, it should inspirational, encouraging, and unique.
10. Great just isn't good enough.
Any company can be great, but great is never good enough when there is always room for improvement. Google knows and understands this point very well: As a technology company catering to the world, the work is never done. Technology is always changing and advancing, and therefore, Google must always keep up and be ahead of the game. Google knows that after it goes the extra mile when providing its services, it must go even further, and think outside the box. Google is a company that is never satisfied with itself, knowing it can always do better. This is a great paranoia for any company to have, as it must always strive to be the best at what it does, and even in being the best, it can always be better.
As you build up your company or your website, you may feel satisfied with how far you have made it, how successful your business is, but deep in your mind, you know there is always room for improvement and there is always something you can do to make your business better than it is. By never being truly satisfied and always striving for more, your business or website will naturally follow the latest trends and technology and you will be able to keep up with the ever-changing world. When you think your company or website is doing well and has done good enough, your company can do so much more. Strive to be more than just great, strive to be the best.
Google has provided a very strong solid foundation of their philosophy on their website and with a little interpretation, can be used for any company or website philosophy in order to succeed and do well. While any company can take the time to write their own philosophy, Google has become a global success and a billion dollar industry. By following the philosophy they wrote and applying it as your own, you are almost certainly guaranteed to do well.
The Google Philosophy is not a cheat sheet, a Black Hat SEO technique, or a quick way of doing things, but rather, a corporate culture, a company culture, or a business lifestyle and business mindset to understand and to adopt as a way to operate and function as a business. Applying these techniques and even interpreting them in your own way will help you succeed in your own business or website endeavors.
Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.