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Jan112019

Google Explains 3 Steps Internal Approach to SEO

Google has published an inside into how it uses Seach Engine Optimization (SEO) for organic growth of its internal websites.

Google says, though paid media, social posts, and display advertising etc. helps to drive traffic to a website, “SEO, when done properly, can prove well.”

“We as a company spend a lot of time thinking about search engine optimization, or SEO. No small wonder, given that search is at the core of our business.”

Google gave a rare glimpse into how they manage their 7,000 internal websites.

Google has outlined three key components of its internal SEO strategy that include Make small changes, embrace change, consolidate.

Sean O’Keefe at Think with Google says staying with the latest Google Search updates is no different for them than it’s for other web site owners.

O’Keefe said Google owns 7,000 websites that are internally managed by hundreds of product and marketing teams. Who make 200 plus changes every day to these websites, which could all potentially impact its websites SEO.

These sites receive the same treatment in Google Search results as any other website. Adding he said, their team also practices same webmaster guidelines as other sites.

“That’s why we’ve put in place a cohesive website SEO strategy that we can rely on no matter what fresh changes are introduced,” he said.

Here is a glimpse of 3 key details about Google’s own SEO strategy that “…anyone else with a website can learn from”:

Focus on Small Changes

Google’s first point emphasizes making small, incremental changes can produce a big impact on a sites search rankings.

As an example, the Google My Business marketing site gain nearly 2X rise in organic traffic by implementing a number of web fundamental best practices, like showing search engines what URLs to index by implementing canonicals, O’Keefe said.

The graph below illustrated SEO changes like adding canonicals, hreflang to XML sitemaps, and improving metadata resulted in increasing organic traffic to Google My Business:

Google SEO Approach: Organic traffic increases after SEO improvements to Google My Business

Google Search Console’s new URL inspection tool can be a great place to start to identify issues a site might be facing.

Embrace Changes

Google Search keep implementing new features in response to users always changing search behavior. A webmaster should also adopt this approach of embracing changes, he said.

“[…]Internally we’ve found that the more we embrace them [changes] and experiment with them, the better our SEO results,” Google said.

To prove his point, O’Keefe gave AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) as two examples of Google embraces changes.

Furthermore, just last year Google has fixed errors in Search Console, implemented structured data, and added AMP to Think with Google site.

“By just fixing one common AMP error on a number of URLs helped impressions up by 200 percent,” added O’Keefe.

Here is a chart that shows improvement after fixing AMP error:

Google SEO Approach: New search features appearing for Think with Google after AMP error fixation

Another improvement which led to an “additional 1,000 impressions a day” was achieved by improving content on that site, he said.

Consolidate Multiple Properties Where Possible

Consolidating multiple properties with similar content also helped to achieve positive results, O’Keefe explains, “Creating one great site instead of multiple microsites is the best way to encourage organic growth over time.”

As an example, after a site audit, Google overhauled its Retail website by doing away near-duplicate content sites. This approach doubled Google Retail call-to-action click-through rate as well as increased organic traffic by 64 percent.

The chart below shows Google Retail site improvements post consolidation of six sites:

Google SEO Approach: Consolidation of Multiple Google Retail Sites

Lesson Learned

The key takeaway here is by focusing on these 3 approaches has helped Google creating a flexible SEO strategy that can adapt to changes and drive results.

Google believes these same strategies are easily adaptable and can be applied to all websites.

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