I was browsing some technology forums today and I came across a very interesting post. Some enterprising web surfer has compiled a list of 20 SEO tips from Google's Matt Cutts. Matt is known at the Mic Jagger of Search – he is Google's front man when it comes to SEO and you can read his blog here.
I have edited the list to keep it punchy – points are historical listed (oldest at the top).
1. Use dashes over underscores in the url.
2. Google will take individual action against spammers – but generally they like to deal with the issue by creating a better algorithm.
3. Google updates their index and back link data all the time (referred to as everflux).
4. Hidden text (white on white) will not work.
5. Be careful of selling text links – you may be at risk.
6. Googlebot can not enter password protected websites (sites requiring a login) so be sure to include enough relevant information in the public area so Google can determine what your website is about.
7. If SEO is important to your website do not use Flash. If you must use Flash create an html version of the site for Googlebot and exclude the Flash version using your robots.txt file.
8. Use user friendly urls with keywords that describe the individual page.
9. Use unique title tags for each page.
10. Minimize the use of redirects.
11. Minimize the number of parameters in the URL (? = etc)
12. Don't use session ID's in the url. (ID=unique # for each webmaster).
13. Google prefers you earn links rather then buy them.
14. If you are practicing Blackhat SEO, don't use Google analytics; remember if you give them access to your site, they are watching you.
15. Google isn't against buying or selling text links, but Matt says they are good at spotting them and devaluing them.
16. Google has started focusing on detecting spam in other languages.
17. 302 redirects are largely treated as 301 redirects, but don't count on it, always use the proper redirect.
18. Canonicalization is the process of picking the best url when there are several choices, Google now tries to pick the best one and eliminate the others. To help Google, web masters should use 301 redirects.
19. Do not use the url removal tool to sort out domain name issues, you may end up removing your entire website.
20. Error 404's are treated the same as error 410's.