173 rules to improve your Google search results

This article, “Rules for beating Google at SEO” lists 173 “rules” or perhaps factors that Google uses to determine your site and page ranking in search results. Of course, the trick is in knowing (guessing?) which of these are more or less important and what returns the best improvement for least effort.

Rule 158 is an interesting one -

158) Over-optimization. If you match what Google is looking for too well, Google will assume you did it just to get better listings and you’ll be penalized. Google considers tuning your site for better listings unethical

This happened to me and some colleagues a few years ago. We spent six weeks going through a website and optimised every possible factor: we were dead set on being number one on Google. We pored over titles, headings, keywords, body text, links etc etc. Result: the site got dropped – disappeared from Google results completely, searching on the domain name showed nothing. Emails to Google fruitless. It was months before the site eventually came back.

In the somewhat arcane world of search engine optimising you need to hire an SEO expert who’s good – but not too good.

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