Moz Blog, one of the more reputable sources for search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, recently released a video entitled “Google Leaked Dos and Don’ts.” Here at Applied Interactive, we take advice from this source quite seriously, but we take great pride in the fact that we have a few of our own trade secrets as well. The “twist” we put on things ends up making a significant, quantifiable difference in the results we achieve for our clients.

All that being said, we believe the list they created is a great place to start:

The Dos

1. Task Completion – If there is a function a page is supposed to perform, it should be executing its task. The best way to tell whether or not this is happening is to check your analytics. If a particular page has a lot of drop-offs, then some changes probably need to be made. Some of these changes include making sure the page is properly labeled, making sure it loads in under three seconds, and making sure visitors do not have to scroll to find the content they are looking for.

2. Offsite References – These references are all about links and reviews. According to Josh Bachynski from SEOMoz, Google can tell who is, and who is not, talking about your website. Google can also tell the “quality” of the conversations in which your website is mentioned.

Perhaps the easiest type of reference a website can receive is from social media. People on social media – any social media – should be talking about your content. Companies should also try their best to be positively acknowledged on social media by industry experts. Google knows who the experts are and, if they are not talking about you, Google will notice.

References can also come from guest blogs and review websites. Industry-specific blogs, magazines, and newspapers are great places to create brand recognition, and double as great references that will let Google know to take your company seriously.

Another place to gain offsite references is from independently-verified review sources such as Yelp, Zagat and Google+. Those four star reviews really do matter.

3. Contact Information – A company’s address, phone number, and other contact information should be visible on every page of your company’s website. This information should also be up-to-date, making it easier to reach out and verify that the company is a reputable business. Google will also check to make sure your business has a mission statement and company directory.

4. Site Sources – Just like an English professor in college, Google will check a website’s sources. The rule of thumb is to give credit wherever credit is due. It doesn’t matter if the information on a page is coming from Wikipedia or another industry-specific site, businesses should give those pages a link or cite them as a source. Doing so will indicate to Google that a company is acting as an upstanding web citizen and should therefore be trusted more than those that do not engage in this practice.

The Don’ts

1. Repeat Keywords – This mistake is easily avoided. Do not overuse keywords. There is no point in mentioning the same keyword or phrase ten times in a single page. In fact, website’s do not even need multiple pages dedicated to the same keyword. Making this mistake will give Google the impression that a company is exercising spammy web practices and penalize them accordingly.

2. Put Quality Over Quantity – There is the common misperception that appearing active is more important than providing quality content. This mindset leads to unnecessary posts and internet clutter. Long story short, one good post a month is worth more to Google than five “fluffy” posts a week.

3. Grammar Matters – Google uses quality-centric algorithms that will catch misspellings and poorly constructed grammar. Companies should make sure all their content has been reviewed and checked for errors.

4. Website Engagement – In their Quality Rating Guidelines, Google has made it very clear that page engagement should not be interrupted by obtrusive online ads. These types of ads make visitors scroll over and around in order to view the content that originally made them want to visit a page. A website exhibiting this type of behavior will most definitely find itself with a very low quality rating.

Hope this helps. Check out the video here.