Google has provided an inside look into how it approaches SEO for its own properties.
Sean O’Keefe from Google says staying on top of the latest updates is no different for Google’s internal teams than it is for other site owners.
Google owns 7,000 websites that are managed by hundreds of product and marketing teams.
Sites owned by Google receive the same treatment in search results as any other site, O’Keefe says.
Google’s teams also have to follow the same webmaster guidelines as other sites that are indexed in search results.
Every day, over 200 changes are made to Google’s websites, which could all possibly impact SEO.
“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 — and that anyone else with a website can learn from.”
Google has revealed three key details about its own SEO strategy that could potentially help other site owners.
Focus on Small Changes
Small, noticeable changes can produce big gains, the company says.
“The Google My Business marketing site, for example, saw a near 2X increase in organic traffic,1 partly because the team implemented a number of web fundamental best practices, such as showing search engines what URLs to index by implementing canonicals.”
Google has been able to replicate organic growth across a number of its sites after implementing the changes illustrated in the graph below.
Users’ search behaviour is always changing, which leads to Google implementing new search features in order to keep up.
Site owners should take a similar approach to embrace change, rather than shying away from it.
Experimenting with various changes have produced better SEO results for Google’s sites.
“For example, last year we focused on fixing Google Search Console errors, implementing structured data, and adding AMP to the Think with Google site. After we fixed one common AMP error on a number of URLs, those impressions increased by 200%.”
Consolidate Multiple Properties When Possible
Google recommends consolidating when site owners find themselves creating multiple websites with similar content.
“Creating one great site instead of multiple microsites is the best way to encourage organic growth over time.”
That’s what Google did after realizing it had developed a large number of near-duplicate sites.
Consolidating its properties produced positive results, the company explains:
“For example, after that site audit, we decided to overhaul our marketing websites for Google Retail. Cleaning up six old websites, consolidating content, and focusing our energy on one great website doubled the site’s call-to-action click-through rate and increased organic traffic by 64%.”
According to Google’s Sean O’Keefe, focusing on these three areas has helped the company build an SEO strategy that can adapt to change and drive results.
He believes these same concepts can be applied to all websites.