Google’s standards are high when it comes to ranking, and for those of us who want to create that high-quality content, the guidelines have been … well, sparse. However, things have changed recently, and as the experts at SEO Guest Posts point out, this means that there’s suddenly much help out there for people who want it.
It was just last month that Google’s Developer Relations Group published no fewer than five separate guides for assisting its in-house creators in the battle for the best quality documentation. What do they mean when they mention “documentation”? Digital content, of course.
Here’s what’s out there right now to help you!
Developer Documentation Style Guide
HTML/CSS Style Guide
Java Style Guide
These documents are an excellent resource for anyone who wants to take a peek into what makes Google tick and use the opportunity to learn from the best. The information is not new or anything unusual, but it does represent a great chance to grow as a content provider.
The guides all do the same thing …mpush the idea that high-quality pages, the ones that come top in searches, are not just down to the written content on the page but a combination of that plus top-notch code and UX.
Here is some of what we have taken from Google’s Developer Documentation Style Guide Tips:
- The tone should always be friendly and conversational but with a clear objective. Not too friendly – imagine you were chatting with your best friend, but he was a robot – that kind of thing.
- Aim to sound like a well-respected friend who understands the reader’s needs.
- American spelling, grammar, and punctuation as well as American capitalization and Standard.
- Use effective and descriptive link text … always.
- Always use short sentences which translate well into other languages.
- Numbered lists for sequential events.
- Do make sure outbound links are for sites which are safe and high quality.
Now for a little overview of Google’s Developer Documentation Style Guide Tips for developers or technical creators:
- SVG files or optimized png files with ALT text are something you should consider.
- Correct usage of tables and lists. The only time you should use a table is when you have multiple columns of info.
- Get <strong> and <b> right. <b> is for emphasizing visuals and <strong> is for items of strong importance.
- Select HTTPS for embedded resources when you can but especially for images, CSS, scripts, and media files.
- For HTML templates, use HTML5 in UTF-8 without Byte Order Marks (BOMS).
- Three-character hexadecimal notations should be a consideration rather than six characters for colors as they are more concise.
- Use HTML for structure and CSS for visual style.
Now for a quick look at areas Google’s Developer Documentation Style Guide Suggests you should avoid.
- Exclamation points
- Technical jargon
- The word “please” as part of instructions
- Placeholders such as “please note” and “at this time”
- Starting each sentence, the same way
- Metaphors that go too far
- “click here” in anchor text
- User-agent detection
- CSS “hacks”
These technical guidelines are just that; guidelines are only useful when used with the best intentions and where appropriate. They provide a great insight into what it takes to make quality content and serve as a handy guide. Marketing professionals and content creators will do well to keep them in mind.