There are lots of things that Google might like for the holidays. They would love for Santa to leave some favorable legal rulings in their stocking and an extra billion in ad revenue under the tree. But sadly, those are things that won’t fit down the Googleplex chimney.
But if you’re a website owner, there are a few things that you can do for Google this holiday season. Here are three ways to stay on Google’s good side in 2013...
1. Google wants you to get a responsive website (mobile).
For years, the best way to keep mobile visitors happy was by building a separate mobile website. Not anymore. With responsive web design, one site works well for visitors on phones, tablets and desktops.
How does it work? Responsive design combines programming and design techniques so the site responds to the screen size, rearranging itself to fit nicely on various screen sizes.
Why does Google want this? It has trillions of web pages to crawl and index. The last thing Google needs is for everyone to build another site for mobile users. Then it'd have twice as many pages to look at! Google would prefer we all build responsive websites instead.
2. Google wants you to sign your name (social media, authorship).
You may have noticed this only during the last year or two: when you search Google, you see people’s faces next to listings in search results. Those are Google+ profile pictures. They are the authors of the pages behind those listings.
How does it work? There’s a special way for authors to link from their content to Google+ and vice versa: Google Authorship, the modern-day version of a digital signature for authors.
Why does Google want this? Several reasons. By connecting authors to content, they can use author credibility as a criteria to cut down on spam and improve search results in general. Even better, if Google can figure out which authors you like to read, they can personalize search results and show you more by that author.
3. Google wants you to finish your Google+ profile (social media, local search).
Yes, there is a Google+ vs. Facebook battle happening. But it doesn’t matter who wins. We all still need to make sure our profiles are complete.
How does it work? For people, having a complete profile helps Google know who you are, making things like Authorship possible. Just follow the steps in the Google+ Guide. For businesses, your old Google Places page (your old local listing) has been converted into a Google+ page. They did this for 80 million listings in May. If you find that you have two pages, follow these steps to merge and verify the two.
Why does Google want this? Well, obviously they want to compete for the billions of social media users. But they also want to merge their many systems and put Google+ in the middle of it all. If we don’t claim and manage our listings, it’s harder for them to do this.
Naughty or Nice?
In the end, Google does one thing: they deliver relevance. They would like us to help them do this by indicating our relevance for a given phrase. They don’t want us to try too hard, be too clever, or “over-optimize” our pages by stuffing it full of phrases or seeking lots of irrelevant links.
Whatever Google gets for the holidays, let’s all be good this year and stay off Google’s “naughty” list.