When it comes to creating websites, Google Sites is a popular option for many individuals and businesses. However, there has been some debate about the SEO capabilities of Google Sites. In this article, we will dive into the insights shared by John Mueller, a renowned expert from Google, regarding the use of Google Sites for SEO purposes. We will explore the advantages, limitations, and best practices associated with Google Sites, shedding light on how it can impact your website’s visibility in search engine results.
Understanding Google Sites
Before we delve into the SEO aspects, let’s first understand what Google Sites is all about. Google Sites is a free website creation service that allows users to build and host websites under the sites.google.com domain. With a simple interface and the ability to use a custom domain name, Google Sites offers an accessible platform for creating webpages.
Indexing Google Sites Pages
One concern raised by users is the indexing of Google Sites webpages. Mueller addressed this issue by confirming that URLs on Google Sites can indeed be indexed by Google. He emphasized that websites created on Google Sites can appear in Google Search results. However, he did mention that tracking URLs used in Google Sites can be challenging since the public version might differ from the logged-in view.
Mueller’s response provides reassurance that Google Sites pages can be indexed, but it also hints at potential complexities in tracking and optimization for SEO purposes.
SEO Considerations for Google Sites
Mueller’s insights shed light on the SEO qualities of Google Sites. While he confirmed that Google Sites is technically indexable, he acknowledged that it may not be the ideal platform for SEO. He recommended exploring other options and considering the pros and cons before committing to Google Sites solely for SEO purposes.
To enhance SEO performance and tracking in Search Console, Mueller suggested using a custom domain name for Google Sites content. This approach not only facilitates performance monitoring but also enables easier migration if required. Additionally, owning the entire domain helps with verifying ownership in Search Console.
The Challenge of Google Stacking
It’s worth noting that Google Sites has gained popularity among spammers who engage in a tactic known as “Google Stacking.” This practice involves creating links on Google subdomains such as Google Sheets, Google Docs, and interlinking them on Google Sites. The misguided belief behind Google Stacking is that there is a transfer of “trust” and “authority” from Google subdomains to the spammer’s sites through these links.
However, Mueller has clarified that Google does not have specific metrics for trust. There is no inherent trust or authority that gets transferred from one site to another through links, regardless of whether they are on Google Docs or any other Google subdomain. It’s ironic that Google Sites, a platform used for spamming practices, is not recommended by a Googler for SEO purposes.
Best Practices for SEO on Google Sites
While Google Sites may not be the ultimate choice for SEO, there are still ways to optimize your website within its limitations. Here are some best practices to consider:
- Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant terms and phrases that align with your content and target audience.
- Content Optimization: Ensure that your content incorporates the primary keyword naturally. Include it in your headings, subheadings, and body text. However, avoid keyword stuffing, as it can negatively impact user experience.
- URL Structure: Optimize your URLs by including relevant keywords and making them concise and descriptive. This will help search engines and users understand the content of your pages.
- Meta Tags: Craft compelling meta titles and descriptions that accurately represent the content of your pages. These tags provide valuable information to search engines and can influence click-through rates.
- Internal Linking: Utilize internal linking to connect related pages within your Google Sites website. This helps search engines discover and navigate your website effectively.
- Image Optimization: Optimize your images by using descriptive alt text and relevant filenames. This practice enhances accessibility and provides additional context to search engines.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure that your Google Sites website is mobile-friendly. With the increasing use of mobile devices for browsing, a responsive design is essential for a positive user experience and better rankings.
- Quality Content: Focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that resonates with your target audience. Google values content that provides a great user experience and answers users’ queries effectively.
- External Backlinks: While Google Sites may not be the best platform for building external backlinks, you can still promote your website through other channels. Guest posting, influencer collaborations, and social media promotion can help generate external links and increase your website’s visibility.
Implementing these best practices will enhance the overall SEO performance of your Google Sites website, despite its limitations.
See first source: Search Engine Journal
1. What is Google Sites, and how does it relate to SEO?
Google Sites is a free website creation service offered by Google. It allows users to build and host websites. The relationship between Google Sites and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a topic of discussion because users want to understand how well Google Sites performs in terms of search engine visibility.
2. Can Google Sites webpages be indexed by Google?
Yes, Google Sites webpages can be indexed by Google. John Mueller, an expert from Google, has confirmed that URLs on Google Sites can appear in Google Search results. However, there may be complexities in tracking URLs, especially since the public version might differ from the logged-in view.
3. Is Google Sites the ideal platform for SEO?
John Mueller has acknowledged that while Google Sites is technically indexable, it may not be the best platform for SEO. He recommends exploring other options and weighing the pros and cons before committing to Google Sites solely for SEO purposes.
4. What SEO considerations should be taken into account when using Google Sites?
To enhance SEO performance on Google Sites, consider the following:
- Use a custom domain name for Google Sites content.
- Conduct keyword research and incorporate relevant terms into your content.
- Optimize URL structures.
- Craft compelling meta titles and descriptions.
- Utilize internal linking to connect related pages.
- Optimize images with descriptive alt text.
- Ensure mobile responsiveness.
- Pay attention to page loading speed.
- Create high-quality, valuable content.
- Consider external promotion methods for generating backlinks.
5. What is “Google Stacking,” and should it be used for SEO purposes?
“Google Stacking” is a tactic used by some spammers to create links on Google subdomains like Google Sheets and Google Docs and interlink them on Google Sites, with the belief that trust and authority are transferred from Google subdomains to their websites. However, John Mueller has clarified that there is no inherent trust or authority transfer through such links, making it an ineffective and discouraged practice for SEO.
6. Can Google Sites be used for SEO despite its limitations?
Yes, Google Sites can still be optimized for SEO within its limitations. Implementing best practices, such as conducting keyword research, optimizing content and URLs, and creating quality content, can improve SEO performance on Google Sites. Additionally, external promotion methods can help increase visibility.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Rubaitul Azad; Unsplash – Thank you!
Colin Hughes, a passionate wordsmith and digital raconteur. He ghostwrites for numerous websites that include travel, culture, and lifestyle content. When not traveling for work, he loves to spend his time at home with his husband and two border collies, Reggie and Tuesday.