Over the years Google has made numerous changes to how it provides the most relevant search results.

These changes have left many website owners wondering how to make their website Google-friendly to remain high on Google searches.

Websites still need to optimize their designs with keywords simply as a way to help Google better know what they offer. However the website design and content as a whole, as well as social media activity, all have very large parts to play. In other words, usability is key.

Websites need to be designed for those who are interested in their content – their target audience. Organic SEO is also very much alive, and websites must be designed to not only wow your customers and prospects, but also to impress Google.

So how can you make sure that your website is people-friendly, and thus Google-friendly, and future-proof?

1. Define your audience

The first step in designing a people-friendly website is knowing your audience is. This make a huge difference to its overall style, layout and content. Google’s own basic guideline is “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”

2. Provide high-quality content

Every page, and especially the homepage, must provide very helpful, clear information for visitors. If the content on a website is not clear or, even worse, looks stuffed with keywords, Google will notice. Blogs are essential, but must provide helpful resources, give expert advice, publish tutorials or any other things that would appeal to their target audience, in the most appropriate tone and language.

3. Design for mobile

If you really want to make Google happy, then you must have a website that is mobile-friendly. For most a responsive site really is the best option due to a much simpler upkeep. rather than having to also maintain a separate mobile design.

4. Publish images properly

High quality images and videos are an excellent way for a website to draw in visitors. They can be used to add aesthetics to a website design, provide previews of products, give visuals for a tutorial, and much more. Videos that are also published on YouTube make a website more visible. Both images and videos can also help Google find a website easier if they are set up properly – Google has pages dedicated to image instructions and videos.

5. Get involved in social media

This is a big way to gain organic links, though success may depend on which services are preferred by your industry and audience. If a website then posts relevant and helpful content, it will get talked about, retweeted and shared. This kind of organic activity surrounding a brand name lets Google know that a website really is important and an expert in its field.

6. Connect with the experts

Your industry should have experts who are seen as the big influencers on the web. One way for a website to involve them is to reference them in articles in your blog. Another is to connect with them through social media so that you can provide relevant comments that add to an expert’s posts. You never know when an authority recognized by Google may mention a website to their thousands of followers or on their highly ranked blog or news column.