Monthly Archives: February 2017

How to Get the Most Out of Google Webmaster Tools

Google webmaster tools is a free service that is offered by Google to help website owners improve their rankings and get the most out of their SEO efforts. Indeed, if you really want to do well in the search engines, you should look at using Google Webmaster Tools from day one, before you start working on improving your site.

The toolset costs nothing to use and is very easy to set up. All you need to do is prove that you own the website that you want to track. There are a few ways that you can do that. Perhaps the easiest is to add something to our domain’s configuration in the DNS records. If you don’t have access to the domain registrar or don’t feel confident doing that, then you can add a meta tag to the home page of the site. Alternatively, you can upload an HTML file to your webserver, or, if your access is so restricted that those two things aren’t an option, but your web designer had already set up Google Analytics for you, then you can link your Google Analytics administrator-level account to Google Webmaster tools.

Once you’re up and running, you will be able to see a lot of information about the site. It can take a few hours for Google to populate the account, but once the information starts to show up you will have some real insights into how Google sees your site. The dashboard offers information about things like which keywords you rank for, your traffic levels (from search), and whether or not the Google bot experiences any crawl errors while it is going through the website. It will also give you information about the number of pages that Google has indexed, and how many sites are linking to your website.

Google is not perfect, and it does struggle with crawling a lot of websites. Providing a sitemap can help with this. Sitemaps can help Google to find new pages that it has overlooked. If a page isn’t indexed, then Google won’t be able to show it in the search results, and this means that you’ll miss out on traffic from it.

Sitemaps have to be formatted in a special way, as an XML file, and you cannot have more than 50,000 URLs per sitemap file. The file must not be bigger than 10MB. If your file is too big or contains too many URLs, then you will need to break it up into more than one file and submit each one individually. You can get free sitemap generation plugins for most common Content Management Systems.

Google will read the sitemap and index your site over a period of time. Sometimes it won’t index every page. If the pages are generic or contain duplicate content, then it will ignore them. This should not be a cause for concern as long as the vast majority of pages on your site are being indexed. If a huge number of pages are being ignored then you should review the quality of content on the site.

There may be some pages that you do not want Google to look at – things like RSS feeds, or pages that are “low quality” that you would prefer to be skipped over. If you create a robots.txt file, you can use this to discourage all of the major search engines from accessing content that you are not keen to have indexed. Note that if content is highly sensitive, it is a better idea to password protect it, because if content can be loaded, someone will find it and access it.

Sitelinks are something else that Google will offer in the webmaster tools section. You have a degree of control over what you can have appear in that section. Google does not allow people to pick what shows up as sitelinks under a search result, but it does allow you to specify what pages you do not want to be used for sitelinks.

Another valuable option for webmasters is the change of address option. You can use this if you want to move to a different domain name and have your links automatically updated to point to the new site in the search results. This won’t help you with any links on third party websites (you should set up a redirect, if you still control the old domain), but it will help you to avoid losing a huge amount of traffic.

It’s worth checking the penalties section as well. If you have a penalty for, say, spam or duplicate content, it will appear here. You can then find out why you have the penalty, take measures to rectify the issue, and contact Google to submit a reinclusion request once the issue is fixed.


Exploring Google Plus Marketing

Google Plus may not be the most talked about social network by SEO Experts, but it does actually have a huge user base, and people who use Android phones are exposed to it on a daily basis. The social network is not one that you can afford to ignore. Google may have “killed” the network many times over, but it’s still popular and it plugs in nicely to a lot of the other areas of the Google ecosystem.

Marketing with Google Plus is easier than you might think – you just need to learn to see the network as a thing in its right, instead of trying to treat it as an imitation of Facebook. It is not that, and it has never tried to be that. Google+ is a brand building tool, and one that is ideal for reaching content consumers – so you can turn them into customers at a later date.

Google+ currently has more than 540 million monthly active users – which puts it behind Facebook and YouTube, but still, means that it’s a hugely important site. It is useful not just for B2C companies, but also B2B, and that’s something that you would not typically claim of Facebook.

Another interesting thing is that the average age of the users is 28, but the site has become increasingly popular with older users, in particular, the 45 – 54 age group. Also, many of its users are professionals.

A large number of the users that are posting regularly on Google+ are either marketers or people who are using the platform for their own business. Even consumers who use it do so as a way of interacting with brands, which is not something that can be said of the more ‘social’ focused platforms.

Bearing this in mind when using the site is important because it shapes what you post and how you use the site. If you can find high-quality leads, increase your brand exposure, and reach the right influencers, then Google+ can be a hugely beneficial platform.

There are a few ways to do this. Firstly, you can use Circles to segment the people that you know into narrow demographics so that you can push the right content to the right people. You could have circles for ‘friends’ and ones for ‘suppliers’ and ‘clients.’ You could divide the marketing into ‘men’ and ‘women. This lets you market far more clearly.

Another useful feature is Google+ Communities. These let you reach people who have similar interests. Joining communities that are relevant to the niches that you operate in is a quick and efficient way of reaching prospective leads. Communities are usually quite receptive to marketing.

One relatively new feature is ‘Collections’ these let you group content together, including things like photos, links, and posts. The reason that collections are useful is that when a user sees one piece of content that you have posted, if they like that content then they have the option of clicking on the collection and looking at other content that is related to it. Use collections to introduce your older content to new readers, and keep relevant content highly visible.

If you want to reach out to your customers in a more personal way, try Hangouts or contact this SEO Marketing company Naples GGG Marketing. Google Hangouts are live chats that you can use to answer questions, run webinars, and otherwise engage with your users. They let you reach people from geographically separate areas in an easy (and cost effective – Hangouts are free to use) way. This adds interactivity to your online marketing.

There’s also a ‘Local’ feature which lets you set up a page with your physical venue location, your business type, and other details. If you do accept customers in your physical premises, then having a local business listing is a must.

You don’t have to update your Google+ profile as much as you might update other profiles. Really, how much attention it gets would depend on your niche, how active people are in it, and how fast the groups you’re in move. It is, however, worth having a profile and monitoring it. If nothing else, it will stop other people from claiming your profiles. Squatting on profiles is a serious issue, and while Google does actually make an effort to prevent it for local businesses by requiring strict authentication actions (such as accepting a phone call to a known business number, or taking a letter in the post), it can happen. It is good practice for you to claim all of your social media profiles, and any domain names that you are interested in as well, so that you don’t have to worry about other people either hijacking the brand, or just holding a profile that you do end up wanting to use at a later date. You could also check other Google tools such as Google Webmaster Tools.