Winning Strategies for Online Success!

Google Webmaster Tools Part Two

Configuration

Now that you have your Google Webmaster Tools account setup and your domain verified, let's set the geographic target, preferred domain, and crawl rate. Click "Configuration" to open its sub-menu, the click the "Settings" link.

Geographic target: If your clientele are located in a specific country and your domain has a generic top-level domain, check the box and select your country. Check Google's list of generic domains if you are unsure.

Preferred domain: Visit your website and see if it automatically rolls to www. or not. If yes, select the "Display URLs as www." option. Otherwise, chose the other option.

Important note: Some search engines view websites with and without www. as two separate websites with duplicate content, which is frowned upon. If your website is setup both ways, ask your web developer to set one option to automatically roll to the other option using a 301 redirect.

Optimization

Now lets jump to the "Optimization" dropdown. Uploading a URL list under "Sitemaps" helps Google find and rank your pages quickly. Create a file called urllist.txt and add the URLs for all the main pages of your website. It will look similar to this:

Remember to replace the "xxxxxxxx.xxx" with your actual domain and the page names with your actual page names. When all the page names have been listed, save the file, and upload it to your Google Webmaster Tools account.

The "Traffic" dropdown will has useful data regarding keyword search, inbound links, and internal links.

Search Queries: This data indicates the top search words used to find your website, the pages that are viewed most often in search results, and the click-through-rate. If you notice pages missing from the search results, consider changing your meta description and title tag to be more specific and useful.

Links to Your Site: This data tells you which other websites are linking to your website, how many links they have, and to which pages they link. See if the other websites are in your industry and which of your pages are the most popular.

HTML Improvement

Next we will look at "HTML Improvement," also under the "Optimization" drop down. You can improve the rankings of your web pages and help your users understand your website better by following the recommendations on this page.

Meta description: Google relies on meta descriptions to understand the content on each page of a website. Duplicating the meta description on two or more pages keeps those pages from being distinct. Google will also flag meta descriptions that are too long or too short.

Title tag: Title tags are just as important as the meta description in giving clues about the content on each page. A title that is too long may be confusing and one that is tool short leaves the user wondering. Duplicate title tags also leave Google and your users wondering what is unique about each page.

Using generic titles such as "Home Page" gives no clue to the topic of your website. If all the shoe stores in your town only displayed "Shoes" on their signs would you know where to buy your favorite brand?

While you are updating your website's meta description and title tag, remember to coordinate them with the page title. Review this page for the details…

Google will crawl your website every day, week, or month depending upon the size and activity. After you update your meta descriptions, title tags, and page names, re-upload your site map to signal to Google that you have uploaded changes. Check back next week to see if Google found your changes and has other recommendations for you.

Google often updates and adds functions to its Webmaster Tools. Check your account often to find the latest helpful tools.

Posted on December 5, 2012 | Permalink | Join email list

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