This is part 1 in a series of tutorials which will help you discover new methods for improving your Search Engine Optimization. From better code practice to tricks of the trade these tutorials will cover a wide range of techniques to help you improve your overall search ranking performance. This first installment will show you how you can improve your search engine ranking by using Google‘s web master tools. a free solution which will provide you with an array of powerful tools to to help increase traffic to your website.
1. What Is SEO
The web has grown tremendously in the last several years and so to have our methods of navigating it. When someone wishes to find a resource on the internet they have 2 methods of finding it, the first is to use the Universal Resource Locator (URL), however this assumes they know the exact URL of what it is they are looking for. The second method is to use a search engine. In order to be returned in someone’s search results your website content needs to be optimized, hence the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization), that in a nutshell, is what its all about. As Google is the world’s largest search engine, with millions of searches performed daily, it’s well worth sitting up and taking notice, That is why Googles web master tools are essential for anyone who is serious about their website.
2. Signing Up
The first step is to create an account with Google, you can do this by visiting the site and clicking “sign up”. If you already have a gmail account then you won’t need to worry, as your account and login details will be the same. If not, setting up the account will only take a moment.
3. Verifying Your Site
Once you have signed up and logged on the first step is to add a site. Do this by inputting the URL of your website and clicking the add site button, you will then be asked to verfiy your site.
Google offers you 2 ways to verify your site: the first is to upload some meta tag information into your web page, the second (and my preffered method), is to upload a blank html page with a file extention that Google will specify. It will look something like google477068468e5c7c60.html. By uploading this to your server, Google will know that you really are the account holder for the website you have specified. By becoming verified your site will become more trusted by Google. You have the opportunity to tell Google more about your website’s purpose and content, so it can profile your site with the correct search criteria, which could in turn boost your ranking in relevent searches.
4. Uploading A Sitemap
It’s well worth submitting a sitemap to Google. A sitemap tells the googlebots how to navigate your site by providing a map to each page of your site.
It will also give you access to a wider range of tools and facilites to help you analyse your site. There are a number of websites which offer this service. XML-Sitemaps is particularly good and it is free. You can select which format you wish to download the sitemap in, as a rule of thumb it is worth taking both the HTML and XML versions, but you will only need to submit the XML format to google. Once you have done this Google will verify what you have sent them, however be aware that this may take up to 24 hours to complete.
5. Tools Available To You
Once you have completed the set-up, you should find your ranking will improve. However, you may need to be patient. Google only updates it’s search indexes every so often. The next time it does the information you have supplied will be used to improve your search result positioning.
You will now also have a variety of tools available to you — everything from information on web crawls to top search terms. These are tools you can use to improve your website’s overall performance and findability.
So there you have it, in just a few simple steps you can make a dramatic improvement to your website’s search ranking.
This is the first part in the series of blogs aimed at improving your sites SEO, so stay tuned.