Google

Google

This week, I am going to start a 4 part series which will teach a person how to help optimize their website with Google

Let me start the series by explaining that Google is not the only way to advertise and implement Internet marketing available, however; it is the biggest.

By focusing on Google, you will help your Bing (Microsoft) and Yahoo search results as well.

The general path will be to:

1) Show you how the website you have is working in Google right now, and tools to make sure your content is seen by Google.

2) Give you an understanding of what you need to consider when writing for your website (content drives searching)

3) Testing your content

4) Reporting the results of your content.

Part 1 – Where are you now?

The first step is to get an idea of how your direct domain fairs on Google.  To accomplish this, go to www.Google.com and type in the following in the search box:   Site:<Yourwebsite.com>   for example, I would type:

Site:SimpleStepsIT.com

When I see my results, I am making sure that

  1. I am showing up in the results
  2. I am showing up at the top of the results.

Go ahead and read down the list, you might find out some interesting facts about where your site is listed.  For example, SimpleStepsIT.com is listed on some of the client websites and those are listed in the search.  You might find unexpected gems in your list!

I didn’t show up in the list!

If you do not show up in the list above, consider the following:

1) Is your website VERY new?  If you are really new, then Google might not have had time to crawl you, yet.

2) Does any other website link back to you?  If no one links to your website, Google might not have a way to find your website!  This leads us to..

3) Make sure you create a Sitemap.XML file and upload the location to Google.  You can do this as a one time upload (if you are going to do it multiple times, it would be best to automate) by typing the following to submit your sitemap (hosted on your website) to:

www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap=http%3A%2F%2F<Yourwebsite.com>%2Fsitemap.xml
The above letters "%3A%2F%2F" are "://" after they have been encoded, do place the odd looking encoding when you create your URL.

If you need help creating a sitemap file, go to this URL to get help!

I would suggest creating a Google Webmaster account if you have access to the web site pages and server administrative access. The link is www.google.com/wwebmasters/tools/home?hl=en you will find all of this information and other (easier to use) updates to see what is happening with your sitemap.xml updates.

Please note, there are many comments in various forums of people who have noticed Google having issues w/ 404 errors (pages not found) which do not exist, or existed years ago.  This could be due to Google having to rebuild databases and wanting to repurge, or issues with cache’s which happened months ago.  If you know these pages do not exist and they are not bad “live links”, you can safely ignore the 404 errors.

So, the quick and easy way to figure out how your website is working is:

Make sure that Google can see your site (site:mysitehere.com)

If Google cannot see your site, do the investigative work necessary to make sure Google knows about your site.  Once you know Google can see your site (and will crawl you from time to time), we will discuss how to create web pages which rank higher with Google.

Which, we will do next week with “Your Website on Google – Part 2 of 4”.