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Google Webmaster Tools is an essential platform for search engine optimization. To understand its full potential, Google Webmaster Tools helps you see your website as Google sees it. It gives you insights into what pages have been indexed on your site, what links are pointing to it, your most popular keywords, and much more.
These are the main Google Webmaster Tools features you should use:
- Submit your sitemap: A sitemap is exactly as it sounds… a map of your site. When Google goes around crawling new pages to put in search engine results, sometimes sites with only a few backlinks get missed. This will help Google finding your site. Submit your sitemap here. Can’t find your sitemap? If you use Wordpress, try typing “mydomain/sitemap.xml” in your web browser, you will see something similar to this.
- Test Robots.txt: Robots.txt is a text file you create to instruct search engine robots how to crawl pages on their website. Robots.txt files indicate whether search engine robots can or cannot crawl parts of a website (specified by “disallowing” or “allowing” behavior). Test your Robots.txt here. Don’t know how to create a Robots.txt file? Take a look at Neil Patel’s article “How to Create the Perfect Robots.txt File for SEO” and if you are a Wordpress user, download and install this plugin.
- URL Parameters: Usually, your post permalink is like this: domain.com/permalink. However, when you get traffic from referral sites like Facebook or Twitter you will notice your Permalink have some extra lines like this: domain.com/permalink?utm_source=facebook. These extra lines help Google Analytics tracking where your site is getting traffic from. Google might recognise your domain.com/permalink and domain.com/permalink?utm_source=facebook as different pages, hence indexing pages with same content and generating duplicate content which will affect your search results. Submit your URL parameters here. Don’t know how to categorize your URL parameters? Here is a quick guide.
- Search Analytics: Here you will find all the search queries visitors have used to find your website on Google. This area gives you both traffic and keyword information. Check your search analytics.
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Open Graph is a technology first introduced by Facebook that allows integration between Facebook and its user data and a website. By integrating Open Graph meta tags into your page’s content, you can identify which elements of your page you want to show when someone shares your page.
For example, try to share this post. You will see the same image of the post on your Facebook feed. This is done thanks to the og:image tag, which specifies what image you want Facebook to use when your page is shared.
If you are a Wordpress user, the og:image tag is automatically assigned as the featured image of your page or post. However, in case you want to use a generic image for all your pages (you can assign an image using Yoast SEO under the social section) or you want to change the og:image tag, you will have to use the Facebook Debugger tool and Card Validator tool to update the image on Facebook and Twitter as well.
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Google My Business.
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. That includes adding your business name, location, and hours; monitoring and replying to customer reviews; adding photos; learning where and how people are searching for you, and more.
An important first step in any local SEO strategy is to claim and verify your local business as a Google My Business (GMB) listing. Getting on Google My Business can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general. Claim and verify your Google My Business Listing here.
Image SEO: Alt tag optimization.
You should always remember to give your images good alt attributes: alt tags and title tags strengthen the message of your articles with search engine spiders and improve the accessibility of your website.
If you are a Wordpress and Yoast SEO user, you can upload an image and very easily set a title and an alt attribute. By default, it uses the image filename in the title attribute, which, if you don’t enter an alt attribute, it copies to the alt attribute. While this is better than writing nothing, it’s pretty poor practice. You really need to take the time to craft a proper alt text for every image you add to a post.
Tip: Give a proper name to your file image before uploading it, and if a keyword could be useful for finding something that is on the image, include it in the alt tag if you can.
Read here The Most Relevant On-Site SEO Actions for your Website. Part 1
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SEO Case Study
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