By Paul Hickey on August 27, 2013
We left off my last Geeky blog post talking about submitting sitemaps generated by the WordPress Yoast SEO Plug-in via Google Webmasters. See, I told you it was a Geeky blog post. Sorry, let me break this down for you. After all, what the heck does “submitting a sitemap” mean – and what is Google Webmasters anyway? Some kind of exclusive club you have to hack or code your way into?
That’s what I originally thought a few years back. To the average marketing person or business owner, “Google Webmasters” just sounds scary, when in fact, it’s actually more like “Google Lifesavers.” It takes the G-man out from behind the proverbial curtain and allows you to basically sit down and have a virtual Q/A session with him. He’s not shy about telling you what’s wrong with your website from a technical standpoint, but instead of getting scared by the little yellow or red triangles with exclamation points inside them, look at it this way – Google Webmasters is the equivalent to someone swooping in during the end of your freshman year in high school and telling you exactly what you need to do to eventually be on homecoming court.
Why businesses of all sizes need Google Webmasters:
1. Stay aware of site errors – Don’t worry, there’s nothing too scary in here. You’d rather know when Google finds an issue crawling your site and stay proactive in fixing the issue. 90% of the time, there’s a simple fix, and Google tells you very clearly what they’re looking for, how to fix the error(s) and the potential impact of not fixing the errors. An example below is a basic 404 Page Not Found Error.
Nobody wants the dreaded Malware warning, but if you have Google Webmasters installed, you’ll get alerts to take action to help you avoid it.
2. Submitting site maps – Like any good kid who wants to come home and show their parents the A+ paper to hang on the refrigerator, you should be proud of any content edits you make to your site, and let Google know about them by submitting a site map via Webmasters. Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, a great way to generate a simple XML sitemap is by using the WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin. Instructions for how to submit via Webmasters are below.
3. Checking your site’s appearance to the searcher – You’ve all seen sitelinks. You just might not know what they are. Webmasters helps you manage which of your site’s internal links get displayed when users make various searches.
Here are the “sitelinks” when you Google Cabedge.
So, if I wanted to have “Creating a Sense of ERgency” be replaced with a different link on my site, I could manage that via Webmasters here…
4. Solid Analytical Data – As much as I love Google Analytics, Webmasters actually has some solid user-search related data. It’s nice to see how branded vs. non-branded keywords generate traffic to your site, as well as your average SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rank for each keyword.
I also really like the “Links To Your Site” feature. It has many practical applications for measuring the effectiveness of your PR, relationship building and linkbuilding strategies.
5. Doubles as an all-in-one SEO Tool – Where Google Analytics gives you all of your site’s data, Webmasters can sometimes double as a free all-in-one SEO tool. The perfect example is the HTML Improvements feature. It notices and displays things like “duplicate search engine titles” and tells you how and why to fix them.
6. It’s way too easy to set up – No excuses, just drop one snippet of code in your site’s homepage, and you’re off and running.
Next post – Coming September 9 – Why businesses of all sizes need Google Plus Local Verification and a Review strategy.
Paul Hickey is the managing director of Cabedge Design, LLC – an Atiba Company – and chief marketing geek for the Atiba Family. He specializes in strategic web design, organic and paid search, brand creation and helping clients and partners accomplish business goals. Paul loves writing and communicating, and helping drive relevant traffic to websites.
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