Take Advantage of Google’s Free Tools
Google offers a wide variety of free products, services, and tools.
Some of these tools are designed to help websites become successful.
I use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools on a regular basis to gather the information I need to improve my blog.
Yes, I look at how my numbers are doing – it’s nice to know.
But, more importantly, I also use these tools to strategically improve my results.
Here are my top Google Tools Tips
- Optimize “sneeze” pages. A sneeze page is one that tends to drive traffic to other pages. In Google Analytics, I look to see which pages are being the most effective at driving traffic around my blog and then optimize them so that they rank higher in the search engines. To identify a sneeze page:
- Go to Google Analytics > Traffic > Search engines;
- After “Source” and before “Visits” you’ll see a drop down menu that likely says “None”. Click on it and choose “Landing Page”;
- Now you’ll see what pages people land on via Google and other search engines.
- Click on “Pages/Visit” to sort your results based on the average number of pages people visited from that page.
- The pages that rank high for driving traffic to other pages on your site are sneeze pages.
- Optimize these pages for the search engines with titles, tags and keywords.
- Optimize high ranking pages. This strategy is essentially the opposite of the one above. This is about finding your pages that already receive a lot of traffic from the search engines and optimizing them to become sneeze pages. To identify your top pages:
- Go to Google Analytics > Traffic;
- In the larger window on the right, click on Google;
- Choose “Landing Pages” again in the drop down menu;
- You’ll notice that the pages are sorted by the number of hits received from Google.
- Optimize these pages to drive traffic around your site and increase page views by adding links to other posts that the visitor may find interesting.
Google Webmaster Tools for Preventative Maintenance.
How Google sees your blog has a huge impact on its success in the search engines.
Last summer I struggled with a problem that was growing exponentially and would have seriously damaged my results with the search engines had I not fixed it.
To fix a problem you have to know it exists. This is why I go into Google Webmaster tools at least weekly.
Here’s what I do when I go there:
- Click on “Site Configuration”, then “Site Maps” to ensure that the latest indexing of my site was successful. Once or twice I have found a problem with this and had to resubmit.
- Click on “Diagnostics”, then “Crawl Errors”. If there is a dead URL on your site, you’ll find out here. You can fix these with a 301 redirect. There is a plug-in called Redirection that make this easy.
- Click on “Diagnostics”, then “HTML Suggestions”. This is where I discovered duplicate URLs were being identified by Google – a big problem for SEO. It took a lot of digging to find out why but I did find it in a small piece of script in a WordPress upgrade. I can thank the net for my solution!
If you are not hosting your blog yourself, you will likely have to vary the steps identified above but you can still deploy these strategies.