So you have a blog, and you have started to get traffic. Yippee. However you have decided you want to go further and really improve your blogs search ability on the web. How do you do it?
One really handy free tool that you can use is Google Webmaster Tools- after all we all know that Google is the biggest search engine and of course we want to be on the good side of Google!
First of all you need to make sure your blog is signed up on the tool. Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and log in using your google account. (or register for one free if you haven’t got one) Then on the main dashboard page on the right hand side there is a big red button which says ‘Add a site.’
You will then need to verify your blog so webmaster tools will be able to pick it up. To do this really easily on wordpress go on to ‘alternate methods’ and use the html meta tag method. If you need to do it on another blogging platform, it is also really easy.
You will then need to make sure that you have installed the ‘Google Webmaster Verification’ WordPress Plug In. You can find this easily by searching under ‘Add New’ Plug In. Once you have done this go to the ‘Google Webmaster Verification’ plug in which you will find under the ‘Settings’ menu on your wordpress dashboard.
Simply then add the code from Webmaster tools into the google site verification box at the top. Remember to only install the code rather than the whole thing. Please see below as an example.
Save changes and voila! Your site is now verified. It will take some time for it to fully update your information- the details I am using below aren’t fully up to date for I heart Snapping but it doesn’t matter as it will give you an idea.
There are a few things which are really useful for bloggers within Google Webmaster Tools. Here are just a few of them.
1. Firstly pay attention to your searches as it can give you a really valuable insight into why people are finding your blog.
Impressions are the number of times pages from your site were viewed in search results- the number of days per period defaults to 30, but you can change it at any time. Clicks are the number of times your site was clicked in search results for a query e.g instagram post, and the percentage increase and decrease in the average daily clicks compared to the previous period. (again default of 30 days) CTR is the click through rate of your site for that particular query and the average position is where it will appear in the search results for that particular query. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look that great to start with, it can take some time to collect all your data.
2. Submitting a site map- It is really important to submit a site map because it helps google know what pages to index. As blogs are slightly different to websites which have hundreds of different pages, you can get away with using your RSS feed. Just go to optimisation, click sitemaps and add a sitemap by typing in your RSS feed to the URL box.
3. Links to your site- this is so important as good quality, stable links are essential for good SEO. Go to ‘Traffic’ and then links to your site. From there you can see how many links you have in total, who your top linkers are what your top linked pages are. It is really interesting and you may find sites linking to you which you didn’t realise were doing so.
There are lots of other really interesting aspects to Webmaster Tools, we have only just scratched the surface. If you haven’t set it up already, it is well worth doing so, especially if you are like me and nosey about just what is going on with your website.