SEO Strategy- Google Style

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SEO Strategy- Google Style

Google Webmaster Tools

They’re free and yet very few webmasters take advantage of the tools that Google has made available. And that includes Google Sitemaps, one of the best methods for getting your pages crawled and subsequently indexed (we’ll talk about that one in depth in the next segment).

Listed below you’ll find some of the free SEO tools that you should be using on a regular basis.

NOTE: In order to use any of these tools, you’ll need a special key. Just click on “Get a Free Google ä API Key” or go to http://www.google.com/api and submit the form. The key will then be sent to whatever email address you specify.

Google Rankings

http://www.googlerankings.com/index.php

seo

This tool allows you to locate the search results position for any given keyword and URL address. You can input one word at a time or multiple keywords.

You also have three choices with regard to where the search will be conducted. That gives you the option of seeing what position is held in one or more of the three major contenders… Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

The nice thing about this particular tool – aside from the valuable information it provides – is that fact that it’s relatively fast. Unlike other tools of this type that can take several minutes to complete the search and results process.

Google SEO Tool

http://googlerankings.com/ultimate_seo_tool.php

When it comes to keyword optimization, this tool is an absolute must. There are two steps involved which return information about keyword count, keyword density, and keyword position.

Step 1

Analyze Keywords – Gives you a list of 1, 2, and 3 word phrases that appear “x” amount of times or more on any given page (“x” is the amount you choose when first filling out the form). You also receive the density percentage for each word listed.

It will also display the page title, the meta description and keywords tags, and the top five most often used keywords.

Step 2

Create Position Report – Tells you what position the web page holds in Google search results for each of the top five words found in Step 1.

Googlerankings Position Tracking

http://googlerankings.com/positiontracking/

This is an excellent means of staying on top of all your search engine positions. You create a free account and then log in to input whatever URL addresses and keywords you want to keep track of.

It allows you to check your ranking history, create charts, or download data to your spreadsheet application.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

https://adwords.google.com/select/main?cmd=KeywordSandbox Use this suggestion tool to get ideas for new keywords that can help improve your ad relevance. Enter one or more keywords and Google will show you matching queries and alternatives. Can be very helpful when running AdWords campaigns.

Google Suggest

http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en
As soon as you start typing in the search query, Google will begin to suggest similar search terms. It will also show you how many results exist for each of those terms. Very helpful when compiling keyword lists or determining niche markets.

Google Sponsored Links

http://www.google.com/sponsoredlinks
Conduct a search in Google that returns only sponsored link results only. This is extremely useful when you’re trying to find the proper wording for your Adwords or need to see how your competition is doing.

Search Term Difficult Checker

http://www.searchguild.com/difficulty/


This one doesn’t happen to be directly from Google but it has such tremendous value, it definitely had to be included here.

All you do is enter your Google API Key and a search term. (If you don’t have an API key, you can get one for free at http://www.google.com/api.)

The program will return a score factor that will let you know how difficult it would be to gain a position on the first page of Google search results for the keyword (search term) you just queried. The lower the score, the easier it will be.

Now, whenever you come up with a keyword you think might have potential, you can find out right away whether or not it‘s even worth investing any time and effort. Both from a traffic generating perspective and an SEO position.

Google Sitemaps

Everyone knows about sitemaps. Traditionally, it’s a separate area where you include links to every public page on your website.

Sometimes they include brief descriptions of the different pages and the content they contain. Sometimes they are nothing more than a long and somewhat generic list of page links.

Some people create sitemaps with the sole purpose of giving their viewers a comprehensive web page directory.

Some people create sitemaps simply to make certain the search engine crawlers find each and every available page on their website.

And then came Google Sitemaps…

Like all search engine crawlers, GoogleBot is out there with the express purpose of gathering valuable data that can be added to its searchable index. The sooner it can return with new and updated information the better. For both Google and the people who use their search engine.

With that in mind, the Google sitemap service offers a twofold solution.

First, it lightens GoogleBot’s burden of having to constantly crawl the same places over and over again looking for new and updated content.

Now, with a system that tells the bot when and where to crawl, the result is simply a great deal of time being saved. Time that can be spent much more efficiently.

Rather than waste time on pages that have not been (and might never be) updated or changed, the bot can zero in on places that have valuable and current content that can be added to the search database.

For webmasters, Google Sitemaps offers a way to send immediate notification when any change or addition takes place within their websites. This not only increases the possibility of getting pages indexed faster, it ensures that GoogleBot can easily locate pages that are available and bypass any and all pages that aren’t meant to be public.

For the sitemap files themselves, there are two different types that you can implement.

The first one is your typical list of individual pages (just like any other sitemap would display). The second type would be used as an index, listing multiple sitemaps (in the event you have more than one).

The limit is 50,000 URLs per sitemap with a maximum of 1,000 sitemaps.

Google accepts plain text versions but gives higher priority for sitemaps that are written in XML format. That’s because the XML version includes valuable notification options that can be associated with each URL.

Here is a brief explanation of each of those options.

Last Modified <lastmod>

Allows you to specify the exact time and date a page was last changed or updated. This should conform to the ISO 8601 format (your can read these specifications at http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-datetime) . If you choose not to include the time, the format for the date alone would be YYYY-MM-DD. March 9, 2006, for example, would be displayed as <lastmod>2006-03-06</lastmod>.

Change Frequency <changefreq>

Allows you to specify how often a page will change or be updated. Valid values are always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and never. Be aware, however, that the value is merely used as a guide and not a command. It’s possible that any given page can be crawled more or less frequently than the specified value.

Priority <priority>

Allows you to specify a number that tells how important you feel any page is in relation to all the other pages on your website. Valid values range from an absolute low of 0.0 to a maximum high of 1.0 (the default priority value of a page is 0.5).

Keep in mind that the priority you set has no bearing with regard to what search engine results position your page achieves (if any). It merely tells GoogleBot which page should be given the most importance when crawling your website.

XML Sitemap Example

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84″>

   <url>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>

      <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod>

      <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>

      <priority>0.8</priority>

   </url>

   <url>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/page1.html</loc>

      <changefreq>weekly</changefreq>

   </url>

   <url>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/page2.html</loc>

      <lastmod>2004-12-23</lastmod>

      <changefreq>weekly</changefreq>

   </url>

   <url>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/page3.html</loc>

      <lastmod>2004-12-23T18:00:15+00:00</lastmod>

      <priority>0.3</priority>

   </url>

   <url>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/page4.html</loc>

      <lastmod>2004-11-23</lastmod>

   </url>

</urlset>

Sitemap Index Example

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

   <sitemapindex xmlns=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84″>

   <sitemap>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap1.xml.gz</loc>

      <lastmod>2004-10-01T18:23:17+00:00</lastmod>

   </sitemap>

   <sitemap>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap2.xml.gz</loc>

      <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod>

   </sitemap>

   </sitemapindex>

Notice the additional .gz extension. To reduce bandwidth, you have the option of compressing your sitemap files using gzip. Uncompressed sitemap files cannot exceed ten megabytes.

Naturally, if you have a relatively small website, managing your sitemap won’t be difficult or overly time consuming. But having a program that automates the process of updating and delivering the sitemap would still be beneficial.

Of course, you probably don’t have one small website. You most likely have (or will have at some point) numerous websites with hundreds if not thousands of pages each. And under those circumstances, you an automated system would definitely be an asset.

Sitemap Equalizer ( http://www.sitemapequalizer.com ) is the best program for doing that. Especially if you want to make absolutely certain everything has been taken care of accurately and properly.

It provides a powerful web spider that will crawl your entire site beforehand, making certain there are no dead ends or traps where a search engine spider can get stuck in a loop, unable to access all of your pages.

For more information about Google’s sitemap service, check out the following pages of their website…

Google Sitemaps

http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/

Google Sitemaps Overview

http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/navigation.html

Resources

Google Rankings

http://www.googlerankings.com/index.php

Google SEO Tool

http://googlerankings.com/ultimate_seo_tool.php

Googlerankings Position Tracking

http://googlerankings.com/positiontracking/

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

https://adwords.google.com/select/main?cmd=KeywordSandbox

Google Suggest

http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en

 
Google Sponsored Links

http://www.google.com/sponsoredlinks

Search Term Difficult Checker

http://www.searchguild.com/difficulty/

Google Sitemaps

http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/

Google Sitemaps Overview

http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/navigation.html

ISO 8601 Date and Time Formats

http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-datetime

Sitemap Equalizer

http://www.sitemapequalizer.com

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