Thursday, 25 January 2007

Indexing with Google

I am registered with Google and have signed up for 'Webmaster Tools' (this is all free!) here you can manage your site and submit new sites for indexing. You can also manage site maps and see how Google has rated your pages etc.. It's a good starting point, but you can get more if you also register for Google Analytics as well - here you can see where your visitors are geographically located and check visitor and page view stats. All free and well worth a look!
Now, the important thing is that you should submit your site - even if it is a blog - even if it is a google-related blog (like this one) so that google indexes your site and can drive visitors to you. I mistakenly thought that maybe as I was using 'blogger', had a google account and was registered for Adsense...that I wouldn't need to submit my blog...wrong! If you want to know whether your page is indexed by google, use the page-rank buton on google toolbar or enter: 'cache:http://YOUR DOMAIN' into your browser address bar, if it comes up with 'your search did not match any documents', then you should get the site submitted.
So how to do it?
Google will want to verify that you actually 'own' the site or blog. You can do this by adding a specific page to your site (html) you can't do this if you have a single-page blog, so the other method is to insert some html into the 'HEAD' section of your blog HTML template. Get your code from the google webmaster site and for 'Blogger' users go to the 'dashboard'/layout, edit HTML and insert the code as supplied after the 'HEAD' statement.
I tried this today, and Google has verified the page, in a couple of weeks (?) I hope to have the page indexed. I found a site the other day which will submit your site to a whole load of serach engines in one go - '' - I have added a link in the form of a submission-box in the right-hand side of this page for your convenience... (sadly I don't get commission, but they did me a service, so am happy to provide the link). It looks like you can use this service for blogs also, so I would recommend giving it a go to get more visitors to your site. They submit to 14 search engines for free. One of the 14 requires an ROR file, which can only be added to a site rather than a blog, but still worth doing for the other 13 engines. If you opt for a paid service, they will submit to 100's of sites at regular intervals. I prefer FREE services myself!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Google gadgets

Just a short post today, but worthwhile I think:
I came across Google 'gadgets' the other day, and decided to try some on my blog - see the 'joke of the day' and 'photo of the day' in the right hand column of the blog...
There are a whole host of different gadgets and games you can use to make your site that bit more dynamic. If you are aiming to try to get visitors to use you as a home page, then this ype of content can really help guaranteeing fresh content on a daily basis.
The gadgets can be configured and come in javascript format to paste onto your site.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

SEO - Linking

OK, let's take a more in-depth look at linking...
Firstly, you should set up a links page on your website, doesn't really matter what it looks like, but leave room for plenty of links...
This is what mine looks like:
Your search engine rankings are boosted by links back to your site from 'good', 'relevant' web pages. By 'good', I mean pages with a ranking of thier own, 'relevant' meaning more repetitions of your keywords and phrases, reflecting the content of your own site. Obviously the actual criteria used by google is secret, so we can only speculate as to how to maximise rankings.
First off you can get links from directories, depending on how you operate, you can link into general world-wide directories or directories that are concerned with your geographical region or the area of business you are in. One tip would be to look at your competitors to see if they are listed on directories - try searching for your competitors on google to see who is linking to them. Try this format in google search:
link:www.yourdomain (or your competitors) - this will show links on the internet to any domain, you can also use a google search with double quote marks around your domain ie: '''' to find pages which mention your domain (this may produce quite different results as a straight 'link' search)
There are loads of different free directories out there, only use ones which have ranking points of their own. If you want to know the ranking of a site, get the google tool bar added to your explorer window and set the option to view page rank.
Reciprocal links are the type that boost your ranking, so if you get a directory to link to you, place a link back to them on your links page.
Directories are all well and good, but they are usually too general if your site has a specific focus. You will need to link to sites which are relevant, without being competitors and importantly, get them to link back to you. This is a lot harder than it sounds...I have found very few sites which will even reply to a request for a link never mind actually create one! This task alone will take a lot of energy. You may find this task a lot easier depending on the type of site you are setting up.
If you are selling goods in a region for a supplier ie. as a local agent, you should definitely get your supplier to list you as the local agent, unfortunately I can't use this type of linking as I offer a service rather than goods. My methods have been to search for my key themes in search engines and look to see which sites may benefit from a link from my site, and look for overseas sites offering a similar service who might want to trade links (this assumes there is a geographical element to your site - ie. I am only realistically offering a service to the UK, however US sites may attract visitors from the UK, and my site attracts visitors from the US who are probably never going to become clients).
I have another way of getting links and this can be hard work, but mostly enjoyable...again searching for key themes and words and looking for where these themes appear in forums and blogs - visit the pages and post replies including a link to your site. I have found that different forums have different dynamics and appeal to different groups. I have found that Yahoo answers is a good 'fishing ground' for this type of interaction, you may find Google answers more relevant or even Mylot (see link at top of right-hand column of this page).
These forums won't generally add to your rankings, but will hopefully add to the number of page impressions that you get.
Update: 15/01/2007 - I found out today that 'google answers' is no longer accepting new questions, however I guess you may still be able to post comments, but the site is just a static forum now.