Befriend the Google Giant

Friends at Google 

friends at google, help with google searchSearch engine optimization is super important to business, so who wouldn’t want to befriend Google? Those of us looking to keep up with algorithm updates and wish get on Google’s good side actually have a plethora of resources and tools to tap into.

For example ad agencies have one-on-one access to real  Google employees who can help with visibility and performance. (The phrase “agency” can be a one-lady show or a large advertising group.) It’s true… free support from Google! Also, Google provides a ton of information online through forums, blogs, newsletters, training, insights and more.

With all the support and guidance offered by Google, they are like a friend and mentor…there to ensure you are successful using their products.

Google Tools & Resources

Google My Business:  This is where your business can manage your online presence across Google Search & Google Maps
Google Education at Google Partners: One-on-one for Google advice, and this is not a paid service or a privileged service.

Google Partners, (now Google Ads), Academy on Livestreams: Ask questions and share experiences with Google experts & other professionals.

Academy for Ads for Google’s e-learning: Google’s e-learning courses, exams and certifications.

Think with Google: Provides market insights & trends for just about anything.

Google Webmaster Tools & Analytics: Webmaster tools allow one to evaluate & maintain the performance of a website regarding search results. To see how users/visitors interact with your website, use Google Analytics.

Google Accounts & GSuite Learning Center: This refers to a variety of application tools to support & connect your business either by individual sign-in or administered through an organization.

Google Blogs: Again, these are all free! Check out Googles Blog, as well as the Webmaster Central Blog &  the Google Research Blog.

More About Google Products

A business is only as good as their employees. Google has the people to move the machine behind their brand. For the rest of us who are looking for support, guidance, and resources for SEO… Google has it for our taking. Literally, “we all have friends at Google!”

The Google Brand

Google operations are quite impressive both internally and externally.  Don’t be intimidated by the giant brand. Although Google has the most recognized search engine, and is the tech giant in the world, it’s actually pretty relatable, even to the smallest of businesses. For the sake of your revenue growth, it’s worthwhile to get to know Google better.

Google Teams

A company with such a powerful brand is no surprise, very selective about its employees. Teams are structured and motivated to run super efficiently. I’ve read that the most productive teams at Google get the importance of collaboration so much that it’s actually like an unwritten social code.

Google receives over 2,000,000 applications each year and only those good enough for Google are hired. As of March 2018, Google consists of over 85,000 employees of various expertise levels and salaries ranging from $30k to $350k annually.

Clearly, there are super strategic and effective teams within Google. Each member of a team has a clear understanding of corporate goals, as well as a clear vision, accountability, and pride regarding their personal goals. Without clear goals, and a plan of attack, a team of people are likely to step on each other’s toes, spin wheels, and duplicate work without a combined purpose.

Google has a strict code of conduct, non-disclosure agreements and all kinds of rules to keep employees honest. The approach is team goals over individual agendas. Googles got it right regarding how to produce high-quality results; a model that all businesses should mirror.

XML Sitemap & Indexing

local seo, milwaukee area seo, local seo consultant milwaukee, local seo help near me, help with local seoHelp Spiders Find Your Site

One of the most basic and easiest things you can do to improve SEO is to ensure that web spiders can easily find and crawl your website.  If used correctly, a sitemap serves as a tool to organize and clearly define the pages within your website.  A sitemap can easily be created using Google Search Console, your content management system, (CMS), or a variety of other sitemap generator tools.

What is a sitemap?

A website sitemap is a file; a list of pages intended to be found by web spiders, search engine bots, and/or users.  A good sitemap will provide a clear understanding of your website structure; organizing pages by hierarchy or content type.  It provides important meta-data for each page. There are multiple sitemap types. For the Google search engine, you’re going to be using XML files. Sitemaps can also be pointed at through robots.txt codes and could potentially use other formats, depending upon the search engine you are looking at. When submitting XML sitemaps to search engines, follow the instructions provided by each one. Also consider creating more than one sitemap for your site using variations specifically for images, videos, news, mobile, etc.

Will a Sitemap Get Pages Indexed?

There is no guarantee. A sitemap significantly improves your chances of being indexed by major search engines. If you submit sitemaps, you’re making it easy to be found. All businesses want to be found! However, search engines still need to determine if the quality of your pages are worthy enough to connect to specific search queries.  Ultimately, submitting a sitemap is important for SEO, but it’s not going to make a search engine like Google prefer your site over another just because you have a sitemap pointer.

Submitting Sitemaps to Search Engines

Once you’re happy with the sitemaps you have created, they must be submitted manually to search engines.  (You’ll need to update & maintenance sitemaps manually as well.)  For any search engine, you must be verify the website first, and have appropriate user permissions to submit a sitemap. Be sure your sitemap is in the correct file format and actually exists on your web server before attempting to verify it.

Below I share one version of how to submit sitemaps to:  Google, Bing , Yahoo! And Ask.com.

How to Add Sitemap to Google

  1. Go to webmaster tools, or what is now referred to as “Google Search Console
  2. Find & select “sitemaps” in dashboard options
  3. Select “add/test sitemap”
  4. Paste your sitemap code in appropriate file format
  5. Test , Submit, & ensure it has been saved

How to Add Sitemap to Bing

  1. Go to Bing Webmaster Tools
  2. Locate the sitemap widget from user dashboard
  3. Select “add a sitemap”
  4. Paste your sitemap code in appropriate format
  5. Test , Submit, & ensure it has been saved

How  to Add Sitemap to Yahoo!

Yahoo! Site explorer is no longer valid.  Use Bing Webmaster Tools as shown above to ensure your sitemap is uploaded to Yahoo!.

How to Add Sitemap to Ask.com

Unfortunately Ask.com no longer allows the submittal of sitemaps. The best way to reference your sitemap location for Ask.com is to use robots.txt to reference it.

How to Find XML Sitemaps on Your Website

To see the XML sitemaps currently associated with your website, simply type in your website URL with the XML index extension, such as: https://www.allaboutmybusiness.com/sitemap_index.xml

For validation of your XML sitemap submittals, refer to the dashboards on Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools or other free sitemap validator tools which are widely available online.  Be sure to check and update your sitemaps regularly, especially as new content as added to your website.

NOTE: If you can’t find a page that you think should be on your sitemap, ensure that page isn’t blocked by robots.txt

Help with Website Sitemaps

If you need additional assistance to create, upload, maintenance, or verify the success of your sitemap submittal, contact The Leaning Tree Digital directly for more information.

Sneak Peek at Your Website Source Code

Reading Webpage Source Code

Search engines read your website source code all the time, and so should any business who cares about their search engine optimization. Are you a local business or online business who outsources a professional for SEO?  Even if you hire a digital strategist or SEO consultant, it’s incredibly useful to learn more about website source codes. The codes are designed to help your site, but they can also slow down page load speed and cause confusion if not managed correctly. We’re just looking at the basics here, so go ahead….take a peek!

view webpage source codes, how to view source codes, where to view source codes, website source codesEasy Ways to See Webpage Coding

#1 Right click your mouse and select “view page source”
#2 Go to “settings” in right corner and find “tools / developer tools”
#3 Use the keyboard command for view source code. “Google” the keyboard command if you’re not sure what it is for your browser.

Example: PC using Chrome is CTRL + U
The command CTRL + F (for Find) is another good one to quickly scan your source code for important SEO elements.

What Can Be Found in WebPage Source Codes?

Within the coding you’ll get a glimpse of what is attached to your site for crawlers to see. Even if you’re not a developer, or “into” reading HTML, CSS or JavaScript codes, you’ll notice that it’s really not that difficult to figure out. For example, one of the most important things to look for in the source code is the title tag. It will likely be near the top in the <head> section. It will be designated by the opening tag: <title> and ending with the closing tag: </title>.

On-Page SEO Items You Can Peek at Within WebPage Source Code:

  • Title Tags: Google produces your title tag with search results. Be sure you can see a single unique & keyword/content relevant title tag for each page on your website.
  • Meta Descriptions: This is your 160 character free advertising- make it work! Think about what you can say, unique to each page, which will make searchers click to see more.
  • H1 Headers: It’s the biggest headline on your page. Can be a call to action. Just one good H1 tag on each page is all you need; be sure page keyword is there.
  • Alt Tags: Robotic search engines can’t “see” images. The only way to maximize images for SEO is to ensure there is an alt tag associated with them. Don’t overdo it; like don’t alt tag design images, but all other images are fair game.

Source Code Prevents Page from Being Seen:

  • NoFollow: This “no-index” tells Google and other search engines not to follow your page. To focus on the pages that matter most, it’s ok to have this attribute associated with the comment section of a blog, an author page, thank you page, or any page with uninteresting content. But if you’re looking for visibility, be certain this this code is not on page.

Source Codes for Tracking:

  • Google Analytics: You need analytics to view website performance after an analytics account has been established. This code should be found on every page of your website. Your GA account always starts with “UA” and is followed by a seven digit number.
  • Google Tag Manager: Tag manager is just a Google product that allows you to manage multiple tracking codes in one place. Analytics, AdWords, and remarketing tags are managed from tag manager. Prevent double tracking: If you are using TM, there shouldn’t be an additional code for GA.
  • Social Media: You may see codes for tracking Facebook, Youtube and other social media accounts. These are fine, just double check to ensure you need them. Tracking codes associated with your site take up Bytes, which means having more than you use could slow down your page load speed.
  • Paid Ads: The trend is that PPC people are using Tag manager but there are other paid-related codes that may be found on your site such as doubleclick.net or call tracking such as mongoosmetrics.

When to Remove a Source Code

Have your digital team, (which would include your SEO digital strategist, website developer & PPC), review the tracking source codes regularly to ensure optimal performance. If you see something that is questionable, ask for clarification. Anything that is not being used should be removed.