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By registering your website with Google Webmaster Tools you will obtain useful information on how Google perceives your website. You will be able to identify any potential problems with your sites navigation and overall design structure. This will enable you to make appropriate changes to your website, in order to improve your search engine optimisation results. Google provide their Google Webmaster Tools for free, you simply need to sign up and follow the verification process.

Once your website has started to generate a certain amount of data you will be able to analyse a wide range of statistics and information relating to your sites performance. By utilising this data you will be able to finely tune your website and increase your chances of achieving higher search engine ranking results.

The following are my top 5 essential settings, which you should pay particular attention to.

Upload a Google XML Sitemap to your server

This will help to ensure that Google indexes all of the individual pages of your website; this can be found under Site Configuration/Sitemaps.

Uploading an XML Sitemap will provide Google with a detailed map of your website, which will help them to crawl all of your web pages. This is especially important for bigger websites that have a large number of brand and product pages and is an established Search Engine Optimisation practice.

Set Your Geographic Target

This will help to improve your local search engine ranking results and can be found under Site Configuration/Settings.

Setting your geographic target will help Google to understand the particular country or region you are targeting. This is a very important setting, so please ensure that it is correct for your website.

Review Google’s HTML suggestions

Rectifying any HTML suggestions highlighted by Google will help to improve your position in the search engine listings and can be found under Diagnostics/HTML Suggestions

Google’s HTML suggestions will include any issues that they have found when they were crawling your website. These may includes duplicate or missing Meta Tag information as well as any problems encountered when attempting to index your content.

Review Your Sitelinks

This will help to improve the click through rates to your core pages and can be found under Site Configuration/Sitelinks

Sitelinks are links to a website’s internal pages that may be listed in the search results. Google automatically generates these links for some websites, however these can be modified using the webmaster tools.

Monitor Your Web Page Loading Times

The speed of your web page loading times will help to improve both your search engine ranking results and customer satisfaction. This data can be found under Labs/Site Performance

Google now uses your web page loading speed as one of their many ranking factors, it is therefore important to ensure that your web pages are loading as fast as possible.

If you found this search engine optimisation post helpful, why not subscribe to my Blog by RSS Feed or Email and receive free Professional SEO Tips and Internet Marketing information, direct to your in box.

As ever, please feel free to comment on this post.

Getonfast SEO PackagesGoogle has recently launched Place Search and updated the way their local search results are displayed on the main web results page. As an example, try a local search for “carpet cleaning manchester” and you will see how the new layout is now displayed.

According to Google “Today we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go.”

The original style of presentation for local searches, which consisted of a small map and a number of local listings positioned to the right of the map image, has now gone. The map has now been moved to the right hand side of the page, above the Adwords paid advertising and floats down the page, as users scroll down. Surprisingly, as you scroll down the page, the Adwords paid advertising disappears behind the map image, which always stays in view.

Established organic listings now pushed further down the page

In most cases the local searchresults are displayed at the top of the main page, below the top Adwords Listings. This results in the main organic listings being automatically pushed further down the page! Our tests have shown that sometimes a limited number of organic listings may appear at the top of the page, before the local search listings, but this does not happen very often.

The new Place Search results now display the physical address and telephone number for each company, together with links to their Google Places profile page and any customer reviews. We have also noticed that links to some third party sites, referencing or having user reviews, about a particular website, are sometimes displayed below the main local listing. Place Search becomes active automatically, when Google’s algorithm detects that a user is searching for local information. Google’s database will then group and list the corresponding local information on the search result page. This represents a major shift by Google towards placing a greater emphasis on local search results with a richer and more informative presentation.

So, what does the new Google Place Search mean for your business?

Well, if you are a Google Adwords advertiser I imagine that you are not going to be impressed with the way your paid for advertising rapidly disappears, as the user scrolls down the page!

I imagine that businesses are also not going to be impressed with being forced further down the page, in favour of the local search results. Especially if you have invested a lot of time, effort and money in optimising your site, in order to achieve a page one organic listing!

Local companies are the outright winner

Clearly, local companies are the outright winner and the launch of Google Place Search is sure to put a smile on the face of many local businesses.

If you do not currently have a local Google Places page, then it is definitely time to get one! For those with a Google Places page, here are some important things to consider:

  • Include plenty of details on your Google Places profile page, as these will now assume much greater importance.
  • Encourage your customers to leave comments on your Google Places profile page, as these have now become more important than ever.
  • Reviews from your customers and other local directories such as Yelp will show up in your Google Place Search listing, therefore you should ensure that you create as many local business directory profiles as possible.
  • The number of positive reviews you receive will also influence your overall position in the local search results.

If you found this Google Place Search and local search post helpful, why not subscribe to my Blog by RSS Feed or Email and receive free Professional SEO Tips and Market News, direct to your inbox.

As ever, please feel free to comment on this post.

reconsideration-request

Has your website been banned  from Google’s search engine results or penalised in some way?

Learn how to submit a best practice “Google Reconsideration Request”.

If you are responsible for developing or maintaining a website, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

In particular you should pay close attention to their  “Quality Guidelines” which detail some of the illicit practices that may lead to your site being removed entirely from the Google search engine results or otherwise penalised.

According to these guidleines the following practices will almost certainly result in your website being penalised by Google:

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Do not use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Do not send automated queries to Google.
  • Do not load pages with irrelevant keywords.
  • Do not create multiple pages, subdomains or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Do not create pages with malicious behaviour, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans or other badware.
  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programmes with little or no original content.
  • If your site participates in an affiliate programme, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

Although the above cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behaviour, this is not a comprehensive list. Google states that they may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here, such as, tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known websites. It is not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique has not been mentioned on this page, Google approves of it.

If your website is judged to be in violation of the editorial guidelines and has been removed from the Google index or penalised in some way, you will need to fix the violation issues and then submit a “Reconsideration Request”, to ask Google to reinstate or stop penalising your site.

What is a “Google Reconsideration Request”?

The following official Google video, featuring Rachel Searles and Brian White, from Google’s Search Quality Team, explains the process and provides tips on how to create a good, best practice  “Reconsideration Request”.

The main tip from the video is that you should check the Google Webmaster Guidelines, before submitting your “Reconsideration Request”, if you are unsure why you have been penalised.

Rachel also mentions that you should include in your request all the changes that you have made to fix the problem, rather than just telling them that your site now follows the guidelines.

Brian states that you should not try and fool Google by submitting misleading information. This will not help your case, as your request will be reviewed by actual humans and if the information you provide is incorrect they will simply disregard your request for reconsideration.

If you are having issues with Google penalising your site, then I would recommend watching this video.

To learn more about other issues that may affect your website and to receive regular Professional SEO Tips, subscribe to my Blog by RSS Feed or Email.

Alternatively visit our main Website Promotion website for further information.

SEOButtonTransparentOnce Google has found your website it will return on a regular basis to search for new or updated content. The frequency of visits will depend on various factors, such the size of your website (measured in number of pages), your Google Page Rank score (Google will visit higher ranked sites more frequently) and how often your site is updated with new content.

When the Google robot visits your site what does it see?

The Google robot does not see web pages as you can see them in your browser. Google cannot see colours, graphics or images including Flash generated images and videos. The Google robot can only see text, which it will extract from your web page HTML code. It is important therefore that the HTML code of your web pages contains everything in the right place, so that the Google robot can find all the relevant information to save in their database.

A single web page has many elements that can be understood by the Google robot. The most important elements where Google will look for information includes your Title Tag, Description Tag, (this will be used as the basis for the description used by Google in the search results), Keywords Tag, Headline Tags, Image Tags, Link Text and of course the main body text. These elements must contain the keyword(s) you wish to target and must be in the right keyword density, in order to achieve high rankings on Google.

It is important to ensure that Google is able to navigate through all of your internal web pages.

It is important to ensure that the structure of your individual web pages are Google friendly. It is also important to ensure that Google is able to navigate through the entire structure of your website and is able to move from page to page. The internal link structure of your website is vitally important and your site should contain easy to follow text links to every page that you want Google to see.

If your website is poorly designed or if it does not link to all of your internal pages, then the Google robot will skip these pages. If your website has been designed in Flash or if you place most of your web page content in images, then the Google robot will be unable to see your content.

It is important to make it as easy as possible for the Google robot to index your web pages in order to achieve the best possible rankings.

For further information please visit our SEO Packages page.