30 May New to search engine marketing? Visit Google’s Webmaster Academy
If you’ve built your online shop and are moving into the marketing phase of your store launch, the process of marketing your website to the search engines may seem overwhelming – especially in the wake of new ranking formulas that the search engines are using to rank sites. No longer is getting a good ranking on Google a paint-by-numbers exercise. Hard work is required.
Fortunately, Google have launched a mini training course on their website called the Webmaster Academy that can help guide marketers through what it takes to rank better in Google search results.
Here is a brief rundown of the sections and how they can help your store:
Google and You
- This section contains tools that give you a good general interview of how Google’s search engine indexes pages and ranks results.
- It teaches you how to look for your site in Google to see if it’s indexed, and what pages Google considers to be the most important (not all pages in your site will be added to Google’s index, so it’s worth looking to see if the pages in the index match up with the pages that you expect to be there).
- It gives you an overview of the things that you’ll need to add into your pages to ensure that Google knows what your page is about and can display the right information to your users. These things include your title tags, your page descriptions for the search engines (known as meta descriptions), your URLs, adding your business to Google Places and managing sitelinks once your site has grown in size and popularity and Google has added those.
- Guidelines are provided on how Google assesses the quality of content that is created on your site. For example, the trustworthiness of your site as a source of information, whether the content appears on multiple sites or is unique, and the helpfulness and factualness of the actual information.
- There’s information for gallery and video sites – not that relevant to online stores but worth understanding (as you may have a photo gallery in your blog or on a content page)
- An introduction to Google+ which is a social networking sharing tool
- A link to Google’s official guide on search engine marketing, their official search marketing forum and some article tips.
This section takes you through some of the things you’ll need to set up to use the webmaster tools. Tools like setting yourself up with a forwarding email address so Google can notify you of critical issues that will affect your website (and rankings), how to verify your site with Webmaster tools, how to set a Geographic target (important for Australian sites if you are using a .com address so Google knows you want to rank for Australian eyeballs), making sure your site isn’t blocking Google, and monitoring/managing your site.
Webmaster tools can tell you things that Google Analytics doesn’t so it’s definitely worth using this tool in addition to Analytics.
This section provides information and help on how to use some of Google’s tools to build a social following for your site – tools like Google+ for example. As an Australian business you can ignore the “free website” option as it is for the US only – but you would probably ignore that anyway as you would use your store software for your shop.
Check out Google’s official launch announcement here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2012/05/introducing-webmaster-academy.html
Or, go directly to the Search Console/Webmaster Academy here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/?hl=en#topic=3309469