Blogging Basics: Becoming a Webmaster

search engine logosMost blogs draw the vast majority of their traffic from search engines, so this is a crucial area to spend time and effort on. If you have a new blog don’t be surprised if you can’t find it on Google or on Yahoo or Bing immediately.  OMG! I can’t find my blog on Google has ten tips for verification and expediting the discovery process.

Every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy begins with the basics: search engine friendly site design and architecture,  keyword research, content development, and link building.

Before you can get your pages to rank for your targeted keyword phrases, you need to be sure that the search engines can first find them, and second decipher them. This goes back to making sure that you have a strong, search engine friendly website architecture. You do this by ensuring your links are properly navigable. The navigation of your site must have a properly established hierarchy, and your content needs to be readable. — SEO 101: Everything You Need to Know About SEO (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Below are six brief summaries of resources all bloggers can use to obtain information ont the performance of their site from a search engine standpoint and learn how to manage it effectively.

1.  Google Webmaster Guidelines

Webmaster Guidelines provide general design, technical, and quality guidelines and detailed tips for creating a Google-friendly site. Google Webmaster Tools provides you with detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google and on the internet.

2.  Google Webmaster Central

Webmaster resources help you with site crawling and indexing questions, introduce you to offerings that can enhance and increase traffic to your site, and connect you with your visitors.

3.  5 Google Webmaster Video Tutorials

Google for Webmasters Tutorial: Intro to Webmaster Central

  • Google webmasters account
  • site verification
  • Webmaster tools

Google for Webmasters Tutorial: Discoverability

  • how Google can find your site
  • the value of backlinks to your posts re: natural linking pattern &  getting indexed quickly
  • XML site maps
  • privacy settings

Google for Webmasters Tutorial: Crawling and Indexing

  • accessibility
  • optimizing image ALT text
  • graceful degradation
  • optimize titles and description for each page on site
  • duplicate content

Google for Webmasters Tutorial: Ranking

  • relevance and importance
  • personalization
  • customization
  • pagerank still plays a significant role
  • natural linking strategy
  • webmaster violations

4.   Google Search and Google Social Search

Google  Search  gives you insight on how Google views your site.  You can enter  the following commands into the Google search box and replace example.com with your website URL to obtain specific information.

  • site:example.com The results display the pages Google has indexed on your site.
  • link:example.com The results display all the sites linking to your site.  Note that you can also track the total number at the top to see if links are increasing or decreasing.
  • cache:example.com The results display the cached version of your page that is seen when a person searching  clicks the cached link under your site information in a Google search.  The date and time the information was cache is displayed on  the top of the page. There is also  link to view the text only version of the page will display the version as  the Google crawler (Googlebot) sees your page.
  • related:example.com The results display a list of sites that Google has determined is similar to yours. Note that the quality of similar sites does not impact your ranking or how your site is indexed.

5. Yahoo’s Search Web Crawler Slurp

Slurp collects documents from the Web to build a searchable index for search services using the search engine. These documents are discovered and crawled because other webpages contain links to these documents. The section about Yahoo search ranking is informative as is the section on learning how to use Site Explorer to look up backlinks.

As part of the crawling effort, the crawler takes robots.txt standards into account to ensure that we do not crawl and index content from pages that you do not want to be included in Yahoo! Search results. If a page is disallowed to be crawled by robots.txt standards, the crawler does not read or use the contents of that page.

6.  Bing Webmaster Center

Here you gain access to all the information webmasters need about using Bing, including how MSNBot web crawler scans websites and indexes  content for searching.  Use the Bing™ Webmaster toolsto improve your site’s SEO, submit your sites and XML-based Sitemaps to Bing, get data on which pages of your site have been indexed, backlinks, inbound links and keyword performance. For information about improving your website’s ranking, see Guidelines for successful indexing.

Discussion

I’m curious to know is which search engines and resources my readers are using. I’m also wondering  what your experience has been with the resources I listed above.

Related posts found in this blog:

Blogging Resources: Search Engines

15 thoughts on “Blogging Basics: Becoming a Webmaster

  1. Oh! and one more thing. In the Google Webmaster, they offer a +1 button for applying it to my blog, can you tell me if wordpress.com will allow me to paste it to my blog?
    They tell me to paste two tags :-
    1. Place the tag in your head or just before your close body tag.
    2. Place this tag where you want the +1 button to render.

    Thanks.
    Arnab

  2. I think that some time was needed to be given. After reading your comment today, when I retried to verify, it worked fine in all the three webmaster sites.
    Thank You for your help.
    Arnab.

  3. I recently changed my blog url from arnabsweblog to keepingintouchblog for similarity in the title and site address, but when I tried to add this site to the google webmaster tools or yahoo site management, they won’t verify my site even though I pasted the meta tags in my blog.
    Please help.
    Arnab.

    1. This is not a matter for me. This is a matter for Staff. Here’s the contact link http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/ Use the searchbox and at the bottom there will be a section that says “Have you found the answer to your question?” You can choose either “Yes I found the answer to my question.” or “No I didn’t find the answer to my question and I would like to contact support for help.” The no option will reveal the contact form.

  4. Currently I’m using Google Webmaster to check any error and clear error. What I heard twitter and facebook can help Google crawler index much faster.

      1. No. Here’s what you do on your blog:
        Additional information and links:

        You can post a Facebook badge in your sidebar. http://en.support.wordpress.com/facebook-badge/
        You can also enable sharing buttons on your posts, pages and index pages.

        http://en.support.wordpress.com/sharing/
        You can have Facebook like & share buttons on your posts.

        http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/its-possible-facebook-share-and-like-buttonsat-the-same-time?replies=90
        You can use a Twitter widget > http://en.support.wordpress.com/widgets/twitter-widget/
        You can post a twitter follow button > http://en.support.wordpress.com/twitter-follow-button/
        You can set up Publicize and publish to your Facebook profile page > http://en.support.wordpress.com/publicize/

        Alternatively you can use Networked Blogs http://www.networkedblogs.com/ or RSS Grafitti http://www.facebook.com/RSS.Graffiti for posting to Facebook walls if you prefer.

  5. I am still to crack the Bing as my site has over 800 posts but only 20 posts are indexed on Bing. I have tried getting help on Bing Webmaster forums and submitted sitemaps but Bing till date refuses to index my site.

    I get decent amount of traffic from Yahoo and Google tops in sending me organic traffic.

    Google webmaster tools is quite easy to use and if you stick to good practise in terms of SEO, Google definately rewards you.

  6. I really interesting with this topic because I’m a newbee in blogging. So far I am very confused what to do for my blog can be indexed in search engines like google, yahoo, bing, etc.
    I will try to practice what has been described here, and hopefully my blog can be indexed in search engines .

    1. Hello there,
      Thanks for your comment. If you click the blogspot link in the post I linked in my article to you will be able to find instructions for verifying ownership of your blog with search engines. Best wishes.

  7. Good Morning TT! Another stimulating post with things to consider, thank you! I have googled myself using those commands you gave in Section 4 above. I didn’t know those at all. I had no idea that tweets were indexed by Google. I must be more careful what trivia I tweet I think.

    Google Images is another interesting way to search for one’s own site. I did this as a way of finding out if people were using my photos without my permission a while back, as there was a site that was reposting snippets of all my posts and illustrating the snippets with full size versions of my photos. They stopped when I asked them btw. I wrote a little post about how we are all connected via Google Images and several of my blogging friends found it quite upsetting. They didn’t realise that their images were crawled like that!

    Is the image alt text the bit in WordPress media editing which says ‘alternate text’ ? I have been putting key words in there since I read your advice about this. I hope I am doing the right thing. I find some of the Webmaster stuff a bit hard to get my head round. I do the basics, put links to other relevant sites in my post if it enhances the content and I comment on blogs and forums where appropriate and I seem to be fairly visible on Google. Titles are a bit of a problem, as I want to write fun ones, but they don’t get picked up appropriately then so it’s a compromise between being factual and being exciting for me. Anyway, that’s enough about me – thank you once again.

    1. Hi there Joanna,
      When I began to blog there were no webmaster accounts so learning how to use the information in my webmaster’s account is what I have been up to. I’ve also been using the other resources I posted links to as well but I primarily focus on Google webmaster tools.

      Yes, tweets are indexed by Google. It seems to me that tweets and Facebook likes have changed blogger linking patterns. Are tweets and Facebook like replacing backlinks? Maybe so. :(

      And Yes, of course all images are indexed. Really – what part of don’t post it on the internet if you don’t want it to be available to everyone using a search engine don’t these people get? The web is set up for “sharing” what’s posted to the internet. It’s not set up not for “hiding” what’s posted and if we don’t cotton to that we can be easily misled. Also note that there are far too many sophisticated hacks and criminals who know how to manipulate anything Facebook, or any other social networking apps can come up with in the way of privacy protection.
      http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/06/14/facebook-connections-and-reputation-management/

      If you use third party apps on social networking sites to play games like Farmville, etc. or if you click on ads on the social networking site, then your personal information that you thought could only be viewed by your “freinds” becomes available to the third party app providers and/or advertisers and internet marketers too. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/05/23/social-networks-siphon-personal-info/

      Not only that but “private” browsing is not so private
      http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/08/10/not-so-private-browsing/

      I advise against using “clever” and “catchy” titles unless they actually inform search engines readers what’s in the post. Relevancy and freshness are the factors that reflect whether or not your posts will be found in the SERPS (search engine page results). If a title does not accurately reflect post contents then don’t use it.

      Thanks for commenting and best wishes for better blogging. :)

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