What is SEO – Month 1
For businesses around the world big and small, local or global they all know the advantage of search engines. Google is the go to place for any question. As business owners you want to be the one answering those questions related to your business. Despite this “what is seo” is a question asked by many business owners and “how do i rank for the right keywords” asked by even more. Each month Affordable Web Design is sharing with you, the exact steps in our google SEO strategy.
Your Business SEO Strategy: Month 1
The first step in your SEO strategy will be to create a google email or Gmail account.if you already have a Gmail account then you can skip this step. To do this go to google.com and select “sign in” located in the top right hand corner. You will be redirected to the sign in page.
At the sign in page select “more options” then “new account” you will be taken to the new account registration page. Follow the on page instructions and your Gmail account will be created for you automatically. You are going to use this email for your Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster) and Google Analytics account so make sure you make a note of the email and password.
You may already have your business emails running through Google. If you are unsure ask your web developer. If your business email is running on Google then you can use it instead of creating a new account. Click on “Sign In” in the top right hand corner and input the email and password given to you. If you do not know this information or have forgotten it your web developer of person in charge of your companies Emails will be able to provide it.
Step 1. Click Sign In to Google
Step 2. Select More Options
Step 3. Create New Account
Step 4. Complete the new Email registration
Now that you have a google email you are able to work with the full Google suite of services. For now we will be focusing primarily on Google Search Console formerly know as Google Webmaster. Google Search Console allows webmasters the index websites, check indexing status and optimise the visibility of their websites.
Some of the main uses of Google Search Console are:
- Submit and check a sitemap.
- Check the crawl rate and view statistics about when Google accesses a site.
- Write and check a robots.txt file to help discover pages that are blocked in robots.txt accidentally.
- List internal and external pages that link to the site.
- Get a list of links which Googlebot had difficulty crawling, including the error that Googlebot received when accessing the URLs
- See what keyword searches on Google led to the site being listed in the SERPs, and the click through rates of such listings.
- Set a preferred domain i.e. affordablewebdesing.agency or www.afforablewebdesign.agency
Dont worry if all of those uses are not clear we will explain each of them over the coming weeks and months. You can login to your search console at www.google.com/webmasters. You will be greeted with a screen like the one below, select sign in from the top right or click the green search console button. Both will direct you to the Search Console sign in page. Use your Gmail username and password to access the account.
You are now signed into Google Search Console. Your screen will look like the Affordable Web Design search console below. You can see we have already added the Affordable Web Design property to our console. Your screen will not have any properties.
Add a property
To add a property (your website) click the red add property button in top right corner. This will display the add property box that you can see below. Ensure website is selected and type in your domain address. For Affordable Web Design this was https://affordablewebdesign.agency. Now click Add.
You will be required to verify your ownership of the site. To do this download the html verification file. Next send this document to your web developer and ask them to place the code in the root or main directory. This task will take them no more than a couple of minutes. Once you web developer has done this click the confirmation link, confirm you are not a robot and click verify.
Google will have added your new property to your search console.
To ensure Google has the best view of what is occurring on your website you will need to add all variations of your website. Here are the variations for Affordable Web Design
Ask your developer if your website is https or http. If your site is https add all of the variations you see above. If your site it http only add the http variations. When you are adding the property variations simply click verify. Google will pick up the original verification code that your developer added for each new variation.
Improve your search presence
You will now have all of your property variations in your search console. Select the property you want people to search for. We used https://affordablewebdesign.agency. We chose this property as people do not typically type www.
You will be greeted with the property dashboard with options down the left hand side. Select message and open the email title “improve the search presence of your-website-name”. You will be shown 6 steps to improve your search presence.
- Add all your website versions – You have already completed this step by adding the different properties.
- Select your preferred version – Select the button and you will be given a choice of www. or no www. version of your domain. Choose the version most applicable to your website. We chose affordablewebdesign.agency. You can also choose the crawl rate.It is recommended that you choose “let Google optimize for my site.
- Select a target country – You will see two tabs for language and country. Affordable Web Design is only focusing on the United States and English. For now we will leave the language alone and select the country tab. Use the dropdown menu to find your country and ensure the box is ticked to target users in the country of your choice.
- Share access with co-workers – Click the button if you wish to share access to other people within your organisation. This is entirely up to you. The process is simple, add the email of the person you are sharing access with then select the amount of access you are giving them from the drop down.
5. Submit a site map – Our site is built on WordPress so we use the Yoast SEO plugin to generate our site map. The sitemap is available at yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml.
If your site is also using WordPress then you can install the Yoast plugin or ask your developer to do this for you. The setup usually takes around 10 minutes and your sitemap is ready to use. If you are not using WordPress don’t worry. We are currently working on an article demonstrating how to create your site map no matter how your site is built.
Upload your sitemap – Watch this video.
6. Learn how to work with search console – This document gives you a brief guide on how to work with Google Search Console and is a must read before moving ahead with your SEO Strategy. You can read the support guide here.
With that you have now completed the initial setup of your Google Search Console. Next we will link your account to Google Analytics and begin optimising the web pages, blog posts and projects.