5 Actionable SEO tricks using Google Webmasters

SEO is many times a headache. You might be doing all the right things but not always get good organic traffic despite doing "everything right". Sometimes Google just doesn't reward you with the traffic you want. But, rather than focusing on SEOing new pages, have you though about SEOing your existing content. You can improve the ranking and traffic to your pages by diving deeply into Google Webmasters.

Google WebMasters is one of the most important tools in your SEO arsenal. The best thing about it - it's absolutely free!


Action 1 - Start using Google WebMasters

If you haven't yet used Google WebMasters, then you're really missing out! So first and simple things first. Login to Google WebMasters, claim, and verify your site. This procedure is fairly simple. The simplest way to verify a site is to create a file with a unique code given to your Google WebMasters account and upload this to the root of your websitegoogle webmaster tools

Action 2 - Submit an XML Sitemap

Although many times Google is quite capable of finding your pages, an XML sitemap, just gives Google a clear map of all your webpages. This will make sure all pages are crawled correctly and quickly. To create an XML sitemap for Joomla is quite simple. My preferred option is to use an extension which generates the sitemap. There are many good ones here: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/structure-a-navigation/site-map - take your pick. We have our preferences, but you might have yours :) Once you have installed the sitemap, it usually takes a few simple steps to configure it. Once you have generated a Sitemap, go to Google WebMasters > www.dart-creations.com (or your site) > Crawl > Sitemaps and click on Add / Test sitemap and add the URL of your newly generated sitemap and then submit.

Action 3 (The good stuff) - Improve your existing search traffic

One of the great pieces of information in Google WebMasters is found under Search Traffic > Search Queries. Here you will see exactly what are the search queries which are sending traffic to your website. The "Top Queries" page will show you exactly those queries which are sending you traffic. However, of even more value than the "Top Queries" pages is the "Top Pages". Here you can see exactly the pages which are getting the most hits. More importantly though if you click on the > icon next to the page, this will open up and show you a list of the queries where your page showed up.

So what do you do now? Take a good look at the queries and do two things:

1. From the queries you can understand what users are searching for - if you are answering that "question" then fine. If there are however, things you are not answering, edit your page to make sure that it provides an answer to those queries. So if you can see people searching for something you have not answered in your article - then make sure you edit the article to make sure you cover the topic being searched for

2. Take the general jist of the queries which you might not be answering, and write a new article which targets exactly those queries and then link to it from the original article. Then you can provide a teaser from the original article to the new article. This makes sure that your users get the good content they want AND stay on your page!

Action 4 - Correct the HTML Improvements

When Google recommends you do a correction - then you really should be listening. If Google is suggesting you make a change, you know it's for the better ;) So take a look at Search Appearance > HTML Improvements and make sure you implement all those Google suggestions you find there. What are you likely to find here?

1. Suggestions for duplicate META descriptions - We all know that META descriptions are extremely important for SEO and fixing duplicate ones should be one of your number 1 priorities

2. Suggestions for duplicate or missing TITLE tags - Once again titles are one of those things we can still influence manually, if you are missing your titles or having the same titles for different pages, these should be fixed

Action 5 - Focus on the search queries NOT bringing your traffic

Once you have focused on the pages and keywords bringing you traffic, now take a good look at those search queries. For those were you are ranked at number one, you have obviously achieved your goal. For those were you have clicks but you are not in the top position, you need to give these some more TLC. How do you do that?

  1. Create links from within your own pages (and ideally from other websites) to the pages you want to optimize with the keywords in the search queries you want to target. So if you want to target the keyword "joomla default password" to a specific page, then create an internal link to the page using that search query (such as what we have done in this sentence)
  2. See whether you can include those specific keywords in the title, or in the meta description of the page you are targetting - don't do this blindly, you need to make sure that you are doing it in a way where the end user is benefiting from the information contained in the article you are targeting
  3. anticipate what your users are looking for, what is the problem they are trying to solve, or the question they are asking and create more articles to cover this need. Make sure you do the basic Joomla SEO things such as giving it a good title, meta description, and target the good keywords and give the new article good inbound links

One more thing...

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