And we're going to start with basics.
Why is Google so important? Because it is. Practically no one refers to "search engines" anymore they just "Google It". Because Google presents unbiased and trustworthy results, Joe Public has come to rely on them.
Google uses an algorithm to rank websites. This algorithm is constantly improving, changing, evolving and most importantly SECRET. Which is why there is always going to be conflicting advice on how best to googlize your website.
And I think by now we all know what we mean when we use the term spiders or crawlers. If not, then you need to give me a call.
Google will penalize you for breaking it's rules and using what we in the biz call "black hat SEO". So always stick to white hat SEO. You can find the official Google rules on their home page under About Us (where else would it be).
We'll only talk about white hat stuff anyways.
And the first item up is the Google Toolbar. So take a minute and install it, if you don't have it yet. And you'd have to be diligent like me not to have it yet, because the darn thing comes bundled with every free Adobe product.
Did you know that you can do a quick one button check to find out who is linking back to you. For example, if you know a certain restaurant or members of your local RTA are supposed to be linking to you, a quick click of the Google toolbar button will let you know who actually followed through with that.
Under Page ranking, click Backwards links.
And it doesn't have to be your website either, you can do your competitors websites and find out which local businesses are linking to them. Then you can approach them for links to your own business.
Perhaps you're a new restaurant in the area, and you want to find out which businesses are open to linking to local establishments. Let the Google toolbar do the researching for you.
Perhaps you're a local DMO consumer facing website and you want to know which local companies are promoting your site. the Google toolbar will tell you. Awesome.
What's next.... The Google cache page checker (also under Page Ranking).
This little feature shows you how your page looks on Google and therefore when was the last time the Spiders came around. And it tells you the date Google took the snapshot. And so you get a feel for how often and when the spiders do come around.
Another button that hides under page rank is similar pages. Find out similar pages to your business page, or just use it to improve your searching.
The next parts about Google Analytics and Google site maps require a Google Account -so go get one and we delve into more next week.