Over the last few weeks, I have been walking you through the process of rebuilding and marketing a small business’s website. Instead of talking in theoretical terms, I am showing you how I am rebuilding and marketing a website for an actual small business. (You can read the full series here.)
In my last post, I showed you how I am using Google Ads to get immediate traffic for my new site. In today’s post, I am going to show you how to lay the foundation for getting free traffic from Google’s organic and local results using Google Plus, Google Webmaster, and Google Analytics.
Google Paid, Organic, And Local Search Results
Setting Up Google Plus For Your Business
If you are not familiar with Google Plus, it’s Google’s social network. You can think of it like Facebook, but with a couple of big differences. First, Google plus is no where near as popular as Facebook. This leads many people to make the huge mistake of dismissing it outright.
The second difference, is that Google Plus is integrated into all of Google’s other products and services. This includes Google Search, and makes Google Plus THE MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL NETWORK FOR SMALL BUSINESSES that want to rank highly in Google Search.
The above image should drive home the importance of having your google plus page setup correctly. This means making sure it is optimized to show up in Google Search, connected to your website, and verified by Google.
For full step-by-step instructions for how to set up, connect, and verify your Google Plus page go here.
How To Setup Google Webmaster And Submit Your Sitemap
Google webmaster is a suite of tools that Google gives website owners.
Most importantly, Google Webmaster allows you to submit a sitemap to Google. Once you do this Google will alert you if there are any errors on your site which may affect your search rankings. Google Webmaster will also show you the search terms where your site is currently ranking.
After submitting your sitemap, Google will be automatically notified when you make a new post.
Step-By-Step Instructions For Setting Up Google Webmaster
- Login to Google Webmaster and click “add site”
- Enter your website’s url. This will bring up a window showing your verification options.
- If you are using the Weebly Website Builder like I am, click the second tab that says “alternate verification methods. (Otherwise use the dropdown menu on your screen to locate your hosting company, and follow the instructions given.)
- Select HTML Tag
- Copy the code that appears in the next window and leave this window open as we will be back to it in a minute.
Next you want to login to your weebly site. There you will:
- Click the settings button at the top of the Weebly Website Editor. Then click SEO.
- Paste the code you just copied from Google webmaster tools into the “header code” box on this page.
- Go back to Google Webmaster, click the verify button.
The Final Step Is To Submit Your Site Map
Now that your site is verified, go back to your site list in Google Webmaster. There you will see a section on the right that says “sitemap”. Click there, and then click the Add/Test sitemap button.
This will bring up a window with your website’s url, and a box where you can enter additional text. put sitemap.xml there. So for me, that box now reads http://www.lcrlakegaston.com/sitemap.xml. Click submit sitemap and you are all set.
If you are using WordPress then the YOAST SEO plugin is free and comes with a sitemap generator.
Setting Up Google Analytics
Pretty much whatever you want to track with your website, you can track through Google Analytics. This includes:
- The number of visitors that come to your site,
- How many pages they view
- How long they stay on the site and each page
- How they found your site (ie through google search, adwords, another site linking to you etc).
- The physical location of the people visiting your website
How To Setup Google Analytics
Goto Google.com/analytics and sign up for a free account. Once you have filled out the requested information, you will be given a tracking html code.
Once you have that code, go back to the same SEO page on your Weebly site where you entered the Google Webmaster verfication, and enter your analytics code into the “footer code” box.
The above steps, combined with the on page optimization steps I took here, are the foundation for ranking my father’s site highly in Google.
Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time to start setting up our other social networking profiles, and building links. That is the topic of the next article in this series.
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