Tools in your SEO armoury

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the implementation of best practises to help achieve better ranking in search engine results.

All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.

There are many tools that web masters and content producers use to assist them in this process. Here are a few of these essential tools.

Analytics

Google Analytics is a free analysis service which measures website activity and performance. A variety of information helps you to investigate how your website might perform better:

  • How many visitors (new and returning) does your site have?
  • How visitors get to your site (eg. referral, ads, direct, links or email)
  • Where your visitors are coming from (country/city)?
  • Which pages on your site have been visited the most?
  • The average time spent viewing your site?
  • What kind of browsers are visitors using?

Google Analytics has many functions to enable you to analyse your website and create reports. For example Real-Time Reporting can display information about visitors that are on your website in a specific moment.

Learn more about Analytics here:
Learn Google Analytics

Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is another free product from Google which helps you see data about your website such as the number of impressions for your search queries and their position in Google, the number of links to your site or diagnostic information reported by Google after crawling through your website.

When Google wants to communicate with a webmaster, this is the place they will do it. There may be messages that inform you if you have pages infected with malware, or any indication of other problems, or simply an informational message.

Learn more:
Webmaster Tools

Microsoft also has similar tool at http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/

Sitemaps

The sitemap protocol allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. Sitemaps are XML files that list all the URLs for a site.

Google does not guarantee that they will crawl or index all of your URLs. However, they use the data in sitemaps to learn more about your website’s structure. In most cases, webmasters will benefit from using sitemaps.

If sitemaps are submitted directly to a search engine it will return status information and any processing errors. The location of the sitemap can also be included in the robots.txt file.

(A robots.txt file is a text file that stops web crawlers, such as Googlebot, from crawling certain pages of your site. The file is essentially a list of commands (allow and disallow) that tell web crawlers which URLs they can or cannot retrieve.)

Ideally, if your website’s pages are properly linked, web crawlers can usually discover most of your site even without a sitemap. But a sitemap of your website is a helpful tool that can improve the crawling of your site.

You have the option to create your sitemap manually or, alternatively, you can choose from a number of third-party tools to generate your sitemap automatically.

After you create your sitemap, you can submit it to Google with Google Webmaster Tools.

Third-party sitemap generator tools:
Sitemap Generators