Friday 22 August, 2014
SEO seems mysterious and complicated to most people but the basics aren’t hard at all. What makes it even easier is that there’s plenty of free help for any webmaster that wants it.
Both Google and Bing offer their own webmaster portals. These are portals that offer tools, tutorials and help for webmasters who are doing their own search engine optimization. You’ll find all kinds of useful information there, and these portals are woefully underused by small business owners.
How Webmaster Portals Work
The whole idea behind webmaster portals is to make it easier for you to manage your own websites. They do this through a dashboard where you can take in data at a glance. They’re designed to be user friendly so you don’t have to be particularly tech savvy to take advantage of them. As Google says of its portal, a portal is a one-stop shop for webmaster resources.
What You Can Do with Portals
Webmaster portals give you a wide array of information. They have built-in keyword data to help you choose and refine keywords. They show search volumes and keywords trends over time as well.
Built-in analytics help you monitor how much traffic you’re getting and from where. You can also see traffic trends over time to help you tweak your backlinking strategy.
Since webmaster portals are for webmasters of any techie ability, these tools offer ways to increase your traffic. They have tutorials, FAQs and support to help you learn your way around SEO if you’re not seasoned at it already.
They can also help you identify problem areas with your site. You might have a bad link or something that keeps the search engines from effectively crawling and indexing it. Webmaster portals report errors and also send you warnings about malware attacks and other threats.
These webmaster portals are constantly being updated with new features to make them more useful. They’re kind of like an easier-to-use version of Google Analytics or another analytics program.
Getting Signed up
You can use webmaster portals for free. All you need to do is sign up and verify your website. This information is only available to you, the owner of the site. This is why you need to verify. Once this is done, you’re ready to get started.
Google vs. Bing
I mentioned both Google and Bing’s webmaster portals. The reason is that these are the biggest search engines at the time of writing. Both are very good and I can’t say that one is necessarily better than the other.
Google’s webmaster portal is integrated with other Google products, so if you’re using Gmail, G+, YouTube or anything else, you can connect everything.
However, Bing has a whole host of its own special features. For example, you can tell Bing to ignore certain links without having them removed. If Bing finds that one of your links looks dodgy, you can remove it from the webmaster portal. Google doesn’t let you do that. You have to actually contact the source.
Many businesses use both and that’s what I recommend. You can get a great deal of insight from both and they’re easy to use, so it’s not overwhelming.
Here they are:
Google’s Webmaster Tools – http://google.com/webmasters
Bing’s Webmaster Help – http://www.bing.com/webmaster/help