Are you using the new “fetch and render” tool in Google Webmaster Tools? Do you have an XML sitemap? Are you wasting money on SEO services? In this week’s Friday Finds series, find a tutorial on how to create and upload an XML sitemap for your website (along with an explanation of what xml sitemaps are). Also, learn about some SEO services that you don’t want to invest in, some great blogging advice and tips and advice on blogging to become a highly paid expert. As always, I hope you find this week’s #Friday Finds helpful and you learn something new here.
Do You Use Google Webmaster Tools’ Fetch & Render?
As a quick reminder for anyone who is a webmaster (and yes – a WordPress blog is a website), an XML sitemap is a file that is created for the search engines. (FYI: The acronym XML stands for “Extensible Markup Language” which means that the data is in a format that is easily understood by the search engines.)
XML sitemaps contain important metadata with information such as: when the page was last modified, how frequently it changes and how it ranks in importance relative to other URLs. There are WordPress plugins available to handle this (including the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin that I’ve mentioned before). Do-it-yourselfers can handle xml sitemaps without a plugin in 3 easy steps:
- Generate a free XML sitemap (on a site like xml-sitemaps.com) and download it to your computer.
- Upload your sitemap to the root directory of your website (usually public_html) using either your website host CPanel or an FTP (file transfer protocol) program like Filezilla.
- Submit your sitemap to the search engines using Google and Bing webmaster tools.
After you’ve uploaded your sitemap to the root directory of your website, you need to submit it to Google using their Webmaster Tools.
#1 – Click on “Crawl”
#2 – Click on “Sitemaps”
#3 – Click on “Add/Test Sitemap’
#4 – Key “sitemap.xml” (Note: You should already have uploaded your sitemap.sml site to the root directory of your website. Your root directory is usually named public_html.)
#5 – Click on “Submit Sitemap”.
After submitting your sitemap, click on the “Fetch as Google” link (in the left-hand crawl menu). The following screen will appear:
- With “Desktop” selected, click on the “Fetch and Render” button.
- If Googlebot can successfully fetch your page, you’ll have the option to “Submit to Google Index. (I always select the option to index my URL and all pages linked to it.
- Note: You can submit your URL to Google’s index up to 10 times a month.
- While you’re on this screen, you can also fetch your site as it appears on: Mobile: Smartphone, Mobile: XHTML/WML and Mobile: cHTML
What Is the New “Render” Google Webmaster Tools Feature?
The fetch tool in Google Webmaster Tools has been around for quite a while now but the render feature wasn’t introduced until May 27th, 2014. So, what’s so great about this and why would you want to use it?
The difference between “fetch” and “fetch and render” is that the render feature will show you how Google displays your page on your desktop and some mobile devices like smartphones. Equally important, (at the bottom of the screen), it shows any resources that are blocking Googlebot from crawling.
For more info and screenshots about this new feature, be sure to read Google Webmaster Tools Adds Fetch & Render By Device Type by Barry Schwartz on SearchEngineLand.com.
Are you Paying for SEO Services that You Shouldn’t Do?
There are lots of SEO tips that you can easily incorporate into your blogging routine. I’ve blogged before about some basic SEO tips and some tips that are more advanced. What about paying to have your website optimized for the search engines?
Sure there are plenty of legitimate SEO professionals offering services and products to help you. What about the services that are offered by companies where SEO is not their core competency? What if these add-ons are simply to supplement their revenue streams and aren’t really the best choice for us?
In 6 SEO Services You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money On by Travis Biffen on WebsiteMagazine.com, you can discover six services that Travis warns aren’t the best investment. I’m not going to go into great depth on these because it’s a quick read and you can easily digest the info yourself. For a sneak peak of the six companies that are featured, I’ve bullet pointed them here:
- GoDaddy SEO services ($2.99 per month)
- Yellow Pages (plans start at $295 per month)
- Yelp (pay to have the good reviews show)
- Dex Yellow Pages
- Rank Pay
BTW – Since we’re talking about GoDaddy here, are they really that bad for website hosting?
Have You Read this Useful Information Bloggers can Use Now?
I don’t usually share roundup posts in my Friday Finds but this week, Adrienne Smith’s article Thankful Thursday: Influencers, Blogging Tips, Automate, Google, Results (on AdrienneSmith.net) caught my eye. In case you missed it, this week, Adrienne features five bloggers:
- Konrad Sanders writes about his experience with influencer marketing.
- Neil Patel shares his 30,000 page guide on marketing automation.
- James blogs about dominating the SERPs (search engine result pages) without backlinks.
- Adam Connell shares some great tips to incorporate into writing and publishing your blog posts.
- Sherryl Perry’s article on blogging tips you may have missed is included too.
I’m not going to share the links to the above posts or disclose what info the authors have shared but I do encourage you to read Adrienne’s article yourself when you have a few minutes. (Well, maybe more than just a few because you’re going to want to read the full articles too.)
Have You Seen this Blogging Advice from Jeff Bullas?
Whether you’re new to blogging, thinking about starting a blog or have been blogging a while and hoping to create and package information products, this post should give you some inspiration and actionable ideas to help take your blog to the next level.
In his article, The 3 Key Steps to Becoming a Highly Paid Expert by Jeff Bullas (on JeffBullas.com), he narrows blogging down to three key steps:
One of the things that I enjoyed the most about Jeff’s post is the three case studies that Jeff featured including Tim Ferris, Guy Kawasaki and Darren Rowse. Additionally, he shares a link to download his book “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media”.
Over To You:
Are you using paid SEO services that are a waste of money? Have you tried using the new “fetch and render” feature in Google Webmaster Tools? Did you find the tutorial on XML sitemaps helpful? Which of this week’s Friday Finds did you find the most useful?