If you want to increase your Search Engine Optimization and design sites that stand out from your competition, check out the following user-friendly webmaster resources.
Google Webmaster Central
Check out Google Webmaster Tools – the following features make it easy for developers to easily design/create comprehensive sites.
Before you get started, you need to sign up for a Google account. Google offers one-stop shopping for webmasters (at no cost!). This comprehensive hub teaches you all the necessary tricks and tools to build dynamic sites that are Search Engine Optimization effective – keyword searches, subscriber stats, etc. Google basically spells out the basics for you and makes it VERY easy to follow.
o Webmaster Guidelines – You need to start with the Webmaster Guidelines first. It’s important to read and follow Google’s guidelines according to their specifications. These guidelines help Google index and rank your site. Read the “Quality Guidelines” carefully because it details Search Engine Optimization penalties and the reasons behind why Google drops sites from its index.
o Design and Content Guidelines – Details step-by-step how you need to design your site, content, etc. (i.e. “Make sure that your elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.”)
o Technical Guidelines – Google gives specifics about robot.txt files and advises to test sites to make sure sites work well in different web browsers, etc.
o Quality Guidelines – These guidelines give you the specific dos and don’ts when it comes to GOOD Search Engine Optimization practices – stay away from black hat techniques such as cloaking. Don’t duplicate content, etc.
o Webmaster Checklist – Google makes it easy for you to check off each step as you move through the design process. It also makes sure you are on track with best Search Engine Optimization practices, according to Google’s criteria.
The Google Help Forum and Webmaster Help Center/FAQs make it easy to quickly find answers to common problems/questions concerning Search Engine Optimization and web development.
Yahoo! Site Explorer
Yahoo! Site Explorer is a free, easily accessible tool that allows you to search all sites/pages indexed by Yahoo. In order to access Yahoo! Site Explorer, you need to first create a Yahoo account.
The best Search Engine Optimization feature is that you can easily research competitor’s sites (a great way to find your competition’s links and link to your competitor’s sites).
Submit a URL and check out how many pages and inlinks are listed. Click on the “explore” button for each site and find out more information about each page/link.
Site Explorer’s APIs is also a great resource tool for web developers (especially when it comes to your Search Engine Optimization). You need to apply for an Application ID to use this service (click on the right hand side of the page to get started).
Site Explorer’s APIs allows you to track sites’ traffic and usage in Yahoo. It provides the following data:
o Inlinks and page data
o Ping and Update notifications- you can notify Yahoo of changes to your site
Bing Webmaster Central
Microsoft has jumped on board with Bing Webmaster Central. The Webmaster Tools allows you to research crawling and indexing and view statistics in Bing. It also identifies other sites that link to your site and submit XML sitemaps.
You need to sign up for a MSN account and then log into Webmaster Central. Before you can use their Webmaster Tools, register and authenticate your sites first. Webmasters have access to a comprehensive blog, forum and Help section if they have further questions.
Webmaster Tools features the following resources that will help improve your Search Engine Optimization in Bing:
o Robots.txt validator
o HTTP verifier
o Keyword research
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