Google Search Console

Google has launched a new version of Search Console that helps you to manage your presence on Google Search.  Specifically, it shows you how people have found your website. The software is free to use.

You can now confirm which of your website pages are indexed and receive information on how to fix indexing errors. You can also monitor your performance on Google Search over the previous  16 months of data, to enable year-over-year comparisons.

Google recommends checking your current status using the new Search Console, as they will only notify you if your site data changes from the current state.

I found that it took a few attempts before Search Console would verify that I owned my website (!); however, if this happens to you, it is worth persisting and there are several ways in which you can verify your website.

You can login here:

How many words should you write for Google?

Google logoProbably a lot more than you might think. Google likes deep content from subject experts. For a long time, I have told my clients and marketing seminar audiences, that “the more you write, the more you sell.” When someone asks me, for example: “How many words should I write within a blog?” my standard answer used to be 300 words. However, this number is now edging up. As you read the following, please remember that I am only the messenger (as you might not like the message).

If you really want to get noticed by Google, write extended blog posts of more than 1000 words. Some sources say that circa 1,500 words is a good target to aim for as this word count takes about 5 minutes to read. (If you are wondering how many words there are in this post, the answer is just over 1000). Google prefers a high word count, as long body copy means that the piece contains more expertise and more keywords. After all, if you are writing about a subject in reasonable depth, 1000+ words enables you to argue your case in more depth than 300 words does. However, you have to provide insights. Which means that you must know what you are talking about. Which in turn means that if you pay $5 for someone on the other side of the world to write your blog posts, Google will probably notice. Bear in mind that the Google algorithm is now smart enough to figure out whether you actually know your subject and what you are writing about (kind of scary, really, isn’t it?)

This is one of the reasons why I don’t outsource any of my writing and why I don’t advise that my clients do so. After all, no one knows their subject in quite the same way that they do. I think that it is fine if someone else edits their words, as this means that they are providing a better service to their readers. (During the next copywriting for the web training course, we will be discussing how writing and editing are two separate skills).

There are clearly a number of challenges here, aren’t there? For a start, you have to have quite a bit to say in order to hit 1000 words on any given subject. Having said this, if you continually read about your subject, launch new services / products and are reasonably creative then this is less of a problem. I often work provide marketing advice to independent professionals and business owners who need a little help with their marketing strategy in general and their content marketing in particular (which = the brave new world of marketing). For example, they realise that they can write about their enterprise, services, products and customers. But what else can they write about? Perhaps it is easier for someone ‘looking in’ rather than someone ‘looking out’ to see the numerous possibilities that exist.

Personally, I have found that the more you write and the more frequently you do so, the easier it gets. I imagine that all of these little copywriting and idea generation neurons are busy talking to each other, no matter what I am doing.

Another challenge is how are you going to get all of these words into a machine? I was ill one summer, when I was 16 years old. My father gave me a book which taught me how to touch type. So I know what home keys are, on a keyboard (they have little raised areas for your fingers to find) and I am a reasonably fast typist who can look at the screen whilst I type, not at the keyboard. If you ‘hunt and peck’, I suggest that you learn how to touch type (age is no barrier to learning, is it?)

The average typing speed is 39 words per minute, in other words 2,340 words per hour (the record is an astonishing 216 words per minute). Yes, I know what you are thinking. Probably something like: “There is no way that I could write a 1000 word blog in half an hour.” OK, I accept this. So here are a few ideas which might help:

* Walk around with a note book and pen (i.e. a paper note book). When you have an idea for a blog, write it down. Yes, I know that your fingers will feel clumsy handling the pen as you probably haven’t used one for a decade, but hey, old skills can be useful. Why this 20th century approach? Because all of the novelists I know do this and it would appear that the act of writing with a pen sparks off more ideas than using the virtual keyboard on your smartphone.

* Write regularly, ideally every day – even if it is only 100 words (the words will soon mount up).

* When you read don’t just read about your profession. Ideas come from many different sources. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Realise that everything connects to everything else.”

* Write directly into your blog software (i.e. WordPress). If someone has to edit / review / clear your words – get them to do so online, ideally within the blog software itself.

* Blog at least once a week and share your blog posts via social media.

By the way, if you are realistically never going to become a touch typist, then I suggest that you start using dictation software. Everyone tells me that it is getting better and better. The alternative would be to work with someone who can make it happen for you i.e. help you to come up with the ideas and actually get them published via your blog, MailChimp newsletter and social media accounts. There are many ways to get all of this done, without soaking up all of your working day.

Here are some other blog posts on content creation which may help:

Coming up with new ideas and finding time to think

How to generate ideas for content marketing blogs

I will be discussing these issues during my next Writing for the Web training course.

Written by marketing consultant, trainer, speaker and author Nigel Temple.
3,000+ clients over a 30 year period.
Nigel is available for hire as a marketing consultantmarketing trainer or marketing speaker.
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Google and responsive websites

Here is a Google page which shows you whether your website is mobile friendly:

Google logoGoogle is making significant changes on April 21st 2015 (‘mobilegeddon’). There may be adverse effects on your rankings if your site does not work well within mobiles / smartphones. The answer is to have a ‘responsive’ website which automatically adjusts to the device it is being viewed with. This is usually achieved, within a modern site, via the CSS code – which is one of the many reasons why I like WordPress (see my recent WordPress review). Later on today, I am changing my WordPress theme to one which has responsiveness built into it. So much to do, such little time!

Google commented: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” Read the full Google announcement about mobile search and responsiveness here.

As well as being responsive, your site should be lightning quick to load. A key factor here is the hosting service you are using (unless of course you still have a server in the cupboard under the stairs which acts as your web server).

For many years, I have been telling my marketing seminar audiences that “Google loves a blogger.” With the advent of Google’s latest version of its algorithm*, called Hummingbird, blogging and content creation is more relevant to digital marketing than it has ever been.

The more frequently that you update your site and add fresh content (i.e. via your blog), the more that you will catch the attention of the search engines.

If you want to get onto page 1 of Google, Yahoo and Bing, I offer SEO consultancy and training services.

You can ask questions about search via our SEO Group:

By the way Navigator members of The Marketing Compass have just received our updated Google Guide.

* ‘Algorithm’ comes from the Latin translation of a book written by the Persian mathematician, Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi (circa 780 – 850 AD), a member of the royal court in Baghdad. His booked was entitled: Algoritmi de numero Indorum – in English, ‘Al-Khwarizmi on the Hindu Art of Reckoning’.

Google My Business review

Google logoYou can register your enterprise (for free) within Google My Business:

This is the place to get your business onto Google Search, Maps and Google+. Google My Business helps to provide useful information to customers, i.e. driving directions to your premises within Maps, opening hours in Search or a clickable telephone number so that customers can call you via their mobile phone.

At the time of writing, there is an orange bar at the top of the Google My Business page. Click on ‘Review updates’  and you will find that it is easy to edit the information: just click the little pencil symbol.

Having clicked on  …scroll down to Share something interesting; discover Insights (i.e Views); Google Analytics (i.e. New visits): Reviews (which are important); and Hangouts.

Google My Business enables customers to give ratings and reviews, use the +1 button to endorse your content and share your Google+ posts.

Over the years, Google has experimented with a number of services including Google Places for Business and Google+ Pages Dashboard to manage business information. If you have previously registered for these services, you should appear automatically within Google My Business. However, it is worth checking that your enterprise is there and that the information is up-to-date.

I have recently updated my SEO e-book. I wrote the original version several years ago and during that time I have noticed that quite a few directories have disappeared. I imagine that some of them have merged with each other; however, I have a feeling that quite a few of them just couldn’t compete with Google.

If you have any questions, you can ask via The Marketing Compass.