Last week we discussed the non-manual forms of SEO, pieces of search engine optimization that cannot be manually added, but must be worked for. However, there is more to off-page SEO then what we previously discussed. There are other things that must be done outside of our websites, boosting our rankings and increasing our traffic. Because these do not apply directly our website pages, they are categorized as off-page SEO. But since last week’s post on off-page SEO was over 2,500 words, we are going to break these up into bite sized pieces.
I call this section of off-page SEO “Manual off-page SEO.” The post written last week would fall under the category of “Automatic off-page SEO”, as it will automatically boost your rankings after you put in the work. Many of you, my readers, are already familiar with this section of SEO, but if you haven’t learned about pinging, Google Search Console, site audits, and blogging tools, get ready to dive in.
Manual off-page SEO delves into several different areas, most of which have already been said: Pinging your website, using Google Search Console, auditing your website, and installing tools to help you on your journey. In keeping with our free WordPress plan tutorial, all of these options are free and will not cost you a single penny.
This is literally the least-used and yet most important piece to blogging. I would estimate that only 5% of free WordPress bloggers ping their websites on a regular basis, and some don’t even do it correctly.
Pinging is, to Google, the equivalent of waiving your arms and saying, “Hey! Over here!” In essence, a website that is being both automatically and manually pinged can expect its posts to be categorized quickly. Unfortunately, some bloggers ping the wrong way, so instead of helping their website, they get penalized on Google’s rankings.
“Pinging is, to Google, the equivalent of waiving your arms and saying, “Hey! Over here!”” –Elisha McFarlandTweet
The correct way to ping your website is easy. Go to Ping-O-Matic, found by clicking here. Type in your website’s name, URL, and RSS feed. Your name should be just that- the name of your site. Your URL should be the link to your blog homepage. For example, mine would be “www.africaboy.home.blog”. Then, under the RSS feed option, type the link to the page that shows your latest blog posts. If this is your homepage, type your homepage link again. If you, like me, have a “Blog” page displaying your latest posts, paste the link to that page.
Once you’ve finished this, make sure all of the checkboxes under these options are checked, then click “Send Pings”. Your site will now automatically ping Google every time you release a new post.
Now, if you want to go above and beyond the call of duty, you can continue to ping manually by bookmarking the page that appears just after you pinged Google for the first time. Coming back to this page will automatically ping Google again. Do not, however, do this unless you have recently published a new post and waited 10 minutes. If you only publish two posts a week, then you should only ping Google twice a week. You should not, under any circumstance, ping Google when you don’t have new content (for example, pinging multiple times or every day). This is a great way to get nailed for spam.
Google Search Console
If you haven’t linked your website to the Google Search Console, now is the time to start. Don’t worry, though. I am going to walk you through the process one step at a time.
Begin by clicking here. That link will take you to the Google Search Console home. Towards the bottom-left of your screen, click the blue button that says, “Start Now”.
This will take you to a loading page where you will be asked for a URL to your website. Clicking the right option under “URL Prefix” will allow you to input the link to your website. After you have pasted the URL to your website, you will be asked to verify your ownership. Don’t be scared, WordPress makes this a very easy process. Simply scroll down and select the HTML tag option.\
The copy the HTML code it gives you and go back to your WordPress home (mine is bookmarked under “Stats”). On the left sidebar, click Tools, then Marketing. Then, at the top of the screen, click “Traffic” and scroll down to the very bottom. Pasting that HTML under the Google option and clicking “Save” will give you everything you need. Wait a few seconds and go back to the Google Search Console verification screen. Click verify, and it should allow you to view your site’s Google status in a page something like this.
You are now all set to begin using Google Search Console.
GSC has two fantastic uses when it comes to getting your website indexed. To begin, go to your GSC home and click “Sitemaps”.
Now, go back to the previous WordPress page we you had up before, where you pasted the HTML. Scroll up a little to the section that says “Sitemaps”.
Click the first link to pull up another tab. This will be a random jumble of links and titles, but all you need is the URL to this tag. Copy that and paste it back into the Google Search Console section, then click “Submit”. Once that’s done, you’ll see a popup similar to this.
Now, here’s the thing- you need to do this every time you release a new post. Release the post, wait five minutes, then copy and paste the URL to your sitemap page into the section on Google Search Console.
After this, you have one more step to do. Copy the URL to the new post and paste it into the search bar at the top of the Google Search Console.
Click Enter and wait a few minutes. It should bring up a page that will look something like this.
Clicking “Request Indexing” will ask Google to Index your website, speeding up the process of getting your post on Google. This can be especially useful if you are trying to post news within a timeframe.
Now, to cap it all off, once you’ve done all of this, you can go back and ping Google manually. The process of getting your website on Google is now finished.
Auditing your website
Auditing your website is a great way to find broken pages or links. While it used to be extremely difficult to do this, my hero Neil Patel has made it very, very easy with his tool Ubersuggest. Click here to go to the tool and sign in under your Google account. There, enter your website’s URL and wait for Neil Patel to do the heavy lifting. Ubersuggest will automatically scan your website to find problems in a process taking less than ten minutes. After it finishes, Ubersuggest will give you a your organic keywords, organic monthly traffic (this is still being developed), domain score (the higher the better, mine is 86), and backlinks (also under development).
By going to the lower-left part of the page and clicking “Site Audit”, you will ensure that all problems (if any) on your website are found. After a few seconds, Ubersuggest should show a page with all of your website problems. Clicking on one can reveal both the problem and a way to fix it, so take your time on this until you are sure you’ve done everything you can.
These can be completely invaluable. I, personally, use only three tools: Mozbar, Check My Links, and Ubersuggest. Since we have already talked about Ubersuggest, we can move on to Mozbar.
Mozbar is a fantastic tool for finding out how you stack up against the competition. You can download it by clicking here. Once you’ve added Mozbar as an extension to Chrome (don’t worry, it doesn’t have any viruses), you will be asked to sign in to Moz. Create your free account using your email and activate the Chrome extension by clicking it. It will pull up a window towards the top of Chrome, displaying information about every single website you select. It will show the Domain Authority (how well trusted the entire site is, anything above 60 is fantastic), Page Authority (how well trusted your page is, anything above 30 is great), your total number of backlinks (I have 59), and your spam score (I don’t have one). If you have a spam score, this means that your website probably has spam comments that need to be deleted.
Using this tool can be helpful to see where you compare with your competition. For example, I often compete (in a friendly way) with Ariana Evans, author at Ariana’s Archives. Using this tool, I can see whether or not I have a better DA or PA, and whether I have more backlinks (probably not given that I just gave her one). I can do the same thing with Joshua Swanson or Jesusluvsall to see where I rank against them.
Finally, our last tool is Check My Links. You can enable it as a virus-free extension by clicking here. This tool is not usually used against competition, but is useful for finding broken links on your most important web pages. By navigating to that web page and clicking on the Check My Links button, you have the app crawl your site within a matter of seconds and report any broken links it finds. Broken links can be very bad for SEO, so checking for them every once in a while is a good practice to begin.
Alrighty, that’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you learned a lot. If you did, make sure to click that Follow button below (or to the side), so as to not miss out on any new posts. Thanks again, and I hope you have a fantastic day!
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