Let's begin with a few SEO best practices that everyone should be familiar with. These won't enhance your rankings immediately, but they'll help you position yourself up to stay ahead in Google Search Results.
1. Set up Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool for tracking your site’s organic search performance.
Here are a few things you can do with it:
◼ See the keywords you rank for
◼ Check ranking positions
◼ Find website errors
◼ Submit sitemaps
Learn how to set it up in our step-by-step guide.
2. Set up Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools is essentially Bing’s equivalent of Google Search Console.
Learn how to set it up here.
3. Set up Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager helps you to manage all your website tags without editing code. Google Tag Manager delivers simple, reliable, easily integrated tag management solutions— for free.
Learn how to set it up here.
4. Set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free marketing analytics tool that lets you see information about how many people visit your site, who they are, and how they interact with it.
Our Beginner's Guide will lead you through all you need to know as a beginning about the tool, including how to set it up and which reports will be most beneficial to you, but one thing is certain: you can't conduct an effective SEO strategy without it.
To import data from Google Search Console, you'll also need to connect Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
5. Create and submit a sitemap.
A sitemap's goal is to assist search engines in determining which pages should be crawled and which is the canonical version of each.
It's just a collection of URLs that describe your site's core content so that it may be crawled and indexed.
Google accepts a variety of sitemap formats, the most popular of which being XML. The sitemap for your website is normally found at https://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
Otherwise, you can use one of the various sitemap generator services available to create an XML sitemap. In fact, our complete guide to sitemaps, which contains our top choices, was recently revised.
Make sure your sitemap is submitted to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools after you've created it.
Make sure to also reference your sitemap in your robots.txt file.
6. Create a Robots.txt file.
Simply put, the robots.txt file on your site notifies search engine crawlers of which pages and files they can and cannot request from your site.
It's most typically used to prevent some parts of your site from being crawled, and it's not meant to be used to de-index a page and make it disappear from Google.
You can find your site's robots.txt file at https://www.yourdomain.com/robots.txt.
Check to see if you already have one set up.
If you don't have one, you should make one now, even if you don't need to block any web pages from being crawled right now.
Here we complete our SEO Basics section. To read about the next topic check out our Technical SEO blog.