February 2, 2010

How to Use the Free Google Tools to Optimize your Personal Web Site

Google has made available for free use by anyone a wide variety of tools that can be useful for writers and other people who publish in the Internet. It doesn't matter whether you publish your work in the Internet for money or for fun, the tools will help you get your written work or message to your readers or intended audience.

As writers and publishers, we are creating written works that we hope would provide some value for our intended audience. And if you're writing to make money on the Internet, the more people read your written work, the more money you can generate from your writing efforts.

The Internet has grown to become a very competitive place. At the same time, it has also become a technology intensive place to work on. Therefore, we have to use the technology that is available to make our work more accessible to our targeted audience. We cannot just write and hope that someone out there may stumble upon it. We should write for a purpose and that purpose must include seeing to it that our targeted readers can easily get hold of our written work.

Fortunately, Google has made available a host of free tools that writers and publishers in the Internet can use to promote and optimize their site to gain a competitive edge over others who are competing for the readers' attention. We have to get to know and use these tools if we want to get ahead in our writing endeavors.

If you already have a topic that you would like to write about, don't go writing that article yet. Pay a visit to Google AdWords and check what keywords, people are using to search for information related to the topic. This can give you a hint on from what angle it would be best to write your article. You will also get an idea on what keyword phrases you might use later on when you decide to optimize your article for the Google search engine.

You can use Google Analytics to find out which among your articles are being read the most. This would give you an indication of what information people out there are searching for. You can then use this information to generate ideas for other related topics that you can write on. Perhaps you can write another article that deals with one major aspect of the topic that you have only dealt with slightly on the article most liked by your readers.

Use the Google Webmaster tools to find what topical interests your web site is focusing on and how focused your web site is for targeting those subjects. If you notice that you have a preponderance of irrelevant keywords, then it's time to reassess what particular topics your web site should be focusing on. This would give you a clue as to what topics you should be planning to write on your next articles.

I believe that Google is using a metric to assess how relevant to a particular keyword phrase your site is. I think that having a tight focus on particular topics can improve the chance that your pages will be chosen to be included in Google's search result pages. When you look at the keywords portion of the Webmaster dashboard, you will be presented with a visual overview of the most used keywords in your site.

For me, the ideal result would show three of four keywords getting from 90 to 100 points on the bar chart. This means that your articles are tightly focusing on those topics and would likely be chosen to be included in the search results for those keywords. If most of your important keywords are showing below 50 points on the bar chart, then it's time to think about writing more articles on a particular topic to increase how focused your web site is on the keywords that you are targeting.

Google Insights for Search is a good tool that you can use in planning the contents of your web sites. Perhaps you're thinking of creating a new web site or adding a new topic that you would like your existing web sites to focus on. Google Insights for Search can point you to what subject matters to avoid because of the people's declining interest on them. At the same time, it can point you to topics that are worth exploring because of the rising demand for information about those issues. Based on the insights you obtain after studying the data, you might decide to completely change the focus of your site or create a new one that will cater to the emerging trends developing in the years ahead.

If you have more than one web site, you can cross promote between the sites using your site's feed. However, you have to create your feed using Google's Feedburner tool. A feed is a promotional tool that you can use to send people over to your web site. If you host your site on Blogger, you already have a feed created using Atom. If you click on that link, you'll be able to see how your feed would look like.

Google's Feedburner tool is another way to create a feed and setup a customized HTML code that you can place on your web pages. The code will feature the standard chicklet icon which you can place on any of your HTML page. Once clicked, it will show your feed together with the options on what feed reader your user would like to use to read your feed. From then on, a link to your feed will be included on your user's feed reader's page. The feed reader will alert your user once you post a new article on your web site.

If you blog at Blogger and you have chosen to create new feeds using Feedburner, you have to set your blog to re-route its Atom-created feed to the one created by Feedburner. There is an option to set this up in your Blogger dashboard. For me, a feed should be used only to alert people about what is new on your web site so it must be short. By default, Blogger sets your feed setting to full which means a full copy of each of your posts are included in your feed. You have to change your setting in your Blogger dashboard if you don't want this to happen with your feed.

You can also use Feedburner to generate an HTML snippet that will show the latest posts that you have in your blog. You can then place this HTML code in your other web sites thereby achieving cross promotion among your sites. To do this, you need to use Google Analytics to find out which pages are most visited in your site. Then, go to Feedburner and generate the HTML code that will show your other site's feed and place it on the most visited pages of your other site. You can also use the feed to add relevant content on some of your pages that have relatively short content.

Those are a few of the free Google tools that you can use to improve how well your web site responds to the needs of your readers or to increase the visibility of your web site. Google Analytics and Webmaster tools can provide information about how readers respond to your web site. Google Insights for Search can provide you with information for developing your content strategy and the Google Feedburner tool can help you promote your web site using the feeds technology.