Getting Your Website righteous with google
It had been quite a while since I had gone through some of the Google tutorials that I used to watch when I was first getting started with building an online business presence so I decided to go back into these and nose around a bit and I was startled with what I had found.
Despite all my work recently trying to understand SEO, keyword searching, building backlinks, building more website content and doing a myriad of other things all in the name of building organic traffic, I found the traffic had not been growing like I thought it should be doing so I decided to go back to basics and that meant taking another look at Google itself, which brought me back to some of their tutorials.
I quite literally stumbled upon their "Google Webmaster Console" tool which I hadn't looked at in close to a year and I found it by going to my browser and initiating the "site: (and then your full site domain name)" command which is a quick method of looking at your own website's page names and descriptions with a view to improving on your text for them.
I reacquainted myself with the Google Webmaster Console tool and was totally startled to find just how much I had fallen off the wagon with respect to running a clean website as Google would view it. Google by the way is motivated by its advertisers to present quality websites to its consumers so they are regularly surfing our sites and recording things that they notice which we need to be fixing up to remain high in their search engine rankings. You may have great content, terrific SEO keywords and descriptions in place, lots of quality backlinks etc., but if your site is not "Clean" they just won't be seeing you.
The Google Webmaster Console application by the way, is found in the "webmaster directory section of the Google website - you can also find it under the "Google Tools" selection if you are using Chrome as a browser. Before you can start using the tool, you will need to open it for the first time and copy the "SPF - TXT" record link they will give you and then go to where you have registered your domain and paste it into your.txt record line attached to your domain. Then you will need to go back to the tool and verify your ownership of the domain (just a button click to complete this step). Once done, you will probably need to wait about 24 hours or so to give Google a chance to run its queries against your site so it can start recording for you within your console what your site errors are.
So here is what I was startled to find out about that needed to be repaired.
First, I had 14 error 404's where links were still going to pages that did not exist any longer.
I had several "Duplicate Record" Description/Meta Tag errors where I had copied old pages to create new pages and had not remembered to change the Meta data on the new pages. Google does not like duplicate pages with the same Meta data in place.
There were several web pages where I had become lazy and had not filled out complete descriptions in the Meta data area.
There were a few pages where the Meta tags did not match up with the page titles and descriptions - this again as a result of copying new pages from old ones and forgetting to update the Meta tags or the descriptions or the titles - in any event, they were out of synch.
Google now places a big emphasis on your webpages being friendly to mobile devices in order for your site to be seen as being clean. This was a new requirement from when I had first started building this site so a number of the pages were not "Responsive Design" compliant - 19 pages in fact. This is fixable. The first thing you have to do is ensure that every one of your pages contains a line of code it the meta area of its header information that configures your "Viewport" - and that is how Google describes the error it gives you the message "Viewport Not Configured". Search Google help for Viewport Meta code and you can get to the instructions for inserting this code along with the code string itself.
Font to small: There were 4 webpages with font set too small to work properly on mobile devices.
Touch Elements to Close: There were several webpages that had buttons installed too closely to be easily and separately usable on a mobile device - they would overlap on that platform so they needed to be spaced further apart.
Flash Usage error: The site still been using some older "Adobe Flash Player" scripts that had to be deleted in about a dozen places. Apparently, Google does not like how the older Flash players work on mobile platforms - there are issues on some of them so they would like you to abandon your older flash players on your webpages in favor of newer technologies.
So bottom line here is that the website is in process of becoming fully "righteous" again with Google and I should get there in the next day or so and would hope to see the search results start to pick up again. All these months I have been regularly working on the site to improve it, I have also been sloppy at times and/or just didn't realize that I was doing some things wrong and as a result, was hurting the Google rankings.
So a word to the wise, get setup with Google Webmaster Console and get your site righteous with them to see your viewing numbers go up. And they will know you are working on these tasks and I suspect you will be rewarded accordingly because as you fix items, you can hit buttons within the console to say the item was fixed and you can retest pages for the mobile platform errors so you can see what you need to do page by page to get them compliant as well. Once righteous, you can focus on your SEO again and really start to rack up the viewing numbers and the sales.
By Dan Grijzenhout - December 20, 2016
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