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FYI Friday: Search Engine Solutions

Last week, we explored how formatting Facebook and Twitter messages, as well as HTML, can affect your digital goals. This week, we’re looking at how to force Google to recrawl your site, a short lesson about the canonical tag, and some tips to guide your keyword research.

How to Force Google to Recrawl Your Site by Ken Lyons

Normally, Googlebot recrawls a website about twice a year, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Last year, Google updated "Fetch as Googlebot" in Webmaster Tools with a new feature called "Submit URL to Index," which allows you to submit updated URLs that Google claims it will crawl within a day. You first need to submit URLs to the "Fetch as Googlebot" feature and get diagnostic feedback on any problem areas on your website. If Google is able to fetch the URL successfully, you're granted access to use the "Submit URL to Index" feature.

Next, select the "URL and all linked pages" option when submitting for a recrawl because this will spur a recrawl of all internal links on that page, as well as other connected sections of sites. For more details, check out the full article.  

The Canonical Tag Can Save You from the Duplicate Content Monster by Ray Comstock

Computers aren’t people, and they can’t understand that similar URLs like www. example.com, example.com, and www.example.com/home are the same thing to a user. This is a problem because only one of those URLs can show up in the results pages and it may not be the optimal URL from a search engine optimization point-of-view. Plus, Google might interpret these multiple URLs as duplicate content, a big no-no that will further hurt your search ranking.

Ray Comstock explains that Google’s rel="canonical" element can help avoid this confusion by letting you specify the exact URL you want to represent each page of your website. Read the entire article to find out the full list of potential duplication issues, as well as why 301 redirects aren’t the same thing as the canonical element.  

Low-Hanging Fruit: How To Identify Keywords That Just Need A Little Help by Anthony Mangia

In a workday with little resources, how can you identify keywords that only need a little push to become fully optimized? To start, Anthony Mangia recommends going into Google Analytics and selecting “Keywords” under Traffic Sources to filter out “non-paid” keywords that don’t drive traffic to your site. Second, put this information into a spreadsheet and the keywords through rank-checking software like Rank Checker (a free tool!). When you sort the results, remove all the terms where you already rank number 1, because you’re already on top of the results.

Check out the full article to learn the next steps, including how Google’s Keyword Tool can help determine search volume and other tools you can use to examine competition and link-building opportunities.