The Google Search Console, (formerly webmaster tools) is a suite of informative tools to manage how your website is performing. You’ve probably heard of this and we certainly hope that you are using it, but you might not be using it to the fullest extent. You don’t need to ‘trick’ Google to get people to see your webpages, but you do need to be savvy and offer up content that is attractive to users and the search engine bots. This is a direct line to Google that shows you how to make your site better. And doesn’t everyone want to make a better website?
By default the IDX pages are on a subdomain of idxbroker.com. Search console cannot help you track these pages until you set up a subdomain. Creating a CName record for your site is the first step to additional SEO credit and tracking. Check out our Knowledgebase article if you want help setting this up.
Your subdomain is a great start, but it does no good if Google doesn’t recognize it. Once the subdomain is set up, let Google know that you’ve made the change. Verify your new subdomain as a new property so that Google knows that you have control of the content. We can even give you a little bit of help if you want to learn how to verify your subdomain.
Submit XML file
Give Google a head-start when it comes to finding your content. Eventually the bots should be able to crawl and find all of your pages, but an XML sitemap shows them what to expect so that they don’t have to go hunting for all that content. This is different from a human readable HTML sitemap that helps visitors locate all the pages on your site. Read this article for more information about your IDX Broker sitemaps.
Indexed vs Submitted
Sometimes Google will find but ignore a page. This can be for many reasons, including having duplicate content or lacking content. Also, check your tags to make sure that you aren’t telling search engines to ignore some of your pages. Occasionally pages that are too deep into the site can also be ignored because they are too difficult for bots to locate. Update your wrapper and edit your page preferences to ensure unique content on your IDX pages. When you have unique content that isn’t blocking the search engine bots, you will have a higher ratio of URLs indexed compared to submitted.
Eliminate URL Errors
Site engines can have issues with missing links, outdated sitemaps and sequences of redirects. Not every missing link will be a deal breaker, but some of the more important errors will affect your ranking. Take note of the important URL errors that Google finds so that you can correct these in the proper manner. Once fixed, you can actually tell Google that these are fixed and then the search bot will be more likely to crawl all of your pages in a timely fashion.
Fetch As Google
In general it’s nice to be able to check your work. When I post a blog article, I always check how it’s going to look on the live site, because there are differences between the working environment and the live version. The same goes with SEO settings. You can ‘fetch as Google’ to see what the search bots see and then you can make sure that your optimizations are effective.
These are just a few tips. I hope that this gives you a head start into the world of search analytics. Get in there and explore what Google and other search engines have to offer so that you can create better content that gets traffic and sells more real estate.