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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Adding associates to manage your YouTube presence

Webmaster level: All

Many organizations have multiple presences on the web. For example, Webmaster Tools lives at www.google.com/webmasters, but it also has a Twitter account and a YouTube channel. It's important that visitors to these other properties have confidence that they are actually associated with the Webmaster Tools site. However to date it has been challenging for webmasters to manage which users can take actions on behalf of their site in different services.

Today we're happy to announce a new feature in Webmaster Tools that allows webmasters to add "associates" -- trusted users who can act on behalf of your site in other Google products. Unlike site owners and users, associates can't view site data or take any site actions in Webmaster Tools, but they are authorized to perform specific tasks in other products.

For this initial launch, members of YouTube's partner program that have created a YouTube channel for their site can now link the two together. By doing this, your YouTube channel will be displayed as the "official channel" for your website.


Management within Webmaster Tools

To add or change associates:

  1. On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
  2. Under Configuration, click Associates.
  3. Click Add a new associate.
  4. In the text box, type the email address of the person you want to add.
  5. Select the type of association you want.
  6. Click Add.

Management within YouTube

It’s also possible for users to request association from a site’s webmaster.
  1. Log in to your YouTube partner account.
  2. Click on the user menu and choose Settings > Associated Website.
  3. Fill in the page you would like to associate your channel with.
  4. Click Add. If you’re a verified owner of the site, you’re done. But if someone else in your organization manages the website, the association will be marked Pending. The owner receives a notification with an option to approve or deny the request.
  5. After approval is granted, navigate back to this page and click Refresh to complete the association.
Through associates, webmasters can easily and safely allow others to associate their website with YouTube channels. We plan to support integration with additional Google products in the future.

If you have more questions, please see the Help with Associates article or visit our webmaster help forum.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SEO essentials for startups in under 10 minutes

Webmaster Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Wondering how to be search-friendly but lacking time for SEO research? We’d like to help! Meta keywords tag? Google Search ignores it. Meta description? Good to include.
If you:
  • Work on a company website that’s under 50ish pages.
  • Hope to rank well for your company name and a handful of related terms (not lots of terms like a news agency or e-commerce site).
  • Want to be smart about search engines and attracting searchers, but haven’t kept up with the latest search news.
Then perhaps set aside ten minutes for this video (or just the slides) and gain SEO peace of mind.


Everything I’d tell a startup if I had ten minutes as their SEO consultant.

More tips at developers.google.com/startups. Best of luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Download to Google Spreadsheet from Webmaster Tools

Webmaster level: All

Webmaster Tools now has a new download option for exporting your data directly to a Google Spreadsheet. The download option is available for most of our data heavy features, such as Crawl errors, Search queries, and Links to your site. If you enjoy digging into the data from Webmaster Tools but don’t want to use Python scripts or the API, we’ve added new functionality just for you. Now when you click a download button from a Webmaster Tools feature like Search queries, you'll be presented with the "Select Download Format" option where you can choose to download the data as "CSV" or "Google Docs."


Choosing "CSV" initiates a download of the data in CSV format which has long been available in Webmaster Tools and can be imported into other spreadsheet tools like Excel. If you select the new “Google Docs” option then your data will be saved into a Google Spreadsheet and the newly created spreadsheet will be opened in a new browser tab.

We hope the ability to easily download your data to a Google Spreadsheet helps you to get crunching on your site's Webmaster Tools data even faster than you could before. Using only a web browser you can instantly dive right into slicing and dicing your data to create customized charts for detecting significant changes and tracking longer term trends impacting your site. If you've got questions or feedback please share it in the Webmaster Help Forum.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

For webmasters: Google+ and the +1 button 101

Webmaster Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Here’s a video that covers the basics of Google+, the +1 button, getting started on Google+, and how social information can make products, like Search, more relevant. This video is for a range of webmasters (from personal bloggers to SEOs of corporations). So, if you’re interested in learning about Google+, we hope that with 20 minutes and this video on YouTube (we have our own Webmaster Support Channel!), you can feel more up to speed with Google’s social opportunities.


Video about the basics of Google+ and how to get started if you're an interested webmaster.


Speaking of Google+, if you join, please say hello! We're often posting and hosting Hangouts.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Recommendations for building smartphone-optimized websites

Webmaster level: All

Every day more and more smartphones get activated and more websites are producing smartphone-optimized content. Since we last talked about how to build mobile-friendly websites, we’ve been working hard on improving Google’s support for smartphone-optimized content. As part of this effort, we launched Googlebot-Mobile for smartphones back in December 2011, which is specifically tasked with identifying such content.

Today we’d like to give you Google’s recommendations for building smartphone-optimized websites and explain how to do so in a way that gives both your desktop- and smartphone-optimized sites the best chance of performing well in Google’s search results.

Recommendations for smartphone-optimized sites

The full details of our recommendation can be found in our new help site, which we now summarize.

When building a website that targets smartphones, Google supports three different configurations:

  1. Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.

  2. Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.

  3. Sites that have a separate mobile and desktop sites.

Responsive web design

Responsive web design is a technique to build web pages that alter how they look using CSS3 media queries. That is, there is one HTML code for the page regardless of the device accessing it, but its presentation changes using CSS media queries to specify which CSS rules apply for the browser displaying the page. You can learn more about responsive web design from this blog post by Google's webmasters and in our recommendations.

Using responsive web design has multiple advantages, including:

  • It keeps your desktop and mobile content on a single URL, which is easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to and for Google’s algorithms to assign the indexing properties to your content.

  • Google can discover your content more efficiently as we wouldn't need to crawl a page with the different Googlebot user agents to retrieve and index all the content.

Device-specific HTML

However, we appreciate that for many situations it may not be possible or appropriate to use responsive web design. That’s why we support having websites serve equivalent content using different, device-specific, HTML. The device-specific HTML can be served on the same URL (a configuration called dynamic serving) or different URLs (such as www.example.com and m.example.com).

If your website uses a dynamic serving configuration, we strongly recommend using the Vary HTTP header to communicate to caching servers and our algorithms that the content may change for different user agents requesting the page. We also use this as a crawling signal for Googlebot-Mobile. More details are here.

As for the separate mobile site configuration, since there are many ways to do this, our recommendation introduces annotations that communicate to our algorithms that your desktop and mobile pages are equivalent in purpose; that is, the new annotations describe the relationship between the desktop and mobile content as alternatives of each other and should be treated as a single entity with each alternative targeting a specific class of device.

These annotations will help us discover your smartphone-optimized content and help our algorithms understand the structure of your content, giving it the best chance of performing well in our search results.

Conclusion

This blog post is only a brief summary of our recommendation for building smartphone-optimized websites. Please read the full recommendation and see which supported implementation is most suitable for your site and users. And, as always, please ask on our Webmaster Help forums if you have more questions.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Easier domain verification

Webmaster level: All

Today we’re announcing a new initiative that makes it easier for users to verify domains for Google services like Webmaster Tools and Google Apps.

First, some background on this initiative. To use certain Google services with your website or domain, you currently have to verify that you own the site or domain, since these services can share sensitive data (like search queries) or operate Internet-facing services (like hosted email) on your behalf.

One of our supported verification methods is domain verification. Currently this method requires a user to manually create a DNS TXT record to prove their ownership. For many users, this can be challenging and difficult to do.

So now, in collaboration with Go Daddy and eNom, we’re introducing a simple, automated solution for domain verification that guides you through the process in a few easy steps.

If your domain name records are managed by eNom or Go Daddy, in the Google site verification interface you will see a new, easier verification method as shown below.

   

Selecting this method launches a pop-up window that asks you to log in to the provider using your existing account with them.

  

The first time you log in, you’ll be asked to authorize the provider to access the Google site verification service on your behalf.

 

Next you’ll be asked to confirm that you wish to verify the domain.

   

And that’s it! After a few seconds, your domain should be automatically verified and a confirmation message displayed.

 

Now eNom and Go Daddy customers can more quickly and easily verify their domains to use with Google services like Webmaster Tools and Google Apps.

We’re also happy to share that Bluehost customers will be able to enjoy the same capability in the near future. And we look forward to working with more partners to bring easier domain verification to even more users. (Interested parties can contact us via this form.)

If you have any questions or feedback, as always please let us know via our webmaster help forum.