If you've ever had a severe drop in your Google rankings in search results, you may think of Google more of an enemy than an ally.

But if you knew what I do, you'd realize that there are tools provided by the search engine that help you learn more about your traffic, and may even help drive visitors to your site.

Here are five ways that Google provides free traffic assistance.

#1 - Google will Help Your Pages Get Discovered with Google Sitemaps

Google Sitemaps is a program that gives you the opportunity to present your site's pages to Google in XML or text. Google will then come by and spider the pages, getting you indexed faster.

Take note that this doesn't necessarily mean that your pages will be listed for your favorite keywords, only that discovery will take place a lot faster than with manual submission. Google Sitemaps will also give you some basic site stats if you verify your site, such as the top keywords for discovery, errors it found when crawling, and the types of documents at your site.

If you find compiling your sitemap for Google in the correct format difficult, try the SOFTplus GSiteCrawler Google Sitemap generator. It's my favorite Sitemap generator, free and easy to use.

#2 - Google Will Talk To You or Your Webmaster with the Webmaster Section

The Google Information Page for Webmasters should be your first stop when you want to know more about anything that has to do with your site and its relationship to Google and any of its many flavors of search such as Froogle. Particularly for new site owners or operators, checking this page first has saved many from needless anxiety.

Most of the basic information is in straightforward language, with links to details for geeks like me.

#3 - Google will Tell You What It Knows with Web Page Information

If you type info:yoursite.com into Google, Google will tell show you a page that has your link at the top of the page, with a short description, and the following phrase "Google can show you the following information for this URL".

This special page compiles several queries about your site including pages that contain your URL (all the pages Google knows of that are linked to you).

#4 - Google will Help You Analyze Your Traffic with Google Analytics

After a recent purchase of Urchin Stats, a free online version has been made available, and re-branded as Google Analytics. This cookie-based invisible visitor tracker can give you information that go a bit beyond standard stats such as bounce rates, visitor loyalty, keyword discovery results for a single day, click paths through your site, and page views per visit.

With the ability to analyze your traffic, you can help learn where the holes in your site are, and how to keep them on your site for longer periods of time, as well as better ways to steer a visit towards a specific action, such as a subscription. Results come in flavors for the executive and the search marketer alike.

There's currently a waiting list to use Google Analytics due to popular demand.

#5 - Google Will Advise On Getting the Most from Your Traffic with Conversion University

Google Analytics also has two content sections that are available to all, called Conversion University. While the articles are decidedly slanted towards AdWords users, a prudent read yields many clues that can be applied to preparing for visitors who arrive through organic search discovery. One reference area is called "Driving Traffic", the other "Converting Visitors."

At the end of the day, the process by which your site gets ranked in Google search engine results is a computation of a complex algorithm, which means Google - the search engine - really isn't capable of being your best friend or your worst enemy.

Meanwhile, Google - the company - also provides access to resources that will help give your site a fighting chance.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

Source Article : http://www.searchengineguide.com/tinu-abayomipaul/5-ways-google-w.php

Need help managing your Google reputation? Andy Beal offers Google reputation management consulting or buy his new online reputation management book.

Google is no longer just a search engine. With your potential customers, future employers, and members of the media turning to Google for information about your business, Google has become a reputation engine.

In helping clients with their online reputation, I’m consistently asked how they can push out negative results that appears on the first page of Google for a search for their name. Whether they were fined by the SEC, ridiculed by an ex-employee, or investigated by their local newspaper, they share one common goal: get that negative result off of the first page!

Of course, it’s near on impossible to make a negative Google result simply disappear—although there are some black-hat SEOs that claim to have that gift. Instead, your best approach is to provide Googlebot with a healthier diet of web content that shows your reputation in a positive light.

On that note, here are my recommendations for the best web content to fill up the first page of Google results.

1. Get your own web site.

It sounds simply enough, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, you’d be surprised at the number of individuals and companies that haven’t registered their own branded domain name and thrown up a web site. Registering yourcompanyname.com or yourpersonalname.com and adding a basic web site is a sure-fire way to occupy one of the top ten Google listings for your name.

2. Start a blog.

If you love and nurture a blog, it will likely become a great asset in your reputation management arsenal. But the great thing about a blog is that it tends to rank well, even when left un-watered. Blogs are the cactus of online content. Wordpress.com and Blogger.com both provide free blogs and free hosting. Add just a few posts, keep it targeted to your name—that means use it in the blog title, posts etc—add a few links and bake for a few days. It will be on the first page of Google in no time.

3. Add a sub-domain.

If you’ve put a lot of effort into growing your main web site, chances are there’s an opportunity to add a sub-domain. Sub-domains are great. Google considers them as separate from your main site, but they still include your main brand. There are a lot of great reasons to add a sub-domain: careers, corporate info, and product info. Take a look at jobs.marketingpilgrim.com as an example.

4. Create a social networking profile.

profiles can rank well for your personal or company name. When you sign-up, be sure to use your real name—using a nickname won’t help with your Google reputation—and enable the option that lets you pick the URL of your profile. myspace.com/companyname works a whole lot better than myspace.com/12345678.

5. Create your own social network.

If a social networking profile ranks well in Google, how much more so your own social network? Ning.com will let you create your own customized social network. Better yet, you can pay just $5 a month and point your own domain name at it. Take a look at www.marketingpilgrim.tv for an example.

6. Create a business profile.

because it’s a great tool for networking with your peers. You should also join LinkedIn as it allows you to talk about yourself, link to your other Google-friendly web content, and customize your profile URL. Wouldn’t you rather your potential employer find your LinkedIn profile on Google, than that run-in you had with your last boss?

7. Share your photos.

Flickr.com is very Google friendly. Upload photos of you, your company logo, your products, etc, and label them using your name. Add some comments to each photo (including your name) and Voila! You’ve just added a dozen pages of content, each labeled with your company name! Be sure to do the same when selecting your profile name for Flickr too.

8. Claim your identity.

Naymz.com is a blessing for those looking to control their Google reputation. It effectively lets you create a profile and then link out to all of your other profiles. Whereas LinkedIn is heavy on the networking-side, Naymz is more of a holding-tank for your brand. Best of all, Google seems to love it!

9. Create your own Wiki.

If you’re facing a Google reputation nightmare, you may be tempted to create a Wikipedia profile for yourself. After all, Wikipedia ranks all over Google, right? Bad move. Not only is it hard to get one approved, but they’re totally unbiased. That DUI incident, you’re trying to cover-up, will likely make its way on to your profile. Not good. Instead create your own wiki and build your profile that way. Wetpaint.com is perfect for this. You can focus it on your personal name, or your company name. The best part is that you get to decide who contributes to it.

10. Get a free page from Google.

I’ve saved the best until last. Ok, I lied. While a free page from Google Page Creator (googlepages.com) isn’t the best web content for managing your Google reputation, there’s something satisfying about having Google help mend your reputation.

So, there you have it. While these shouldn’t be used as a “get out of jail free card”—you should avoid a reputation nightmare to begin with—they’ll at least help you re-build your Google reputation.

(This article was first published by Andy on Gooruze.
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source : marketing pilgrim