SEO Course January 2012 Week 3

Posted by EssexMax on 25 January 2012 under Course Notes | Be the First to Comment

It seems that at least two of the eight folk on my Search Engine Optimisation course are following my comments on the course here – Mark’s even been chasing me for the week 3 summary, which is good – Thanks Mark… nice to you know you’re tuned in!


The third week of the course sees us step up a gear and shift from discussing theory, to looking at real webpages, and how to address what’s called on-page optimisation. Week 2 of the course was held on Monday the 23rd of January, and kicked off with a session on Google Webmaster Tools.


Google Webmaster Tools

The importance of this service from Google should not be understated – this is where Google tells you what it thinks is wrong with your site and how your site is performing in Google’s search results. It also has a few controls to let you tweak how Google views your sites.

If you’re not signed up, do so free, immediately, at

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard

Here’s a high level summary of what GWT has to offer:

  • The ability to check the performance of your keywords and look at top ranking search queries for your site
  • The ability to check your sitemap (more on this in Week 4)
  • Tools to check that your robots.txt file is blocking the files you want to block (more on this below)
  • The ‘URL Parameters’ tool – handy for removing duplicates that may be been created (e.g.
  • A tool to see which sites Google think link to you the most
  • Crawl errors – Vital. If Google thinks bits of your site are broken, or there are some “pages not found”, you need to fix the problems
  • HTML Suggestions – Vital. Duplicate or missing Meta Titles and Subscriptions can be a big SEO problem. Google tells you what’s wrong, and suggests fixes

If you’re not familiar with Google Webmaster Tools, it pays to spend some time in the “Diagnostics” section, and see what Google’s telling you needs to be fixed

 Webmaster Tools Impressions and Hits

I noted that there were some questions about the terms Impression, Hits and Ave Pos in the Webmaster Tools interface. To try to help explain this, I’ve created a quick summary page. See our Guide to Google Webmaster Impressions and Clicks


There was lots of discussion around the use of robots.txt in the session. To help out, I’ve added a summary page: Blocking search engines with Robot files and tags.



Again, another big subject, and a large talking point.¬† I’ve created a page that explains the subject in a little more detail – Please see Meta Tags Explained for more.

Book Recommendation.
Seach Engine Optimization An Hour A Day
One attendee asked if I was able to recommend a good book ont he subject of SEO – I’ve tried a few, and my personal favourite is Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day, by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin.The book is now in its third edition, and is available on the Kindle as well as in good old paper format. Well worth a read, my mini-review can be found on this site’s SEO recommended reading page.


To the course attendees reading this, please add a comment or a question in the box below, and it’ll give me some guidance on anything I need to wrap up with on our final session together next week.

Update: Thanks to Mark for an interesting question on duplicate pages on sites – See: Issues with Duplicate Content

As a reminder, the Maximising Your Website course should be running in February. Take a look at the course summary, and if you’re interested, get in touch.

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