How To Increase Blog Traffic part 1: Google Webmaster Tools

By StrangeWork.com: I was asked by a couple friends of mine, Brooke and Toni, about how to get more traffic to their blogs. I decided to write a quick tutorial to help everyone learn a couple techniques I use to help rank higher in search engines.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools have been around for a while now, but many bloggers do not know how to utilize these tools to increase blog traffic. I use two quick and easy techniques, Sitemaps and Robots.txt, that I will discuss in this article.



Add Your Blog Sitemap

Step 1: Find Your Blog Sitemap

A blog sitemap is an XML feed of every link available on your blog. By default most blogging platforms, including WordPress, Blogger, and Moveable Type, have an RSS feed preinstalled on your blog. An RSS feed is a feed made using XML so there is no setup, it’s already there!

Examples for popular blog platforms:

WordPress – http://www.blogname.com/rss
Blogger – http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Moveable Type – http://www.blogname.com/atom.xml
Feed Burner – http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogname

Just replace blogname with the name of your site. Use the examples above to figure out what your feed URL is. You will need it in the next step.

Step 2: Load your blog sitemap in to Google Webmaster Tools

Visit the Google Webmaster Tools Home Page and login to your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, register one real quick.

Once logged in to the Tools dashboard you will see a textbox at the top allowing you to add your blog:

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard Screenshot

Type your site URL in and click the “Add Site” button.

Next you will need to Verify your blog to Google. Click the “Verify your site” link and follow the instructions given by Google.

Once you have verified your blog click the “Sitemaps” menu item from the left hand side and click the “Add A Sitemap” link.

Select “Add General Web Sitemap” when asked to Choose Type. You will then see a text box to enter in your RSS feed URL like this:

Add Sitemap Tool

Enter your feed URL and click the “Add General Web Sitemap” button and your done! Once Google verifies your feed is in the proper format they will then crawl your feed daily to look for new links.

The benefit of providing Google with a sitemap is to help them improve how they crawl your blog. Over time you will start to notice an increase in search engine ranking which will result in more traffic.



Add Your Robots.txt File

Step 1: Update/create your robots.txt file

A robots.txt file is a small text file placed on your blogs web server that tells search engines what they are allowed, and not allowed, to index on your blog. Most blogs come with a robots.txt file preinstalled. Check to see if your blog has one by visiting the following URL on your blog:

http://www.blogname.com/robots.txt

Just replace blogname with the name of your site. We are going to create a new robots.txt file so it doesn’t matter if you do not currently have a robots.txt file on your blog.

Create a text file named robots.txt on your desktop. Enter the following code in to your newly created file:

User-agent: *
Disallow:
Sitemap: http://www.blogname.com/sitemap.xml

User-agent: * – indicates to all search engines they are allowed to crawl your site
Disallow: – incidates what URLs to exclude from being crawled by search engines. Since we are not entering a value to the right we are telling all search engines to crawl everything on your blog
Sitemap: http://www.blogname.com/sitemap.xml – indicates to the search engines where your sitemap is located. Use the sitemap link from the previous tip.

Save your file and upload to the root directory of your server. Google looks for a robots.txt file on your blog once a day. You can verify that Google finds your file by visiting the following Webmaster Tool section:

Dashboard > Tools > Analyze robots.txt

That’s it! Now all search engines will know where your sitemap is located from your robots.txt file. The major benefit of this is to help search engines find your new posts and links easier.

Google Webmaster Tools offer some really great statistics about how Google crawls and indexes your blog. Make sure you poke around in the other sections.

To install a true Google Sitemap be sure to check out the Google Sitemap Generator Plugin for WordPress.

I hope you find these tips helpful! Stay tuned for part 2.

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Comments

  1. Great article! This is exactly what I do on my blogs to gain traffic!

  2. Site maps and robot.txt have to due with having accurate listings in search engines and getting traffic. Not that the above is not a good thing to do, it’s just a misnomer. I disabled the sitemaps for all my WordPress blogs a few months ago. There aren’t any pages that aren’t linked already–I’ve checked the Google supplemental directory and RPC should take care of the new posts.

  3. Nice write up!
    I guess sitemap is more useful for relatively established blogs. For new blogs, the first step to increase traffic and viewership will always be adding fresh quality content.

    Cheers,

  4. Nice!

    I just upload my sitemap to see if I am able to get more traffic!. Thanks for the tip

  5. love this…i tried to find my sitemaps for my blogs but was having trouble…thanks for the tip…now I can hopefully get some traffic to a few of my blogs.

  6. Very good article, quite usefull I am going to try the sitemap tonight.

  7. Thanks a lot for the informative content. The content helped me a lot to increase my traffic from hardly 25 -50 to 300-400
    http://filmitrailers.blogspot.com/

  8. I guess I am just not very smart – because I can’t get my account verified in blogger and I don’t understand the sitemap section! Help. :O)

  9. Great advise for a dummy like me Brad. Thanks and I am adding your blog to my favorites, so that I can refer when I am in trouble. Thank you too much.

  10. tq for the infomation..

  11. Hi. .i am using blogspot. How can i use robots.txt at my blogspot. It’s has no server. . Help me. .

  12. I love you! Thanks

  13. yupp… i agree with uboy… i’m using blogspot.com
    how i can upload robots.txt on my blog?

    help me asp!!plzz…

  14. Yea. . .agree with aboth of friend . .we are blogspot user, can u help us, how can we upload robots.txt

  15. Omg, thanks you so much….you helped me alot

  16. Thanks alot..i get more views each day!

  17. I followed these steps (which were thankfully much better than googles, but google says I have a bad link. I’ve checked every link on the page and they all worked successfully. Since I used the RSS feed as suggested I can’t see what google is complaining about. So I still have nothing. I’d love suggestions but it seems the writer doesn’t answer comments. Too bad, I;m sure he could be even more helpful.
    Thanks anyway

  18. Hey Lori, I would recommend just installing the Google XML Sitemap generator plugin for WordPress:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

    Much easier and formats your feed according to the sitemap protocol

  19. Nice article, I will try this on my blog as well. I am really looking towards some websites can help me increase the traffic by linking my blog.

    http://hashfactor.wordpress.com

  20. As a fresh-faced new blogger, I found this to be very helpful. Better yet, it’s something I don’t see recommended on 99% of the other articles about how to increase traffic. Kudos to you!

  21. great blog service

  22. This is great! But can someone tell me how this actually aids in generating more traffic? Thanks!!

  23. This is very awesome help! Thanks!

  24. useful information! thanks for posting for sure!

  25. Thank you for the great help with hints and step-by-step instructions… am new at this, but you made it easy to follow! Here’s to more traffic!

  26. Great…Thank you very much..Very useful for nwecomer like me 🙂

  27. Great…Thank you very much..Very useful for newcomer like me 🙂

  28. wooh. great one. thanks for the tips!

  29. Excellent..I like your work.Seo is a raging fact in these days.As matter of fact traffic is really connected with page rank ,creating and adding new pages to increase a site’s total PageRank so that it can be channeled to specific pages, there are certain types of pages that shouldnotbe added. These are pages that are all identical or very nearly identical and are known as cookie-cutters. Google considers them to be spam and they can trigger an alarm that causes the pages, and possibly the entire site, to be penalized. Pages full of good content are a must.Pls give me a visit on my BLOG.And get connected to updated GOOGLE TRICKS.

  30. fantastic article 🙂

  31. I have a DVD review blog on Blogger. I’m thinking if I purchase my ownd domain name through blogger, it will increase traffic and make my blog look a lot more professional. You can run Blogger with your own domain and not have to purchase outside hosting I think. My blog is @ http://www.superdvdreviews.blogspot.com

  32. I’ve been on a guest post kick lately. The benefits to guest posting are too great to pass up. I’m jotting down a list of blogs I plan to guest on and then will hit the trails. So to speak.But also I need to FIRST get my blog ready for whatever traffic ensues from this effort.
    Great traffic tips,Thx.
    http://www.bestroulettetips.com/

  33. hEY NICE blog, i have followed the following procedure couple of time and having problems, can anyone check and tell me if i can add this in my blog http://www.techmasher.com

    waiting for reply

  34. Thanks guys! Nice Info

  35. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  36. Very helpful – thank you very much

  37. Great information, thank you

  38. Hi, wonderfull post very helpfull for newbies . I’ve also seen that meta tags will increase the visibility of the page in gogle and it works like charm for me . since i have to generate lots of tags for individual posts. I’ve found a wesite where you can generate meta tags for many pages at a time automatically

    here’s the link–> http://www.techgyo.com/2010/04/techgyo-automatic-meta-tag-maker-for.html

  39. I’m experimenting with sitemaps and robots.txt at google webmaster tools also. I hope I can gain more insight in my blog traffic and maybe get some more new visitors to my nice place on the web 🙂
    Cheers all, and have a good day! 🙂

  40. according to this page. The default sitemap for WordPress will be at http://www.website.com/rss

    But when I opened this address for my site

    http://www.techgyo.com/rss I couldn’t find anything

  41. Thanks for the post Brad. Google stats help me in building related articles for my blog Stark Solutions.

  42. Regarding “Add Your Blog Sitemap”, is it really useful?

  43. Many thanks for the excellent list with plugins, i have some favourites to, such as the all known “All IN SEO “as well as the easy privacy policy plus SEO friendly images (got some excellent results with it)and finally pretty links (great for cloacking) affiliate links…

  44. Did you know you can list your blog(s) for free with bloggvertise.com. You can get free Do-Follow links and make money blogging! Check it out! It’s completely FREE!

  45. When we use Google Web M Tool, do we still need to use Bing Web M Tool, Yahoo Explorer etc…

  46. Very good tips, i will try to do this, thank’s

  47. Google ad sense can increase website traffic to your site. There are many SEO companies that are providing seo services to business owners to increase website traffic to their sites and their main goal is to take their websites at the top of Google search engine rank.

  48. You should have a Google account with ID and password. You can use this Google account for writing blogs and discussions. You can join groups that are related to your niche or business and you can start discussions with millions of people. A healthy discussion can impress many people and it may happen that they get attracted to your content and you will get website traffic to your site.

    There are some groups that may not allow you to add links to your blog due to their policies and thus you will lose web traffic that was coming to your site. So, you can go for some other group or you can create your own group and promote your business.

  49. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly happy I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!