The Google Toolbar & SEO
Like many other useful toolbars out there so is the Google Toolbar. I consider this toolbar a must have for any serious search engine optimizer and anyone who searches the internet on a regular basis. Here’s why…
The Google Toolbar has grown significantly in features since inception. It now features several new useful features but the main focus of this article is on those that aid in search engine optimization. So without further ado here’s the Google Toolbar unfolded.
Upon installation of the full Google toolbar you will notice a small bar near the center of it that may or may not be partially filled with a green color as displayed in the diagram below.
This is the Google PageRank indicator. PageRank is one of Google’s ways of rating your website and plays a role in the position of your site in their search results. This value is calculated based on several variables including the PageRank value and the number of sites that link to that page. Sites with a higher page rank tend to have better rankings than other sites if all other things are kept equal. I have personally noticed a significant increase in the search engine placement of http://www.lilengine.com whenever our Google page rank is increased.
The Google toolbar enable you to, at a glance, view the PageRank of your website as well as your competitors’ sites. This helps when looking for sites to engage in with link building as more links coming from sites with a higher PageRank than yours help to increase your site’s PageRank. It is also said that when looking for site to link to yours that you should aim for sites with a PR 4 or higher. LilEngine personally accepts links from any useful resources, however, links from sites with a PageRank of 4 and above are an added bonus. Visit http://www.lilengine.com/submit.php if you would like to contact us about exchanging links with our site.
A side note
There are times when the Google Toolbar will display your website as having a PageRank of 0 or even no rank at all. If your site previously had a PR greater than 0 and you notice this, watch it for a while or close your browser and reopen it to check as there are times that this feature seems to be a bit buggy possibly due to updates etc at Google.
When Google spiders your site it records the latest version of your site that it has spidered and this can be viewed using the Google Toolbar by going to the Page Info button and selecting cached version. Your browser must be on the page you would like to see the cached version of at the time you choose to do this.
How can this help you with your SEO campaign?
If you have optimized your website in hopes of increasing your search engine results in Google, this will indicate whether or not Google has updated their database with the new version of your page. If the Googlebot visits your site regularly the cached version of your site will be updated more frequently than otherwise.
The Google Toolbar also has a pretty useful feature that displays all the web pages that link to your web page, which Google counts towards your PageRank. This information isn’t regularly updated and can’t be expected to take between 1 – 3 months before changes can be seen. Backlinks deal with quality and not quantity. A site with 1000 mediocre backlinks may not have as high a Page Rank as a site with 800 high PR backlinks.
You have the option of adding a highlight feature to your Google Toolbar that highlights all instances of your search term on the web page reached from your search. This can help you see how many times your competitors use specific keywords on their pages and you may modify your SEO campaign accordingly. You may also use this to check your own pages and see if you are or are not using enough of your target keywords on your page for optimum search engine placement.
Besides those features listed above there are also some other cool tools on the Google Toolbar such as:
Popup Blocker: This only works in IE 5.5 or later but is a great addition as we all know that there are many sites on the web that bombard you with popups. Some of these even go as far as almost preventing you from going anywhere else as more and more windows keep popping up. Annoyance factor 10/10.
Google Web Search: You can easily search the web using the Google Search Engine via the Google Toolbar by typing in your search terms in the search box area and then clicking enter or clicking the ‘Search Web’ button on the toolbar.
Translate: Easily translate sites into English that you may be interested in for one reason or another.
Unfortunately there is no version of the Google Toolbar for browsers other than Internet Explorer 5.0 and greater but hopefully they will be adding this in the near future.
There are many more features available with the Google Toolbar. Learn more and download it here, Google Toolbar.
Alec Duncan is the founder of Li'l Engine a Search Engine Optimization resource. Visit Li'l Engine at http://www.lilengine.com/ for great seo strategies and also check out Developer Tutorials for web development tutorials.