In this week’s Office Hours, we discussed a wide-range of great questions: ranging from Google Analytics to local schema to XML sitemaps and Bing Webmaster Tools.
Google is pushing hard on GA4- even though (they say in other places) it’s not ready for everyone to use. One member asked a question about adding the tag using Google Tag Manager. Google Analytics is essential to any marketing campaign- so we need to make sure we set this up correctly. This way we know whether or not our marketing efforts are working.
We also talked about adding Local Schema to pages. Schema is a great way to help Google understand your website’s content. Local Schema is a great way to clarify your business’ information. There are several ways you can add Local Schema to your website- if you need to. The question is: if you’re a service-are business, do you need to add local schema to your website?
Another thing to consider is your XML sitemap. This shows you what pages (on your site) you want Google to index. Do you want EVERY page in your XML sitemap? Maybe not.
We also talked about Bing Webmaster tools. I’ll admit, I focus so much on Google Search Console that I often overlook this. If you want to set this up, good for you! How do you set this up for your website? We discuss several options.
David: Welcome, everybody, to Office Hours. Today is the last day of March, the 31st, of 2021. And we’re here to talk about SEO and stuff like that, that helps people find our websites. Hopefully, those people are customers and have money and would like to pay us for our services, because, like, why else would we do this? Not because of the goodness of our hearts. I mean, we have nice hearts, but that’s really not why we’re doing it. All right, well, so we wanted to start with some success stories. And Tricia had a success story that she wanted to share. Why don’t you start us off?
Tricia: Yeah. So I have been working with a client on their new website, and their previous website had pretty pictures and was pretty. It didn’t have much text and it was not indexed by Google. So, I just launched that Monday night, so I’m excited. The launch went well. The only thing that took a little bit longer than usual was getting the form and making sure that they were getting the emails from that. So just a few little… I launched it and then I was talking to someone. I said, “Yeah, I’m still working on a few things.” They’re like, “Well, it’s live. So what else?” I’m like, “Oh, there’s double and triple-checking all of these other things. But it’s doing good, so I’m excited to have that launched.
David: That’s great. Websites are always hard to launch. Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. LaVonya, how about you? Do you have a success story for us today?
LaVonya: Yeah, I finished a blog post. It’s in for editing right now.
David: Can you give us a preview of the topic?
LaVonya: What is it? Five things missing from your website that shouldn’t be.
David: Okay, that sounds great.
Tricia: I’ll need to check that out.
David: We should all check it out to make sure we’re not missing them.
Tricia: I know.
David: I’m trying to think of a success story for me. I feel left out. Surely there was some sort of successes. Oh, I will do a personal success. So I started doing some math tutoring a few weeks ago. And one of the students that I had been working with, passed her assessment today. So then she gets to graduate to the next level of math tutoring. And gosh, I’m not crying, you are. It was hard not… I was trying to hold myself together while she passed this test. And wow, it was beautiful because obviously she needs math tutoring help, and everything is working against her. She’s kind of getting shuffled between her mom’s house and her grandparent’s house and then internet issues and schooling issues. Everything was against her.
Tricia: Yeah, I could imagine during the pandemic.
David: But good for her. Good for her.
Tricia: Yeah, that’s awesome.
David: She passed this and, you know, it’s so fun to just say, “Wow, I’m proud of you,” and her face lights up.
Tricia: Oh, that’s nice.
David: Oh, I’m not crying, you are. That was terrible. I cried in math tutoring today, but that was a wonderful thing to see. All right. Well, now down to business. Tricia has asked…
Tricia: More questions.
David: I can’t even count how many questions. A lot of great questions here.
Tricia: And I probably could have an add-on to one of them, because I got something else kind of related to one.
David: No, you didn’t get it in. I’m kidding. Of course. So LaVonya, are you ready to answer all of Tricia’s questions for her? I gotta say, LaVonya has been the best note-taker of everybody at the Google Analytics.
Tricia: Yes, she has.
David: Your notes are comprehensive and exhaustive and that’s amazing. Yeah, as someone who is not a particularly good note-taker, I really…your ability to look up the answer and find it because you’ve already written it down is great. So it’ll serve you well. So, LaVonya is gonna help me, because a lot of them are Google Analytics questions.
David: Okay. So, do you want to take them in any particular order or the order you submitted in?
Tricia: Well, we can start with the first one. And so, let’s see. First, to give a tad bit of background. So this is the Google Analytics, the GA4, and then of course, which is the new coming up, and then the UA Universal Analytics, which has been around for a while. So I did figure out, I was setting it up on my client’s new website. And when I first went to set up, it just did GA4. And I’m like, oh. And then I was kind of afraid because then I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t wanna set something up and just say, “Well, I hope it collects data.”
So I was able to go in and find where it was hidden, where you’re supposed to…well, you should, when you go in, set up and it does both at the same time for you. And so, what I did was, since I had literally just set the one up and I had done it wrong, there was a hard way you could, I think, go in and fix it. But it was the hard way. So I just deleted that, because I had just put it on, and then created a whole new one the correct way. So I have it doing both of those.
David: Yeah. I wanted to… Sorry. I’m gonna interrupt you for a second.
Tricia: Yeah, no problem.
David: Sorry. I’m shifting things around on my screen. I don’t… Just as we’re talking about GA4, just real quick, I don’t know if you got this notification from Google. I think they sent it out to almost every Google Analytics user this week.
Tricia: I may have gotten it and may not have time to look at it.
David: Well, what I find really… Because they’re pushing GA4 hard, as it is going to be the next version and people need to start adopting it. But they’re really confusing because they even say it’s not ready for use yet. In fact, what I find incredibly frustrating is here on the bottom paragraph, they say, “We know there are capabilities that many marketers need before fully replacing their existing setup.” Read as, “It’s not ready for use.” “So we encourage you to create a new property alongside your existing properties.
So even they are saying it’s not ready yet.
Tricia: It’s not ready yet.
David: That’s very frustrating to me. I appreciate that they are announcing and giving us a heads up, but they are acknowledging, it doesn’t have a lot of the…all of the features that you might need yet. But we should probably have GA4 collecting data while…
Tricia: And so, that was what I was talking with yesterday that said that, so on our current ones we have regular analytics, we need to go in and set up GA4 so it starts collecting the GA4 data. That part is on my list to do. So but, for this one new, like, for new ones unless you don’t set it up properly, you’re only gonna set up GA4. You really need both of them because of what you just said.
David: Right. And because it’ll be really nice to have that data in GA4 when we’ve moved over to it. So…
Tricia: Yeah, but it was literally only letting me…because I didn’t know what I was doing, only set up GA4.
David: Right, and that’s very frustrating.
Tricia: That was very frustrating and it was not clear. It was [crosstalk 00:07:36]. But anyway, so let me see, so my…
David: Your question had to do with Tag Manager.
Tricia: Let me see. So I’m adding my Google Analytics to Tag Manager. So and when I added it to Tag Manager, Google Tag Manager asked me, “What track type?” And I got confused because I’m like, well, I just want Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Why do I have to select more stuff? I want the whole thing?
David: Yes. Yes.
Tricia: So how do I do that?
David: Okay. So this is where we can tap into what we’ve been talking about in the Google Analytics course. There are different hit types.
Tricia: Yes, because it was, like, events and page view and…yes.
David: Right. So, by default, to “just set up Google Analytics,” the default hit type is page view. Okay? And so that’s what you set up in Tag Manager, page view hits. Later, if you also want to add event hits, you can add it separately, and if you set it up right, it won’t… Yeah, obviously, you have to wait to get access.
Tricia: When I get there, you’ll know.
David: When we get there, yeah, we’ll tackle that.
Tricia: When I get to that point, you’ll know about it.
David: But you’ll always want… So, an event can’t execute unless there’s been a page view on which the event exists.
Tricia: Yes, correct, correct. Because page view, they get to the page.
David: You’ll always need the page view. The way you set up the event counter in Tag Manager is very different. So to “just set up Analytics,” you want to set up a page view source. While you’re setting that up, go ahead and create a variable in Tag Manager for your UA code or your…that, just so when you get to the event management, you can set that up as well.
Tricia: Say that again, I’m… So in Tag Manager…
David: I might be getting too complicated. When you’re setting up your Google Analytics tracking code in Tag Manager and working through their system, it has a line where you can enter in your UA number associated with your account. As a best practice, create a variable that includes that number, and then you can insert that variable in there. Because then when you do the events tracking, you can use the same variable, rather than have to remember your UA number. But even if you don’t take that step, it’ll still work as long as you manually type in the UA number.
And then, of course, test it on every page. When you do it through Tag Manager, you can’t use the analytics testing tools, because they’re testing for analytics. So you’ll have to do the method suggested in the process, which are looking at real-time tracking, turning off Ghostery, and watching yourself visit pages.
LaVonya: That’s probably why I’m getting error messages.
David: You’re getting error messages?
LaVonya: Well, with the Tag Manager, it says, “Global spike tag,” it has a red…it says, “An error occurred while the tag was fired.”
Tricia: Yes, that’s being… You’re looking at the plug-in for Tag Assistant. Yeah, so that’s correct. So, that was something I mentioned I think earlier. So when that happens, it’s basically meaning Ghostery is blocking that.
LaVonya: Yeah, that’s why I said that’s probably why I’m getting error messages.
Tricia: Which is what you want and so you pause it to test it. Okay. Let me make sure I’ve got this.
LaVonya: Yeah, when he said that, I said, “Yeah, that’s probably why I’m getting my error messages.”
Tricia: Yeah. It’s an error saying that Ghostery is working properly.
David: Yeah, it’s an error saying it’s exactly what you want because we don’t want to inflate our own numbers. We don’t wanna inflate our client’s numbers. We just want accurate numbers and this is the easiest way for us, on smaller websites, to do that.
Tricia: Yeah, okay. Okay. I do need to go in and do that check. Okay, that helped. Thank you.
David: All right.
Tricia: Okay. So one down.
David: One down.
Tricia: Yeah, I was hoping these weren’t, like, long questions, even though there were a lot of them. But who knows? Okay. So, local business schema. So, you… I originally did some… I thought I found a neat little thing that I figured out, but I found out from David that was not a good idea.
David: What was that thing, for the record?
Tricia: Yeah. So that was, I was, like, into Google Tag Manager and I found where it was, like, “Oh, yeah, you can add your schema to Tag Manager.” And I did that, and then you were saying that wasn’t a good idea. That it doesn’t work.
David: Yeah. Yeah, so basically, for a little bit, Google was acknowledging schema in Tag Manager, but that is no longer true and no longer a recommendation. So it’s better to put it manually in your site.
David: So yeah.
Tricia: Okay. So my question was, so I’m doing, like, local business schema. So what I have found was that you’re supposed to put that on, like, your contact page.
Tricia: And I found that you’re not supposed to put it on, like, every single page, just focus on your contact page. Or, if you have a multi-location, it says to put your main schema on your home page and then the individual location schema on that location page.
David: Yeah, I think that’s fine. I have not heard a hard and fast rule, nor have I seen Google make major errors. But if you can do that, I think that’s the minimum.
Tricia: Well, let me see. That was kind of my question. But let me see. So, I was kinda having a problem about, like, well, how do I do the individual header things? However, I think I found a solution. There are two different solutions that I found. I’m trying to stay away from a lot of plug-ins. But I found that I could use a plug-in to add something to individual page headers. Or, I’m using Beaver Builder, and I’ve got the themer and it lets me have different headers on each page. So I may try it. Probably what I’ll do is go to my own website and test it and see how it works, so if I really make a mess of things, I can [crosstalk 00:14:38].
David: Well, you don’t want it in the header, you want it in the body tag because it’s schema.
Tricia: So schema…
David: I should say, it may be more precise, it shouldn’t be within the head tag of the HTML. The schema should be in the body tag of the HTML. So depending on how your header.php file is set up, it might allow you to add something to the body tag, but that is where it’s properly [crosstalk 00:15:09].
Tricia: I may have notes and just said that wrong. I don’t remember.
David: Yeah, you know, and not knowing the specifics on how the site is set up, it may be in the header.php. Now, there is a real easy way to do this.
Tricia: Okay, yes.
David: So, you know, I love…
Tricia: Oh, are you talking about Yoast?
David: Yeah, you know I love the Yoast.
Tricia: So I was… The local Yoast?
David: So that’s the only service from Yoast that I pay for.
Tricia: I looked at that, and that was a consideration. The main reason I probably won’t is because I think that I wanna be able to do it for certain clients that aren’t gonna want that.
David: So what I like about it is that…there’s several things. Number one, they are actively maintaining it. I’m paying for it. They have an incentive to actively maintain it. Sometimes schema rules change as they improve it, and then you have to go manually fix it. Now, okay, so that’s one thing that’s really nice about it. Number two, Yoast, I don’t wanna call it a partnership, but they’ve worked on their schema, site-wide, in relationship with Google. Now, that’s not some sort of, like, oh, you’ll rank better because they have a relationship with Google. No, no.
This is just, they’ve worked with Google to make sure that they are focusing on schema correctly that Google can read it right.
Tricia: They’re doing it right, yeah.
David: Right. And one of the things that means is that proper schema is related to other elements. So there is an overarching element on a web page. The web page describes…has an article. And the article belongs to an organization. That organization has a local schema. And so when you just…free Yoast does right, is they markup your blog posts as articles. And that’s related to your organization because you’ve set your organization schema up in the backend. And that’s related to the web page schema that tells Google how to interpret the page.
And so, when you add local schema, it inserts it properly in the hierarchical structure of your on-page schema. So that means it’s not just only local schema, which would be helpful. But it’s presented in a context of hierarchy of how the local business and that information relates to the other schema elements that are already on the page. And you’re not screwing around with, okay, am I putting it in the right place? Am I manually doing HTML? Did I make a typo? Is it valid? Like, this is why… I mean, there are other reasons why you pay for Yoast, but this is the only service that I pay for.
Tricia: Yeah, that’s one. Okay. So I think based on that, then it’s probably a good reason for me. Especially for mine starting off, and then when I talk to clients, “Look, we can put it on there but we can’t guarantee it’s right and it’s gonna stay right.”
David: Well, right, that’s one of the things. Also, the Yoast plug-in for local allows you to set all kinds of settings that are really, really complicated like working hours. Like, your logo is actually pretty complicated with schema. You can select things like costs and things. And you can… Local schema is actually a kind of local schema. If you’re an attorney, you can use the attorney schema. Yoast allows you to say, “Are you a local business, general? Or are you a specific kind of business? And select that, so you’re not just providing local general local schema, you’re providing the proper local schema for your industry.
Tricia: Yeah, and I was looking at those, that specific one that you have to check, you can’t make your own up. You have to select. Just like a lot of things in Google.
David: Right. And if you have a non-home-based business, it integrates really well with the Google Maps API. It makes that really easy.
Tricia: Okay, so that’s my next question related to this, so local business schema. So, for example, me, I work from my home office and my Google Map is what’s called a SAB, service area busy. I don’t have a pin on the map. Can I have local business schema?
David: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Tricia: Because that’s kind of a question that came up. I thought that I could, but then somebody was saying no.
David: I don’t know how it would be helpful, because what Google is using the schema for is understanding where this business exists. If that information is not publically available, what is the local schema doing?
Tricia: Well, I was thinking, like, giving more of the information, like you were saying the hours, the logo, all of that type of thing. I was thinking more of it for that.
David: Well, this sounds like a great example of a test.
Tricia: Well, yeah.
David: Yeah, that would involve paying for that.
Tricia: So test it and see if I get a bad email from [crosstalk 00:20:51]?
David: No, no, no, I don’t. That’s not an abuse that you would do that. Like, if you were adding review schema and it was invalid, then you’re gonna get a nasty-gram from Google. This is worst-case scenario, Google is saying, “I don’t know why she’s telling us this, because it doesn’t help us.”
Tricia: It doesn’t apply? Okay.
David: And so they just ignore it. But the test I’d like to say is does somehow this improve your visibility on your local listing? Because we have data in the Google My Business to tell us impressions and how people are finding us. And does a month without it, then a month with it change that visibility data? I think if you’re doing a service area business, I don’t think local schema is that important.
David: Especially because you are giving away the information that you are trying to hide from the public by putting your address and stuff in it.
Tricia: Well, I was using my mailing address.
David: Well, but that’s no consistent with your My Business.
Tricia: Which doesn’t have anything.
David: Right. So then you’re sending contradictory signals. One with the mailing address that you don’t want them to use. And that’s that contradictory signal that suggests to me you probably don’t need it. But if you wanna test it, you could. One thing I would try to do, before I paid for Yoast, if you’re doing a service area business, so is create… Let me see if I can find something.
Tricia: Well, I wonder if I can…
David: Hold on a second here. Hold on a second here.
David: Hold on a second.
Tricia: My thought is gonna be to reach out to Yoast and say, “Do you…is your plug-in gonna work for my website to pay for it?”
Tricia: Of course they might…
David: I think the people at Yoast are very honest and very wanting to help businesses, but they do have a vested interest. And I’m not accusing them of impropriety, just I think they might err on the side of, “Sure, it couldn’t hurt.”
Tricia: Yeah, it couldn’t hurt.
David: It could help. So let me… Hold on. Hold on. Okay. I have a little spread… Oh, is it in the game plan? Is there a spreadsheet in the game plan showing you how to create local schema?
Tricia: Oh, I don’t know.
David: I wonder if I did that. Oh, that’s not it. That’s not what I’m looking for. What am I…? Oh, there, it’s hidden. Okay, hold on. All right, let me take a moment that might be worth our time. So if you bear with me, I’m going to…
David: Schema, all right, here we go. It’s buried deep within the game plan.
David: Okay. Okay. Okay. I didn’t do that. Okay, so let me see if I can find this. At one point, I created a Google Sheet to help you create valid local schema, here it is. All right, hold on a second. We’re gonna share this.
Tricia: Is it in the game plan?
David: It is not. But I haven’t added it because I’m not sure it’s really up to date. So let’s just…
Tricia: Oh, I got you.
David: Let’s do a working example. Okay. And you can tell this is old because it’s called Tag Manager. Because at one point, you could add this to Tag Manager. Okay. Oh, this is not it. This is not it. Okay. Sorry. False alarm. So, what I was going to do… And maybe I’ll find this and see what I can do. But I created a spreadsheet a while ago that made it really easy to create new local schema. And I went through and you just fill in the blanks and it gives, “Here’s the schema,” and you copy and paste it into your site. What I was gonna do is… To enter that information without your personal information like address, stuff like that, and if we have the local schema, we can then take that local schema that you’ve generated, put it into Google’s… I’m brain farting right now.
Tricia: The schema checker thing?
David: The structured data tool.
David: And the one that we all hate is going away. So, I’m gonna share my screen again because this…I wanna make sure we… So this is the structured data testing tool. And we…
Tricia: Yeah, that’s what I was using. I was using that and I [crosstalk 00:26:47] got right.
David: We can do a code snippet.
David: We can put a code snippet. We can paste the schema code and then run a test. It’ll tell us if it’s valid or not.
Tricia: Yeah, I did that. I had success, and then I went and was adding more stuff to one, and it kept giving me little red things, and I couldn’t figure it out. And I got…was spending too much time on it so I had to move to something else.
David: So what… Did you try it without your local information in it?
Tricia: So I haven’t done this for me yet.
David: Yeah. Okay.
Tricia: Well, no, I take that back. I did. But you know what I did for my address, I put in my… What do you call it address?
David: Your mailing address?
Tricia: Yeah. Because, see, that’s what I use on other citations.
David: Yeah. So with citations, it’s all about name, address, phone number consistency. And so that the idea is that all of your citations are consistent. And then the local schema serves as a signal to say, “We are indeed confirming that this our name, address, and phone number.” If this tool tells you that local schema is valid when you don’t enter any snail mail address, then you could consider doing something like the Yoast plug-in without your address. If it’s not valid because you don’t have an address, then I would not put my mailing address in.
Tricia: Okay. So I need to test that.
David: Yeah, because Google is using this as a signal of name, address, phone number consistency and that’s the consistency they want. They don’t wanna see your mailing address sometimes and not your mailing address other times.
Tricia: Okay, yeah.
David: Okay? So that’s how I would test to see before I invested in the local Yoast plug-in.
Tricia: Yes, okay. Yeah, I have regular Yoast. Yeah, okay.
David: Yeah, regular Yoast is super. But…
Tricia: Well, I have the unpaid regular Yoast.
David: Yeah, yeah. I don’t pay for regular Yoast, I pay for local Yoast only. Okay.
Tricia: Okay. So that answers that. I will look into it and see if it works without the address and go from there. The next one is when I do my robots txt file and I add my schema…not schema, my site map to it, thing. What else should it be in there besides…? Like, it creates its own little thing, and so I did a little test and I looked at CuriousAnts to see what your robots.txt file looked like, and then that was all that was in there. But I wanted to make sure. Should I add something else? Is there anything else that needs to be in it?
David: So, under normal circumstances, no. You know, and for most WordPress websites, the default WordPress setting robots.txt is totally adequate. Robots.txt is kind of an out-of-date thing anymore. It’s almost a suggestion to Google at this point, which is disappointing. They sometimes ignore it, which is disappointing. But what you really gotta understand is you never wanna exclude stuff that can’t be seen by the public in your robots.txt file. So, for instance, I have a friend who tried to create a business around the idea of helping doctors and dentist offices understand their own security problems by looking at their robots.txt file and finding all their patient records and billing information.
Because they would list them in the robots.txt file saying, “Hey, Google, don’t go to this directory.” Well, what would a nefarious person do?
Tricia: Go to that directory.
David: I’m gonna go to the directory you’re telling me not to go to. And they find credit cards, social security numbers, medical information, and they’d send them an email to them saying…you know, he could make the business work. Because every time he emailed them, they thought there was a theft, they were being blackmailed. Anyway, he found schools would do it. Like, schools would have student records hidden by robots.txt. Because it is a list of things you don’t want people to look at. So understand its own limitations. Google is treating it almost as a suggestion, at this point. And you could be giving away directories and locations of stuff that you really don’t want people seeing.
So anything that is sensitive like that must be done behind a password on a server level.
Tricia: Okay, yeah. Yeah. Okay.
David: And call Steve Schwartz [SP] and make sure Steve sets up the system so that nobody can look at it.
Tricia: Yeah. I didn’t have any plans for that. I was more just kind of saying, “Is that all robots.txt needs?”
David: Yeah. The answer is yeah, that’s all you really need.
Tricia: I didn’t even think about all of that stuff. Wow.
David: Yeah, I wanna make sure to bring it up because sometimes people will take advantage of it.
Tricia: I’m glad you did, because that way if I ever see it, I know.
David: Yeah. Yeah. It’s horrible. It’s the number way… Sorry. The number two way crooks on the internet get credit card numbers. The number one way is going to Instagram and searching for the #creditcard and taking credit card numbers off of people who show their first credit card on Instagram. So that’s the number way to get credit card numbers. Number two is look at everybody’s robots.txt file.
Tricia: [crosstalk 00:32:46] honestly. So, in the same kind of thing, your site map.
Tricia: So I guess mine, it was created automatically by whatever WordPress blah, blah, blah. And I can look at the link there. Do I need to check it for anything just to make sure I have what I need in it?
David: I think for most websites, you don’t really need an XML site map. But the default one generated by WordPress or because now, WordPress is generating one by default, the Yoast one is a little bit more robust. I prefer that if you’re using the Yoast plug-in. And in one sense, you can just do it and go. Every once in a while, I’ll review my XML site map just to make sure something’s in there that I don’t want in there. For instance, the confirmation page of the form submission, some sort of page like with CuriousAnts, I don’t really need to have backend customer login pages in the XML map.
Tricia: Page, yeah.
David: Now, Google can’t get them because they’re password-protected, but why…?
Tricia: But it gives a place for people then to figure out how to hack.
David: Yeah, you’re basically giving that away too. So…
Tricia: Like, here’s the door. Try to unlock it.
David: Right, right, exactly. So you can go into the individual page under advance settings in Yoast and you can say, “No index to the page,” and that will automatically remove it from the XML site map. As long as you’re using the Yoast XML site map. And that helps. Otherwise, you probably can get away with just leaving it and letting it go.
LaVonya: I’m glad you said that because I just put Yoast back on my website. Because I think I’m gonna post…well, I’m gonna be putting blog posts, so I put that back on there.
David: Good. We had some confusion early in the game plan, Tricia, where I was bad talking Yoast, and I think a couple people thought I was saying don’t use it. But really, I was badmouthing the green light. The green light is worthless.
Tricia: Oh, yeah.
LaVonya: That too, but then when Stephy [SP] came in, it was about site speed and wanna know if you took Yoast off, would it speed up the site or not.
David: Yeah. I know there are some people who suspect that Yoast is a suck of speed, but I haven’t seen that yet.
Tricia: I think she shared that it was really small, and I think for what you get out of the SEO, I think that you’re better off with it than without. That’s kind of how I took it.
David: That’s kind of what I would say, yeah.
David: And I know they’ve improved it recently too. Right.
LaVonya: I tested it.
David: Yeah. So I recommend it for all the things that… It’s almost the invisible plug-in. If you just have it running, that does most of what you need it to do. So…
Tricia: Yeah, I don’t like the red and yellow and green lights.
David: Oh, yeah, that’s really confusing.
Tricia: Because I look at mine and it’s, like, orange, orange, or yellow, whatever it is. And I’m like, oh, go away. I don’t wanna see you.
David: Yeah, I see people abuse that.
Tricia: And then I’d get a green. I’m like, oh, look, it’s green. And I’m like, it really doesn’t mean all that.
David: I understand why they did it, but I think so many of first SEO conversations are why you should ignore it. Okay. So we are whipping through these.
Tricia: My other last one has to do with Yoast as well. Okay. So when you go into Yoast and there’s, like… Is it the webmaster place where it’s like, “Enter your Google code verification and your Bing verification code?
David: Yeah, yeah.
Tricia: So the way I typically do Google search console, for that verification, is I put it in…they give you a code to put in the TXT for your domain, I think, the DNS records. So part of that is the code for Google search console so that I would put it into Yoast on the site for Google.
Tricia: So here’s the problem when I went to do Bing. When I logged into Bing, it was like, “Oh, if you’ve got Google search console, we can just…bam, it’s done.” So I did that. And then, I went to Bing and I could not find Bing’s verification code to put into Yoast.
David: Right, you don’t need to.
Tricia: Okay, so that was my question. I’m like, well, if I’ve got it connected, do I need to tell Yoast?
David: No. So the gist of it is, Yoast is trying to give you as many options as they can to verify these things. So what Bing wants to know is, do you have the rights to access this site? And they’re saying, “If you’ve given Google the rights to look at this, if Google is confident with your ability to look at the site, we’re gonna be confident in your ability to look at that site.” So for instance, I can’t have access to your search console data unless you grant me that access, because it’s none of my business. And that’s all those things to do. And what that’s doing is the old meta tag method of validation so that Google sees the meta tag on your site, therefore, you have access to this.
Now, Google has recently changed their way they verify search console.
Tricia: They have two ways? Is that what you’re talking about, the two [crosstalk 00:38:47]?
David: There’s a lot of ways. In my humble opinion… I don’t know if this means you need to stop everything and go do this, but Google has been pushing, and I kinda like this idea of verifying on a registrar level. So verifying the site through the registrar.
Tricia: Yeah, like, they call it domain?
Tricia: That’s what I always do since they offer that.
David: Right, and so that means you don’t need to add the meta tag in search console in Yoast, right? Because it’s redundant.
Tricia: Correct. Oh, yeah. I just go and verify it with the DNS records and do it the domain. Because my understanding is you get everything, the sub-domains, the everything, and there’s not a chance of not getting something. And that’s why I did that and do that on my clients.
David: Yes, that’s a best practice. And then you don’t have to mess with… Then the Yoast Google webmaster verification is superfluous.
Tricia: Okay, so that’s all that really is, is just kind of putting it in saying, “Yes,” or if I need it to verify it that way. I’ve actually verified it with Google search console and Bing, I can ignore those two little things in Yoast?
Tricia: Okay, that was kind of my question, because… Okay. That helps.
David: And for you, as someone who manages clients, and for LaVonya as well, when I take over a client, I check to see if that’s already in there. Because that suggests to me that someone else might have access to search console, especially if the client doesn’t know. At which case, I would remove it, unless the client has delegated you access to search console. Because frankly, number one, that data is of no business to anybody but the client and who the client wants to know, hopefully, you, as their service provider.
Tricia: Okay, so yeah, but they…yeah.
David: I don’t want some other developer somewhere, with the ability to, for instance, disavow all links to the site if there’s a bad blood, or incompetence. Like, I just wanna take that off. Now, I have one client’s site, they validated for Yoast, someone else validated for Divvy and then the client delegated me registrar level validation. So that means there could be potentially two other people or groups out there with access to their search console data that could be malicious if they wanted to me. So just make sure you know that no one else has access to the data. Because the search console has a lot of data, but it also could be used to harm a website, if you’re not careful, if you allow the wrong person the wrong access.
Tricia: So that’s kind of similar to, I kind of look at it as like anything, whether it’s social media, Google search console, or anything, look at who your users are. And if there’s somebody who is no longer you’re working with or no longer an employee, they shouldn’t be on there.
David: That’s right.
Tricia: You need to get them off. Because that’s what I tell people specifically for Google My Business, but it’s for all of that stuff. Okay.
David: This is why I insist clients do not give me their passwords.
David: You can… I do not want your password. Do not give me your password. Here is how you delegate access to me so you maintain control. That is you, the business owner’s asset, that is worth money. You should own it. Do not give me your password or I could lock you out of it. Just make sure you’re doing a service to your clients by making…teaching them how… So what I do is I have a document that I’ve written up, which is a step by step that I email new clients. “Here you go. This is how you give me access.”
Tricia: I do that too, I have a hard time.
David: Now, nine times out of 10, they don’t follow directions and they give the wrong email address. But we’re getting there, right? And I just want to protect my clients. Now, when I’m in, I can see if other people have access. And sometimes, I’ll ask, “Who is this person? Do you know?”
Tricia: So question on that. So for example, Google search console, so if they have it on there and you then have access to that Google search console, my understanding is you can see the users or the admin can see the users so that you can then tell them, “Who are these people?” You don’t set up a new Google search console. You go in and see who the users are, correct? Okay.
Tricia: That’s what I thought, okay.
David: So I have two…I actually have several documents. One is a, “Here’s how you add me to search console.” One is, “Here’s how you add me to Google Analytics.” One is, “Here’s how you add me to AdWords.” One is, “Here’s how you add me to Bing,” or whatever it is, I don’t even care anymore. But, you know, they’re gonna follow the directions, you can ownership.
Tricia: [crosstalk 00:44:00] I did a little loom [SP] type video. I need to go look and see if that’s current because I did it for each one.
David: Right, and that’s the trick. Because sometimes, the client’s gonna be like, “It doesn’t look that way anymore.” I know. Try to… But that’s why I like a written document because then it’s…
Tricia: Well, usually, I do it both ways. I like to say, “Here’s the written and here’s the video,” because some people are…you know, so…
David: That’s exactly right. But that will help. I don’t want the… Because if you give me your password, I have access to your Gmail. And I don’t want that liability. That’s not…I do not want that liability.
Tricia: That’s the thing. No, I don’t.
David: And you should never trust anybody that much.
Tricia: That’s what I say. I have some people that just say, “I don’t really care.” I’m like, oh my God. Oh my God.
David: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. So, we have answered all four of the six of your questions.
Tricia: Of my questions, yes.
David: No, these were great questions.
Tricia: Hey, we did it all in an hour. And I even had an add-on to one of those that I did. So yeah.
David: So LaVonya, you’ve got three minutes left to ask a question.
LaVonya: I don’t have a question. Everything I went over, I went back and I was checking mine. For some reason, I was thinking I did something wrong. I’m good.
David: Oh, okay, good, so it was helpful.
Tricia: Good, good.
David: That’s the whole point, right? None of us are asking unique questions that have never been asked before, and sometimes we ask a question that we forgot to ask.
Tricia: I will say that Google is frustrating me so much with all of their new stuff. So, like, I did Google Analytics, and it was hard because they have the new GA4, and I had to go find the way to do that. Well, there was some new thing they’re doing with their recapture, and when I went and just went to go to it, it was difficult. They’ve changed how you access it and I had to go in a back way to find it. Otherwise, it wanted me to set some kind of organization thing, and I never could figure it out. And finally, I just gave it a day and went back and found how to, like…the backdoor into it. I’m like, seriously Google, like, stop.
David: I think Google is freaking out with all of those privacy stuff, and capture is another way for them to collect data. And now they’re like, “Oh, no, new privacy laws, we gotta change capture.” I think they’re freaking out. And maybe not freaking out, but they’re still gonna get their data. This is why everybody uses Chrome. They’re gonna have plenty of data.
Tricia: I know. I love Chrome even though I know they could take all my…get all my data, I do like using it.
David: Yeah, that’s a whole other conversation.
Tricia: I have so many plug-ins. I know. I have so many, not plug-ins, but extensions that I use all day, every day.
David: Yeah, no, I agree. I know what you mean. Well, it’s good to see you two. Or, at least see one of you. LaVonya, I’m picturing you with a smile. All right, I hope you both take care.
Tricia: Okay. Thank you for answering all my questions.
David: Absolutely, great questions. Keep them coming.
LaVonya: Thank you.
David: All right. Thank you.
Tricia: You say that now, just wait.
David: All right, good. All right, thanks.
Tricia: Bye-bye. See you later.