If you have a website that you want to perform well on the Internet, you should be using Google Webmaster Tools to help you. It is by no means going to turn your website into an overnight success, but the information that you can learn from it can certainly help you.
What do you need to do to get set up?
Go to www.google.com/webmasters/tools. Sign in to your Google account then click add a site. Once you have put in your domain name, you will be asked to choose your verification method:
- Add a DNS record to your domain’s configuration
- Add a meta tag to your site’s home page
- Upload an HTML file to your server
- Link to your Google Analytics account
For each option, Google will give you easy to follow instructions.
Once you have verified your website, you will have full access to the complete suite of webmaster tools.
There is such a wealth of information available through webmaster tools that the (slight) hassle of verifying your domain is more than worth it.
What can you see?
On the dashboard you will see Search Queries, Links to your site, Crawl Errors, Keywords and Sitemaps. These are probably going to be the main tools that you will use through Google Webmaster Tools.
- Shows what keywords people are coming onto your site for
- When you drill down into it more you can view the following:
- Specific date range
- Full list of keywords with clicks, impressions, average position, CTR and the percentage change for all three of these.
- Graph of impressions and clicks.
- Select what type of search was carried out (mobile, image, web etc)
- Select country of search
- If you click on a keyword you can view:
- Range of positions keyword appears in and relative impressions/clicks
- What page/s is coming up on the search results.
Links to your site:
- Shows the number of inbound links to your site (does not include internal links)
- If you click on the number of links, it will show you the URL’s linking to your site
- The Anchor text tab shows what anchor text is being used on the links Google sees.
- The Crawl errors page provides details about the URLs in your site that Google tried to crawl but could not access.
- The Mobile crawl errors page provides details about problems encountered crawling URLs on your mobile website.
- When errors are there, it will tell you what type of error:
- In Sitemaps
- Not Followed
- Not Found
- Restricted by robots.txt
- Timed Out
- This shows the most common keywords Google sees when crawling your website
- If the keywords you want to rank for are not showing in here, you need to make some changes!
- This is where you can submit your sitemap to Google so they can see all pages on your website.
- It will tell you how many URL’s are in the sitemap, and how many Google has indexed so that you can identify how much of your site Google is seeing
There are lots of other features and a few of note are:
- Gives information on errors within description tags and title tags including:
- Too short/too long
- Non-informative title tags
- Information on any content that Google could not index
- You will see a graph showing you how long on average pages of your site take to load.
- You can also get the Page Speed browser add on that allows you to check the speed of any page you are on.
This is just a very brief snapshot of what information Google Webmaster Tools provides you with. I admit that I do not go into it nearly enough but when I do, the information that I get out of it is fantastic and continually helps us to improve our website.