Google Webmaster Tools – The Basics Explained

Posted 26/02/2013

Many business and website owners have often ‘heard of’ Google Webmaster Tools, but they are often unaware of role and importance which Google Webmaster Tools can play in ensuring that they are running a healthy and visible website.

Google Webmaster Tools is free and accessible tool to all webmasters, and provides webmasters with a wide range of useful and actionable insights into their websites health, performance and visibility within the Google search engine. It also acts as a direct mail box to which Google can send webmasters any messages relating to their website.

Adding Your Site To Google Webmaster Tools

If your site hasn’t already been added to Webmaster Tools then simply log into your Google account and visit the Webmaster Tools Website. You will then be able to add your site by submitting the full URL of your website.

Add Site To Google Webmaster Tools

 

Once you have submitted the URL you will need to verify that you are the website owner. This can be achieved using several methods: Uploading a HTML verification file to the root folder of your website, adding a HTML tag to your home page, using Google Analytics, or specifying your domain name provider.

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard

Each time you log into your account, you will initially be presented with the Dashboard. The Dashboard provides you with an overview of your websites health, search information and indexing status, along with any new and important messages from Google regarding your site.

From within the Dashboard you are then able to drill down into a wide range of categories to uncover further information regarding your website.

Configuration

Within the configurations section you are able to specify a range of settings, including which geographic version of the Google Search Engine your site is intended for, which version of your domain you would like to be preferred, and which users can access your Dashboard.

Within the configuration section there is also a wide range of useful information and tools that can assist webmasters who are considering, or in the process of changing over domain names.

Health

The Health section provides extensive data on how Google is crawling and indexing the web pages of the specified domain. Within this section you are able to identify any pages which contain errors such as 404 response codes – and take then necessary action.

Webmaster Tools Crawl Errors

 

Webmasters are also able to monitors how many pages are successfully indexed, and define any URL’s containing content that they don’t want Google to access and index.

Traffic

The traffic section helps to identify which keywords and search terms a website is appearing for, and generating from, within the search engines – for this set of data to appear you will need ensure that your Webmaster Tools are linked to your Google Analytics profile.

Within this section you are also able to see which other domains are linking to your website and the amount of back links they have generated. You are also able to establish which pages on your site the most are linked to.

This section is particularly useful if you are trying to determine the quality and quantity of your inbound link profile. Although not a conclusive list of back links to your website, it’s pretty certain that if links are identified within this section of Google Webmaster Tools, then Google is aware they exist.

Optimisation

The optimisation section of Google Webmaster Tools is another essential area of the Dashboard. Within this section you are able to submit a sitemap for your website, which helps Google to identify, crawl and index webpage’s more effectively.

This section will also present data regarding the search engine optimisation standard of your websites pages, highlighting required HTML improvement relating to duplicate, long or short Page Titles and Meta Descriptions.

Labs

The labs area of Google Webmaster Tools is essentially a testing area for features that Google are potentially implementing into the Dashboard on a permanent basis. One of the most interesting areas elements within this table is ‘Author stats’, which enables you to see how the content assigned to your Google Author account is performing in the search engines.

Conclusions/Key Actions

Google Webmaster Tools provides webmasters with wide ranging essential data regarding the performance of a specified domain. If you are not currently using Google Webmaster Tools then you should add your site right away and explore the data available.

– Visit the Google Webmaster Tools website
– Add your domain and verify that you are the owner
– Submit an xml sitemap to help Google crawl and index your pages
– Monitor the crawl status of your pages and address any highlighted errors
– Specify any ULR’s of webpage’s that you don’t want Google to access and index
– Use the HTML Improvements section to indentify and address any on page issues which may affect on page optimisation
– Monitor your link profile to ensure that you only have healthy domains linking to your website
– Regularly visit your Google Webmaster Tools to check for notification from Google

 

 
 

 
 
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