Google Webmaster Tools

When it’s time to improve the performance of a page or an entire site, many Webmasters turn to Google Webmaster Tools, a free service offered by the leader in search. Read on to learn how you can tweak and tune your site in order to maximize your chances of being found by the people who are searching for the products and services you offer…

What Can Webmaster Tools Do For Me?

I’ve written about the power of Web analytics to tell you how well each page of your website is doing its job. Google’s Webmaster Tools helps you take things even further by analyzing your site’s design, performance, and security.

The main purpose of these tools is to help Webmasters optimize the visibility of their sites in Google Search, and address any problems that may affect usability. Using the tools, you can:

Webmaster Tools

  • Make sure that Google has access to all the content on your site that you want it to index, and specify any content that you do not want indexed.
  • Monitor how your indexed content looks in search results, and tweak that appearance to increase clicks.
  • Change your site with minimal disruption to its search performance; that is, avoid changes that “bury” your site deep in search results or highlight new content at the expense of clicks on what’s important to you.
  • Monitor and resolve malware and spam problems that can prompt Web reputation services to warn users away from your site, or even get your site banished from Google Search.

Other Webmaster Tools help you see how Google and the world view your site; how people find you; and who links to your site in what ways. These tools can answer questions such as:

  • Which search terms cause you site to appear in search results?
  • Which queries resulted in more traffic (click-throughs) to your site?
  • Are your product prices showing up in search, and are they highlighted in “rich” search?
  • Which sites are linking to your content? What are they linking to? You may want to follow those links back to their sources to see what’s being said about your site.

Is the mobile version of your site performing well in mobile searches? Mobile versions of websites are increasingly important these days. If you use a “site mobilization” service to generate a mobile version of your desktop site, you can use Webmaster Tools to decide whether to keep that service or try another.

Google has stated that sites which are not mobile-friendly will be penalized in search results. See my related article Mobilize Your Website (or else…) for help going mobile.

Speeding Up Your Site = Better Search Visibility

One of the most useful and important features in Webmaster Tools is PageSpeed Insights. You can use this tool to analyze how fast your pages are loading, where the bottlenecks are, and get specific tips on how to improve performance. PageSpeed Insights looks at both the desktop and mobile versions of your site and analyzes both. Make sure you feed it your home page URL, and also at least one page for every major template used on your site. You’ll want to follow the PageSpeed advice for minimizing your page loads times, because it’s one of the factors that Google uses to rank pages in search results.

Even if you are the non-technical, super-busy owner of a small business, you should get familiar with the basics of Webmaster Tools, at least. They will help you monitor not only the performance of your website but also that of the techie you pay to program and maintain it.

Webmaster Tools can tell you if your latest marketing campaign is working; if certain deeply-buried products should be given greater exposure on your site, or if some items need to go.

To use Webmaster Tools, you (or your techie) need to complete a simple registration and add the HTML file that Google provides to your site. (It’s invisible to all but Google.) From there, you can access video and text tutorials, Webmaster mutual-help forums, and other resources that will help you make the most of Webmaster Tools.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below…


More Posts about Webmaster:

  • 400 Free Tools For Business Building

  • Is Your WordPress Site Vulnerable?

  • Improve Sales With A/B Testing

  • Google Webmaster Tools

  • Adding Search To Your Site

Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I have found that Webmaster Tools is great for making sure that my site is being indexed by Google. I also advise checking the Crawl Errors, so see if there are broken links (inbound or outbound) or missing pages.

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