Every time you prepare for a trip to the countryside there are a few essential items that you ought to take along because you dare not go without. These items often include some food, a tent, map and a sleeping bag. The internet is a lot like the wilderness in many ways i.e. it’s huge, wild, confusing and very scary, so having a map handy can certainly be helpful. That said if you’re looking for the internet’s equivalent of a map then look no further than Google’s Webmaster Tools. These tools were built by Google to help webmasters of all skill levels (owners of websites), stay connected, get stats, and receive messages among other information. Below we take a quick look at how these tools can help with search engine optimization and how you can sign up to get everything setup.
Signing up for webmaster tools
To signup you’ll have to first have a Google account. If you already have a profile on Google+ then you don’t need to go through a somewhat lengthy signup process. However, if not then click on the signup button and follow through the instructions. Once you have signed up just sign into your Google account, and make sure that your contact information is up to date. There have been instances when reps from Google were calling webmasters to inform them about an issue with their website but they couldn’t be reached.
Once your account is set up and you’re logged in you then need to give Google’s webmaster tools the information that it needs. So, there is some setting up required.
You will need to start with submitting your sitemap to Google. A sitemap as it turns out is very helpful to the search engine because it reveals all the pages on your website so that the AI does not need to send a crawler to it. If you’re currently using a CMS like WordPress or Joomla there are a number of plug-ins you can install which will automatically generate a sitemap that can be submitted to Google without having to make much of an effort. Most Search Engine Optimization companies have a person who knows how to build site maps for websites for those that don’t use a CMS but you may want to consider using one just to make website’s SEO easier.
Monitoring your website
It is fair to say that webmaster tools is not a sort of set it and then forget it type tool. Yes it does provide lots of information that you’ll need very often. But for that you’ll need to check the tool daily or weekly if you have a small website.
Checking your website for errors
If Google sees issues with your website for instance if it were hacked or if it saw any 404 pages this information will be displayed in the Craw/Crawl Errors tab. Google should always see your website in great health so that visitors have a good experience. A website that has numerous 404 pages and various other issues obviously do not amount to a good experience and so your rankings will suffer badly.
Where is your website showing up? Do you know what keywords are trigging it and which are not? Knowing this can help you a great deal with search optimization because you’ll know what areas need your most attention. To get this information simply use the analytic information tool. This is an extremely slimmed down version of Google’s regular Analytics which too is a free tool but tends to be a lot easier to manage and read. Also, make sure to check the Search Traffic section of the tool every week if not daily. This will give you a good list of missed opportunities within its keyword area. You’ll probably be surprised where your website seems to popup in search results, which could inspire you to even draft a blog post using these keywords for more traffic.
Google’s Web Master Tools have been around for a very long time during which they have matured into a “go-to” tool of sorts. If you want to rank well you need all the information you get and these tools give it to you for free.
Manu Alias is a seo expert and the author of various search engine related articles and books. He helps clients in various industries rank well and improve their online business strategy.He works for Smart SEO, the best online marketing company in Sydney.