How to get the best out of Google Webmaster Tools
Over the past few weeks we have explored Tips for Google Analytics and Tips for Google Adwords, so finally we will be exploring Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). If you’ve enjoyed reading the past few articles, then we encourage you take a strong interest in GWT as it is strongly argued that it could be the most important tool of the three.
The beauty of Google Analytics in particular is that it allows you to feed in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords.
If you have not done so already, we strongly recommend that you integrate your Google Webmaster Tools account with Google Analytics.
Here’s how to do that…
How to integrate Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics
- Sign into Google Webmaster Tools – or Sign Up Here
- Click Add A Site
- Click Manage Site
- Click Google Analytics Property
Tips for Google Webmaster Tools
- 404 Page Error
We stumble across 404 Pages everyday on the web. When a page on your website is not found, due to being broken, missing or a user misspelling, a 404 page is displayed to show the page is not available. A 404 on your website is okay on the odd occasion, but did you know multiple missing pages can result in your website being penalised by Google? It’s very important to remove error pages from your website.
Crawl > Crawl Errors > Pages with Errors
- Backlinks – Links To Your Site
GWT allows us to see every website that has a backlink to our site. This tool is especially useful for removing harmful/spam links that are destroying your website’s reputation. Remember backlinks are healthy, bad bad backlinks are not. Google can penalise your site’s search engine ranking for having harmful backlinks pointing to your site. Manage your backlinks through;
Search Traffic > Links to Your Site
Sitemaps are important because it enables us to tell Google which pages to index and which not to. Depending on the nature of our website, we often have pages that we do not wish to be viewed or displayed in our search engine results. A sitemap is essential for any large website, and a Sitemap help us yo build trust with Google. We can create a Sitemap and use GWT’s Sitemap Validator to ensure it is correct.
Crawl > Sitemaps > Add/Test Sitemap
- Search Queries
Webmaster Tools is as informative as Google Analytics in the sense that we can evaluate the traffic to our website. Search Queries in particular allow us to view which keywords vistors are using and also the frequency in which they are used. Search Queries shows us the Click Through Rate (CTR) and the Average search position for those terms
Search Traffic > Search Queries
- Structured Data – Schemas
Structured Data is a great tool which enables us to improve our Search Engine Results through rich snippets in structured data. We often see rich snippets for ratings, stock availability or pricing. Rich snippets visually enhance our listings and help us to rank higher.
Search Appearance > Structured Data
- HTML Improvements
HTML and the markup we use greatly affects how Google analyses our site and ranks us on their SERP’s. Poor use of markup, including missing heading tags, missing meta descriptions, or non-indexable content can plummet our search ranking and cause us not to be found.
Search Appearance > HTML Improvements
Sitelinks are additional entries that Google lists underneath your main site in the SERP’s. They appear when a user performs directed search. For example, here are the sitelinks for Selfridges.
Search Appearance > Site Links
- Internal Links
Unless internally linked, pages from our website are not indexable by Google. Internal Links are vital to build a successful website and also help with easy navigation and helping the user quickly find what they are looking.
Search Traffic > Internal Links
- Index Status
WMT tells us how many of our website’s pages have been indexed by Google. Indexed meaning read and acknowledged by Google. We should see a steady number of indexed pages increase as the number of our web pages increase. An index status of 0 shows us that there is a pontential error in how Google is viewing our site. Check your index status;
Google Index > Index Status
- Site Messages
Upon adding our site to GWT, we provide an e-mail address to Google that allows them to contact us regarding notices with our site. These e-mails are especially important as they are usually a notification of an error, a health warning or a security alert. It is essential to read and act upon these e-mails.
Once your account is fully set up you will be on your way to ensuring your website’s health and performance are both up to scratch.
Google Webmaster Tools is a powerful, sophisticated tool which is why The Net Shop has experts dedicated to managing your website’s Google Webmaster Tools account for you.
Call us on 01202 069450 to get a free review of your Google Webmaster Tools or for further information check out our Google + Optimisation page