The Benefits of Webmaster Tools

There are many benefits to registering your website with webmaster tools.  Utilizing webmaster tools on your site will ensure that you are running a healthy website with the utmost efficiency.

Basic Benefits:

  • Access to search statistics on Google

  • Latest data regarding incoming links and internal links

  • Sends notification if your site has any crawl errors (misdirecting) and/or malware (spam, viruses, etc)

  • Shows you keywords you are targeting and how effective they are

  • Insights into crawling and indexing activity on the site

 

The Breakdown:

Now, there is a lot to be said about webmaster tools, so let me summarize while highlighting the most important characteristics. Google Webmaster Tools allows you to access five main compartments of information about your site.  Configuration, Health, Traffic, Optimization and Labs.  The dashboard gives you a summary of some of the most important information you are going to want to see. Of the five tabs, Health, Traffic and Optimization contain the most helpful information for optimizing your site.

Being able to see at a glance the health of your site is important. Google webmaster tools allows you to see crawl errors, crawl stats and malware with a click of a button. Crawling is basically an all encompassing word for how users move around your site. Improving crawling of your site and getting rid of any malware (viruses, bugs, etc.) can very much improve your site and make users happy.

By understanding the traffic of your site, you can begin to understand about your audience and how they view your site in search engines.  Under the “Traffic” tab, the Search Queries section will allow you to look deep into the statistics of how your viewers are finding your site.  Here you can view what keywords people are using to find you, how often those keywords are directing them to your site, number of clicks, impressions and their CTR (click through ratio).  Once you have a more indepth understanding of your audience, you can cater your SEO keywords to them, thus directing more traffic to your site.

The “Traffic” tab also allows you to access your link information.  Inbound and internal links are the holy grail for SEO.

Inbound Links:

  1. Links from somebody else’s website to yours.  Here you want to be looking for quality.  The goal is for high quality sites with good content, page rank, and relevant to your needs to link from their page to your site.

  2. It is important to not have these inbound links always directing to one page (i.e. Home Page).   Push the direction of links to other pages that may not be seen as much in order to strengthen your SEO.

Internal Links:

  1. In layman’s terms, an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website.

  2. The more links that point to a particular page, Google sees that as the page having a perceived value.

  3. Internal links help facilitate the movement of your visitor through your site.

 

Under the “Optimization” tab there are two very notable tools , HTML Improvements and Content Keywords.  HTML Improvements shows your Meta descriptions, title tags and non-indexable content.  By addressing these, you may help improve your site’s user experience and performance. The Content Keywords page lists the most significant keywords and their variants Google found when crawling your site.  Using these keywords in conjunction with Search Queries provides insight into Google’s interpretation of your site’s content.

Webmaster Tools


How to Install Google Webmaster tools:

Google webmaster tools has a relatively simple site verification process that must be completed in order to access your site on webmaster tools.  In order to install Google webmaster tools, you must have a Google account.  If you have a gmail account, you simply use that to log in to webmaster tools by clicking here  www.google.com/webmasters/tools/.  If you do not have a Google account, you can create a free one here: http://bit.ly/12gq89q.

Once you log in to webmaster tools, there are 3 different ways to verify your site: XML file, Meta Tag, or CNAME.

I have had the most success using the Meta tag verification option. If your site is built on WordPress, and you use Yoast SEO plugin, there is a very simple way to verify your site through the general settings of that plugin using the Meta tag. When you input the Meta tag into Yoast SEO, be sure that you use only the tag and not the surrounding code. Example below:

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Webmaster Tools VS. Google Analytics:

So, why use webmaster tools when you have access to a lot of the same information on Google Analytics?  While webmaster tools may seem similar to analytics, there are many distinct differences between the two.  Google Analytics is meant to give a picture of who is coming to a website, how many hits a site gets, how people are finding the site and what content is popular. Webmaster tools differ in that they are designed to provide a picture on how a website is seen by a search engine.  How does Google perceive your site?

 

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