Web Essentials Part 1: Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a free powerful and simple online web application that helps you understand how Google sees your website. Google Webmaster Tools provides some extremely useful information about your website that you really shouldn’t ignore as some of the errors reported may in fact be penalising your site in Google SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages).

By created a Google account for free you can access Google Webmaster Tools and identify any problems with your website that may ultimately affect your website rankings on SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages).

Benefits of Google Webmaster Tools

There are many things you can use Webmaster Tools for but some of the more important are the following:

  1. 1.

    Submit and check a sitemap telling Google where your pages are on your website.

  2. 2.

    Generate a robots.txt file which tells Google what pages or directories to index or ignore.

  3. 3.

    View information about how Google indexes your website and if it found any errors while doing it.

  4. 4.

    List internal and external pages or other websites that link to your site.

  5. 5.

    List broken links found on your website and other problematic areas.

  6. 6.

    See keywords Google sees on your site that led to your site being in the SERP’s.

  7. 7.

    See the click through rates and position of your site in the SERP’s.

Add your website in Google Webmaster Tools

Add a site to Webmaster Tools

Once you have created a Google account using your email address or by creating a new Gmail account you then need to add your website and verify it within Google Webmaster Tools. Verification is needed to ensure that you have some kind of ownership or management rights to the site and prevent just anyone having access to Webmaster Tools data for your website.

For verification, Google there are various options including adding a HTML meta tag to your web site homepage and provides you with the line of code it needs you to insert. Something like:

<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”8FVtCtJIB9J_Qew-gDRGDp83g-VzBSsLbyZe6WkzY4w” />

To do this, you will have to know a little bit about editing HTML and have access via FTP to your website files or ask your web developer to do this for you. For FTP access i recommend using the Free FTP software by Filezilla.

Verify your website in Google Webmaster Tools

Verify a Website in Webmaster Tools HTML file uploads

Google provides other alternate methods of verification including the upload of a HTML file via FTP, linking through your Google Analytics account or through your domain name registrar. Personally, i recommend using the HTML file upload method as it is quick and easy and reduces the risk of corrupting your website if you don’t know how to edit in HTML. To do this, simply select the ‘HTML file upload’ option in the tab and follow the steps by transferring the downloaded HTML file to your websites /htdocs folder via FTP. Click ‘Verify’ and thats all there is to it!

Once you have completed the verification process you can use Google Webmaster Tools to see detailed reports about your website and pages visibility on Google. It allows you to get Google’s view of your site and diagnose problems which may ultimately be affecting your rankings in Google SERP’s. More importantly, you can analyse your link and query traffic as well as view and download comprehensive data about internal and external links to your site. You can find out which Google search queries bring visitors to your site, and see exactly how users got there. Through Webmaster Tools you can also tell Google about your pages with sitemaps indicating which of your website pages are the most important and how often they change. Similarly, you can also let Google know about new pages or how you would like the pages in your website to appear.

Google Webmaster Tools is a free application by Google and provides extremely valuable data about your website. It is astonishing to see how may website owners do not use this facility especially when it provides you with a detailed report about your website on Google and you can use it for everything from finding errors to improving your websites visibility and position in search engine results. By using Google Webmaster Tools you can find out what keywords people are using to find your website on the internet and what pages the user is sent to. From this you can therefore identify what searches you are NOT being included in and then target these through search engine optimisation, additional web pages, internet marketing such as blog writing or by adjusting existing pages and content on your website.

Help with Webmaster Tools

If you are looking to get started with webmaster tools and have no idea how to get started or how to use webmaster tools, feel free to email me directly at info@bbseven.co.uk or:

Speak directly on 01200 539069