Why would you want to master google’s webmaster tools? Google drives 70% of all search traffic to websites, so the data they have on your site could tell you almost everything you need to know about the traffic you receive. And google webmaster tools shows you that data. Without it, you are flying blind! You have no idea why traffic spiked last month, or for many webmasters, why you are getting so little traffic.
This week’s featured video is from the google webmaster central team and Maile Ohye provides a short tutorial on how to use webmaster tools to check the statistical data from your site and improve it’s search engine rankings by fixing problems or expanding what’s already working.
If you don’t have an account, sign up now. You will need to register your website and verify it does belong to you.
Although you can install google analytics on your website, which is highly recommended and an excellent tool, webmaster tools uses it’s own analytics to collect the traffic data from your site.
If you have just signed up, you will need to allow some time for webmaster tools to collect meaningful data. I’d wait at least a month. Once you have a decent amount of data, perform the steps from the video on your own site,
- Sign up for email forwarding
- Check out the search queries
- Match keywords to content
- Reduce any duplicate content
- Find and fix any crawl errors
- Look at external & internal links
- How does googlebot see your pages?
- Measure speed with site performance
Maile uses the googlestore as a sample website to show each webmaster tools feature. She recommends configuring email forwarding so if google discover any problems with your site, you will get an email. Then optimising your product or offer pages by analysing the data collected. You can study the search queries, links and keywords. This is important intelligence.
The search queries page starts by providing the total number of queries, impressions and clicks. Here you can find the top queries used to find your webpages, ranked by impressions. You also get to see the average position in google’s search engine rankings. This is valuable data, that many webmasters pay to find with expensive software or web-based SEO services.
You can also view your top pages showing impressions, clicks, CTR (Click-Thru-Rate) and average position or ranking. And, you will see a graph of impressions and clicks over a month. If you type a keyword into google’s search box, you should see what your listing looks like and if there are any problems with it. For example, the summary of your page may not be what you expect to see.
Webmaster tools will also show you all the domains linking to your website, and how many links each domain has that points back to you. It will also show you the internal linking within your site, and you can see many of the keywords google consider your website to be about, ranked by what google calls ‘significance’. This data is gold as you can see why visitors are arriving at your website and what they are searching for. You can see which pages are the most popular and what content your visitors like.
The best feature of webmaster tools is the fact that it’s web-based and accessible by a simple login. Many website owners don’t want to spend their time analysing this kind of data or correcting technical problems. So, they hire a webmaster to do it. And they can be based anywhere in the world. A webmaster could log into your webmaster tools dashboard, correct any problems, analyse the data and provide you with regular reports. Then you can make intelligent decisions about the marketing and development of your site based on facts.
This is the real benefit of mastering google webmaster tools.