5 Must-Use Features of Google Webmaster Tools

search engine marketing, search engine optimization, SEO, web analytics

September 28, 2012 by

As I work with new clients I find many are not fully utilizing all of Google’s free tools to understand how their site is being found by Google and how to help the search engines more easily find their content. Along with Google Analytics, which most people know about and use, Google & Bing also offer Webmaster Tools. Now I know Webmaster is a term that sounds like it’s stuck in the 90’s, but there is some really great information you can get directly from the search engines. Below are my favorite tools from Google’s Webmaster Tools:

  1. Submit a sitemap: You can submit a sitemap to Google of all the pages on your site you want the search engine to crawl and index. You can even include in the sitemap a ranking system to tell the search engine what pages are most important. Uploading a XML sitemap and setting it to index in the Webmaster Tools gives Google a little nudge to go and index your site.

  2. Review crawl errors and site speed issues: You can see if Google is having any issues crawling your site or is finding error codes as well as any site speed issues. Once you resolve any issues you can notify Google to re-index those pages because issues have been resolved.  If you can’t find your pages in Google this is the first place I check to see if Google is having issues finding those pages.

  3. Search Queries: You can see if there has been an increase or decrease in organic search queries. With the latest Penguin & Panda updates we have been able to clearly see any changes to our client’s websites as a result of these updates by reviewing the queries in Webmaster tools.

  4. Fetch As Google: Have a new page or a page with updated content login to Webmaster Tools, enter the URL and fetch as google to help get that content indexed. This is basically a quick way to say to Google you should check out this page.

  5. Add or Demote Sitelinks: If you have a sitelink in your organic 6 pack that you don’t want, say Terms of Use, you can login to Webmaster Tools and demote that sitelink and add a page that you want to appear. This isn’t guaranteed to change it, but we have found by making this request it usually updates in a couple of days.

These are just a couple of my favorite tools from Webmaster Tools but there are so many more things you can learn about how your site and Google are interacting it’s worth an hour to just go and play around to see what you can learn about your site.

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