Google Webmaster Tools is one of the most powerful tools in SEO, but strangely enough, many people aren’t using it with their websites. Webmaster Tools can open up an entire scope of insight for improving your website’s visibility and search engine ranking. The best part is that it’s absolutely free to use!
What is Google Webmaster Tools?
From the name alone, it’s not terribly difficult to determine the nature of the feature. GWT allows a user to not only learn a lot about their website, but also to find out what exactly needs improving on the website.
Fortunately, it’s quite simple to get started with GWT. Setting up GWT comes down to signing up for it and verifying the website that will be used with it. Verification is necessary so that Google can confirm you’re the real owner of the website in question. Verification can be completed in a number of ways.
One of the most simple methods for verification is the HTML file upload. Users also have the choice of adding a simple HTML tag to the source code of the index.html file on the server. Verification can also be completed with Google Analytics, if the user has it, but it’s not required.
Why Google Webmaster Tools is Helpful for SEO
Once GWT has been linked to your website, you can begin using its features to improve your website. WebConfs.com outlines a number of features you should use daily in order to enhance your SEO campaign.
Search Queries. When using GWT, you’ll notice several sections that allow you to investigate various aspects of your website. Search Queries refers specifically to search terms that people are using to find your website. Simply put, you want this list to match the group of keywords you’re already targeting. In some cases, the Search Query list can reveal great keywords that you weren’t already optimizing for. If you happen to see any, add them to your keyword campaign.
You’ll also see metrics pertaining to the amount of clicks these searches are generating. This can help you when analyzing the CTR (click-through rate) for your keywords. Keywords with high CTR tend to be more worthy of your time and effort. Leave keywords alone with low CTR.
Links. This section is most helpful for getting an idea of where your external and internal backlinks are coming from. You can even use this section for disavowing bad links that you don’t want associated with your website.
Crawl Errors. Essentially, this section is useful for identifying errors encountered when the Google bot crawled/scanned your website. It outlines server conflicts, broken or missing pages, etc. Additional statistics are also provided for your use.
Keywords. GWT scans your website for significant keywords and condenses them into a list, shown in this section. This is useful for comparing to the list of keywords you’re trying to optimize for. If the “Keywords” list and your own list differ greatly, it’s most likely due to a poor optimization. Check over your content, and modify where necessary.
Sitemaps. At first glance, the sitemap seems like an insignificant accessory to a website due to its nature. However, a sitemap helps users find what they’re looking for more easily, assists search engines with indexing the site, and much more.
There are a handful of useful features for those that know their way around their computers and web server. For instance, users can utilize GWT to upload a robots.txt document to their servers for better indexing. GWT can also detect malware infections on websites.
If you’re not using Google Webmaster Tools as part of your SEO efforts, now is the time to start. With GWT, you get an in-depth glance at many valuable metrics pertaining to your site. Stop forfeiting higher rankings, and start using GWT today!