Understanding Google Webmaster Tools
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One of the best free resources for small business owners is what’s inside Google Webmaster Tools.
If you’re not familiar, Google provides site owners with free access to a series of tools aimed at improving their web sites. All you have to do is register your site. Once you do, you’ll be provided with insight into how Google views your site, how your site is performing, which keywords you’re receiving traffic for, any crawl errors you may have, and more.
If you haven’t experimented with it, now’s a good time to start taking advantage of everything Google has to offer.
So how do you get started? First, register your site.
As with most things, it takes just a few minutes to sign up and verify to Google that you own your site. Once you’re registered and logged in, you’ll have full access to your site dashboard.
Through your dashboard, you’ll be privy to a lot of very important information about your Web site.
- Site Configuration: From this section, you can submit a Sitemap to make sure Google knows about all the important pages on your site, specify which pages you want to appear in the search results and which are off limits, remove outdated site links, select a custom or default crawl rate and tell Google if you’d like the www or non www version of your Web site to be the preferred domain.
- Your Site On The Web: This section gives you information on your top search queries, what you keywords you’re ranking for, where you get the most traffic, who’s linking to what pages on your site, the most common keywords on your site, and where you’re linking internally.
- Diagnostics: This section will alert you to any errors that may be present on your site. You’ll be able to see if Google encountered any kind of crawl errors on your site, get crawl stats (how many pages are crawled per day and how long Google spent downloading them) and get HTML suggestions straight from Google.
The tools available through Google Webmasters Tools really present site owners with a goldmine of information that they can use to help themselves and Google better understand what’s happening on their sites. By reviewing the information provided by Google and then acting on it to improve weak areas of your site, site owners can capitalize on traffic, eliminate crawling roadblocks, make spidering easier for Google, find broken links and more.
This is an important tool for every website owner and as a small business owner you need to familiarize yourself and understand at least the basic information outlined above!
Since this article was written, Google has made numerous updates to Google Webmaster Tools. This free tool also includes international targeting to match the user’s language preference and shows mobile usability errors, structured data to help Google understand and categorize your pages and a way for you to edit your robots.txt and check for errors.
This guest article was brought to you by Lisa Barone from Overit.
Lisa is the Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm, where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.
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