A Short and Concise Google Webmaster Tools Guide
Google Webmaster Tools provides an invaluable resource for webmasters trying to make sure their site is indexed properly in Google. The Webmaster tools provide quite a bit of valuable information to webmasters, but it can sometimes be a bit much to assimilate. Therefore, we’ve written a short and concise guide on Google Webmaster Tools that takes you through all of the main sections and explains them in some detail.
First, the home page is a rundown of the websites you have verified through Google Webmaster Tools, as well as a brief listing of any messages you might have from the good folks over at Google. Click on one of your sites takes you to the dashboard of that specific website, where the bulk of Google Webmaster Tools’ information is shown.
The Dashboard shows you a brief rundown of search queries people have used to find your site, external URLs that are linking to your site, crawl errors if any, keywords found on your site, and information on any XML sitemaps you might have submitted, if any. This is a great way to get a brief view of what’s going on with your site, and you can click a “More” link to be taken to each section quickly. The next section is Messages, which will show any correspondence between you and Google.
The next section is “Site Configuration”. Here you first have the “Sitemaps” section, which shows you detailed information about any XML sitemaps you’ve submitted. “Crawler access”, the next section, allows you to create a customized robots.txt file if you need one, and also allows you to remove old, dead URLs. “Sitelinks” allows you to change the links shown below your result, if Google has generated them. “Change of Address” allows you to manage changing your site from one URL to another as easily as possible.
The next section is “Your site on the web”. This starts off with the “Search queries” screen, which gives you a detailed rundown of the searches people are using to find your website, as well as number of impressions, clicks and so on. “Links to your site” gives you several reports, such as “Who links the most” and “Your most linked content” showing you detailed information about the backlinks pointing at your site and so on. “Keywords” shows you the keywords Google thinks are common when parsing your website. “Internal links” shows the number of internal links pointing to specific pages on your site. “Subscriber stats” shows you the number of people subscribed to your site’s RSS feed, if you have one. You can also convert your RSS feed into its own XML sitemap from here, should you wish.
“Diagnostics” are one of the most important sections of the Google Webmaster Tools because they can help you identify and fix errors on your own. The first section, “Malware” will tell you if Google has detected Malware on your site, and what to do about it. “Crawl errors” shows you pages that resulted in “404” not found errors, as well as which pages link to those nonexistent pages, which can help a great deal with indexing problems. “Crawl stats” briefly shows you how many pages are crawled on your site per day, as well as kilobytes downloaded per day and time spent downloading a page, which can help determine if your site is too big or too slow. “Fetch as Googlebot” is a useful tool that shows how a Google spider sees your pages, which can help diagnose code errors. “HTML suggestions”, finally, gives you suggestions Google has for you based on crawling your site, which can also be quite helpful.
While Google Webmaster Tools has quite a bit of information, as you can see it’s neither complicated nor difficult to understand it all. If you need help disseminating all of this information, contact 180Fusion, as we can take the information provided by Google Webmaster Tools and present it in a clearer and more concise manner, if necessary.