Sunday, July 12, 2009

Google Webmaster Tools Basic Guide

Bloggers, online marketers and website owners have always need more information with regards to how search engines see their sites. Google Webmaster Tools provide free service and support for those looking to improve a site’s visibility, diagnose errors and declare preferences on how to handle web site listings. You can also have the data forwarded to your email address.

Once you log in to Google Webmaster Tools, you'll need to click on the "Add a Site" button. Enter the URL of your site and click Continue. Before start using this services further, you need to do ‘site verification’ to tell Google that the site you want to control is really yours, so that you can view any further information. You can verify your site by pasting a META tag given by the Google Webmaster tools to your home page’s HEAD. Once you have verified a site with Google, all sorts of information can now be accessed.

Note: when adding URL and Google still can’t index your site, then you should try re-entering the URL without the ‘www’. For example: instead of

On your Google webmaster tools dashboard, there is ‘Top search queries’ for members to find out which keywords they rank for, which keywords send them the most traffic and which results users clicked through on. From here You can also find out which Google country domains give you the most traffic and as well as sorting by image search.

Signs that you will find on ‘top search queries’ section:
# means the ranking of the search query.
% means the percentage of the top 100 queries representted by each query. For example, if the top 100 queries repesent 1,000 user searches, and those users searched for espresso coffee 260 times, that query would represent 26% of the total number of searches for the top 100 quereis.

Links To Your Site,
This will tell the website owner the number of links from other websites to your website, what anchor text they're using. This data also can be downloaded in the form of spreadsheets. This is very helpful, especially to see how you are doing overall.

Subscriber Stats,
This section will tell you how many subscriber to your RSS feed via Google Reader.

Crawl Errors,
This diagnostic tool will tell you which pages of your site that Google is having difficulties to crawl. If there are errors, they'll be reported here. There is a breakdown by web, mobile, and mobile WML.

Note: All blogspot label links will be restricted by robots.txt to avoid duplicates in search engine index. The URL that is blocked will look like this: This restriction is done by default on blogspot, it is not en error so there is no need to do anything for this (you can’t change this setting anyway). They are listed on “Restricted by robots.txt” tab from Crawl errors section, you can find them there.

Sitemaps are listings of all your entire pages on your website. Creating a sitemap may be helpful even though It won't help you rank better, but it will provide the search engines a list of pages to crawl. If there is a big difference between the number of pages you have on your site and the number that's reported in this section, then there may be a problem. From here, then you might want to investigate further. Click this link to learn how to create and submit Blogger sitemaps to Google webmaster tools.

As for those of you who use server hosted site and do not know how to create sitemap, there are many site that offer free service to create sitemap (sitemap generator) for your site. You can find them in Google. All you have to do is enter your URL, fill in the form and press Start button and they will provide link for you to download your generated sitemap. Download your sitemap and place it on your server, in "public_html/" folder of your site.

Dont be too bothered about the position of the URL as it is not likely to impact how it is regarded or used by search engines. In creating sitemap, the "priority" means how important is the URL in comparison with all the others from your website. Many people put the higher priority on the pages they update the most but many also said that it does not imply any effect on the ranking of your pages in search results.

Check your “Message” area regularly, as the GWT team will send a message to you if there's a problem with any of your sites.

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