Today I had a chance to spend a portion of my day getting to know Google Webmaster Tools.
What are Google Webmaster Tools ?
They are an interface showing a set of data gathered and publish by Google for any website on the internet. Thanks to these tools you can see your website as Google sees it and take advantage of this knowledge to make your website more Google-friendly. Among other stats you’ll be able to see which of your pages are indexed, which user queries result in displaying your website in Google search, which other websites link to yours, what are your most successful landing pages and more.
Why are Google Webmaster Tools useful?
They provide information as to how Google sees your pages and how users get to them. Which means that you can optimize your website in two ways:
- you can make it easier for Google to find and properly index it
- you can better optimize it for search queries to make sure users find it when searching for relevant information
Together with Google Analytics, webmaster tools give you a lot of control over how users find you and how your website looks to the crawlers. So don’t even think about SEO without having these information.
How to start using Google Webmaster Tools?
This is actually very simple and doesn’t take much time. From Google’s own help section:
To add and verify a site:
- Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account.
- Click the Add a site button, and type the URL of the site you want to add. Make sure you type the entire URL, such as http://www.example.com/
- Click Continue. The Site verification page opens.
- (Optional) In the Name box, type a name for your site (for example, My Blog).
- Select the verification method you want, and follow the instructions.
The verification is designed to check if you are the website’s owner and you will basically have to add a snippet of code to your pages. Once you start, remember that some data will not appear straight away. In my case some data is still missing 2 days into using the tool. And do read Google’s help pages that appear in the lower, left corner and change according to which section of the tools you are currently viewing. The help pages explain not only what the data mean but also how they were collected and how you can use them to improve your website.
So in short, I wholeheartedly recommend Google Webmaster Tools to anyone even slightly interested in SEO.