Written by Jessica Ann on December 9th, 2013
Top Five Ways to Use Google Webmaster Tools
Who wouldn’t want to be called a “Master” of something? Not in the sense of a university degree, but a real master. The allure is not just about the title – it’s also about the tools and equipment that you get to use. For example, a quartermaster has control of an army’s night vision goggles and fancy weapons. Or what about a yacht master? Is there really anyone on earth who doesn’t want to be on a yacht? A kung fu master gets to wear a cool black suit and where would a master craftsman be without the appropriate tools. And we can’t forget Jedi masters who get to use light sabers. Finally, we have webmasters, who can make websites fast and safe with Google Webmaster Tools.
Okay, the last one doesn’t sound as sexy, fun or intriguing as the others, but it is no less important. But before we go on let’s spend a minute deciding if you qualify to be a webmaster. If you run a website, own a website, or work on a website then you meet all of the criteria and can now call yourself a master. Congratulations!
Now let’s look at the top five ways to use Google Webmaster Tools if you have a small business website.
With Google Webmaster Tools, you can:
1. Create A Healthy Site
Webmaster Tools allow you to get an understanding of how Google views your sites – warts and all. The first thing you should concern yourself with is the warts. Whether you have a new website or one that is established, errors will inevitably creep in. Webmaster Tools allows you to pinpoint the problems and fix them.
You will also get reports on site speed. Having a fast site is critical not just to be in good standing with search engines, but also to provide a good user experience. Understanding where the problems are is the first stage to tweaking your website design and making it faster. Webmaster Tools can give you that information. It is also valuable if you are considering making an investment to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server.
2. Get Broader And More Diverse Link Data
Google has recently changed the way it displays link data in Webmaster Tools. Without getting into all of the technical mumbo-jumbo, they have made the data that is displayed more useful. You will now see a diverse range of the links that your site has instead of just the best ones. This allows you to target or alter your link building strategies as required.
3. Learn About Search Queries
Webmaster Tools will tell you the search queries that your website is ranking for and your average position in the results pages. It will also tell you how many impressions your ad received for that search and how many people clicked through. This can then be used to calculate your click through rate, or CTR.
The information on search queries also allows you to view trends over time and drill deeper into specific terms. This is invaluable information regardless of the type of website you have: if you have a blog website you will be able to see how your visitors find your site. And if you have an ecommerce site you will get a better understanding of your conversion numbers.
4. Manage Site Links
Site links are the additional blocks of links you often see under specific search results. Not every website gets them, but if yours does you can manage them in Webmaster Tools. This ability to manage site links is particularly important for small business websites as nobody knows your business better than you do – not even the mighty Google!
5. Submit Sitemaps
Sitemaps are a great way for you to tell Google exactly how your site is structured. It helps the search engine find the various parts and pages of your website, particularly any new content that you upload. Webmaster Tools allows you to upload a sitemap.
There are a lot of other useful features in Google Webmaster tools, which you will learn about the more that you use it. So while being a webmaster and using Webmaster Tools is not as cool as being a Jedi Master and using a light saber, it can still be helpful to your business.