I know we’ve talked before about time management and how often you should check your stats and now here I am talking about another tool to monitor your site.
While I believe Google Analytics tells you everything you NEED to know to make your site successful, I think Google Webmaster Tools provides some additional information that you’ll WANT to know, once your start getting some traffic.
Is it crucial information? No. But it is helpful so you should definitely check it out. Here’s what you can learn from Google Webmaster Tools.
Sitemap: A sitemap makes it easier for the Google crawlers to organize and analyze your website. It helps them learn what your site’s all about and file it away on the proper indexes. It also helps those crawlers detect broken links and blocked pages you weren’t aware of which can affect your rankings.
Crawl errors: Because of that sitemap you can also see a report then that shows your crawl errors, those 404 pages your visitors are landing on that you didn’t know about. Somewhere on your site you have broken navigation links and this is where you’ll find them.
Some of these broken links are also coming from other websites that are linking to you. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could ask them to fix that link? Of course it would. And you can!
Links to your site: This is where you can see those other website that are linking to you and you can see the content they’re linking to. Now all you have to do is send them an email and ask them to fix the link or install a 301 redirect to take care of the problem.
Internal links: This lets you see all the links you’ve created internally, linking your content together. Ir’s a good idea to have the bulk of your links going to your homepage, but in the end you want to try to make every page accessible by no more than two clicks from the homepage. These stats let you see where your holes are.
Site performance: The Google Webmaster Tool also analyzes your site’s load time and lets you know if there’s a problem. A long load time increases your bounce rate and can have a negative effect on your ranking.
HTML suggestions: The crawlers also look at your meta tags and descriptions and they’ll indicate if there’s a problem.
Keywords: You may think you know what keywords people are using to land on your site but the Google crawlers know for sure, and they might not be the same words you’re thinking of. This section lets you see what keywords Google is ranking you for.
As you can see, this is all important information that any webmaster should be aware of but none of it is so critical that you have to monitor this report on an hourly basis.
If you have five or six 404 pages coming up, chances are they’ve been there for a while and your blog hasn’t suffered a bit.
So add the Google Webmaster Tools to your site and monitor your progress, but don’t let it detract from more important duties.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!