Dukeo » SEO » Webmaster Tools Guide: Better Communication With Google

Webmaster Tools Guide: Better Communication With Google

Steven 6 responses SEO

When you’re visiting other blogs you often see bloggers talking about all kinds of data and statistics, like load times and number of redirects and search queries. They make it sound like they’re using some pretty expensive tools to analyze every square pixel on their blog but they’re not. They’re using Google Webmaster Tools to improve their WordPress SEO. These are free analytics tools, provided by Google, and all you need is a Google account to get access.

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Once you’ve created a Google account so to Google Webmaster Tools and sign in using your Gmail address and password. Before you can analyze the data for your website you’ll need to verify the site. Near the bottom of the page you’ll see a button to “Add A Site.” Put your blog’s URL in the box and click the button.

Note: You’ll need to create a new site for each site you want to analyze. So, if you own www.mysite.com, mysite.com, and page.mysite.com, you’ll need to create a separate site for each domain.

In the next step you’ll be given a code to verify that you own the site you’re registering. You’ll have several options. Some WordPress themes have a place on the dashboard where you can enter your verification code. In some cases you may want to go into your editor and paste the code into the header file. Or you can download a file and ftp it up to your root.

Once you’ve uploaded this code to your blog somewhere all you have to do is click the verify button to establish ownership of your blog.

What can you learn from Google Webmaster Tools?

There’s literally more information than I can go into with just one blog post, but the three most important areas you’ll want to focus on are the Health Tools Menu and the Traffic Tools Menu.

Health Tools Menu

This tool is used to detect your crawl stats, the number of pages crawled and the kilobytes of data downloaded each day. It also shows the load time. This page is helpful in detecting server problems or load time issues if you’re running an image-heavy site.

The “Blocked URLs” page shows you what pages you have blocked off to the Google bots. This is particularly interesting because you may not realize those pages are blocked. If you’ve been wondering why nobody commented on a particular post or you’re not getting traffic on your landing page, it could be that you’ve blocked it somehow.

From this page you can also use the “Fetch” feature to summon a bot to any URL you paste into the form, enabling you to see exactly what the crawlers are indexing from each of your pages.

Traffic Tools Menu

I use Google Analytics to get basic traffic information but the Webmaster Tools tell you a lot more. For example, with this tool you can find out who’s linking to you and what pages those links are coming from.

The “Links to Your Site” report will show the top 1,000 domains that are linking to your site. Dig further using the “Your Most Linked Content” report to find out what they’re linking to and the “How Your Data Is Linked” report shows you what anchor text they’re using in those links. You can also analyze your own internal links to better optimize for the search engines.

When you're learning how to optimize your website, you need to understand that the very first step is to create a website. If you're interested in starting your own blog, I have written a step-by-step guide that will show you how to start a blog for as little as $3.49 per month (this low price is guaranteed only through my link). You will also receive your own domain name for free ($15 value) by clicking on this link and purchasing at least 12 months of hosting with BlueHost. Keep in mind that if you're learning how to optimize website for search engines, the first thing you need is your own self-hosted website. It will help you look more professional in front of your visitors, clients, companies, and everyone else, including search engines.

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  1. Frank Woodman

    Thanks for a really easy to understand guide to starting to use Google’s Webmaster Tools. Only quick question I have is can they be used on wordpress.com or blogger.com blogs or only self hosted sites?

    1. I’ve never user WordPress.com or Blogger.com so I don’t really know. After a quick Google Search, it appears that you can use Google Webmaster Tools with WordPress.com blogs.

    2. Joeal Manimtim

      Hi Steven,

      Just wanted to add that if you connect your blogger account with your Google account. Blogger is automatically added to your Webmaster tools account. You don’t even have to do any other verification process.

      Also wanted to say, really like your new site design!

    3. Hey Joeal!

      Thanks a lot for the info, I didn’t know that all you needed to do was connecting your Google and Blogger accounts to have access to Google Webmaster Tools.

      Glad you like the new design :)

  2. Susan Silver

    Too many bloggers ignore webmaster tools. It is really helpful in diagnosing SEO problems with your website. It is one of the only ways to see crawl errors with your website.

    1. Thanks for your comment Susan! I have to agree with you… People overlook the quantity (and value) of the information they can get from Google Webmaster Tools. That’s a shame because it could really improve their website.