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12 February 2016

Google

Google Webmaster as an effective tool – Part 1

What is Google Webmaster and what kinds of features does it have?

If you think it’s difficult to build a site; it kind of is. But managing your website and learning about all the statistics is not necessarily as difficult as you may think. One of the best things about Google is that it offers a whole host of services in order to help you manage your online content easily and effectively.

Google are interested in helping you because without good qality content, people would not be interested in using it. So, in order to do maintain levels of good quality content, they have invented Google Webmaster.

Although it isn’t something a lot of people know about, Google Webmaster is clever, informative and completely free, meaning you have everything you need at the tips of your fingers and all you need in order to use it is a bit of time.

This service is perfect whether you are a business owner or a site administrator, as it lets you control and monitor what’s going on with your site at all times and the best bit is that it’s not confusing or time consuming to use. The whole service is streamlined and easy-to-use meaning you don’t have to give hours of your time just familiarizing yourself with the way it works and can get to business ASAP

What Does Google Webmaster Do?

As well as direct access to Google drive, Gmail, Google Search, and more, Google Webmaster itself is a tool provided by Google that enables you to view how your website is performing statistically and gives you the opportunity to see and therefore resolve any errors that may be hindering your website from performing at its optimal level. These errors could simply be the exclusion of certain simple information that could make all the difference or errors that occur on a more technical level.

Google Webmaster Features

Google Webmaster gives information on the following:

Search Appearance

The Search Appearance section in Google Webmaster provides information on the technical elements of your website and highlights any errors that may be present in any of them.

  • Structured data: Structured data is data that is in a database or spreadsheet and in a fixed field. For instance, if you have an office in several locations the address of each of those offices is in a fixed data field. This section enables you to manage all of the fixed field data that you have on your website and view any errors that you may have.
  • Data Highlighter: This is a new feature that has recently been added to Google Webmaster, as a result of there being a new feature on Google. Google are now displaying events and so forth in a more exciting way in the search results. The Data Highlighter enables you to highlight certain sections of your website, such as events, and tag each data field with your mouse. Google then picks up on this and displays it accordingly in the search results. Once you have done this a few times with a particular page, Google automatically tags similar pages for you. Instructions on how to highlight certain bits of data can also be found in this section.
  • HTML Improvements: This section allows you to see sections of your website that may not necessarily have all the elements that would otherwise increase the performance of your site and the experience for the user. You can view all errors or missing information here.
  • Sitelinks: Sitelinks are links that automatically come up in the site’s search results. If you want to omit certain sites from coming up in the site’s search results, your site administrator can use this section in order to do that.
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages: Known as AMP, this feature allows a faster loading, great looking webpage on mobiles, even when network internet speeds are slow. If these pages have any errors, you can fix them here.

Search Traffic

The Search Traffic Section gives you statistical information on how your website is performing and allows you to view and manage features on your website.

  • Search Analytics: This tells you the amount of clicks/impressions/CTR/Position of your website. You can also view all of these together in a graph form in order to compare the relationship between all 4 parameters.
  • Links to your site: This section gives you information on the external sites that provide the most links to your site, as well as telling you the total number of links.
  • Internal Links: The great thing about Google Webmaster is that it can give you all the internal links to your pages in one place so you can really see how it functions together and what you may be missing.
  • Manual Actions: This section gives you information on manual spam that may have been targeted towards your website.
  • International Targeting: If you have pages on your website that translate to different languages, this page lets you view information on hreflang tags. These tell Google which language you are using on a specific page so Google shows those results to those browsing in that language.
  • Mobile Usability: If the mobile version of your website has too many errors, Google demotes it from mobile search results. In order to view and fix mobile usability errors that can impact your site, the Mobile usability section has everything that you need.

Crawl

The crawl section in Google Webmaster allows you view how Google interacts with your website statistically. You can also view any technical errors on your website in this section.

  • Crawl errors: This tells you the amount of error pages that have come up at any given time when a browser has clicked on a web page on your site.
  • Crawl Stats: The page informs you of the amount of pages crawled per day and in which months these were highest, the amount downloaded per day and the time a browser spent per day downloading information/content.
  • Fetch as Google: One of the most important things about a website is that it is first and foremost user friendly, and then Search Engine friendly. The Fetch as Google section allows you to see how a given page on your website appears to Google, and how that page appears to the user.
  • Robots.txt tester: Sometimes, robots can be used to restrict access to a page. If you have such robots, they can be tested/viewed here and any errors/warnings can also be seen here. If you do not have robots, this page would not really be relevant to you.
  • Sitemaps: The purpose of a sitemap is to make your website easier for Google to crawl and find. If your website doesn’t have a sitemap, it should. The sitemap section in Google Webmaster allows you to also view any errors that are occurring and any warnings that you may need to address.
  • URL Parameters: You should only really use this section if you are familiar with web techniques. If not, it is best to leave editing this section to the experts. The URL Parameters section enables you to inform Google how you want it to handle URLs so that it can crawl your website more efficiently.

Security Issues

If there are any issues that Google has flagged up with your website, you can find them here. If something has been flagged up here, it is best to resolve it immediately, to avoid de-ranking of your site from Google.

All of these features can help you monitor your website and allow you to identify when things aren’t going quite right. To find out how these features on Google Webmaster can help your website perform optimally, stay tuned for part 2!

If you have any questions in the mean time, give as a call on 01164 244 244 or fill out our contact form and we will be more than happy to answer any questions if this is something you are interested in. Don't forget to find out more on across our website.

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