Website owners and developers all over the world already use Google Webmaster tools to diagnose, monitor, and optimize their site. And those who aren’t using this free feature to their advantage should start immediately. The awareness you get from monitoring keywords, links, alerts, and manual actions is priceless.
Here are five important uses for Google Webmaster Tools that you should be aware of:
1. The Best Not-Provided Alternative for Keyword Data
Since the dreaded (not provided) message plagued analytics reports, it is impossible to figure out which keywords are the most productive. Even though it’s not quite the same as before, you can still access some of the keyword referral data you lost.
To start, Google provides insights into impressions and clicks, and allows you to see how visitors are reaching your site. You also have data regarding the click-through-rate, so you’ll know what percent of people decided to click on your site’s link, and finally the average position of your site in the search results.
Monitoring the keywords over time may give you a clue on what works for your site and what is the direction you should take regarding the keywords you need to rank on.
The information provided in the Search Queries tab in conjunction with the Google Analytics data will give you more relevant information about your ranking keywords. Keep in mind, the data provided by Webmaster Tools isn’t 100% complete, and they display only a small portion of keywords for sites with lots of ranking keywords.
2. Monitor Your Site’s Link Profile
I can’t stress the importance of the “Links to your Site” feature from Google Webmaster Tools enough. You can see exactly what websites link to you(although this has an upper limit, too). For sites with more than 100,000 links, Google may not list all the backlinks.
It’s a gift sent from Heaven for SEOs because you can work a lot of angles with the data provided in this tool.
You also have the option to download the URL lists in a CSV or a Google Docs file and use it in various backlink analysis processes.
3. Get E-mail Notifications About Your Sites Issues/Penalties
GWT instantly alerts you the moment you’ve been penalized by Google or if there are any other problems with your site. This is one of the bread-and-butter elements since this is the only place where you will notice if there have been manual actions taken against your site, if you’ve been the target of a malicious hacker, or if there are robots.txt or crawling issues.
You do have the possibility to set GWT to send you email notifications so you’ll be notified quickly, even if you plan to do other stuff besides monitoring the site on the tool.
4. Recover Your Site Using The Disavow Tool
It’s not all fun and games with GWT and sometimes, from one reason or another, you might be struck with the penalizing hammer by the omnipotent entity called Google.
If your site is raising a lot of red flags to Google, it’s going to be reviewed by a human and it will be penalized until the guideline violations are resolved.
But, don’t let that rain on your parade – it’s not the end of the world. Since Google Webmaster Tools doesn’t offer specific information regarding the links that were focused upon when the manual actions were taken, you can browse through the links and see which one are unnatural and remove them.
5. Identify Broken Pages on Your Site
As a marketing rule, if you try to get visitors to your store but you don’t have the product on the shelf, they are going to leave and head to your competitor. It’s the same when it comes to sites. When people can’t access your site or certain pages from your site, they’ll go back to the search results page and click on another link. It renders all your SEO efforts useless and nobody wants that.
Looking at the Crawl Errors feature from Webmaster Tools from time to time can save you from disappointing many visitors.
You’ll have data about URL/site related errors that were identified when GoogleBot was crawling your website so you can fix the problems and improve the user experience.
This article was meant to offer you a solid idea of how useful Webmaster Tools can be. Building a healthy website that continues to grow and performs well in search results isn’t easy. It requires paying attention to many different things, but these tool make it considerable easier.
Featured Image: keso via Flickr