Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a MUST have if you are trying to understand and improve your search ability on the web.  It allows you to explore and see what Google sees when it crawls your site.  You can sign up for a free account here:  https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

The first thing you need to do is to add your site or blog, you will see this on the homepage after you login.

Once you have set this up, your dashboard will look something like this.  Although, you may find it to be pretty bare because you just set up.  Now just explore :)  It is pretty self explanatory.  **Don't worry if you don't see much info yet, Webmaster Tools is not like Analytics, where it is updating constantly.

A few things to do and pay attention to in Webmaster Tools:

1.  Submit a Sitemap for your blog.  Sitemaps are not quite the same in a blog as they are on a website, websites have tons of pages with different content.  On a blog, your primary information consists of posts, so you need to submit your RSS/Post feed as a Sitemap.

To do this you need to go to the "Your site on the web" section of the sidebar in your webmaster tools, then you need to click on "Subscriber stats", then you will see something like this:
Click on "Yes, please!"
If it says "No data available", either you don't have any subscribers yet (if that is the case, go subscribe to your own feed), or Google has not gather the data yet (most likely if you just set up.... so just keep checking back, it will show up in a week or so).

2.  Pay attention to your "Search queries" section.  This gives you some fabulous information!  It shows you where you are in the searches and how people are finding you.  Here is a break down of what the table means (in Google's words):  
  • Queries: The total number of Google Web Search queries that returned pages from your site results over the given period. (These numbers can be rounded, and may not be exact.)
  • Query: A list of the top search queries that returned pages from your site.
  • Impressions: The number of times pages from your site were viewed in search results, and the percentage increase/decrease in the daily average impressions compared to the previous period. (The number of days per period defaults to 30, but you can change it at any time.)
  • Clicks: The number of times your site's listing was clicked in search results for a particular query, and the percentage increase/decrease in the average daily clicks compared to the previous period.
  • CTR (clickthrough rate): The percentage of impressions that resulted in a click to your site, and the percentage increase/decrease in the daily average CTR compared to the previous period.
  • Avg. position: The average position of your site on the search results page for that query, and the change compared to the previous period. Green indicates that your site is climbing in search results.
 3.  Links to your site.  I am going to do a whole other post on this subject because it is so important, but the number and quality of links that link to your site are vital.

4.  The Keywords section is really nice, because it shows you what google sees.  If the keywords that are showing up are not the keywords that you want your blog to be associated under, you need to work on including the keywords that you want in your posts.

If you have not read my article on Meta Tags, then you should :)  It really helps google to find relevant keywords.

The last thing that you can and should do to improve your keywords is to make sure to add "Labels" to your posts.

If you have any questions about Webmaster Tools, feel free to ask, or there are some really helpful links in the little yellow box on each page :)

1 comment:

  1. Carolynn,
    I appreciate all the helpful tips you share here. What a wealth of information. Somethings I've managed to discover through blunders, trial and error of my own.


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