I admit, I’ve only recently taken the plunge to install the little code on my site that allows me to use Google webmaster tools. It was in fact a good friend who recommended I take a closer look. I’ had heard of them in the past but forgot all about it again, until a couple of days ago.
To get started, you can visit the Google Webmaster Tools homepage and type the URL of your website. Google will ask you to verify that the site is yours. You can do that in two ways. One is to add a meta tag to your first page and the second is to upload a HTML file via FTP with some code Google provides you with.
I choose the second and within 1 minute I was able to access my full site stats. To help you get started you can also watch this video from Matt Cutts.
Once you have verified your site, you can access various stat features to give you a detailed look at how your website performs.
The diagnostic tool allows you to find errors, such as:
- Not found
- HTTP errors
- Unreachable URLs
- Timed out URLs
- Restricted URLs
- URLs not followed
Knowing what is happening at the back end will serve you better in your marketing efforts. Once you are informed about a potential problem, you can go and fix it.
Statistics will provide you with a in debt overview of what brings people to your site. You can learn about the search terms in which you rank for on Google and which of those bring you the most traffic.
You can also see your site in the eyes of Google Bot. This is important to determine your strategies. Index stats give you some ideas on how your site is indexed.
The links section provides details on how many site links you have, both internal and external.
The sitemap feature allows you to add a Google approved sitemap to your site. This is beneficial for SEO purposes and can provide Google with additional information to help you.
Finally, the tools section has a range of additional goodies to have you spend some interesting time, looking at information you didn’t even know existed.
All in all, Google Webmaster Tools is a fabulous addition to any webmaster who wants to keep track of his sites performance.