In this short Webmaster Tools Tutorial, we explore the basics of Webmaster Tools, why it is important and some of the features you’ll find most helpful.
The video is summarised and timestamped below to allow you to navigate easily to specific questions you might be stuck on.
What is Webmaster Tools
0:45 Google Webmaster Tools is essentially your window into what Google thinks of your website and will report issues to you. Since Webmaster Tools is provided free by Google, any website owner would be crazy not to take the opportunity to understand issues with their own website.
How to setup Webmaster Tools: Webmaster Tools Site Verification
- Upload a text file to the root of your server. Pretty simple if you’re a developer, but for most website owners we’d recommend one of the two alternatives below.
- Verify using Google Analytics. Log in to Google Analytics with an Admin account, open a new tab and navigate to Google Webmaster Tools and verify the domain from there.
- The third option is to paste a snippet of unique code (provided in your Webmaster Tools account) in between the <head> tags on your website.
How Do I know if my site has a Google penalty?
6:13 Within Webmaster Tools, Google will provide alerts (and typically by email too, though less reliable) for common issues such as crawl errors or unnatural links (the Penguin update) and a variety of other issues which are likely to be affecting rank, traffic and sales through your website.
Webmaster Tools Crawl Errors
8:13 Adam explains the typical crawl errors. Google’s “bot” visits your website and attempts to crawl pages and links that it finds. Crawl errors are simply those errors the bot encounters such as 404 errors (missing pages – you definitely want to fix these with 301 redirects) and 403 errors which are temporary issues where Google couldn’t crawl the page.
Depending on the type of site yours is, Webmaster Tools could report a handful of issues or for larger eCommerce stores with a higher volume and rotation of products, those crawl errors could run to hundreds.
Webmaster Tools Search Queries
11:43 We explain that in Webmaster Tools, a search query is what a user searches for in Google and for which your web pages have appeared in the organic search results. Remember that Google will only report queries for which your site has shown, not those you want to rank for but are too far down the rankings to ever show.
Further in this Webmaster Tools tutorial Adam also explains that these queries are a great source of search terms you may want to include in your SEO target keyword list. These may be terms that you already rank well for, though may be terms which have small volumes of traffic – still worth a little effort to increase traffic to your website, of course.
Webmaster Tools Impressions
15:48 We explain that an impression, linked to a query, occurs when your page is listed in the organic results for each specific search query, in the same way as Google AdWords campaigns might report it.
The number of impressions is the number of times your pages have shown for that query, not to be confused with the number of times that query has been searched.