There are lots of websites in the sea; as well as a lot of visitors. Google is like your visitor-website matchmaker, and they provide you with a blueprint on how to be the website that doesn’t get away. It’s called Google Webmaster Tools and it’s better than your average date at giving you feedback on what’s going well and what you need to work on.
Google Webmaster Tools provides free reports on your website’s visibility in Google search results. This report allows marketers to understand a number of facts regarding how Google crawls, interprets and ranks their websites. If you are able to understand and interpret these statistics properly, marketers and website administrators can use this information to optimize websites and look good in the eyes of Google.
Webmaster Tools can help you answer three questions on how desirable your website is:
1. How well is my site configured?
2. Does Google see my website the way I want it to be seen?
3. What does Google NOT like about my website?
How my site is configured.
Google is successful when it matches up its users with the best websites. With that being said, Google selects websites that provide a great user experience. This means websites that are easy to navigate, full of valuable information and quick to load, will be ranked highly by Google. Yup, Google likes it fast, really fast, because the users like it fast. The faster your website loads, the more Google will reward you.
The first thing Google suggests webmasters do is to submit a Sitemap to Webmaster Tools. The Sitemap will help Google better understand the structure of your website and where content lives. In this analogy, it’s like filling out your dating profile. This will assist Google in crawling more pages on your site. If Google can figure out how to get around your site quickly, users will be able to get around quickly also. Yay for positive Google points!
How Google sees my website.
So what does Google look for in an idea website match? Google is looking for websites that its users can really see a future with. This means websites with lots of reputable sources, or inbound links (links pointing to your website from other trusted websites). Google wants websites with sitemaps and page titles, making it easy for Google to know what you’re all about and where your content lives. Google wants websites with real substance, written by real people for real people, not for the search engines. Websites with content full of relevant, diverse keywords, meta tags and page text really make Google fall head over heels.
The Google Webmaster Tool will tell you how long it takes to load a page, giving you the opportunity to improve site speed. The faster your site, the better (remember, Google likes it fast). Under the Optimization tab of Webmaster tools, Google offers suggestions of URLs that should be removed from your site (if any) and HTML improvements (such as pages with missing title tags, duplicate title tags and short meta descriptions).
Webmaster tools will also give you an index status. A page that Google has indexed means a page that Google recognizes as being real. Google wants visitors to have an open and honest relationship with your website, make sure Google can index all of the real pages that exist on your site. You should have a relative idea going into this how many pages on your site you think Google has indexed. If you think 1500 pages will be indexed and you find that only 20 are, you’ll know you have to dig deeper to find out why.
Google will also tell you how visitors are already finding you. The content keywords report is useful for this - it’s a report that shows you which keywords you are showing up for the most in Google results. This guides you in the right direction as to which keywords you need to spend more time targeting and which keywords you need to stop using (i.e. keywords you aren’t trying to show up for). Google webmaster includes stats about impressions, clicks and search query keywords that have driven traffic to your website over a specified time period (much like Google Analytics), helping you understand how people end up on your website after performing a Google search.
What Google doesn’t like about my website.
Google Webmaster Tools will also search your website for malware and spam and offer you
suggestions on what to do next if there are errors. If you’re worried that any malware exists on your site, Google webmaster tools can find it. This is one of the ways Google weeds out the bad eggs.
Webmaster tools will diagnose potential problems on your website with crawl error stats. This report will list any Soft 404 errors or Not Found errors that may exist on your website (a Soft 404 error occurs when a user requests a page on your website that doesn’t exist). Diagnosing these issues will allow you to troubleshoot problems on your site that maybe you did not know existed. See what a great matchmaker Google is? They tell you exactly what kind of improvements you can make so they can make users love you even more.
Webmaster Tools provide you with all of the information you need to improve your website to build the most loving and symbiotic relationships possible. Becoming the website of a Google user’s dreams is really important for increasing search engine traffic and PageRank. Website analytics tools can help you understand and optimize your website to increase the amount of love Google and your visitors have to give your website.