There are lots of SEO tools that you can use to increase your website ranking or simple use to get information about your website. Some of these tools are paid and they have unique and advanced features that you need to better understand what is happening behind the scene when it comes to your website. Yet none of these tools can actually tell you what Google “thinks” of your website.
Late last year, a leading print media (name withheld) suddenly discovered that a search for even their brand name was not returning desired results.
All hell was let loose. Was it a penalty and if it was what kind? Immediately I was told, the first two questions I asked was:
- Have you ever optimized your website in the past and if you have; where are the reports?
- Do you have access to your Google webmaster tool?
After checking their webmaster tool account, it was discovered that they gotten a DMCA warning message from Google informing them of a pending penalty if a copied content on their website was not removed. Since they were not paying attention to their webmaster tool for information, the penalty came and it resulted into a disappearance of their website from the search results.
That is the power of Google webmaster tool. Apart from some important functionality, it remains the only way Google will communicate with you on issues pertaining to your website. That is why it is extremely important to set it up correctly and check it regularly.
Luckily, the process is pretty straight forward and can be setup under 5minutes.
Let’s get started.
How to Setup Google Webmaster Tool
One good hack for most tools from Google is that you can use one account to access all your Google properties. If you do not have a Gmail account, you will need to set one up. The process is fast and easy so go get one. You are going use the same Gmail account to access the Google webmaster page.
- Step 1: Open the Google webmaster home page by going to this link. Login with your Gmail username and password
- Step 2: Once you are login, it will bring you to the home page screen where you will need to setup your website. This steps is to verify that you are the owner of the site.
- Step 3: Verify the ownership of your site by using any of the methods listed on the page.
You can also use any of the alternative verification method suggested. Once you upload, confirm that your upload is successful and then click the VERIFY BUTTON on the lower part of the screen.
- Step 4: Your confirmation screen is show. Click CONTINUE
- Step 5: Your Google webmaster home page is displayed.
How to find the most important data in your Google Webmaster Tool
Once you have your webmaster tool up, there are some important data you want to pay attention to.
Site Message: This is where you get notifications about the status of your website.
Links to your site: This view tells you the number of backlinks pointing to your website.
Search Queries: This shows the keywords that drove traffic to your website. It also shows you number of impression (hits), clicks,clickthroughrate (CTR) and Avg.Position.
Manual Actions: This is where you are going to get a notification if your website is ever penalised by Google for going against their guidelines.
Sitemap: Sitemaps are an important part of your search engine optimization. Your sitemaps enables the search engines to quickly understand your website structure and as a result, they are able to crawl it faster. If you have not submitted a sitemap, the screen helps you to do so.
To create your sitemap, head over to this website. Input your website address and a sitemap which you can download is generated for you.
The combination of your Google Analytic and Webmaster tool are one of the most important SEO tools you should setup correctly especially if you are depending on organic traffic to your website. Bing, a search engine just like Google has its own version of these two tools and here is an excellent tutorial you can follow to setup Bing webmaster tool for your website.
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