Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) is a free service offered by Google to help you and your webmaster better monitor your website. Inside, you will find a variety of tools which allow you to check many aspects of your site. This is a service we use for all of our sites and our clients’ sites and has been very helpful in tracking the overall performance of the sites. Luckily, it is very easy to register with GWT and you will be happy you did because certain features will prove to be very beneficial for your website as well. Let’s take a look at some of the more helpful features found in GWT.
1) Google Warnings and Notifications
When you sign up for GWT, you will be able to receive messages from Google regarding your website. The type of messages you can receive include:
- Warnings from Google saying they think your site has been hacked
- Google detecting unnatural links to your site
It is a good idea to monitor these messages on a weekly basis so that you can address any problematic messages quickly.
2) Geographic Target Settings
A handy feature found in the settings menu inside GWT is the ability to set the geographic target for your website. This allows you to target a certain geographic area for your business if you want. This is useful if you have a site with a generic top-level domain like .com or .org, but you would like focus your business in a specific country. By adjusting this setting, Google will now place weight for your site in searches that are targeted for the area you have set.
3) Errors for Your Site
Perhaps the most beneficial piece of information found in GWT is the data regarding your site’s crawl errors, site errors, and URL errors. Found within the health section of GWT, these error notifications can help you determine what areas of your site are broken and need to be repaired. This can greatly improve the user’s experience and can help your site look better in the eyes of Google.
4) Search Queries
Within the traffic section, you will find very useful data regarding search queries associated with your site. When you open it up, you will see all of the Google search queries that your site is being displayed in. This allows you to discover keywords and phrases that you’re ranking for and at what position you’re ranking at in those queries. Additionally, you’re also given the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) for each of those keyword phrases.
Ultimately, you can use this data to determine which keywords to target for your site’s marketing. Further, if your CTR is low, you may need to revise your title tags and meta descriptions to better entice the search user to click through to your site.
5) Links to Your Site
Additional data provided by GWT includes a report showing all the links pointing to your site. You can use this data to make sure high quality sites are linking back to your website. This will help your site rank higher in search engines. Further, you can also use the data to ensure no bad links are pointing back to your site. These links can potentially hurt your site and need to be disavowed as soon as possible.
In the end, we have found these features to be very useful for us time and again. It’s important to remember that GWT includes quite a few other features that may be beneficial for you as well. We encourage you to register your site today in order to start reaping the benefits of GWT for your business.