Google Webmaster Tools is a Google tool that gives webmasters (what a word from the 90s) access to very important information. Not only does the tool serve this purpose, but it also provides a direct channel of communication between Google and the website administrator, allowing for better communication between the parties and a better response to any problems.
It was a great initiative that was later replicated by other players, and allowed webmasters to have a bit more control over Google search results, as well as providing valuable information to improve various aspects of their sites, such as load speed, pages not found. and other things we’ll see below.
To start using the tool, you need to have a Google account (Gmail or a Google Apps account). Once inside, we will find a menu asking us to register a website.
Google tools for webmasters
There are several tools, but some of the most important are
Send XML Sitemap
This option allows us to let Google know where we’re putting our XML Sitemap file in the domain, so that GoogleBot can have another way to access the pages that make up our website. By doing so, we improve the accessibility of information on our site by offering a standardised list (in XML) of all URLs or pages that exist on our site. But keep in mind that this does not directly affect the positioning of our website. Here we are simply providing a different way of accessing the pages of our site. It is a different matter if the information is not accessible to a robot.
Extra links are «extra» links that appear in search results embedded in the main domain.
Sometimes Google’s automatic algorithm may show a link that we don’t want to appear there, and we can remove it from there.
With this option, we can determine which country we want to target our website to. So, if we want to target the Mexican market, we define that country as the country and ask Google to show our website for searches on Google.com.mx. This is useful for websites with a .com domain that want to target an audience in a specific country.
Link to your site
This option is a must for those doing SEO. Google shows us the number of incoming links on our website. The good thing is that the data is much more accurate than using the command «link: domain.com» in the Google search box. We can also use this tool to see which domains are linking to us, from which pages, and to which pages.
Another need for SEO. We can see if Googlebot found a page on our site that points to another page on our site that does not exist (a 404 error). Not only does it show us the URL of the non-existent page, but it also indicates the source of those links. Perfect for fixing broken links ?.
With this report we can see how many pages Google is indexing from our site. It also allows us to see how many KB have been downloaded from our site and how long it took to download that content. This is a good way to know if there is GoogleBot activity on our website.
While Google doesn’t tell us exactly what to do to optimise our website, it does give us some tips on what we can do to improve. For example, here it tells us that it found 4 pages for which <title> is not defined, which could mean losing the ability to position those pages for relevant keywords. The error in my particular case is that the 4 pages that Google is currently telling me have no content because I’m doing it because I have the time. Once I fix this, these messages should disappear in a short time. I’m also told that GoogleBot has found no problems indexing content on my site.
Website performance (lab work)
We know that Google attaches great importance to user experience. They are determined to make the web faster. So why not help webmasters make their sites faster? At least from here they tell us how fast (or slow) our site was when GoogleBot tried to access it. While page load speed is not a fundamental ranking factor, it should have some impact on search results.
There are other options that are very important and interesting to know, depending on what you want to do. It is important to check frequently what Google gives us about our sites, as this is a good way to learn first-hand about any errors.