You have a domain name, check. You have a website, check. You wait on search engines to index website, check. You have amazing traffic, *crickets*.
The above is typical response received when conversing about search engine optimization (SEO) with potential customers.
I have noticed there are a number of different steps a customer can take in optimizing their website. One of the most overlooked steps is the use of Google Webmaster Tools.
This value-add tool provides a website owner (a.k.a. webmaster) imperative information about their website and website’s overall health as Google sees it.
In today’s post, I’ll discuss the importance of Google Webmaster Tools. I’ll also provide a very easy step-by-step, downloadable guide explaining how to use Google Webmaster Tools to complete the following:
- verify your website
- create a sitemap file for your website
- submit a sitemap file for your website
What is Google Webmaster Tools and why use it?
Google Webmaster Tools is amazingly powerful tool provided by Google free of charge to help webmasters and website owners efficiently manage the critical aspects their website.
For instance, you are able to manage the health, traffic and optimization at a very basic level once you successfully verify your website.
Overall website health
Being informed about the health of your website, Google Webmaster Tools can provide you email notifications in regards to your website being infected with malware to moment it happens.
Talking about a priceless feature as most times website owners are informed their sites are infected with malware by the last people a site owner should be notified by: customers.
In addition, webmasters and website owners can view other health stats such as search engine crawl stats and errors which is very insightful when wanting to know how often your site and being crawled and indexed.
Detailed information about search queries, impressions and clicks
Another valuable management aspect of Google Webmaster Tools is the ability to view search queries, impressions and clicks.
This is by far one of the greatest tools in conjunction to Google Analytics, giving you the best view for how well your website is ranking and its overall visibility in its entirety.
From seeing the actual tally of keywords users entered to the impressions or number of times your site appears in queries on a daily basis, this tool is very insightful in terms of knowing the good, bad and ugly of your website.
Tremendous optimization insight and feedback
And last but not least, the optimization provides tremendous insight and feedback for what you can do to better optimize your website for search engines.
From sitemap submission to html code improvements to content keyword suggestions, this is one of the hidden secrets to basic search engine optimization most website and business owners would die to know about as well as be served well to learn about this tool.
Search engine optimization and search engine marketing is not all voodoo nor magic. But as the saying goes, “…having the right tools for the job makes all the difference.”
What are sitemaps and why should you care to have one for your website?
Think of sitemaps much like having a map when traveling. Sitemaps are the architectural linking structure that can be used by humans (html formatted sitemap) as well as search engine robots (xml formatted sitemap) to find specific information about your website.
Sitemaps formatted for search engine robots instructs the search engine robots where you would like it to go in terms of indexing content via linkage relationship.
The biggest advantage of having a sitemap for your website is not having to rely on external links directing search engine robots to your website. This greatly helps a new website that has low to no external linkage relationships with other websites.