In the world of ecommerce, a functional website that brings in significant traffic is one of the most valuable assets you can have. Since most ecommerce websites rely on search engines for a large portion of their traffic, ensuring that your website is performing as well as possible in search results is essential to your success.
Google Webmaster Tools is an indispensable resource that can provide the data you need in order to understand and improve your website’s relationship with Google Search. However, getting started with Google Webmaster Tools can be a bit challenging if you are new to the platform. Below is some information to help you get the most possible benefit out of Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Webmaster Tools is an indispensable resource that helps you understand and improve your website’s relationship with Google Search. (Tweet this)
About Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a free resource Google provides to all website owners, administrators and developers. This platform exists so that you can monitor your presence in Google search results, gain valuable insights about your site’s performance and make changes that will allow you to improve your website overall. According to Google, Google Webmaster Tools users can:
- Evaluate your mobile website’s search performance
- Find out if other sites are linking to your site
- Find out which search terms bring up your website in search results
- Find out which search terms send your site the most traffic
- Identify and resolve problems with spam
- Alter the content Google shows in search results
Add Your Site
The first step to getting started with Google Webmaster Tools involves adding your site to the platform. Some sites, such as those created with Google’s other platforms, will be added to Google Webmaster Tools automatically. However, if you did not use a Google product to create your website, you must add it manually.
To add your site to Google Webmaster Tools, simply log into Google Webmaster Tools using your Google account and input the URL of the site you wish to add. Click the “Add a Site” button, and then verify your ownership of the site to begin using the service.
Google allows you to verify your ownership of a website using several different methods, including:
- Accessing Google Webmaster Tools via a web hoster
- Inputting the Google Analytics Code you use to track your website
- Adding a new DNS record via your domain name provider
- Uploading a specific HTML file to your server
- Adding a meta tag to your home page.
Manage Access to the Platform
Google Webmaster Tools allows you to control which users are able to access the platform, as well as how much freedom they will have after logging in. To add a new user to the account, select the “Add a User” option, input the requested information and indicate whether you want the user to be an owner, full user or restricted user.
These three permission levels provide users with varying levels of access. While owners have full access to and control over every function Google Webmaster Tools has to offer, restricted users have the lowest amount of access and control. To learn more about the different permission levels available, visit Google Webmaster Tools’ support page.
Using Google Webmaster Tools
After you have added and verified your site, added users to the platform and selected the appropriate permission levels, you can begin using Google Webmaster Tools to understand and improve your web presence.
Upload a Sitemap
In order to index your website and display it in search results, Google “crawls” the site. However, Google’s standard webcrawling process may not discover all of the pages on your website on its own. To ensure that Google indexes all of the content you want included in search results, you can upload an XML Sitemap containing a list of all of the pages on your site to Google Webmaster Tools. You can also use a Sitemap to supply Google with metadata about the content on your site.
Google Webmaster Tools supplies users with three main types of data: traffic data, crawl data and optimization data. Each type of data included is detailed below.
Traffic data gives you information about how your website appears in search results, as well as how many users are accessing it. In this section of the dashboard, you will be able to find a list of other websites that are linking to your site, lists of internal links on your site that other websites are linking to, a list of the top search terms that bring up your site and a list of the search terms that send you the most traffic.
Crawl data provides you with relevant information about Google’s crawls of your site, as well as any errors Googlebot encountered while attempting to crawl your pages. This section includes a list of pages that were excluded or blocked from crawling and statistics regarding recent crawls.
Optimization data offers information and suggestions you can use to improve your website’s interaction with search engines. Examples of optimization data include lists of the most important keywords Google found on your site, a list of pages you have excluded from the crawl process, suggestions for improving the HTML code on your website and a list of sitemaps you have uploaded to Google Webmaster Tools in the past.
To maximize the benefit of using Google Webmaster Tools, you must not only analyze the data that the platform provides, but also make changes to your site in order to improve its search engine presence and performance.
Follow these tips for optimizing your website with Google Webmaster Tools:
- Evaluate data regularly. Review Google Webmaster Tools’ data on a regular basis and look for changes.
- Compare data points. Compare current and past data to identify trends. If you notice a significant change in your data, such as a sudden drop in web traffic, identify and resolve the problem.
- Listen to Google’s advice. Pay attention to Google Webmaster Tools’ suggestions and put them to work. For example, if Google Webmaster Tools indicates that it is unable to crawl your site, fix the problem as soon as possible.