It’s amazing how people always want to know more about ranking higher and better in the SERPs, and yet ignore the very service that Google itself put together for webmasters, business owners, and SEO enthusiasts: Google Webmaster Tools.
If I had to describe this free tool in 1 line, here is how I would do it:
“Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that allows you to see your website just like Google sees it”
For example, in the following video, Matt Cutts talks about the biggest SEO mistakes webmasters tend to make. The mistake most commonly made is “Not making your site crawlable”. Guess what? Google Webmaster Tools shows you which pages Google is unable to crawl!
For me, that would be a good reason enough to sign up right now. But I know many of you need more than that…so read on!
Some people are not willing to sign up because it looks like it might be complicated to somehow link a website to the account.
However, it’s really not!
After signing up to Webmaster Tools (or signing in if you already have a Google Account), you can verify ownership of your website within a few easy steps. You can do it through –
- Your domain name provider
- The use of an HTML file
- A simple META tag
- Google Analytics
Thorough and detailed instructions can be found on this page: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35179#35179
If you go to the Traffic section, there are quite a few interesting stats that you’ll see.
Total number of links – This includes a breakdown of where the links come from, the anchor texts used, as well as the pages that have the most links.
It also shows what pages are visited most often.
Knowing about this information is useful in the sense that you get the idea of what topics perform well on your website; you can post more stuff about that topic for example, or if it’s a product page that’s popular, you can list it on your homepage as “Our Most Popular Product”.
Google Webmaster Tools allows you to export all those details as a CSV file or Google Docs file, so you can analyze these data at a later (offline) time.
Sometimes you rank for keywords you’ve never meant to rank for and obtain most of your traffic through them. Wouldn’t it be nice knowing which keywords these are? Well now you can, with the Search Queries section of the Traffic section. You’ll see keywords, number of clicks, click-through rate and more.
Knowing the “money keywords” may help you better serve your visitors by providing more relevant content, products or services to them.