Google Webmaster SEO – A Guide

By May 25, 2015

Are you taking advantage fully of Google Webmaster SEO Tools? The answer should be yes if you want additional search traffic. If so, then here is how you can use this tool to the best of your ability to make informed search decisions.

Below we discuss the highlights of how to use each section of Google Webmaster SEO Tools (GWT) to improve your search traffic.

Messages

If you ever received a message regarding Google Webmaster SEO, then you want to respond as quickly as possible. The message helps you understand the main reason why your site lost or is in danger of losing search traffic.

Search Appearance

Structured Data– Measures the Schema.org markup on a site. Schema is a joint agreement between Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to unify common elements in different content to identify the best possible web pages for users. It improves upon the search robots go through web pages.

HTML Improvements– Track duplicate content in the eyes of Google. The search giant looks for duplicate meta descriptions and titles. The HTML Improvements tabs let you know about specific pages that may be in danger. For Google, fresh content is a huge part of their algorithm. Having duplicate content can hurt your rankings.

Search Traffic

Search Queries– The best way to know which keywords are returning the highest yield based on your content marketing campaign is to see your keyword queries and clicks. While Google used to show this in Analytics, they removed it for paid searches. The search queries feature can help you identify the best ways to track your keywords.

Links to Your Site- Linking is still an important component of Google search. That is why Google shows you which sites link up to yours. This information is valuable, because bad linking practices or websites can harm your own traffic.

International Targeting-   Do you receive traffic from multiple countries? Perhaps your site has multiple languages. The International Targeting helps you accurately monitor your Hreflang tags.

These are the tags you use to tell Google, which language you use for your website. If you want to learn more about International SEO then check out our recent article on the topic.

Google Index

Index Status– Do you want to know how many pages Google indexed on your site? Then take a look at the index status. If you wrote that killer piece on search engine optimization, you want to know that Google indexed the page. Here is where you verify it is live on Google.

Blocked URLs-Some website URLs might be blocked. Google is letting you know this in advance so you unblock them so Google can read and index the page for search traffic.

Crawl

Crawl Errors– Sometimes when you change your website structure, errors pop up in Google Webmaster Tools. By notifying Google of the specific changes, you can improve your search standings. You need to make sure that you refer to the crawl errors to notify Google of the changes you made to your site. If you have a number of 404 errors, then try the SEO Redirection Plugin. This can remove many of the problems.

Fetch as Google– See your website through Googles eyes. Fetch as Google gives you straightforward answers to whether Google bots can view specific pages.

robots.txt Tester– Your Robots.txt file ensures Googlebots can read your site. The tester makes sure that your file works properly.

Sitemaps– The sitemap is the general outline of your site to tell Google which pages to check on your website.

URL Parameters– unless your website URLS are broken, stay away from this tool. You can possibly de-index large parts of your website if you do not know how to use this GWT function.

Security Issues

Google is always checking your site to determine if you have been hacked or if there is any malicious malware on your site that can affect users. When it finds this on your site, they could shut down all traffic to your site immediately.

They are doing this not because they want to be cruel. Instead, they want to ensure that you do not unintentionally hurt their users’ computers.

Other Resources

The final section of Google Webmaster Tools connects your site to other parts of the Google to ensure your site works on different search features like Google Shopping and Maps.

Here are a few of the highlights in the resources section:

Structured Data Testing Tool– We discussed above how important proper structured data is for your site. Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to determine if your structured data is compliant with Google’s standards.

Structured Data Markup Help– Not sure how to start structuring your content. Then use this tool to create the right structure. If you need help creating the schema content, you can either use the Google Markup Helper or WordPress users can the Schema Plugin.

Google My Business- Do you have a local business with a storefront? Then getting search traffic is more than just creating content for your site. You also want to be found on Google Maps and Google Plus Local. Manage these features through Google My Business.

Page Speed Insights- A final thought for your search engine traffic. Speed matters! 25% of visitors leave a site that takes longer than 4 seconds to load. That is why you should use Page Speed Insights to ensure your speed is up to snuff with Google’s standards.

If you have a WordPress site, consider using WP Super Cache and WP Image Shrinker to improve your website speed. By caching your site, you save time that the server normally has to use to pull up your website. Plus, images take up a lot of space on your server. Therefore, they can slow down the website loading. The Image Shrinker removes the amount of data loaded each time a visitor comes to the site.

Final Thoughts

Whoo! That is a lot of information to digest. Google Webmaster Tools is a very important part of your search marketing. In essence, it gives you a pulse to what works and does not work in your marketing. If you need help with that information, then feel free to contact us to determine how to use your Google Webmaster Tools properly for your search engine traffic.

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