Google Webmaster Tools is a free web service offered by Google that enables you to take more control of your website or blog. You can analyze your website as well as learn new ways of making it better in terms of enhancing its visibility on Google.
Perhaps the most effective role played by Google Webmaster Tools is in helping you gather information about your site which is otherwise impossible for you to know. For example, you can obtain complete information about the rank of your site in Google for the keywords that are important to you. You can also find information on the backlinks that point to your site, including the identify of the backlinks and the associated anchor text.
Before we move further, here are the benefits you’ll enjoy by using Google Webmaster Tools:
- Content Analysis: You will be penalized for using duplicate contents, descriptions or titles. With Webmaster Tools, you can easily detect duplicate titles or descriptions on any pages of your site.
- Sitemaps: Sitemaps help you index your pages in Google, although Google will index your website without a sitemap. With Webmaster Tools, you can tell Google to index the pages you want and opt out pages you don’t want Google to index. To enable this function, you need to create the XML file using a generator like http://code.google.com/p/sitemap-generators/wiki/SitemapGenerators.
- Web Crawling Analysis: Once your website has been indexed or crawled by Google, you can find problems encountered by Google while locating your pages. If Google encounters difficulty in finding any page of your website, it will be difficult to get it listed on search engines.
- Move Historical Data from One Domain to Another Domain: If you are changing your domain and are worried about how to preserve the historical data, Webmaster Tools has the solution. All you need to do is establish the new domain with Webmaster Tools and verify it. Then use the Change of Address element to let Google know about the move of the historical data from the old to the new one.
Google Webmaster Tools Setup
To set up your website with Google Webmaster Tools, follow these three steps:
- Visit the Webmaster Tools website (http://www.google.com/webmasters/) and sign in with your Google account. Then click the “Add a Site” button in red.
- Once you have added your website, you’ll need to verify that the website is yours. If you have Google Analytics, you can easily verify your site by connecting Google Analytics to Webmaster Tools. To follow this method, click on “Alternative Methods” and select the “Use your Google Analytics account” option.
- After verification of your site, you can add its sitemap to help Webmaster Tools know about the pages of your website. If you already have the sitemap of your website, you can find it when you type http://yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml. It will take a few days for Webmaster Tools to gather information about your site.
Google Webmaster Tools vs. Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides data on the traffic your website receives, including search terms that generated the traffic, whereas Webmaster Tools displays the traffic that your website receives for each keyword (on Google only). In short, Google Analytics, the website statistics tool, displays info on how many visitors you are receiving and how your site is drawing them in. On the other hand, Webmaster Tools tells you how Google tracks your site from a search engine’s point of view.
Google Webmaster Tools can be connected to Google Analytics to see how the Google Analytics Referring Pages report links with Webmaster Tools. Once you are on the Webmaster Tools home page, click “Manage” next to the site and click “Google Analytics profile.” Then choose the profile you want to connect with the site and “Save.” If you have multiple owners, Google requires each owner to connect individually.