Use Google Webmaster Tools to Keep Your Website Optimized

NOTE: Google Webmaster Tools has been renamed Google Search Console. Any "old" references still apply to the new name!

Google Webmaster Tools is an essential tool for keeping a Website functionally and SEO optimized. It is also great for identifying problems with your server and links. Read on to learn about some of the major benefits of Google Webmaster Tools.

Elements of a Brand

Optimizing Titles and Descriptions

Menu: Optimization > HTML Improvements

Think you have your Meta Titles and Descriptions nailed down? Do you trust your Website CMS to create SEO friendly titles and descriptions for automated or dynamic pages? If you said yes to both of these questions you should still have a look at Google's report for HTML Improvements. In this area, Google excels at identifying:

Title Tag
  • Missing Title Tags
  • Duplicate Title Tags
  • Long Title Tags
  • Short Title Tags
  • Non-informative Title Tags
Meta Description
  • Long Meta Descriptions
  • Short Meta Descriptions
  • Duplicate Meta Description

Google will display the page in question and will suggest actions to remedy the issue. And since Google often changes its "preferences" regarding titles and descriptions, its a good idea to check often to make sure they stay optimized.

Identify and Fix 404s

Menu: Health > Crawl Errors

A 404 errors occurs when a page is requested that does not, or no longer exists on a Website. Google Webmaster Tools can find and display pages that are displaying a 404 status. Not only will Google display 404 pages in its Crawl Errors report that are in its index for your Website, it will also display 404 pages generated by other Websites that link to yours.

Rather than letting your users view a cryptic server generated 404 error message, you can use Google's 404 page report to create 301 redirects to capture incoming 404 requests and direct them to a page of your choice. It is also a good idea to create a 301 redirect at the moment you delete or rename pages. Doing so will prevent

Learn more about creating 301 redirects

Submit XML Sitemaps

Menu: Optimization > Sitemaps

Google Webmaster Tools allows you to submit an XML sitemap to help Google index your deeper site pages and pages that are harder to find or may not yet be indexed. Once you have submitted an XML sitemap, you can view its status, view fetch dates or see how many URLs you have submitted via your sitemap.

View Site Performance

Use Google Search Console to Keep Your Website Optimized

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Menu: Labs > Site Performance

This feature will display average page load time, monthly trends and suggestions on how to make the page load faster. Google's definition of page load time is the total time from the moment the user clicks on a link to your page until the time the entire page is loaded and displayed in a browser.

GWT Graph

Ready to get started? Follow the steps below to start using Google Webmaster Tools.

  • Log into your Google account then head to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
  • Click the Add Site button
  • Enter your domain (for example, www.mydomain.com) and click Continue
  • At this point you will need to verify your Website. Choose a verification method and follow the instructions.
  • Once your site is verified, you will need to give Google some time to prepare your report. Check back in a few hours.
Robert Valcourt
Jul 06, 2012
By Robert Valcourt

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