This article is really helpful for everyone who want to be found online, whether you are a business owner , website owner or digital marketer , you’ve probably heard of Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). In few years, Webmaster Tools has become an essential tool in the savvy SEO marketer’s utility belt because of its broad applications.
In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about Webmaster Tools so you can start using it to drive more traffic and sales to your website.
Table of contents
- What is Webmaster Tools / Google Search Console
- Why use Webmaster Tools
- How to use Webmaster Tools
- How to use Webmaster Tools for SEO
- New Search Console
- Getting more out of Webmaster Tools
What is Webmaster Tools? / What is Google Search Console?
Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) is a collection of absolutely free web tools to help website or application owners ensure their site is Google-friendly. This set of Google Tools have many useful options or applications, such as getting data about incoming search traffic, requesting Google to crawl and index the website, viewing crawl error reports and many more.
Why use Webmaster Tools?
GWT has various application or features in which one of the top features of Webmaster Tools is that it allows webmasters to get their websites and pages are crawled and processed for Google Indexing. Error reports enable them to discover issues that might prevent their site from doing well in Google search. Webmaster Tools also comes with a set of Google Search Tools which gives data on what keywords are ranking on Google and what domains are linking to the given website.
How to use Webmaster Tools
Webmaster Tools is a free online web tool and can be accessed online at the following link: Webmaster Tools
Note: In 2015 Google Webmaster Tools has been rebranded to Google Search Console. The majority of the tool’s functionalities remain the same.
Add Your Website To Google Webmaster
To be get started with Webmaster Tools, first of all you need to sign in with your Google Account and then add a Website Property to the GWT. If you have any Android app, you can also add it there as well for listing or indexing. Once you’ve added your website, you need to verify your ownership of it.
Google Site Verification
There are multiple ways to verify your website on Google Webmaster Tools. Instructions for verifying your website property can be found here.
Once you’ve verified your site, congratulations! You now have access to some powerful tools to help keep your website Google-friendly. Lets now look at some of the key features of Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Webmaster Tools Features
1) Search Appearance
The Search Appearance tab contains a set of tools or options to optimize the appearance of your website on Search Results from Google. For example, you can use the Data Highlighter to help Google understand your site’s data and display it as snippets on the search results page.
The HTML improvements tab will inform you if there is any content issues with your website or its content. You can think of this section as Google Web Developer tools to help programmers construct and format your website in a Google-friendly way.
The Crawl tab is use to get vital information on any crawl errors or blocked pages that your website might have. Some of the features in this tab include testing and submitting your sitemaps to Google, testing your robots.txt file, as well as fetching and rendering your website.
Submitting a sitemap is used to let Google know if you’ve made a major change to your website like adding/removing pages in bulk so they can crawl it accordingly. By using these tools, a webmaster can ensure that the site can and will be crawled by Google without any problems.
3) Google Index
The Google Index tab monitors the number of website pages indexed by Google. You can see how the number of pages indexed changes over time as well as the number of URLs blocked from indexing by your robots.txt file.
You can use the Remove URLs section to exclude specific URLs from Google’s search results (on a temporary basis). Here you can also see what pages were removed from Google index automatically. For example, if you removed a page from your website and this change got detected by Google’s crawlers. You can re-include removed URLs into Google index using this tool if you wish to.
4) Search Traffic
The Search Traffic tab is one of the top useful free web tools for Search Engine Optimization i.e. SEO and keyword research . In Search Analytics tab, you can monitor what type of inputs or queries people search for on Google when they visit your website. You can filter the metrics by clicks, impressions, CTR, and position (average position on Google).
You can also see which pages are receiving the most clicks or which country or device type is sending you the most clicks.
In this Tab you will know that Links to Your Site tab can show you which websites link to you the most, what are your most linked content as well as the anchor text of those links. In the next section, we’ll look at how we can use these features for SEO purposes.
Google Submit URL Tool
A quick and easy way to get your pages indexed without having to submit a sitemap is using the Google Submit URL Tool. This page is not accessible via the Google Search Console; however, you can access it directly here. To use it, just input the URL of your new page, and it will tell Google to crawl it.
How to use Webmaster Tools for SEO
Other tabs in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) are essentially Google SEO tools which provide a good wealth of data to help marketers ensure their websites are well-optimized for Google Search Results.
The feature in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) very much relevant for SEO optimization is the Search Traffic tab. Here you can see what keywords or query people are searching for to come to your website. Very likely, people searching and clicking on these keywords to visit your site will become your leads or even customers.
By looking at every keywords generated by google search, you can identify new wonderful opportunities for getting more users to your website i.e. website traffic, such as by creating content pages for related keywords or topics. You can further conduct keyword research based on these top performing keywords to get additional ideas for targeting.
The Links To Your Site tab is a most powerful tool for discovering backlink opportunities. Quality backlinks are essential for boosting your Domain Authority, which in turn would lead to better SEO for your website.
In this tab, you can see how many total backlinks your website has and monitor its growth by doing a weekly and monthly checks. You can then focus your efforts on backlink generation if you see your backlink profile stagnating.
By analyzing who links to your website, you can reach out to other similar businesses who would be interested in linking to you as well.
Under the most linked content tab, you can identify the most popular and linked-to content and create similar types of pages to get even more backlinks to your website.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Similar to its Google counterpart, Bing also offers Bing Webmaster Tools (Bing Search Console) to help SEO professionals optimize their site experience for Bing indexing.
Improve your AMP and Job Postings pages
The new Google Search Console has roll out tools to help you discover errors quickly when implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) . These reports will go into the specific errors and warnings that Google identified for these topics.
Getting more out of Webmaster Tools
As mentioned earlier, Google Webmaster Tools is great for identifying your top most performing keywords and content pages on your site. That said, it’s not the best tool for keyword expansion if you want to find additional keywords to drive even more traffic to your website.
A better alternative for keyword research is Keyword Tool, which lets you discover keyword opportunities for targeting audiences who are looking for information related to your business online.
How it works
Keyword Tool uses the autocomplete function of Google Search, which suggests search queries when a person types something into the search box. This feature helps people find information faster, and at the same time present an invaluable source of keyword information for webmasters.
Keyword Tool then uses this source of keywords to compile a huge list of keywords related to the search term for you.
To use Keyword Tool, just put any keyword into the search box and press enter. The tool will then provide you with a comprehensive list of keywords pulled from Google Autocomplete in seconds.