The google webmaster tool has come a long way. Previously it was a useless tool that you can use to verify your website and see different errors. Now it is essential for your business to have and can also help you rank better.
Since I have been using it for all my clients there ranking went up 120%. Just verifying your website on the google webmaster tool is not enough. Below is six step process you can do when you first start using the webmaster tool.
Google has been adding more features and value to the webmaster to so more people and businesses use it. Even though it seems like another thing you need to verify with google it is now becoming more and more important. You will see your website ranking and traffic go up if you use it correctly and it can tell you some mistakes you are making as well.
1. Verify your website
Verifying your website in the Google webmaster tool is easy compared to what you had to do previously. The easiest thing to do is by using the alternate method of taking the google verify meta tag and adding it to your website home page header code. The second easiest way is by taking the Domain tracking information and adding it to your website domain information. The third easiest way is by downloading the google verification page and adding it to a file on the backend of your website. Some of these processes like the domain information will take a day for google to verify.
2. Add a Sitemap to help Google index relevant pages
A sitemap is like an index in a book. It tells Google about the structure of your site. You don't have to build this sitemap manually, there are tools available that can do it. For example, there are WordPress plugins that will build a sitemap.
A Sitemap outlines the structure of your website
If you have the video on your site you also need to install a video sitemap. This allows Google to index video on your site instead of redirecting visitors off to YouTube or similar sites.
3. Optimize Existing Posts to Increase Traffic
In the traffic section under search queries, Google shows you the keywords that are used to find your website and the position in the search results. You can review this, improve it and generate better results.
Google Webmaster displaying impressions
In the example above there are some search terms that are appearing in search results but not many people are clicking on these results. For example, Google Keyword tool appeared 2,500 times and got less than 10 clicks. I have a blog post directly relevant to this so I should be getting clicks.
Blog post – How to use Google Keyword Tool to Increase Traffic to Your Blog
Title – How to use Google Keyword Tool to Increase Traffic to your blog
So there are a few things I can do to increase traffic to this post:
a). Linking from another post to this blog post. In this post, I have linked to the post using the keywords ‘Google Keyword Tool', that will help Google understand what this post is about.
b). Change the title. The words at the start of a title are more important than the words at the end so I've updated the title to the following which will help:
Google Keyword Tool – How to use to increase traffic to your blog.
With the keywords at the start that will help.
c). Get links back to this post. The best way to increasing ranking will be to get links back from external (high profile) websites that have these keywords in the link!
4. Tidy up your site links
When Google starts liking your site it displays a few additional links within the search results as follows:
These site links are automatically created by Google but within webmaster tools, you have some control over them. You can demote up to 100 different links so gives you a better chance of putting in the best links. By demoting links that are not useful this should help point out the better links and you'll get more clicks.
5. Resolve any HTML Errors
Google reports on some HTML errors that will affect the indexing of your site so it's important to resolve these issues. If you resolve these issues this will improve the chances of getting more traffic to your site.
Some improvements required to Meta Descriptions
In the above example, the description tag (which is displayed when someone searches) is duplicated on some posts. This needs to be resolved. Quite often you will find some Titles that are duplicated which should be resolved also.
6. Resolve any server errors
It is not going to do you any benefit having server errors and it's likely that it will cause your harm.
The following shows errors returned for content that should not be indexed. So, to resolve these issues I had to block access to this directory from google.
Server Errors Displayed within Google Webmaster Tools
One way to tell Google not to index content is to update the file robots.txt. This file is read by Google when it attempts to index that site. If I wanted to remove access to the plugins directory I'd enter the following: disallow: /wp-content/plugins