The SEO Guide to Getting Started With Google Webmaster Tools: Part 2

The SEO Guide to Getting Started With Google Webmaster Tools: Part 3
June 13, 2019
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June 14, 2019

The SEO Guide to Getting Started With Google Webmaster Tools: Part 2

Having already started to look at how you can make the most of Google Webmaster Tools, we now move on and continue with our guide.

Crawling Errors

Checking for any crawling errors is something that you should diarize or set a reminder for on a daily basis. Most of the time, any errors will all be quick fixes that can be resolved during your lunch break or even while chatting with a customer or client.

The trick with this feature, along with many others within Google Webmaster Tools, is to take the feedback as a positive and take action as soon as possible. Google are not saying, “Your site is rubbish and we do not like it,” they are saying, “We would love to crawl and index this page, please fix the problem so we can do so.”

Crawl Statistics

This tells you how many pages of content Google is crawling at a given time, as well as historical data relating to this. In some respects, that is irrelevant, especially if you have left your crawl rate to Google’s recommended settings. However, it is worth analyzing the downloaded content and download time numbers.

What Crawl Statistics can Teach You

Lots of Crawling
Regular crawling of your site is a positive sign. It shows Google recognizes that you are regularly updating your site with quality SEO content, and that they are interested in indexing it and featuring it in their search results at the earliest opportunity.

Lots of Downloads

Again, this is generally a positive sign; however, it is always worth checking what it actually is that Google are downloading. Is it the case, as you hope, that Google are downloading all of your fresh and new content, or are they spending time on your Testimonials or Services page that has been the same ever since you launched the site?

If Google is not crawling and downloading the pages and content you want them to, you can submit specific pages through the Fetch as Google feature further down the toolbar.

Download Time

Your performance here is going to have a direct impact on your SEO performance. The quicker the time, the better the user experience on your website will be. If your download time is not as fast as you might expect or like, consider the content of your site – lots of video content or other media could be slowing it down, for example – or look to change your server to something more powerful.

Blocked URL’s

The purpose of this page is simple; it allows you to see the pages of your site Google is not indexing. If you are not seeing the ranking improvements you might have expected, then you might find the answer here.

Fetch as Google

This feature gives you an idea of how accessible each page of your site is, as well as helping you to submit content that you want Google to index, as noted earlier.

Fetch as Google is relevant to larger websites more than it is to smaller ones and a site with 100+ pages could find it useful to identify problems not highlighted yet.

Indexed Status

Used in conjunction with the other features covered so far in Part 2, this can be a great help for identifying issues with your website or SEO strategy. Indexed Status summarizes how many pages your website has against how many Google has indexed.

In an ideal world, then of course, these two numbers will always be the same. What considerations might you make if they are not?

Duplicate Content

If you have a dozen pages of your site that are all saying the same thing, Google will only index one of them. Ask yourself if you really need all of these pages, and get rid of those you do not. The only exception will be if you have pages filled with ‘lorem ipsum’ that you have deliberately hidden or ‘no indexed.’

Slow or Inaccessible

Think about the numbers from earlier; how quick does your content download; do you have any crawling errors or blocked URL’s? All of these could cause Google not to index a page. If a certain page takes too long to download, Google will not wait forever, they will simply move on, and you will suffer.

Although these problems will often be easy to resolve quick fixes, and probably even be things you are already aware of or working on, it is always worth monitoring them, lest they grow into something bigger.

Malware

This function simply tells you whether any malware is present on your site. Remember, when potential customers visit your site, they will be warned if malware has been found, so deal with it quickly before it hits your revenues.

Search Queries

While it can be tempting to start looking at these pages in-depth, you are better using it for simple analysis of peaks and troughs in search activity around your site and keywords. The reality is that most issues will be visible in the other features of Google Webmaster Tools, pre-empting what you would likely discover here anyway.

External Links

Although you might use a service such as Majestic SEO to view your link profile, you can also do so through Google Webmaster Tools. While you will likely know about Google’s tips for link building, the ‘organic’ links that you have not built or earned yourself could cause the most concern.

Whether you want to remove links from sites that you do not want associated with your brand, or want to build your awareness of the anchor text used to inform your own link building strategy, all of the data you need is present here.

There are a number of options at your disposal for dealing with unwanted external links.

· You can direct any traffic from that particular link to a 404 page, although you should be aware that the link itself still exists.

· Contact the website and request that the link is removed.

· Use the disavow links tool, that you will find at the foot of the toolbar and which we will cover in the third and final part of this guide.

At this stage of your journey through Google Webmaster Tools, you should be starting to understand the potential of the platform and seeing some real benefits, both in terms of SEO and with user experience.

In the final part of this guide, we explore the remaining features of Google Webmaster Tools, starting with internal links.