Helpful Tools for Webmasters
The webmaster tools offered by MSN, Google, and Yahoo! provide all the data you need to make your website as powerful and profitable as it can be. When used properly, they can minimize the time you spend on repetitive daily tasks and take the mystery out of search engine optimization. We’ve tested them all and come up with this list of the benefits that they offer to all webmasters, regardless of their level of experience or expertise.
Assess the Backlinks – With today’s webmaster tools, you can easily know how many pages link to your website through what are known as “backlinks”. Since Google uses backlinks to determine your rank in the search engine listings, this is incredibly important information for all of your search engine optimization efforts. Webmaster tools also go one step further, displaying the text that actually links to your site, so that you can determine whether they’re using relevant keyword terms. Simply having backlinks isn’t enough – they have to be relevant if you want to have a good page rank.
Centralize Your Information – Anyone who manages multiple sites knows how easy it is to lose track of which information is where. Today’s webmaster tools list all the indexed pages on your site and place that information in one single, central location, so you can find what you’re looking for whenever you need it.
Control Googlebot – Googlebot normally explores sites quite well, but if a few pages lack clear links to the rest of your site, they might be missed. Webmaster tools let you control where the Googlebot goes by giving it a complete list of pages so that nothing is left out. Likewise, if there are certain pages that you’d rather not share with the public, you can tell Googlebot to ignore them, thanks to the special sitemap that you can create with webmaster tools. Finally, you can see when Googlebot last visited your site, which is helpful in determining whether the latest additions and changes in content have been indexed.
Identify Errors – Today’s webmaster tools use information from Googlebot to tell you precisely where your linking errors are, and they do so much more efficiently and thoroughly than an individual webmaster randomly checking for broken links.
Identify Search Strings – With the right webmaster tools, you can learn precisely which words and phrases people have been typing into search engines to find your website. You can also see your site’s ranking in the search results and even limit the data to searches made by users in specific locations.
Polish Your Content – Many webmaster tools have a content analysis function that identifies the parts of your website that make it difficult or impossible for Google and other search engines to “read” and index your pages. Addressing these issues is one of the best ways to improve your search engine rankings.
Request Indexing Services – Webmaster tools give you a way to get Google’s attention each time you launch a new website or webpage. Rather than waiting for Google to find your new pages, you can use webmaster tools to request indexing services, making sure that Google knows where to look.
These are the main benefits that we’ve identified while using webmaster tools, but we’d like to learn from your experience, too. If you’re getting other benefits out of webmaster tools, please take the time to let us know by leaving a comment. Thanks!