Google is very good at taking care of webmasters using it to optimize a website. Whether you need to conduct advanced search analysis, measure website performance on a day-to-day basis, diagnose the health of your website or fix critical SEO problems – Google has the answer for you.
Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) will help you get started and on your way.
Here is a famous quote from Google for webmasters – “You want to be found on the web. We want to help”.
In this article, we will look at the major functionality Google Webmaster Tools provide to a site administrator. The objective is to learn and apply all the crucial features of GWT and maintain the health of your website.
The first step:
Once you sign in to your GWT account and have connected Webmaster Tools to your website, click on your website link you will be presented with a screen containing a left panel (under the dashboard) with all the necessary tools and options.
There are a total of six primary tools available in Google Webmaster Toosls:
However, we are going to talk about the most common and most handy tool – “Health”. The Health tool can have a large impact on the SEO performance of your website. Following the health indications and taking actions accordingly will help you run your website safely and smoothly.
After accessing the Health tool in Google Webmaster Tools, the following sections will be available:
Crawl Errors: This section shows the total number of pages removed / deleted from the website or the ones that are not accessible by the crawl robots. These are called 404 pages. Less the number of error pages you have, the better it is from an SEO point of view.
Crawl Statistics: This indicates how “Googlebots” are crawling your web pages. The graphs will show you the number of pages crawled per day, kilobytes of information downloaded per day and time spent (in milliseconds) in downloading a page. Benchmark values are provided for high, average and low scores which are indicative of health status.
Blocked URLs: This allows you to test if your robots.txt file is working properly or not. You can edit the robots.txt content to test changes. You can also specify your website URLs and user-agents to examine if they are crawled by Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile. Webmasters can also use Googlebot-Image (Crawler) to see if the search engine can crawl images on a particular web page.
Fetch as Google: This is one of the major tools you can use to fix indexing issues with your website. If you find that Google is not indexing your most important pages, you can manually add the intended page URLs and then fetch as Google.
If the fetch status shows “Success“, this means the page URL along with the linked pages have been submitted to index successfully. Webmasters should perform this step when the indexing rate of a website is low, there are recent changes in the URL structure or page content has been modified.
Index status: This shows how responsive Google is to your website. The higher the number of pages indexed by Google on any particular day, the better it affects the health of your website.
The graph will also show you advanced data on index status i.e, number of page URLs not selected for indexing and the number of URLs blocked by robots. You may also download the chart data for help.
Malware: If your website has been affected by malware you can expect a message or notification here from Google. Once you remove viruses and malware from website, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google and wait for it to be reindexed.
What is next?
If you want to conduct further health analysis of your website from a technical point of view, take a look at the Page Speed Insights tool, HTML Markup testing tool, Markup Validation tool and the other tools offered as a part of the Google Webmaster Tool package.
Remember, a healthy website tends to rank higher and quicker in Google SERPs than websites with crawl errors.