How to Install and Use Google Webmaster Tools - Made Easy
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How to Install Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a free program by Google that allows website owners to see how Google sees their sites. It's easy to setup and install and can provide valuable information on potential problems with your site as well as a snapshot of how Google sees your site.
This information can be very valuable when you are trying to trouble-shoot issues with your website or when you want to tweak the Search Engine Optimization on your site and improve it's visibility in Google.
To get started go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and sign in with your Google Account. The first step will be to add your website and get it verified (that is, prove to Google that you are the Webmaster of the site and have permission to view the detailed information that will be provided.
How to Add a Website To Google Webmaster Tools
You can log in to Google Webmaster Tools using your Google Account. At the home page of Google Webmaster Tools is where you can add your first website. Click on Add a Site. Enter the website address of the URL you'd like to manage (including the http://).
In order to manage a domain, you must have a certain access level in order to be able to verify your ownership of the site. The types of access required include; being able to change a DNS record, link to a Google Analytics account, Uploading an HTML file to your server or Adding a Meta tag to your site's home page.
I find the easiest way to verify web sites is either by uploading an HTML file or by adding the Meta tag to the home page header area. To verify your site by adding a DNS record to your domain's configuration, click on the arrow in the instruction section next to the words "Select your domain registrar or provider." Webmaster tools will then provide you with more detailed information on how to add a DNS record at your domain registrar.
Pictured here are the instructions for changing a DNS record at GoDaddy. Using DNS verification may be the simplest method for sites like a Wordpress or Blogger blog and other content management systems where you may not have direct access to the Meta tags or the root directory of the site for uploading an HTML file.
The video below demonstrates how to verify a site using an HTML file.
Please note: the video above was recorded in 2008. There are now additional options for verifying your website (DNS entry, link to Google Analytics.) Also, the phone number the end of the video is no longer in service. For additional information on AskJoanne.com services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using Google Webmaster Tools - The Dashboard
Once you have verified your website, Google provides you with a variety of details about your site on the Internet. The dashboard of your Google Webmaster Tools account shows you the search queries that have resulted in impressions of your website and the number of clicks each of those queries generated. It shows any crawl errors found by Google on your site. It shows the primary keywords that Google sees on your site and how significant they are ranked to be. Also listed are the links to your site and whether or not you've uploaded a Sitemap.
By investigating your Dashboard you will get a quick overview of how Google sees your website and where there may be potential issues (such as crawl errors).
More Site Information from Google Webmaster Tools
Links to additional information about your website are shown in the left hand side bar of your dashboard. This includes information like site configuration, your site on the web, diagnostics information and opportunities to use some new Google Labs tools.
The most important things to pay attention to are your site on the web and diagnostics. These two sections will give you a great deal of information about your website and how it's performing. The search queries report shows the top queries for your website, the number of impressions (that is the number of times your site showed up in the search engine results) the number of clicks-through to your site, the average position of your site for specific search queries and information on the percentage of change, positive or negative, for each of these statistics.
The Links to your Site report is important because incoming links to your site are seen as a votes for your site. And the more quality relevant incoming links to your site the higher your site will rank in the search engine results. This report will allow you to see whether your efforts in link building are paying off.
The Keywords Report shows the most common keywords Google found when crawling your site. The significance bar shows how significant google thinks each keyword is to your website. This report can be eye-opening. Sometimes we are sure that we're very clear what our site is about and how Google sees our site. This keyword report shows us the "real deal" of how Google to seeing our site. This report can be the basis for helping you change the optimization on your website to better reflect the keyphrases that are important.
Your Site on the Web Screenshots- From Google Webmaster ToolsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Google Webmaster Tools Diagnostics Reports
The diagnostics reports on google webmaster tools include information on whether any mal where has been detected on your site, any crawl errors google experienced when crawling your site and any statistics information available from the crawl. And other important aspect of the diagnostics section of the webmaster tools reports is HTML suggestions.
HTML suggestions will let you know if Google found some issues with your content. The primary issues on most websites are duplicate meta-descriptions or meta-descriptions that are too long or too short. Duplicate title tags or title tags that are too long or too short and any non-indexable content.
Installing and Using Google Webmaster Tools
This Hub Article has been a brief introduction to Google Webmaster Tools: Adding and verifying a site, as well as the primary reports available and how to use them.
If you found this hub article helpful please bookmark it, share it, or follow me at: http://hubpages.com/profile/AskJoanne.