Often considered the red-haired stepchild of the Google-sphere of products, Webmaster Tools is staking a claim on one of the most valuable resources you manage—your time. This is not a bad thing as Webmaster has long had a bevy of under-rated uses. While Analytics can tell you of traffic patterns throughout your site, Webmaster Tools focuses on how Google sees your site from a search perspective, and recent algorithmic changes have made it all the more important.
The recent Google search changes have had industry experts scrambling for alternative sources of organic data. Google knew this was going to be the reaction so, as an ointment to this data itch, Webmaster Tools is now where you can find this information.
Google Webmaster Tools, while nowhere near as detailed as Google Analytics, provides the top viewed pages and the top search queries that drove traffic to your site. In association with the term, you will see the impressions and clicks it derived. If you click the term, it will tell what pages these terms are associated with. It allows a fantastic opportunity to view your more traditional SEO practices from the recipient’s perspective—a valuable insight to see how your pages align with ranking terms.
The kicker of all of this is that it will only hold the information for 90 days and after that, in very Snapchat-like fashion, it will disappear. Plan a monthly export of these terms in order to better understand the organic terms over time—the more you know.
If you are like my 9 year old, cleaning involves pushing all toys beneath the bed so they cannot be seen. Because everything looks clean it must be, right? Well, no. While the average visitor may not see the technical debris of your constant and consistent push for content creation, the all-seeing eyes of Google can. You need to clean your site, and Webmaster Tools helps tell you where to focus your efforts. Here are the top four I would suggest looking at:
You may have the best content on your specific topic any appropriate searcher would love to stumble across, but if Google doesn’t see this then, more than likely, neither will that searcher. Google Webmaster Tools to the rescue!
You should plan for at least a monthly delve into Webmaster Tools. Dedicate your time to cleaning your site, which should require less and less time the more you do it, and highlighting the new site additions. It’s worth the time and the effort. Your site will appreciate all the Google love you give it.
photo credit: CapCase
Patrick McCaffrey is a marketing technologist with Kuno Creative. Outside of work, he's typically reading, drawing or cleaning up his son's most recent mess. If you want to talk digital marketing, marketing strategy or simply what is it like to be an Irishman in Cleveland, connect with him on LinkedIn and/or Twitter.