15 November 2010
Posted in SEO Tip of the Week
Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the best one-source tool to learn and improve upon your standing with search engines: Google Webmaster Tools.
Google provides this tool…get this…for FREE…to anyone who takes the time to verify site ownership and create a Site Map XML file. Dedicating a little time to check data such as the search queries that listed your site, errors that Google’s bots encountered while indexing, and recommended improvements (delivered straight from the horse’s mouth) will undoubtedly improve your site’s performance with the proper adjustments.
Part III - Your Site on the WebYour Site on the Web covers the data that Google has identified and logged as it relates to your site. This menu is informational, and highly beneficial when monitoring the effectiveness of a search engine optimization campaign. Here you can learn how well your targeted search terms are performing from a traffic generation perspective as well the effectiveness of your link building campaign and on-page optimization efforts.
Search QueriesThe Search Queries screen displays a performance chart similar to Google Analytics. The user is able to view a chart with either the performance of keywords with '10 or more impressions and clicks', or 'All queries'. 'Impressions' are the number of times that your site was displayed in search results. 'Clicks' are the number of times a user clicked to your website from the search results pages. Based on these two figures, it's possible to calculate a CTR or click-through rate, by dividing the number of 'Clicks' by the 'Impressions'. This data can be the source of improvements, from increasing/ decreasing the prevalence of high-/low-performing terms to restructuring strategy based on click-through rate effectiveness. It is SEO gold, and should be monitored on an ongoing basis to maintain SEO performance.
Links to Your SiteWe briefly discussed Links to Your Site in the Dashboard section, and the basics remain. In the Your Site on the Web menu, however, there is much more detailed information available. In addition to learning the number of links Google has found to your site and the sites that link to you, it's also possible to learn which of your pages those sites link to, and what 'anchor text' they use as the text in that link. For example, if ABC.com linked to your Widget site's About page, you would find that out...as well as the words on ABC.com that the user would click to vit you (such as 'Click Here' or 'View Widgets').
Keywords and Internal LinksRemember that Your Site on the Web reports information that Google has gathered about your site. Taking the logical next step, it's easy to see that Google uses this information when determining where to include you in search results. In short, this is the reason for On-Page Optimization, and that's where the Keywords and Internal links pages come into play. Both are very basic pages that report what Google sees, in terms of keywords and website structure. The trick here is, does it reflect your strategy? And further, does it reflect your search optimization strategy? By making sure that keywords that you want to rank for are found at the top of the Keywords page list, and pages that you want to rank for have the most Internal links pointing to them, you can assess whether SEO improvements need to be made.
Subscriber StatsSubscriber stats comes into play if you have an RSS feed on your site. If so, you can view how many Google Reader users subscribe to your feed. Pretty basic, but a good quick check to measure effectiveness if you distribute your content via RSS.
Miss the Last Post in the Series? Visit Google Webmaster Tools Part 2: Site Configuration
Check back soon for Google Webmaster Tools Part 4: Diagnostics
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