Google Webmaster Tools gives you valuable measurements on the SEO health of your website. It shows what is working well and provides tools that will uncover the sources of a problem. If you are not using Google Webmaster Tools, you should be. This is a free Google tool and is even more powerful when you link it with your Google Analytics.
There is a wealth of information. To get the best results you should login weekly to Webmaster Tools and track 8 key metrics.
Google Webmaster Tools
Enable Email Notifications: Under preferences you can enable email notifications. You will generally receive no more than one email a day advising you of potential issues with your website.
- HTML Improvements: Listed under the Search Appearance section. This will advise you of technical improvements that you can make to improve your search results. This includes Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and non-indexed content
- Search Queries: Listed under the Search Traffic section. Track how often your website is appearing in Googles search queries (impressions) and the click volume for each search phrase. It will Display your average search position for each phrase in the Google search results.
- Links to Your Site: Also under the Search Traffic section. This will show the number of links coming to your site, from which websites and the link text (anchor text) that is being used.
- Manual Actions: Hopefully this section is empty. This would be where a notification of penalty is posted if someone from the webspam team has determined that your website has violated Google’s webmaster guidelines.
- Index Status: Listed under the Google Index section. This shows the number of URL’s that Google has been able to crawl and index. It will also show the numbers of URLs blocked by a robots.txt file.
- Crawl Errors. Listed under the crawl section. Track the pages not found (404 errors). This allows you to view which URLs are being “not found” and then to mark them as fixed.
- Crawl Stats. Listed under the crawl section. There are a number of measurements, but I watch the average time spent downloading a page. This gives me a relative measure of page load speed. If this trends upward, then you may be having a page load speed problem. For a more in depth look at page load speed go to Google’s Page Speed Insights.
- Sitemaps: Listed under the crawl section. Make sure Google has processed your XML sitemaps. You can submit new sitemaps here and view if there are any issues with your sitemaps.
There are many more tools and metrics that you can look at, but these are the main ones I track on a weekly basis.
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