Complete Guide to Google Webmaster Tools
If you haven’t set your site up on Google Webmaster Tools. Firstly, you’ve signed up for an account, login to the Google Webmaster Tools dashboard.
You’ll have to first verify that you own the domain. Depending on your host, Google may provide verification through an easy pop-up process that allows you to login and verifies in just a couple steps.
Google Search Console has 8 steps that you will do after login.
- Search Appearance
- Search Traffic
- Google Index
- Security issues
- Web Tools
We also define the sub-parts of the 8 steps in details.
Add your site:
After the login onto your account, you’ll be able to access the main page. You can add your website address by clicking the “Add a Site” button in the upper right corner, type the direction in the box and click “Continue”.
After that, you’ll be going to the “Verify your ownership” page. If you skip this step, your site will be displayed, but it will be marked as “Not verified”. You won’t be able to access any data about it. You can verify your ownership through a couple of methods, verifying it via the Google Analytics being the easiest one.
By default, Google Webmaster Tools will recommend verifying your ownership through the “HTML upload file” method. This is a more intricate process, which involves downloading a specific HTML file offered by Google. You need to upload on your website. After you’ve completed these steps you can hit the “Verify” button and you’re all set. If you want to keep being verified, you should keep that page inserted on your site.
If you completed this last step, everything is all set and you should be ready to access the site’s dashboard. You need to be aware that some data may not be available right from the beginning, and may appear after a few days since it’s a fresh Webmaster Tools setup.
Below we define verification methods in detail:
HTML file upload:
You can verify your website ownership by uploading the HTML file to your website. You can use this method to verify your website if you’re able to upload files to your website root directory.
To use this method, choose HTML file upload method on the verification details page. Upload the HTML file to your website without making any changes to the file. After uploading the HTML file, come back to Google Search Console and click on verify button to verify your ownership.
The website will be verified and you’ll receive confirmation if everything uploaded correctly otherwise you may get an error.
Don’t delete HTML page from your website after verification, otherwise, your website will become unverified in Google Search Console.
Domain name provider:
You can use this method to verify your website if you’re able to sign in to your Domain Name Provider. Domain Name Provider is a company where you purchased a domain name.
To use this method, choose Domain Name Provider method on the verification details page and follow these methods.
Directly sign in to domain name provider form search console:
Some domain providers enable you to directly sign in from search console. Select your domain providers from the list and verify your website.
Add a DNS TXT or CNAME record:
If your domain name provider not listed above, you can verify your website ownership by adding a DNS record. You’ll find instructions here to add DNS TXT record. If DNS TXT record doesn’t work for your provider, then you’ll have the option to add CNAME record.
If you’re using Google Analytics for your site, you can easily verify your site using the Google Analytics tracking code that associated with your site.
To use this method, choose the Google Analytics method on the verification details page and follow the instructions.
Google Tag Manager:
If you have Google Tag Manager Account, you can easily verify your site using the Google Tag Manager.
To use this method, choose Google Tag Manager Method on the verification details page and follow the instructions.
Now choose any option and verify your website. After verification, you can monitor and manage your website with Google Search Console.
Dashboard is the first step of Google Search Console. It shows the current status of your site like crawl errors, total clicks, and sitemap. You can see in this image.
After adding the website you can check for new or recent critical issues in “Site Messages” section. Google warned you regarding any problems it finds on your website. It also sends certain messages that contain important information.
3. Search Appearance
It is a helpful way to explain the content of your website to the search engines. If you have structured data on your site. Google Webmaster Tools has a feature that shows the type of structured data that Google was able to detect on your site.
Rich Cards can be defined as a “graphical” representation which can be used to show a product or service in a visual manner. It is an efficient update of the successful rich snippets style.
Use of Rich cards:
- Rich cards improve the visibility of your product in the search results.
- They boost the conversion rate by making the content more tempting.
- It help in getting more targeted traffic.
- Webmasters tool provides reports and a detailed analysis of CTR, bounce rates and conversions to monitor the performance of your Rich Cards.
Data Highlighter is one of the main tools of the Google Web Master Tools. It allows you to markup structured data on your website without the need to use any code. It teaches Google about the type of information on the page and the tagging data. The tool supports a variety of structured data like events, software applications, books, products, articles and more.
The section relating to HTML Improvements helps in improving the display of the SERP. The HTML Improvements page shows you potential issues when Google found crawling and indexing your site. It helps to find some issues like missing metadata, duplicate content, over or under optimized metadata and more.
Accelerated Mobile Pages:
Accelerated Mobile Pages created to improve speed and user experience, across all devices and platforms.
AMP pages are usually copies and count of AMP pages either successfully when Google crawled your site.
4. Search Traffic
Google Search Console shows you the search terms that your site showed up for in Google search results. Google Search Analytics shows the average position and the number of clicks through to your site. It also offers critical search from the website that includes impressions, rankings, and click-through rates. It is easy to filter data in many ways like pages, queries, devices, and more.
Links to your site:
Once you’ve verified your site in Google Search Console navigate to the “Links to Your Site” page. It shows you links from third-party websites and blogs, but you can only view a small sample of your links while inside the program.
Internal Link report:
Internal Link report guides you which pages need some incoming internal links. It contains a lists sample pages on your site that have incoming links from other internal pages.
After checking the messages you need to click on the site you want to examine, then select in the left menu Search Traffic > Manual Actions. If you don’t have any actions taken upon your site, you’ll see the “No manual webspam actions found” message displayed.
If there are actions applied to your site. You will find them under one of the two possible categories: site-wide matches or partial matches. You will also find the details about the reason why manual actions were affected on your site.
International Targeting offers to select a country from the given list as your target.
To access this option, log into Google Search Console.
Go to Search Traffic menu in the sidebar > International Targeting > Country tab as shown in the following image:
Here you will see a dropdown list of countries labeled as Target users in. Tick this box and select the country you want to target.
With the Mobile Usability reports, webmasters will view data and errors relating to Flash content, missing viewport, fixed-width viewports, and clickable buttons that are too close to one another.
5. Google Index
Google Index Status helps to understand how many pages are indexed on their websites. It also helps to identify indexation problems, which can be caused by redirects, duplicate content, or security problems.
If you need to remove a URL from Google’s index, you can use the Remove URLs feature in Webmaster Tools. This can be a very powerful tool. It is only used when you want to permanently remove a URL.
It helps you to solve various problems related to the crawl section. All the errors related to Googlebot show clearly while crawling website pages. All the information about those site URLs that could not be crawled successfully by the Google. It shows as HTTP error code. An individual chart can be easily displayed and information like DNS errors, Robots.txt failure and server errors can be revealed.
It describes the process of collecting data on the website of the search engine bots. It shows the statistics relating to pages crawled per day, kilobytes downloads per page, time spent downloading per day, etc.
Fetch as Google:
One of the essential tools of Google Webmaster is Fetch as Google. It helps to ensure the web pages that are search engine friendly. Google crawls every page on the site for publishing or indexing on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). This tool help in communicating with the search engine bots. It helps to find out the page can be indexed or not.
Test your robots.txt for validity and blocked URLs
It helps to view the number of URLs your specified robots.txt file blocks from being crawled. You can change your file to block certain pages. It also helps to test how the GoogleBot reacts and how it affects your site.
In order to write content for your robots.txt file you’ll need to know about two major things:
- User-agents: the specific GoogleBot to which the rule applies.
- Disallow: the page you want to block from being indexed or crawled.
Create a sitemap:
Sitemaps are files that give important information about how your site is organized. It includes metadata and details about your site such as information about images and video content.
A site map is a visual or textually organized model of Web sites. It allows the users to navigate through the site to find the information they are looking for. A site map can be a hierarchical list of pages with links that provide instructions to search engine crawl bots.
After creating your website sitemap you need to submit to Google search console.
How to submit website sitemap to Google Search Console:
Step 1: After login to your Google search console dashboard, click on the website name to which you want to add a sitemap.
Step 2: Now on the dashboard left sidebar, click on crawl > sitemap and click on add/test sitemap to add your website sitemap.
Step 3: Submit your sitemap by clicking the submit button.
A URL parameter contains data that does not fit conveniently into the hierarchical path structure of the site.
7. Check for security issues
Webmaster Tools has a different section is called Security Issues. You may be alerted if your site deals with issues like hacks, SQL injections, content injections, as well as suggestions on how to address these problems.
You will be able to quickly detect the source of the problem and then submit a review request.
8. Web Tools:
Ad Experience Report:
The Ad Experience Report is designed to identify ad experiences that violate the Better Ads Standards, a set of ad experiences the industry has identified as being highly annoying to users. Check the “Desktop” and “Mobile” links to the left to see if your site violates the Better Ads Standards. If violations have been identified, you can request a review of your site after you’ve fixed the issues.
Ad Experience Report: Desktop
Ad Experience Report: Mobile
Abusive experiences are designed to be misleading. It auto-redirects the page without user action.
Testing tool helps to check that Google can correctly analyze your structured data markup and display it in search results.
Google Webmaster tool provides many resources you can see below in the image.