How to Use Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is one of the rare occasions we’re able to get information about our site straight from the horse’s mouth. This video will show you how to properly set up Google Webmaster Tools on your site, and how to use some of the tool’s basic features.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up everybody? In this video, I’m going to show you how to use Google Webmaster Tools, which is a very cool, free program by Google that you can use to increase your visibility insert. Once you have webmaster tools installed in your site and you log in, this is the screen you’ll see, which is the webmaster tools homepage. If you have multiple sites under the same account, you’ll notice that there’ll be multiple sites listed here, but considering I only have one associated with this account, there’s only one here.

To see more information about a site, click on this link. You’ll be taken to the webmaster tools site dashboard and here, I’ll go over each of the most important parts of the dashboard and some of the most important features of webmaster tools. Now, here obviously, new and important are obviously important. This is where webmaster tools will send you messages, like if they can’t access your site, if they find malware on your site or if they detect unnatural links.

Next area we’ll talk about is crawl errors. Now, this is where Google bot went to your site and for some reason, they weren’t able to fully access pages on your site. Now, if you notice that there are URL errors here, don’t freak out. On most sites, especially larger sites, have some URL errors, and generally they’re not pages that you want Google to check out anyway, but if you are having an issue with Google indexing a page in your site, this may be a way to identify what’s going on. In a later video, we’ll go into more detail on how to identify and fix the most common crawl errors that you might come across.

The next error we’ll talk about are search queries. This just goes over how people search for your site, what keywords they use and where you end up. Let’s just go over quickly what this error looks like because it’s very important for your search visibility. As you can see, this is 462 queries which just means that people found my site using 462 different keywords in total.

Impressions is just, people saw my page in the Google results. If you, let’s say, are on the third page and someone went to the third page, this counts as an impression, even if no one clicked. Obviously, clicks are when people actually do click on your website. So, that’s it for that. Let’s go back to the dashboard.

Next, we’re going to go over site maps. Site maps is just very straightforward. It is the site map that usually a plugin like Yoast or maybe a sitemaps plugin of WordPress, and it just maps out the pages that you want Google to find. In this case, I submitted 23 URLs and I have 23 URLs indexed. So, we’re all set there.

Now, let’s go over some of the important features of Google Webmaster Tools that don’t show up in the dashboard. The first is search appearance. Let’s go over structured data. This doesn’t make sense for every website, and structured data is just something called schema that you add to your site.

For example, if you wanted to show star reviews or different areas of your site, if you want to emphasize a section of your website, you could use schema to do that. I don’t have that on my site. It doesn’t make sense for every site. This is just a great way to learn more about it, if you head into your webmaster tools and see if it’s appropriate for your website.

We already went over search traffic, search query, which is just how people find your site and where you’re showing up for certain keywords. You can also look at links to your site and internal links. Now, links to your site is where Google finds people linking to your site. This actually isn’t a very good way to figure out who’s linking to your site because you can see like, Scoop It is no follow, and it’s definitely not 1,200 links on, whatever that is, is linking this many times.

This isn’t necessarily a good way to find out who is actually linking to your site. I don’t use this very often. If you want to find who is linking to your site the most, you should use a program like, [Ahrefs], Majestic or Open Site Explore, or something like this, but it’s a good idea just to check it out and see what Google’s finding that maybe some of the other programs aren’t.

Next, we’ll look at internal links. This is where you have other links that we talked about in another video that are linking to other pages on your site. In this case, it goes over the pages that are linked to the most. For most sites it’s going to be your terms of service, your privacy policy, your contact page, but then you also want to see if you’re linking to pages that you want to rank highly. We’ll go over that later in another video.

Under Google Index, this is where we talked about index status and where they might have some trouble finding certain pages on your site. If you have increased the pages that you can index on a site or add a content, this will go up similar to what you’re seeing here.

Now, crawler. Again, in a later video I’ll go over more detail. This is just what you want to see here. That these three things are checked off. DNS, server connectivity and robots.txt. This just means Google can fully access your site, the server’s working fine and everything like that.

Next, we’ll look at malware. Now obviously you don’t want malware on your site. You generally won’t have malware on your site. If you do, Google will notify you. So, you don’t usually have to check this often because if Google does find malware on your site, it’ll let you know.

Next, we’ll go over some additional tools which is a structured data testing tool. So, if you do have schema on your site like star reviews or things like that, you can click on that and test to make sure it’s working okay. Google Places, or Google Plus Local, as it’s now known, you can click on this to make sure that your Google Places account is all set up if you run a local business.

Next, well talk about labs. In author stats, if you have [real] author applied to your site and you contribute to other websites, this shows you your search visibility for all the articles that you’ve written for your site and other sites which is pretty cool. So, it’s very similar to the feature that I showed you earlier, except this, for example, if I guess posted somewhere like a search engine journal, it shows also the impressions and the clicks for that as well.

That’s it for a basic overview of Google webmaster tools. In the next video, I’ll show you some advance features that you can use to increase your visibility in search. So, thanks for watching, and I’ll see you in the next video.