If you are trying to increase traffic to your business website, it is definitely worth using Google’s free online Webmaster Tools service. As well as helping you verify that the site is performing correctly, Webmaster Tools will help you to quickly identify any problems that could have a detrimental effect on your site’s performance. You can also learn of issues that may prevent people finding your online content via Google and do research into what helps drive traffic to your site.
This article provides an easy, step-by-step guide to installing Google Webmaster Tools and making use of its simple functionality for your business website.
Step 1 – Set up a Google account
First of all you will need a Google account to use Webmaster Tools. You can set one up here:
If you already use Gmail, Adsense, Adwords or other Google services, you probably already have a Google logon and password – you can use this for Webmaster Tools.
Step 2 – Verify your Site(s)
Next you must prove to Google that you own your website before gaining access to Webmaster Tools. To do so, add your site URL here:
Once you have added your site, you must use one of Google’s verification methods to prove that the site is under your control. Options include uploading an HTML file to your web hosting space, adding code to your site, or adding a DNS record via your hosting provider. If you are unable to complete the steps yourself, your Web developers should have no problem doing so.
Step 3 – Check for Problems
Once your site has been verified, it will appear on your Webmaster Tools home page. Verification may take a day or so to complete.
At this point, you can log back in to Webmaster Tools and see if Google has identified any problems with your site. Problems can include unreadable site maps, which prevent Google’s spiders from properly indexing your content, or security vulnerabilities that you may be unaware of.
Thankfully, Google provides links to informative step-by-step articles that will help you resolve any identified problems.
Step 4 – Set up Email Alerts
Once you have resolved any problems, all of your sites should state: “No new messages or recent critical issues.”
To ensure that you are notified of any new problems, you can add an email address in the “Preferences” section. Google will send you a message if anything requires your attention.
Step 5 – Use Google’s “Webmaster Academy”
The “Webmaster FAQ” link within Webmaster Tools links you through to a comprehensive library of information related to Google’s recommended online practices. If you are ever in need of help relating to your online presence, this is a rich source of free information and a great place to start!
As you can see, configuring Google Webmaster Tools is a really quick job, and allows you to have a centralized view of all the websites under your control. There’s really no reason not to make use of this great, free resource.
Debbie Thomson is a Content Marketing Specialist at GFI MAX, she is also a keen blogger and enjoys writing about many topics including business, technology and marketing.