Google’s Webmaster Tools is a central location for webmasters to view and update diagnostic data concerning their websites in relation to the Google algorithm. What are some of its SEO benefits?
From an SEO perspective, Google’s Webmaster Tools has really pertinent information, such as “Top Search Queries” and “Links to your Site”. Top Search Queries” allows webmaster to analyze which search term or “keywords” are the most used on their site and which position in Google they are ranking for those keywords. “Links to your Site” lets you see the websites that are linking to your site. It even breaks down which pages these websites are linking to. This is invaluable to webmasters as this is the only way to get a comprehensive view of which sites are linking to you. Simply using the “Link:” command in Google only gives you a very limited report of a site’s backlinks due to Google’s stringent guidelines on privacy.
Google’s Webmaster Tools also facilitates your website’s crawlability. By using Webmaster Tools’ XML Sitemap Submission, you can submit an XML sitemap to help Google find the deeper level pages on your website. Webmaster Tools will also let you view errors in your robots.txt file, “Page Not Found” errors and even the last time the Google spider successfully accessed your homepage.
Personally, Google’s Webmaster Tools is one of the most useful SEO tools around and there are many reasons for using it.
There’s a new tool for webmasters that was recently unveiled by Google and it’s called “Change of Address”. The tool, which can be found in Google’s newly revamped Webmaster Tools, allows webmasters to tell Google when they are moving to a new domain from their old one. Essentially, it lets Google index the new pages faster to ease the transition of the domain change.
Of course, webmasters still have to follow the usual protocols for redirecting their old pages to the new ones. For instance, making sure all of the 301 permanent redirects are configured correctly to tell both the search engines and users the location of the new pages is still of the utmost importance. Also informing webmasters to update any inbound links to your site still has to be part of the checklist of “moving items”.
What impact will this have on SEO? For one thing, webmasters can now rest assured that their hard work in setting up the new site will not be in vain. Providing they follow the other recommendations for site redirection, Google has provided this as a sort of insurance policy to make sure the user receives the most current search results.
In the future, Google and other search engines may make it even simpler to specify newer domains for webmasters. Search engines in general are getting much savvier in specifying the correct URLs to show in the results pages. This makes it better for both the user and webmasters. Webmasters can now focus on getting to the important business of optimizing the website and not be as concerned as to whether Google is indexing the correct URL.