One of the most useful tools for any website owner is Google’s Webmaster Tools. It gives you a complete overview of how Google views your website and more importantly if there are any problems.

Its a powerful selection of tools which can take a while to get used to and you need to have direct access to your website to set it all up but once done you can find out all sorts of info about your site.

  • Find out if there are missing or 404 listed pages.
  • See the key phrases people are searching for when finding your site.
  • Find out what links from other sites are pointing to you.
  • Check to see if Google can crawl your website properly.
  • See how many of your pages are in the Google search index.

There’s a whole lot of other reports available as well but the most important ones are listed above and if you keep an eye on them you can begin to see how Google views your website and if you’re rankings are going in the right direction.

Another very cool section is the HTML improvements where Google will give you ideas on how improve your title and description tags. You can easily find out if you have any titles missing or descriptions are too long. Making these changes and following the advice is just another step on the search ladder which is hopefully going up.

Google has a very useful help section for Webmaster Tools that goes into quite a bit of depth explaining how to use the system and I’d advise you to take some time to read it all through and watch some of the videos.

My favourite part of the tool is the Search Query section where you can see what people search for to find you, how many times you appear in the search listing for each search phrase and also how many times you get clicked on. Its a really good way to spot issues with title tags and content. For example if you have thousands of people viewing your site in the search listings but very few clicks, it could be something to do with the title tag or text from your site that is being displayed. It may not be attractive enough to be clicked on so make some gentle tweaks and see if it makes a difference.

Enjoy the tool, play around with it and after a while you’ll be addicted to all the graphs and stats.