Google knows a lot about your website, and you can find out what it is, if you want to.
You can even tell Google something it doesn't know….
Lets talk about this great file called sitemap.xml and what you should do with it.
If you go to the Google website, you will find a small line below the search box that says “About Google” if you click it, you get a screen on which there is a section “For Site Owners”….nice, that means for you!
Now if you own and operate a website, that makes you a “webmaster” and there is a special link to Webmaster Central, sounds like a railway station right?
Well lets see what trains are in the station for us.
Site status wizard
This is just a simple tool to check if your site is included in the Google index, and when it was last crawled by the Googlebot.
But there is more, check out the other options like Google's Blog for Webmasters and the Webmaster Help Center.
The main focus for this post is af course…drumm roll…
Webmaster Tools !!
Free tools for you as a webmaster to see whats is happening in Google country and learn about your website information in Google's index.
If you haven't used webmaster tools before, you can start with adding your website.
After a short check if the URL exists, you will be asked to verify the ownership if the site.
only if you do that, you will be given the information you want to see, but you can't see information about a site that you do not own…..security first!
Verification comes in two flavors:
One is a special meta-tag, which is pretty easy to insert into your template.
The other one is a empty file you have to create and upload yourself, but the site must have the special name given to you.
The latter is the way to go if you want your pages to stay XHTML or HTML standard complaint because the meta-tag is and this is not a standard form W3C.
The other advantage of the .HTML file option is that it is the same for all your websites, so if you want to insert more domains, you can already go ahead and upload the file to every domain.
Once you verified your website, you can submit the location and name of your sitemap.xml so it can be found and checked.
You get a report on that page if is has been downloaded and if it was correct.
Now you can have your website fully indexed.
Wait!, don't go running over there now…is give you a direct link later.
There are free statistics for you!
There is a little tab on top that states “Statistics” so? simple right!
But now comes the fun part and the real value!
There are four options: Crawl stats, Query stats, Page Analysis and Index stats.
The first one, thats oke, you see a short overview of pagerank indication page with the highest pagerank.
The last one…learns you how to use the advanced search options in Google to find out more about your website in Google.
But number two and three, that's where the gold is!
Looking at the Page analysis, you see how the Googlebot reads your page's and in the second part the words that are used in links to your website.
Study them and weep… you have to work on your keywords and the one's people use to link to your website….
You get to see the top 20 on what keywords people used and found your site, and your average ranking position for that query.
Next to that you can see a similar table, but in that table are the value's for the “Top search query clicks” and your average position for that query.
Now why is this so important for your Search Engine Optimization?
Well, the main thing here is that you see what people are looking for and clicking on, and only the last ones show in your own statistics.
So you have to check what information people see for the query results on the first table…. and find out why they don't click on that results.
And then change the information on the page shown to bring them to click to your site…sounds easy?
But making it work is not!!
Do this on a regular base an you get the ideal situation that the tables are more in-line with each other and contain the keywords you focus…
If you can pull that one off, you are not an Expert, but a real genius in Search Engine Optimization!
Then Please send me your e-mail I want to learn from you!!
But for now, go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/ and learn what Google wants to tell you.
Daryl James says
Wow. What a wealth of SEO resources. Thanks for compiling such useful tools (you’ve saved me time in research and usage).
Nice resource page!! thanks very much for taking the time to put this out there for ‘us amateurs.’