How to get started using Google Webmaster Tools.
In my last column, I talked about Google and touched on Google Webmaster Tools. Because this is a Search 101 column, some readers may not be familiar with Google Webmaster Tools - what it is, how it works, and how they can make it work for them.
So this week, I decided to write exclusively on Google Webmaster Tools, which I will herein refer to as GWT.
Google has created a suite of tools and resources to help webmasters monitor their website on Google and increase traffic potential.
Google Webmaster Tools is essentially a means for website owners to ensure that Google can easily find, crawl, index, and categorize their website appropriately. GWT provides website owners with detailed reports about their website's search engine visibility, which can be leveraged to improve outcomes. After creating an account and verifying their site, site owners can log in to access these reports at any time.
GWT will help you answer:
In addition to providing you with insightful data to answer the above questions, GWT also makes it easier for you to tell Google about your site with Sitemaps (upload an XML sitemap which helps search engines more easily crawl your site).
Using the Tools
Next we'll review each of the tools or reports available and provide some examples for how you can leverage this data.
Getting started with GWT is easy. If you already have a Google account, you can sign in to Google Webmaster Tools using that (if not, just create a Google account - it's free). Next, add your site by entering the URL (make sure you type the entire URL, including the http://www part). Then type a name for your site (this is just so you can distinguish it from other sites you may add). Finally, before you can access the data, you have to verify that you are indeed the site owner by choosing one of many verification methods:
If you already have Google Analytics installed on your site, that option may be the easiest.
All in all, a pretty simple process to access a pretty fantastic set of tools!
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Julie is a member of the senior strategy team at Klick Health, focused on online media and digital. Julie initially established and led the media practice at Klick for several years, relinquishing leadership to expand beyond media into additional digital tactics. She brings a wealth of experience in search marketing, digital media, and all facets of digital strategy to bear, helping Klick's clients develop innovative digital solutions. As her role has evolved, so have her contributions to ClickZ, which she has been writing for since 2007.
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