Your company’s website can be a real workhorse when it comes to attracting leads, and because of that, it has to be running at peak efficiency at all times. We’ve preached before about how having great content is key and that’s absolutely true – just don’t forget about what’s going on “under the hood” because that will make or break your online existence.
Google Webmaster Tools is the best diagnostic tool available to see what exactly is going on with your website. It’s free and links up with your Google Analytics account, making a powerful one-two punch. Google Webmaster Tools always seems to live in the shadow of Google Analytics, when in reality it’s just as important. Webmaster Tools specializes in a different area of analytics: the behind-the-scenes bits that users don’t touch.
I’m going to go through the basics of Google Webmaster Tools in this post so you can get better insights on how to attract leads online. First, we’ll glance at the dashboard and then we’ll look at the 4 pillars of Google Webmaster Tools.
Once you get everything set up, the dashboard will be the first thing you’ll see. The dashboard gives you a good look at what’s going on with your website from a very high level.
You’ll see three charts showcasing information on Crawl Errors, Search Queries, and Sitemaps. Google is pretty darn smart and knows that these are the three tidbits of information webmasters want to keep a pulse on. It’s easy to drill down and get your hands a little dirty with some metrics from the dashboard. Simply click on a heading and you’ll be taken to nerd Valhalla.
The 4 Pillars Of Google Webmaster Tools
Google is pretty eager to help your site have a better appearance in search results. The Search Appearance section in Webmaster Tools holds your hand and guides you through the different areas you can modify on your website’s back-end to enhance your appearance on a SERP.
The metrics are light in the Search Appearance section but Google does give you some valuable insights into HTML Improvements that can be made. Google’s creepy-crawlers scour your site and find any issues with meta descriptions, title tags, and non-indexable content. Fix errors in those sections ASAP if Google indicates you have any. Your site may be missing out on a significant amount of traffic if you don’t.
Do you know how prospects are finding your site organically? You might have a decent guess, but Google Webmaster Tools will show you exactly what’s going on. Google actually gives you the click through rate (CTR) your website has along with the total impressions you’re getting online. Take a look at some of your low CTR search terms and see what you can do to improve. It may be a matter of changing a page title or description so it hits home with your most valuable prospects.
My favorite set of metrics has to be the links to your site that Google provides in the Search Traffic section. I’ve found this list to be more extensive than other analytics packages and easier to drill down to the individual URLs pointing to your content. I hope you’re blogging because that’s going to get some major link love from reputable sites if your content is top-notch. I’ve seen a snowball effect happen with some of our blogs; one site will pick up a post, then a multitude of secondary sites will feature it. Within a week or so one blog has formed a nice web of links from related websites.
This corner of Google Webmaster Tools is where you’ll find a graphical representation of your website’s indexed pages. Your site’s indexed pages should be steadily growing as you churn out content for your prospects. Any dips in the graph should be closely examined because you should only be decreasing indexed pages if you manually deleted pages on your site.
We’ve said before that you should tailor your content around certain keywords. It’s hard to tell how well you’ve done without any data. Lucky for you, Google has a “Content Keywords” subsection that lists the keywords you’re ranking for. Compare Google’s list to your list and see if it matches up. If not, this gives you an opportunity to re-approach your content and SEO strategy for keyword ranking.
Google’s bots are constantly scouring the web looking at websites; unfortunately there can be errors that come up on sites that will lower the chances of a site showing up on a SERP. You’re able to view all of Google’s crawl errors with Webmaster Tools and this is vital for your website.
Google’s algorithms have gone through significant changes, so that optimization you did a year or two ago may actually be detrimental to your website now. Crawl errors don’t signal imminent doom for your site but after a while Google may penalize you. That’s the worst case scenario, but you should check your crawl stats regularly to avoid anything like that happening to you.
On a brighter note, if some of your content just isn’t getting any views you may find out why if Google can’t crawl your content correctly. There may just be a broken link or something that can be fixed with a few clicks to get your content back out to the masses.
How Google Webmaster Tools Will Help You Attract Leads
Everything in Google Webmaster Tools is technical and the ties into marketing aren’t direct. However, all of the Webmaster Tools give you data that should be used to help you make better marketing decisions. Something you thought was working might actually be working against you and you wouldn’t know that until you glanced at the data output from Google.
This is also the only place where you’ll be able to see any penalties and errors associated with your website. Don’t worry if you’re not tech savvy. Google does a great job explaining everything and there’s more support material on the web than you can believe. You just need to start taking a look at Webmaster Tools and make a habit of it to enhance your online presence and attract more leads.