When you have a website you do not want to fly blind on the Internet. You need web statistics of your website and analyze data to get the most out of your online presence. One important piece to that puzzle many people do not know about is to get a Google Webmaster account (not just Google, because Bing has this too, but for this article we will concentrate on Google). The Google Webmaster account is your connection into Google where you can receive valuable insight into how your website is doing from their perspective.
What does Google Webmaster Central get you?
- Find out how Google sees your website on the Internet.
- Find out what keywords Google associates with your website and how people are finding it.
- Receive important alerts from Google about your issues related to your website.
- Find incoming links to your website.
- Help Google to better index your website so that you rank better and can get more traffic.
By using the Google Webmaster account you can help Google to identify your website and rank it accordingly. One step to accomplish this is to submit a so-called sitemap that lists all pages on your website. A sitemap often helps Google to find all the pages on your website because – believe it or not – Google does not find all pages by default and a sitemap submission helps them to do so.
The other important parts you get out of your free Google Webmaster account is data. You can find out how often Google crawls your website, which keywords Google sees your website being ranked and searched for. This data is extremely useful to determine if your search engine optimization strategy is working or not. You can also see warnings in your Google Webmaster Central account. Let’s say your website is using WordPress as the content management system and your installation is outdated. Google will eventually display a warning about your site being outdated and tells you to upgrade. Or – god forbid – your website got hacked and is now hosting a dangerous virus. You might not see it right away, but Google will and they will tell you about it insight your Webmaster central account.
Getting your Google Webmaster account is totally free, but you will need a Google account (Gmail) to sign up. After signing up you are ready to go immediately and you can add your websites. When you add sites you need to verify that you are the owner of a website. Google provides several options to do so. You can either add a custom meta tag to your website (requires a code change) or you can upload a specific verification file that Google will call. The latter is my preferred method to get my websites verified. After a site has been added you need 48-72 hours of patience because Google will not display data right away. It will take them a little bit to collect data and to make it visible to you.
Go here to get your free Google Webmaster Central Account configured