Excerpted from article on Search Engine Land:
« Google Webmaster Tools can be a powerful ally. But, if you make a mistake or put this power in the wrong hands, it can mean trouble for your search engine optimization. In this post, I provide a basic SEO Guide to Webmaster Tools to help get you started if you aren’t taking full advantage of WMT yet.
– Messages: Spam Warnings & Other Notifications
[Priority: Medium / High]
Many of us know that Google sends an email to Webmaster Tools if there is an issue with your site. If you don’t check Webmaster Tools messages frequently, you could miss an important piece of information.
In the settings tab, you can do three things: set geographic target, preferred domain and crawl rate.
Every website owner wants good sitelinks. If you don’t know, sitelinks are the links that show up under your domain name in Google search results.
Sitelinks are determined based on how much authority the domain has for a particular query. In many cases, we build sitelinks to assist with online reputation management because it pushes negative information further down the page.
– URL Parameters
Webmaster Tools has a setting that allows you to specify URL parameters and request that Google crawl certain URLs and not crawl others URLs. This is an incredibly powerful tool. If you make a mistake, it can mean that a large chunk of your site is removed from the index.
– Change of Address
If you move, you need to tell someone correctly!
– Excessive Crawl Errors
If your website is not working and there are errors occurring on a regularly basis, this needs to be dealt with. In so many cases, I see sites with thousands of errors that are never addressed. Each error that affects usability can mean a potential lost customer.
– Crawl Stats
This report shows you pages crawled per day, kilobytes downloaded per day and time spent downloading a page. Incidentally, there is a new Google Analytics report that also shows time downloading a page. The Analytics report, in my opinion, is much cooler.
– Blocked URLs
[Priority: Medium / High]
In this report you can see the URLs that are blocked by robots.txt. In some cases, you will see areas of your site that are blocked which should not be. So, when you see this, unblock them!
– Fetch As Google
The fetch as Google tool allows you to retrieve a page of your website as if you were Google. This can be very helpful if you want to verify whether or not a page is accessible.
This tool also has the option to fetch pages as Googlebot-Mobile. This can be very helpful, particularly because of the elements that need to be put in place for the different forms of mobile optimization.
– Indexed Status
The index status report shows you how many URLs are indexed out of all of those that Google can find on the website.
When someone injects code into your forum or comments area, that is an issue. Google will see this and deem it malware. When someone then visits your website there is a chance a message will be delivered saying this site is not safe for users. For this very reason, it is important to check your malware report.
– Search Queries [Priority: Medium] …
– Links To Your Site [Priority: Medium / High] …
– Internal Links [Priority: Medium] …
– Sitemaps [Priority: Medium / High] …
– Removed URLs [Priority: Medium / High] …
– HTML Improvements [Priority: Medium] …
– Content Keywords [Priority: Medium] …
Each point is analyzed with more information. Moreover there are also other points into guide.
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