Digital Marketing using Google Services
11 Google Webmaster
Now that your website is up and running, informing Google about it is to be done through Google Webmasters Tools (GWT) by submitting the URL details (also called as Sitemap). By reading the sitemap, Google crawls (read) the content of your website such that it indexes (stores) your web pages.
It further enables you to perform additional operations related to issues present in your website.
Snapshot 11.1: Google Webmaster Tools sample screen
How is this going to help me?
· It is an added advantage for you to see whether Google Search Engine has indexed your website from Google Webmaster. Google also lists the various website crawling errors, from which fixing up those issues are made simpler.
· You will be able to track the keywords entered by your visitors to reach your website. · You will be able to find any spam and security issues related to your website.
There are various features available as mentioned below. Let’s take a look at key features. · Add a site and verification
· Site dashboard
· Site messages
· Search appearances · Search traffic
· Google index
· Security issues
· Other resources · Settings
Add a Site and Verify:
Step 1:Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/ and Click on “Sign in to Webmaster Tools” (Snapshot 11.2). Sign in with your Gmail ID.
Snapshot 11.2: Google Webmaster Tools screen
It will take you to the GWT home page (Snapshot 11.3).
Step 2:Type in your website domain URL (Snapshot 11.3) and Click onAdd A Site. Assume in this case we entered a new website domain URL www.startupinindia.org.
Snapshot 11.3: Google Webmaster Tools sample screen
Now, it’s time to verify your website and test its authenticity and ownership.
Step 3:Verify your website with one of the 2 following methods:
· Recommended method
· Alternative method
In recommended method, you would be asked to Sign in to your Domain Name Provider (Snapshot 11.4).
Example used here for explanation is GoDaddy.com. Click on Verify once you have chosen the Domain Name Provider.
Snapshot 11.4: Verify Ownership
Once you click on verify button, it takes you to the domain provider login window to verify your domain ownership.
Confirm the access to Google by accepting the request from Google (Snapshot 11.5). Click on Accept.
Snapshot 11.5: Provide access to Google
Google verifies Domain access and creates necessary records in your Domain DNS settings. It finally shows “Verification steps completed message” (Snapshot 11.5).
There are Alternative methodsfor Website verification as mentioned in Snapshot 11.6. You can do so just by logging into your Google Analytics Account or Google Tag Manager Account or by adding a simple HTML tag in your website.
Snapshot 11.6 Alternate Verification method
Once you verify your website, it will be added to your GWT.
After verification, it opens up the following Tips message (Snapshot 11.7) from Google to get started.
Let’s go through the tips suggested by Google and complete the account setup:
· 1. Add all your Website versions · 2. Select the preferred Version · 3. Choose targeting Country · 4. Share access with co-workers · 5. Submit a Sitemap file
Add all your Website versions: Make sure to add all the versions of your website domain. You should add other version of your websitestartupinindia.org (Withoutwww.prefix).
Snapshot 11.7 Tips to get started
After adding both versions of your website, GWT lists your websites underHome(as shown in Snapshot 11.8).
Snapshot 11.8 With and Without “www.” prefix
Select the preferred domain:
Once you add the versions of your website domains, set one as your preferred version as mentioned below.
Snapshot 11.9 Gear Icon -> Site Choose Targeting Country:
To set a preferred domain, click on the gear icon on the top right corner of the website. You would see “Site Settings” option in the drop down menu.
The Site Settings page looks like the snapshot given below. It lists all the versions of the website added. Choose the preferred domain and click on save.
To choose the targeting country, we have an option calledInternational Targeting underSearch Trafficreporting (Snapshot 11.10).
Choose the country you want to target and click on save.
Snapshot 11.10 International Targeting
Share access with co-workers
If you want to have someone else manage your GWT, you can provide access to other users. To share access with co-workers, we have option “Users & Site Owners” option under the settings (Gear icon on the top right corner).
ChooseAdd a new useroption, and provide the email id of the person whom you want to provide access. Choose the Permission access level for every user you add and click onAdd.
Submit a Sitemap file
It is important to submit a Sitemap file to GWT since it helps Google to crawl our website faster and makes it easy for Google to index our website.
Sitemap is an xml file which can be generated from https://www.xmlsitemaps.com/. Once after creating a sitemap, you or your web developer can add it to your website root folder. You can then access it by enteringwww.yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml.
After adding the sitemap to your website, you can submit the sitemap in GWT, so that Google can index your website faster. To submit a sitemap, you have option called “Sitemaps” under Crawltab (Snapshot 11.11).
Snapshot 11.11 Add/Test Sitemap
Click on “Add/Test Sitemap” button and submit the Sitemap.
Once we are done with the basic steps of GWT account setup, we can get into the analysis and reporting part that can help you to understand the performance of your Website.
Site Dashboard contains the overview of the reports available in the GWT. It shows “New Message Notifications”, overview of “Crawl errors”, “Search Queries” Performance and the Sitemap indexing details.
Let’s learn the basic important reports in detail now.
The Crawl Errors Report:
The Crawl errors report is present under the Crawl option. Crawl errors include site errors and URL errors.
Site Errors:Site errors list any DNS, Server Connectivity and Robots.txt fetch errors.
URL Errors: URL errors include 404 errors and other errors which stop Google Bot from crawling specific pages of the website. It provides crawl issue data for Desktop and Smart Phones (Snapshot 11.12).
Snapshot 11.12 Site Errors and URL Errors
Snapshot 11.13 shows sample URL errors (404). These issues can be by you or your web developer. Fix it and choose Mark as Fixed button. You can select one or multiple pages and choose “Mark as Fixed”.
Snapshot 11.13 404 URL Errors
Search Queries Report:
Search Queries report is available under Search Traffic reporting.
It lists Google Search Queries, Impressions and Clicks (Snapshot 11.14) data for your website.
This report is helpful as we get to know about the list of search terms for which our website is appearing in Google Search. We can tune our Content Strategy for our website to improve the performance our website.
You can view up to 90 days of historical data. You should review these search queries and Click Through Rate (CTR = Clicks/Impressions) for specific search terms. To improve CTR for specific search queries, you should tune your website’s Title tag and Meta description (ref. Chapter 5 SEO) in a more attractive way, as that’s what displayed in Google Search for specific queries.
Snapshot 11.14 Search Queries
Search Appearances shows how your website appears on the Google search results. These are otherwise portrayed as snippets. The more rich snippets present for your website, Google can present your data more attractively.
The main contents of search appearance are:
· Structured Data
· Data Highlighter
· HTML Improvements
· Site Links
The overview of structured data is given below
This report provides you the stat information of total no of URL’s that contains data type, the number of pages under every data type and if there are any issues in the website.
Snapshot 11.15 Search Appearance
What are rich Snippets?
Rich snippets help the users to discover a site in a more precise, easy and direct manner that are relevant to your search queries. This would eventually results in highest click through rate (CTR).
Ex, if your website content is about restaurants, the rich snippet appears as average review, number of stars and price range in Google Search Results. Talk to your web developer to implement rich snippets mark-up tags for your website.
Data highlighter is a similar process to that of structured data. But, this process is done after Google indexing. This is purely user defined, an easy way to tell Google, the structured data on your page. Similar to structured data, you can define the reviews, stars, price range, etc. which has to be shown in the Google Search Results Page along with your website link.
Snapshot 11.16 Data Highlighter
You can do this without modifying the URL or HTML of your website’s page.
· Get into the page, where you need to make use of the data highlighter with regards to your rich snippets.
· Highlight the data items (related to your snippets) to be highlighted and select their category say name, date, location, events, movies, products etc.
· Tag that particular page and publish. It will be automatically highlighted alongside the snippets.
· Once you have tagged in a single page, data highlighter will automatically tag similar pages and sync them based on your data item.
To bring your website to the top or to be best ranked in the Google search results, it is always wise to make sure the HTML tags of your website are clear, crisp and precise. This is mainly concerned with the issues related to Title tag, Meta description and non-index able contents (Snapshot 11.17).
Meta descriptions are the main content that appears on the Google Search results. GWT statistically shows you the report of the issues related to your site’s HTML tags. The maximum allowed word count for Meta description set by Google’s search quality team is 156(recommended) 160(highest). If the Meta description exceeds or fell short beyond this limit, GWT will intimate you to resolve the associated issues. The Meta description issues are categorized into three types. Either the Meta description would have been short or too long or the Meta description might have been duplicated in various pages.
The recommended Title tag for a website’s page set by search quality team is 60 (max) and 58 (recommended). If Title of your website’s pages is inappropriate, it will be clearly shown by the GWT in order to rectify it accordingly.
Snapshot 11.17 HTML Improvements
Site links are the links that appear below the website link content in Google Search Results. It provides additional information about your business and a way to easily navigate or access through your site to fetch the information they are looking for.
Since these are automatically generated, your website on the search results may contain unwanted or unimportant site links, they needn’t be shown relatively on the Google Search Results. On that case, you can demote a particular site link from displaying. This could be accomplished with the help of GWT.
To do this, follow these steps in GWT (Snapshot 11.18),
Snapshot 11.18 Sitelinks
Under Search Appearance, click onSite links.
“For this search result”edit box: Provide the URL for which you don't want a specific site link URL to appear in Google Search.
“Demote this site link URL”edit box: Provide the URL of the site link you want to demote. Once you have demoted a particular link, it will take some time for the changes to appear on the Search. You can demote up to 100 URL’s.
The main reports under the search traffic reporting are given below.
Links to your Site
One of the best ways to increase your website’s ranking is acquire more links to your site. The more links your site receives from quality websites, the more it is highly rated. Usually this happens naturally if your website is provided with valuable information for the potential customers. “Links to your Site” report (Snapshot 11.19) lists your external links to your website.
Snapshot 11.19 Search Traffic
In GWT “Links to Your Site” page, you will be displayed with three sections. · The domains linking most to your site
· The pages on your site with the most links
· A sampling of the anchor text external sites are using when they link to your site.
By clicking on more option under each section, you will receive the complete list of data. From that list, if you click on a particular domain, you will be given with the information of all the pages linked to by that domain.
If you drill into the “your most linked content” on the overview page, you‘ll be able to see list of most linked pages of your site. It will also show you the links count for each page and the no of domains linking to that page, including the leading domains linking to that page and the links count to that page.
Internal links are the links between the pages of your website. Internal links are mainly used to navigate from one page to another passing the Link juice.
Snapshot 11.20 Internal Links
The internal linkshighlights the internal link structure of your website. The no of internal links a particular page holds signalizes the Google, the relative importance of that page. Every page of your website must be linked to more than one other pages of the website.
In case, if you wish to rename or delete a page on your website, try to keep a track of these data to avoid broken links to your site.
There are three ways that can improve your internal links to your site:
· Sketch out a map of your website
· Look at the topics that you frequently write about
· Think about every other page that could link to your ranking page
Do not buy links from link brokers to improve your ranking. Do not do keyword stuffing. Do not do any unnatural activities to improve your website ranking. If you do and Google identifies, it will be listed under Manual Actions. If you make serious violation, your website may be suspended for a period from Google Search.
Indexing is the process where the pages of your website are indexed by the web crawler to save in the Google database. Google sends a small program (Crawler) called Googlebot to crawl (read) and index your website. Google index lists all the URL’s and web pages it crawled.
Index status is nothing but the stats information report of the total no of links and pages to your site that has been indexed to Google index. It gives the complete data of the indexed pages for the past one year as a report. In addition to this, it also displays the updated data of the URL’s that has been indexed recently (Snapshot 11.21)
Snapshot 11.21 Index Status
A good quality report should have a steady state rise in the index graph. If you counter any unusual drops or unusual high index volume of your site, there occurs some serious problems in Google indexing your web pages.
In content keywords (Snapshot 11.22), the GWT will show you the list of “keywords” that has been most frequently used in the contents of your website and its pages. The occurrence of a particular keyword and its associated variants on your website’s pages will be listed. This is one important aspect. So before you add any content or keywords to your site, you need to do ample research of which keywords would best suit your website that would eventually make it come up on the Google Search Results Page.
Snapshot 11.22 Content Keywords
Yet another important feature in GWT is the crawl. In this section, GWT provides you complete report and the issues faced while Googlebot crawls your web page.
Fetch as Google
This tool is a diagnostic tool that helps you to stimulate how Google crawls and renders a URL on your site.
One of the recent additions in the Google webmaster tools is “security issues”. As the name implies, security issues tool is aimed at taking care of your website’s security levels. The security issues may include site hacks, malware and so on.