Over the last five posts, you have probably already figured out the importance of Webmaster tools and the kind of inputs that it provides you in order to manage your website or blog better. In fact, I wanted to touch upon a couple more optimization topics in individual posts but for brevity sake, let me try to summarize everything in this last post in the series.
Please note that except for the webmaster guidelines from Google, there is no hard and fast rule on how to use Webmaster tools. I just derived my way of using with trial and error approach.
Webmaster Tools – Google Webmaster Guidelines
As a webmaster your primary goal is to be in the good books of Google which will make sure that your site or blog receives quality traffic. The following link has extensive information on what Google expects out of Webmasters.
It’s recommended that you go through it once. If you are lazy to do so, here are some of the excerpts from those pages.
- Your site should have a hierarchical structure from physical structure point of view. Blogs usually have a flat structure without too many directory hierarchies but you can have a logical hierarchy using categories, tags, date/time based URLs etc
- Every page should be linked via one entry point (another page or post) and do not use too many outbound links on a page
- Write useful content but at the same time try to include phrases that people would naturally search for – Yes, it is not a crime to include search phrases
- Avoid unreachable or broken links
- Avoid parametrized URLs (i.e. using ? etc) – use custom URL slugs instead
- Test your website for accessibility and spider crawlability using text browsers
- Make sure that your web server has if-modified-since headers supported to help Google index the changes
- Have a sitemap and robots.txt file for your website
- Avoid parameters such as session IDs for pages that needs indexing and avoid auto-generated content
- Create fast loading web pages with optimized images and lesser HTTP requests. Also, maintain cross-browser compatibility
- Stay away from link cloaking activities
- Avoid link exchange schemes, hidden links, hidden texts etc
Recommended Webmaster Tools Usage
It is recommended that you periodically visit your Webmaster tools account for anomalies such as broken links, sitemap errors or other errors.
As I mentioned in the previous posts in this series, most crawl issues can be fixed with some minimal effort.
Once in a while, you have to check your sitemap generator program to make sure that that it’s producing updated sitemap content.
Also, it’s a good idea that you keep an eye on your inbound links, overall internal linking quality and optimize for search words and keywords as I mentioned in the first two posts.
And the last tip: Every page on your Google Webmaster Tools has some really good help and amazing set of tips. Don’t forget to look for related help links on each page you browse.
The webmaster tools based site optimization tricks mentioned in this post series has helped me to increase my traffic (read: quality traffic) by 15 to 20%. I hope it has helped you all too.