Google Webmaster Tools (or Google Search Console)
When it comes to low-cost or free tools for improving your website, Google webmaster tools is the most effective. Webmaster Tools are a free tool set from Google that can help you effectively manage website, optimize it for search engines and stay on top of algorithm changes.
Google Webmaster Tools (or Google Search Console) provides webmasters with everything they need to check their indexing status and ultimately increase website visibility by improving search engine rankings. With Google Webmaster Tools, webmasters can
- Create and/or check a sitemap
- Review and set the crawl rate
- View statistics about Googlebot access to your site
- Generate a robots.txt file
- Review internal and external links to the site
- Find broken links on your site
- Review keyword searches on Google and click through rates
- Review how Google indexes your site any errors in indexing
- Set your preferred domain which determines how your site’s URL is displayed in SERPs
- Get notifications from Google about penalties
- Add, change, and delete listings
- Review crawl errors
Once you’ve signed up for Google Webmaster Tools, you need to add your website and then verify you own the website. Verifying ownership can be achieved through one of the following four methods:
- Add a DNS record to your domain’s configuration – If you can already sign in to your domain registrar or hosting provider, you should try to add a DNS record to your domain’s configuration.
- Add a meta tag to your site’s homepage – If you can edit your site’s HTML, try adding a meta tag to your site’s homepage.
- Upload an HTML file to your server – If you can upload new files to your site, you should try to upload an HTML file.
- Link your Google Analytics account to Google Webmaster Tools – If your site currently has a Google Analytics tracking code, use this option.
Now that you’ve added Google Webmaster Tools and verified your website, you should be able to access a dashboard where you’ll see data for your site. You should expect data to take a few hours to appear, but your dashboard will give you a brief overview of your site that will allow you to focus on your SEO. You should see which keywords are bringing traffic to your site, whether the Google bot is encountering any errors, the number of links to your site, and the number of pages Google has indexed for your site.
Ultimately, Google Webmaster Tools will help you better understand how your site is configured with respect to Google’s algorithm. Once you have collected some data, you can then make some small adjustments that should improve your site’s search engine ranking.