What is Webmaster Tools and What Can You Do With It?
There are few jargons you will hear frequently, when you are new to blogging and website building. Webmasters and Webmaster Tools are two of the most frequent terms used in blogging. In general, webmasters are the people who take care of websites. They can be direct owner of the site or agency that take care of the sites on-behalf.
What is Webmaster Tools?
Webmasters need various tools for optimizing their sites and make sure search engines show their sites for the selected queries. Since there are different search engines available, each provider offers set of tools suitable for their own services. For example, search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu and Yandex provides their own set of tools for optimizing websites.
These tools will help to inform search crawlers about your site, help them index and display in their search results. The term Webmaster Tools become very popular with Google and Bing offers Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Though Bing and other search engine providers continue to retain the name, Google changed the name to Google Search Console. However, people still call it as Google Webmaster Tools and refer it shortly with acronym as GWMT.
Getting Webmaster Tools Account
Currently you should register for a Webmaster Tools account using Gmail or Microsoft email id for Google and Bing respectively. Yahoo! uses Bing search engine and hence you don’t need to have separate account for optimization. If you have webpages in Chinese or Russian then try to optimize your site using Baidu Webmaster Tools and Yandex Webmaster Tools accounts respectively.
Here we explain five of the common features available in all the Webmaster Tools account:
1. Website Submission
Webmaster Tools (WMT) is the way you can submit your site to search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu and and Yandex. This helps site owners to submit their site and monitor the indexing status. Though, you can submit your site to search engines, the listing is purely depending on content quality and the algorithm followed by each search engine.
After adding a site, you need to verify your ownership by adding a piece of HTML code on your pages. We strongly recommend to submit and verify the site yourself instead of relying on third party paid services.
2. Sitemap Submission
Sitemap is a navigation system that helps search engine crawlers to identify the structure of your site. This will also help the crawlers to understand the importance of the content appropriately. The Sitemap can be in simple text format or XML format. Checkout the article on XML Sitemap to understand the structure and how can you create one for your site.
You can also check the example Sitemap format of our site: https://www.webnots.com/sitemap-index.xml which is automatically created with a plugin. Remember, XML Sitemap is different from the HTML Sitemap. The first one helps search engine crawlers and not part of the indexable content while the second is a page on your website meant for real users.
3. Crawling Information
After submission and verification of your site and XML Sitemap it may take up to a week for the search engine crawlers to go through your site and index the pages in database. The crawling time can be different for different search engine and you do not have control over the frequency of crawling. What is important here is the crawling errors which need your attention. For example, if you see 500 internal server error then your site was probably down that time or the crawlers could not access the pages. You can check the index coverage issues and resubmit the pages if required.
4. Internal and External Link Details
Google Webmaster Tools shows both internal and external links to your site. Internal links are the links on your site like menus and navigational links from one page of your site to another page. External links are pointing to your site by someone else which are also called as backlinks. This is the most useful information you need to check and make sure you have a good amount of links pointing to your site. Search engines consider the backlinks as a great factor for listing in top of the search results.
5. Search Queries
Search queries section provides a list of the search queries brought traffic to your site. You can analyze every query and the landing pages in detail and optimize the content accordingly to provide better user experience.
There are various other features like indexed pages, Sitelinks and disavow link tools which are specific to one or other Webmaster Tools.
Webmaster Tools for Site Optimization
Creating a website is no more sufficient nowadays and webmasters need various tools to optimize and monitor their site’s performance from various perspectives. As explained, every website owners need to register for a Webmaster Tools account for submitting their site to search engines and monitor the performance of each page and keyword. Webmasters also need various other tools to analyze the site traffic and enhance user interaction.
Here is a list of various article on this site to help webmasters make their site more user and search engine friendly.