Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) is the primary mechanism for Google to communicate with webmasters. Google Webmaster Tools helps you to identify issues with your site and can even let you know if it has been infected with malware (not something you ever want to see, but if you haven’t spotted it yourself, or had one of your users tweet at you to let you know, it’s invaluable).
- Access to search statistics on Google
- Latest data regarding incoming links and internal links
- Sends notification if your site has any crawl errors (misdirecting) and/or malware (spam, viruses, etc.)
- Shows you keywords you are targeting and how effective they are
- Insights into crawling and indexing activity on the site
- Google Provides Important Information About Your Websites Indexing
Once you set up and verify your webpage in Google Webmaster Tools, you are then able to access a wealth of information. Google provides you access to everything from the last time the Googlebot successfully crawled your homepage to any possible 404 Page Not Found errors.
- Direct XML Sitemap Submission
Google Webmaster Tools allows you to directly submit an XML sitemap to help Google index ALL your websites pages including ones that are deep inside your webpage or possibly new ones that are not indexed yet. Once you have submitted a new sitemap, you can view the status of the submission, see when it was last downloaded by Google and see how many URLs that are included in your sitemap. Remember that Google restricts the sitemap submission to a maximum of 50,000 URL’s per sitemap.
- Key Diagnostic Data About Your Website
Once you are logged into the Webmaster Tools control panel, you can click on the Diagnostics tab where you are presented with a quick snapshot of useful information about your site including Web Crawl data, Content Analysis which lets you know if you have duplicate title tags, meta descriptions or have pages that are missing titles, and Mobile Crawl Errors which allows you can see potential errors encountered by Google’s crawlers while accessing pages on your site created specifically for viewing on mobile phones.
Here you see the sitemaps of your site Google has found and the number of URLs in them. If the sitemap found by Google is different from what you expected it to be, you can submit a new sitemap for Google to use.
Here you can see where your backlinks (internal and external) come from, as well as the pages they are linking to. As with other link checking tools, don’t expect that every single link to your site is displayed but nevertheless this list of backlinks is useful to check from time to time.
- Crawl Errors
The Crawl Errors section shows the errors Google bot encountered on your site. The data you get is like what you get when you use the Spider Simulator and it shows inaccessible pages, missing pages, server errors, and all sorts of problems that prevented Google from correctly crawling your site. You also get some other crawl stats (such as the number of pages crawled a day) that are useful to know.