Seven ways to Analyze SEO with Google Webmaster Tools
1. The Best Keyword Data (Not Provided) Alternative
Following recent Google updates, marketers can no longer see all of the keywords driving organic traffic in Google Analytics. You can still access some keyword data using Webmaster Tools, although it’s not as comprehensive as before. Under “Search Traffic” and “Search Queries” you can see a keyword report, showing impressions, clicks, average ranking positions, and more. Monitoring these keywords over time will help you see where to refine your content and how to improve your keyword strategy.
2. Pinpoint Your Site’s Broken Pages
When visitors to your site cannot access certain pages, you’re bound to lose some valuable traffic and potential customers – they’ll simply find another site to navigate to. In this scenario, all your SEO work and content means nothing, so it’s vital to fix these errors as soon as you can. Under the “Crawl Errors” tab, you’ll find data from the last 90 days about which pages returned an HTTP error and which ones Googlebot had trouble crawling. You can then fix any issues to ensure every visitor has full access to your site.
3. Use the Disavow Tool
Sometimes your site may be penalized by Google even when you don’t intentionally do anything wrong. In these cases, you need to remove these penalties as soon as possible to get your site back on track and recover your page rankings. Access the disavow tool, look for poor-quality links and then request that Google remove them. Google will them treat these links as “nofollow” links.
4. Analyze Your Link Profile
Webmaster Tools can give you some valuable data on all your backlinks. Under “Search Traffic” you’ll find “Links to Your Site” which will show you all the websites that link to your site. If you have a huge website, it may not list all the links, but for smaller websites all the links will be shown. You can even download the list of the URLs for reference.
5. Check Your Site Speed
Since the Hummingbird update, site speed has become an important part of SEO. Using PageSpeed Insights, you can find out how long your web site content takes to load. Improving your page load times is key to improving the user experience and getting more visitors to stay on your site. To access this tool, in the “Crawl” menu click on “Other Resources” and then the “PageSpeed Insights” link. Insert your URL and click “Analyze.” You can then use the suggestions to improve your page load times.
6. Enable Email Notifications from Google
In the Webmaster Tools preferences menu, click on “Enable email notifications.” You can then select the specific issues you want to be alerted about. If you are penalized by Google, or there are any other issues with your site, Google will email you immediately. This is a simple way to give yourself peace of mind while you are focusing on other SEO tasks.
7. Use the HTML Improvements Report
Under “Search Appearance” you’ll find “HTML Improvements.” This gives you a breakdown of any problems concerning your site’s title tags, meta descriptions, and other problems Google encountered while indexing your site. For example, you can find out if you have duplicate title tags and meta descriptions, helping you to make important changes that will boost your SEO power.
It can take a while to get to grips with Google Webmaster Tools, but if you use these suggestions you can ensure you are maximizing your SEO efforts and building a website that performs better in search engine results pages.
by Chris Reid