Google offers many free tools to site owners and webmaster to help them with their websites.
Some will argue that giving over your site to Google puts you at risk because Google would have access to all your data. And while it is true that Google technically would have this access we have seen no evidence thus far to show that Google is doing anything malicious with the data they store on their servers about your website.
That being said, if you are worried about Google having access to your data then this tool isn’t for you. I’m talking about Google Webmaster Tools.
This tool has been around for a few years now. We started using it when it first came out and have found it to be very useful in identifying potential site problems.
Over the years Google has made continued changes to the tool and even added enhancements such as a simple ranking report, a site health report and even the ability to remove URLs from Google search results.
How do I get Webmaster Tools for My Site?
First you need to go to the Google Webmaster Tools website. Signing up is easy, especially if you already have a Google account.
From there you simply add the site or sites you would like to monitor. To get more detailed data about your sites you need to verify that you are the owner. You do this by uploading a small HTML file to your website. Alternatively you can add an HTML tag to your home page, confirm via your Google Analytics account if you have one, or add a DNS record to your web hosts DNS.
Once you have verified your site you will gain access to many useful reports such as crawl errors, server issues, site speed issues and so on.
You can (and should) also submit a sitemap file of all your site’s pages so that Google can more easily find the pages. This will save you time and bandwidth as Google will more readily know of all the pages on your site.
Google even provides suggestions for things like HTML improvements (IE if you have duplicate meta tags for example), a list of search queries where your site has been displayed in the search results along with the average rank of your site for that search, links to your site (both internal and external) and even if they have detected malware on your site.
So if you are looking for a way to improve your Google rankings, may we suggest signing up for this free tool? You may be surprised at what Google already knows about your site and what suggestions, if any, it will provide to help your site perform even better in its search results