Google webmaster tools offers a great snapshot of how Google sees your site, which is essential information for the success of you online assets.
When you first log into webmaster tools, you see the obvious dashboard and stats about your site. Yet there are some important features hidden within the left hand menu that you should understand and use. Below is a selection of the important ones that should be checked constantly.
The underlying strength of webmaster tools is that it gives you information about your site in Google’s eyes, and one of the most important elements is the fact that Google will message you here if it sees a problem. If Google sends you a message, it should be a priority to fix. Google will also send you an email notification if it sends you a message, but it should be at least a weekly job to log in and check to ensure you haven’t missed anything from Google.
2/ Manual Action
If your site is suffering from a manual penalty you will be notified here. Google is in a constant battle trying to provide relevant good sources of information, while also filtering out websites that try and cheat the system to get higher ranks. Black Hat SEO, as it’s often referred to , eventually lead to a manual action sooner or later. If a new client comes to me talking of ranks disappearing, the first thing I check is this section of webmaster tools, because if you do have a notice, your site will be sandboxed and will be invisible to organic searches. The best way to avoid this is to use the services of a reputable SEO consultant like us here at SEOcycle. If you think you may be affected, contact us today for advice on how to fix the manual action notice.
3/ Mobile Usability
The Google algorithm has evolved, and people’s viewing habits have evolved and moved away from desktop viewing to predominantly mobile devices. In order to provide the best experiences for searches, Google now takes into account the device the searcher is using to determine what the best site for their query is. In the case of mobile users, a website that adjusts to various screen sizes, i.e. is mobile friendly, will rank higher than a site that doesn’t, and the best way to determine if your site is mobile compatible is to use this option. Google will mention issues it sees as not being mobile compatible, and what should be fixed. Any issues listed in this section could affect your site’s visibility to mobile users. Mobile users are growing in number at a fast rate and often account for over 50% of web search traffic, so ignore it at your peril.
4/ Security Issues
The internet can be a dangerous place and part of the Google charter is to provide results that are not only relevant but safe. Google scans sites to look for malicious code that might affect its users, and if it sees anything out of place will notify you that your site may have been hacked. Initially this will result in a notification in your SERP result saying “This site may have be Hacked”, which will obviously affect your click through rates and ranks. If left, your rank will drop or even be removed by Google if it feels the site is of particular hazard to its users.
As part of our SEO consultant services here at SEOcycle, we constantly monitor webmaster tools activity for clients. It should be part of you weekly routine; you wouldn’t fail to check the lock on your house when unattended, so why do the same with your online property?