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Master of the Search Universe: Utilizing Google Webmaster Tools

Mar 06, 2017 | by Emma Hanes | Google Analytics
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So you’ve set up Google Analytics for your website and you are carefully analyzing website data to make informed decisions about your digital marketing strategy – great! But your job is far from done. Besides Analytics, Google offers another very important tool to help improve website performance, and you’re probably not using it – Google Webmaster Tools.

In order to use this product, you will first need to verify you actually own the website address. This can be done easily if you bought your domain from domain registrars like GoDaddy or NameCheap; or, it might require a little bit of help from your developer. Once you have verified ownership, the real fun can begin.

Important Components of Google Webmaster Tools 

Search Analytics

Google Search Console shows all of the search queries that led visitors to your website. This information is incredibly valuable because it allows you to understand your users as well as identify strengths and weaknesses in your website’s SEO strategy.

Crawl Errors

Crawl errors are bad for business. These errors tell Google your website is less legitimate, and Google will therefore show your website less often in search results. Crawl errors can be caused by a variety of things, but the most common crawl error is a broken link. This means somewhere on your website there is a hyperlink that doesn’t take the user anywhere when clicked. Errors like this can generally be fixed quickly and easily. Other crawl errors might be a little more involved, but the first step in solving a problem is identifying the problem, and Google Search Console allows does just that.

Accelerated Mobile Pages and Mobile Usability

If you haven’t gotten the memo, mobile is everything. Having a website that performs well on mobile devices is the way of the future. Installing Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP can greatly help your search rankings on mobile and desktop. Google Webmaster Tools analyzes AMP pages on your website and lists any errors preventing the pages from working properly. You can also see how many of your AMP pages have been indexed by Google.

For websites without AMP, it is still crucial to be mobile friendly. Not sure if your website is mobile friendly? You can find out under the “Mobile Usability” tab in Google Search Console. Google identifies problems with your website and suggests ways to improve mobile usability, which will in turn improve your search rankings.

Index Status and Fetch

Possibly the most important tool in Google Search Console is your index status. When Google indexes a web page, it means Google analyzed the content on the page, and then stored that page away for a time when a user’s search query matches the content on the page. If Google has not indexed your webpages, good luck trying to show up in search results.

Not only does Google Search Console show you the number of pages indexed by Google, but it also allows you to resubmit your website - or specific pages - for re-indexing. This allows Google to find new pages on your website or update information about previously indexed pages. You can ask Google to “fetch” your website from the Internet and reanalyze the content for either desktop or mobile versions. You should regularly submit your website for re-indexing – remember, the more indexed pages you have, the better your search engine rankings will be.

Maintaining a successful website takes time and skill. If you need help creating or maintaining your law firm’s website, the digital marketing experts at Stacey E. Burke, P.C. can help. 

Sidebar 1293 180228 staceyburke About Emma Hanes

Emma Hanes has written content for dozens of attorneys and law firms with a variety of different practice areas. Her work has been featured in the Texas Bar Journal, the Top 10 Blog Posts from the Texas Bar Today, and SmallLaw's Pick of the Week.

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