If you are just starting off with your website or even if your site has been in place for a while then it is important to tell Google that you exist and also when and if you are changing content. . The easiest and quickest way to do this is using the Google Webmaster website. This is a free site provided by Google to allow you upload details about your site and also for providing a relatively rich set of information about your website. The initial step is to create a sitemap for your site. If you install the Google Sitemaps plugin you can create a sitemap for your site then look at the other features of the site.
- Site configuration – It allows you to upload a sitemap (an XML file that you can create or auto create) which shows the current structure of your website. A Sitemap is an important piece of information as it basically tells Google – here I am – If you website does not get a lot of traffic you should keep this sitemap up to date. WordPress provides many plugins to auto generate sitemaps as you add posts and pages to your site. I use Google Sitemaps as it is the easiest to use and configure and can be set up easily. Once installed you wont have to worry anymore about your sitemap. Whether your site be a small one or large it sis good practice to have a sitemap
- Your site on the web – This feature shows what search terms are being used to find for your site and information on links to your site. The links information is not meant to be exact but gives you some indication of traffic.
- +1 Metrics – This shows if your site got some Google +1 activity.
- Diagnostics – The Google Webmaster tool also checks to see if there are any broken links or pages on your site and shows you the offending pages.
- Labs – Currently there is site preview which is a search feature showing an image of your site and site performance which shows the loading time of your site and Video sitemap.
Commentary on Google Webmasters
It is well worth exploring this site and playing around with it. You need a Gmail account (this can be used again for many of the other tools that are available within Google) and once you access it and setup your site you will get a richer picture of your site. For instance I looked at a site today and saw that it was showing up in search for the Keyword Ford pretty often although this wasn’t the focus of the site. I plan to go back and do some optimisation on the site with this keyword and see if I can improve the traffic for the actual focus of the site.
The site itself is really only a guide but a useful one with Analytics to show if your site is getting traffic and is configured correctly. The fact that it is free is also great and as with Analytics recently newer and richer features such as those in Labs