We’re sure you’ve heard the news. Google has been making a lot of changes recently to their algorithm, searches, and link schemes. Last week’s change was a way to make searches more secure for the end users but sent marketers and SEOs into a panic. In reality, as Chris pointed out, it’s not a reason to panic at all, but it will change the way you work with keyword data. Enter Google Webmaster Tools.
If you haven’t already setup Google Webmaster Tools, there are many reasons why you should. Besides the well-known access to your search queries, it will also give you access to crawl errors, warning of possible malware infections on your site, and even a list of links to your site from others. There’s quite a bit more information, but first, let’s take a look at how to get it all up and running.
You will want to go to Google Webmaster Tools. If you are logged into a Google account already you will see a bright red button, Add a Site. Click on that button and a pop-up window should appear. Enter your site address in the field that appears.
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Next Google is going to ask you to verify your ownership of the domain by one of five ways. The best way is to download the offered html file and upload it to your server or have your IT/tech geek on staff do so.
If your IT department is squeamish about allowing anyone to mess around with the server, refuses to put the file up, or drags their feet, you have a few other options. Of the four, the middle two are the ones that are most likely things that you can easily get access to.
If you choose to do this via your domain name provider (like Namecheap, GoDaddy, etc.), you can sign into your account and it should walk you through the rest of the process from there. It does vary from provider to provider so we can’t accurately detail what the instructions will be from this point on.
If you use Google Analytics to verify, you will need to have administrator privileges (and you should have this for PR and marketing purposes already) to your company’s Google Analytics account.
Once you have access, the following should appear on your screen. Click on your domain and ta-da: data at your fingertips.
We’ll leave it up to you what to do with what you find there but at the very least make sure you bring the errors to your IT department’s attention and ask them to repair. Dig around in the search query data and learn about what information you have in your possession now and begin to educate yourself on it’s importance.
While Webmaster Tools was always a fantastic addition to your toolbox, it’s now more important than ever. Do you have Webmaster Tools set up? What’s the most important feature you’ve found for your business there? Let us know in the comments below.
Senior Marketing Analyst