Using Google's Webmaster Tools

I’ve written recently about how to build search engine friendly sites and how to optimize your sites for Google. Today’s article is going to cover a new set of tools Google has recently released that will allow you to upload your sitemap to Google, get some good information from Google and collect some interesting stats about your site.


There are a few reasons these tools can be useful. First, the tools let you upload your sitemap directly to Google. Second, the tools allow you to verify that you are the owner of the site. This tells them that you are a legitimate webmaster, not just someone who is trying to spam them with 1000’s of sites. Third, there are some very valuable tools and stats in here that can give you some insight into your site. Using these tools is no guarantee that you will get better rankings, but in my eyes they can only help you. When dealing with search engines knowledge is power and these tools really give you some great knowledge. 


You will need a free Google account to use these tools. Simply go to Google and click on the link to get a free account. If you already have GMail or any other Google account that username and password will work. Once you have your account you can go into the tools section and locate the link to webmaster tools. 

Now you are in the Google Webmaster Tools area. Here you can add a new site simply by putting the site’s main url in the box in the upper left hand corner and hitting add. Now that your site is in listed we can play around a little bit.


A sitemap is the tool that Google (and other SE’s) will use to index your site. It is an XML file that lists all of your site’s URLs and when they were lasted updated/added to the site. Google will periodically scan your sitemap for any changes that may have been made to it.

Before you can upload your sitemap you need to create one. There are basically two ways to do this. You can either code it yourself or you can use a sitemap generating tool. I personally don’t like coding them myself simply because it is time consuming and I could easily make a typo that could cost me in the rankings. There are many sitemap generators out there. I personally use XML Sitemaps. It is free and easy to use. It is limited to sites that are 500 pages or less so if you have a massive site with more than 500 pages you will have to go looking for a better sitemap generator. This program simply scans your site, logs all of your urls and then creates a XML sitemap for you. All you have to do is upload it to your site.

To add your sitemap in Google Tool simply click on the sitemap tab and put in the url of the sitemap on your site. It is best to keep it in the basic root of directory. For example. If your site is in a subfolder like then put it in that folder


Now that you have your site listed and your sitemap has been created and uploaded you need to verify your site. This tells Google. That you are the actual owner of the site and you are no a scammer/spammer who is trying flood them with bad sites. There are a couple of quick and easy ways to do this. All you need to do is click on the link at the top of the page that says “dashboard”. Next to your site name you will see a link that says “verify”. Just click that and follow the direction. 


It may take a couple of days for your site to be crawled and indexed into the system. Once this has been done the tools will start to gather some interesting information for you. First if you click on your site name at the dashboard you will be taken to a diagnostics page. This page will tell you when the site was last crawled and if it found any errors. I actually have caught several problems on my sites with 404 pages where I had made typos in so this page is a really nice way to check and make sure all of your links and pages on your site work and are reachable by the Googlebot. 

If you click on the statistics tab you will be taken to a page that shows your sites current Pagerank. Click on the query link and you will see something that might just open up your eyes. There will be a list off the search terms that people have used to find your site. Next to those terms is a number which represents the average rank you have had for those terms. This is a very valuable tool because it shows exactly what people are typing in when they find your site. If you see some people using words and phrases that you didn’t really optimize for then you can start tweaking your site some to help better compete for those keywords and increase your traffic.

Clicking on the page analysis link will show you a list of keywords and how often they appear on your site. The words shown at the top of the list appear most often and decrease as they go down the list. This is another great tool because it allows you to see exactly how Google is reading your site and what words it is relying on for your rankings. If you want to rank high for certain keywords and you notice those words are near the bottom of your list, you can work on increasing the usage of them in your site.

The last tool I use a lot is the links option. This will show you how many links are pointing to your site and what pages on your site they are pointing to. If you are trying to optimize your site for different keywords this is a great tool to use. If you have different pages focused on different keywords you will want to get some incoming links to those pages and this tool will help you see if you have those links and where they are coming from.

Using the Google Webmaster Tools doesn’t mean you will get better rankings or that you will get more traffic from Google, but it will make sure that your site is seen by Google and, more importantly, you get to see your site through Google’s eyes so you can see how to improve it for better results.

If you spend a little time with the tools you will probably see pretty quickly how valuable they can be to you. Best of all they are free.

Here are some past articles I have written that are related to this topic and you might find of interest.

Search Engine Friendly Sites 
Tips to Improve Your Google Ranking 
Using Images Searches to Get Traffic


Reader Comments: (1 posts)

Voncile says:
Good job making it apeapr easy.
October 29th, 2011
at 9:00am EST
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