5 Tips to Improve Website Optimization via Google Webmaster ToolsPosted by oicadmin on 12/05/13
Tags: rich snippets , webmaster tools , markup , keywords , content , google , website optimization
Spanning from SEOs to website developers, many different specialists utilize Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) for website optimization. But before we dive into "GWT", what truly defines "website optimization?"
Many believe website optimization is synonymous with SEO, specifically on-page SEO. But the process of optimizing a website can go much deeper than that.
A complete website optimization campaign will also emphasize website performance (both from a technical and usability perspective) that extends far beyond attaining top rankings in Google. Such considerations will center on how well Google bots access, crawl, and index a website, as well as how a website is interpreted.
So, to embark on your journey into the perplexing platform known as Google Webmaster Tools, let's dive into 5 ways to improve your website optimization efforts using some its features.
Content Keywords: Understanding the Contextual (Keyword) Relevancy of Your Site
Under Google Index, click into content keywords. Here you can get a view of how Google perceives your site from a contextual standpoint. That is, the keywords shown in the list reflect the terms for which your site is most relevant.
This will help you assess how well your on-page SEO efforts are working. If your keyword is "discount luggage sets" but you're lacking relevancy on the word "discount", then perhaps you should create more content (or tweak existing) pages so that they include the word "discount" more frequently in the Page Titles, Meta description, and/or page copy.
HTML Improvements: Essential Insights for Website Optimization
HTML Improvements is a powerful tool for both SEO and website optimization. Found under Search Appearance, HTML Improvements in Google Webmaster Tools will tell you the specific ULRs for your website that have issues with the Page Titles and Meta Descriptions (two very critical elements for SEO.)
Specifically, here you will want to pinpoint any pages on your site that have duplicate Page Titles and Meta Descriptions. Duplication of these content elements will diminish the SEO value of the conflicting pages. And if one of these pages is a 'money page' in which you're trying to get ranking, then it's imperative that you make it unique.
Structured Data: Assessing Effectiveness of Markup
If you're using any structured data markup on your site (i.e. Google Authorship) Structured Data (also found under Search Appearance) will help you determine how effectively it's being applied. If you are using, structured data markup, Google Webmaster Tools will show the specific type of structured data that Google was able to identify on your site. You can also view the specific URLs that contain each type of structured data.
Structured Data Markup Helper: Tag Your Pages for Markup
Interested in structured data markup, but not exactly sure where to begin? Well, the Structured Data Markup Helper tool (under Other Resources) can help with that. In essence, this too enables you tag your site pages with specific markup, given the nature of each page (i.e. article, product, local business.) This will enhance the page's Google search listing with certain rich snippets.
The best part about the Structured Data Markup Helper tool is that you are not required to perform any HTML changes specifically to the website. Through the tool, you can easily highlight and tag the essential data on the page to integrate the necessary markup.
Sitemaps: Optimizing How Your Site Communicates With Google Bots
The Sitemaps section of GWT allows you to view the different types of sitemaps in which you have on your site. In addition to the HTML sitemap, the other important sitemap to have is the XML sitemap. XML sitemaps should be updated and uploaded regularly to your site, especially as fresh content and new pages are added.
In Sitemaps (found under Crawl), you can submit updated XML sitemaps. This will notify Google bots that your site has been revised and is ready for a fresh crawl. Not only does this help accelerate the SEO process, but for website optimization, you can assess data (i.e number of pages indexed vs. number of pages submitted) to ensure your site is being properly crawled and indexed.
If you (or your SEO provider) is not using Google Webmaster Tools, then it's about time to start. It's a powerful platform that offers a wealth of insights as to how well your site is performing from both a technical and contextual perspective.
About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group. Tyler is highly engaged in various aspects of SEO, social media, and content marketing. Feel free to email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net or follow him on Twitter.