Your Google Webmaster account really provides a way of communicating more directly with Google with regards to your site. Please note that this is not a guarantee for getting your website to perform better in the search engines, however, it does give you that slight edge over your competitor who might not know of all the benefits and utilize them to the full.
Here are some of the benefits that you get from setting up a webmaster account:
Your whole site will be spidered (indexed) very quickly. The biggest problem with the method justmyfitness where you get another site to link to you and waiting for the search engine spider to follow the link is often that the search engine spider will come around and just read the first page of your site. It then schedules another visit in a couple of days’ time (if you are lucky). It might then read a couple more pages or might just decide that nothing much is happening on the site and not read any more pages at that point. When you submit the sitemap, you provide all the pages in your site to Google at the same time and it normally indexes the whole site in one go.
You can use your webmaster account to provide additional useful information about your site to Google. For example there has long been a problem with the fact that the same site can be accessed through the ‘www’ version of the url as well as the non-www version – these are really seen as two different sites by Google. In your webmaster account you can now specify which version of the site should be seen as the preferred one, and the other version will be ignored.
You can also associate your site with a specific geographic region, in other words, if you have a .com site you might want to associate it with a specific country so that the .com domain starts showing up in that specific version of Google results.
You can take out specific pages out of the index if you do not want to have them there any more, for example if you have special offers on your site that were only valid for a specific period of time and you do not want these pages to come up in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) any more you can instruct Google to remove them. Of course there is also an option to remove your whole site from the index – please make sure that your webmaster account details never land in the hands of a competitor!
There are other tools available regarding your site as well, for example tools to help you with analyzing your site content. It will show you where Google is finding duplicate content in your meta tags especially the description tags and the title tags. It is important to make sure that these tags are unique since this might help with the way that your site is displayed in the search engines.
There are some other tools and utilities that will also help you track your website performance that will give you a very good idea of exactly what Google thinks of your site and where you can focus on to improve your site’s overall footprint.
Christine Anderssen is the owner of Tailormade4you, a company that offers custom web design, web hosting and Internet Marketing services to businesses in South Africa.