Google – as everyone knows – is the most popular Search Engine in the contemporary times. To be precise, it is also the most relevant entity for conducting any kind of SEO campaigning. In the given circumstance, it is obvious that Google requires interacting with the webmasters. There is a particular tool that the Search Engine giant uses for this purpose, known as the Google Webmaster Tool (GWT).
- GWT helps professionals to sort out adverse issues with Google, pending for a website.
- It also informs when a site gets infected with malware. (However, no one wants the malware issue to crop up, but that is something different.)
- The tool along with its efficient service comes for free. All one requires doing is setting up a GWT account on the Google website.
Here are some of its crucial features.
Verification – Google does not allow anyone to access any data provided by the Webmaster Tool, without proper authentication. Thus, professionals seeking information from the GWT have to undergo a robust verification process.
There are five such methods, out of which one has to avail one as per the individual’s choice. These include
i. HTML file upload
ii. HTML tag
iii. Domain Name Provider
iv. Google Analytics and
v. Google tag manager
HTML file upload – Google provides with especially named file that require to be dropped into the root directory of the concerned website. After undergoing this necessary step, one requires clicking the ‘Verify’ button to access data from GWT.
HTML tag – In this option, one is provided with especial meta tag. This requires to be inserted into the head of the concerned site’s homepage.
Domain Name Provider – On selecting this option from the dropdown list, Google provides a step-by-step method to undergo the verification test successfully.
Google Analytics – This involves using Google account and asynchronous tracking mode and as such, it is somewhat complicated.
Google Tag Manager – In this option, one can use the GTM to provide authentication to access the sensitive information.
Once the verification process is over, one can log into the webmaster tool and have access to the necessary information.
The screen that one encounters after successfully going through the verification process is the Dashboard.
The dashboard displays any message that Google likes to reiterate to the site owner. Some of the common messages, in this context, are
- Pages have been infected with malware
- The Search Engine has detected large number of pages on the website and
- WordPress installation requires an immediate updating, etc.
Interestingly, all messages that are posted here by Google do not indicate any negative occurrence.
Suppose, there is a (dot).com site hosted in Kolkata, but it is targeting customers in the USA. There is nothing much for Google to understand this. The site setting tab is helpful in such occasions. It helps to set the geographical periphery on the USA and Google is then capable to understand the intention of the site owner.
It also helps website to set their preferred domains. Online searches can facilitate with or without mentioning WWW (which stands for World Wide Web) with the URL. However, most commercial websites possess canonical tags, which rules out this setting here.
The Crawl Rate option allows to slowdown the crawling rate of the Google spider.
Change of address
A website may, for various reasons, may decide to migrate into a new domain. In such circumstances, this change of address requires to be updated with Google. This is the option where such necessary information can be provided to the Search Engine.
In fact, after implementing the 301 redirect and after verifying the new site on the Google webmaster tool, one has to return to this option and update Google about the development. As such, Google can detect this on its own. But that is a lengthy process.
There are several factors relevant to the topic in hand. Because of limited space, as provided here, those topics will be discussed some other time.