Webmaster Tools: Your site on the web

24 June 09 , ,

Under “Your site on the web” on the left side of the Google Webmaster Tools page, you’ll see several options. Let’s take a closer look at each. (Read about accessing Webmaster Tools.)

Top search queries

On the top of the page there are three pull-down menus allowing you to specify a few parameters: search type, geographic location, and time. The time is the most useful one to adjust—I recommend looking at the previous month.

Search queries list parameters

Specify search type, location, and time

The left pane shows you top search queries for which your site was listed, and your site’s ranking, or position, in that search. The rankings may change day to day, or even depending on geographic location.

On the right you’ll see the search queries for which people actually clicked through to your site from the search results. In other words, people who searched on something, thought your site might have been what they were looking for, and clicked through.

Links to your site

On the first tab on this page, you can get a fairly comprehensive list of pages on the web that link to pages on your site. Whereas Analytics shows you pages from which visitors to your site actually originated, Webmaster Tools lists all the links Google knows about. You can type in a specific page—for example, a single blog post—or leave the field blank to get all external links to your homepage.

Also interesting is the second tab “Anchor text”—which shows you what text people are using to link to your site. I’m always telling clients to use useful, informative text as the link text, and this is why! Google keeps track and uses it to develop search rankings. Words like “here,” “website,” and “more” will likely appear in your list—and they’re quite unhelpful.

Keywords

Pretty self-explanatory. These are the words that appear most commonly on your site. If you run a blog, some should correspond to the tags or categories you use.

Internal links

Here you can get all the information links within your site. It might be useful to see what blog posts you have referred back to most often, or what pages have a link to your contact page.

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