What matters for google rankings (SERPs)

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-image left","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":"google webmaster tools"}}]]Every webmaster (at least that I know of) wants to know how the search engines see and evaluate their websites ... especially how Google sees them. Google webmaster tools was created with this concern in mind.

Anyone who has used them knows how important tools those are; You can see information Google collects about your websites, see what matters for their index and it includes also tools that you can use to help Google "see" (crawl) your sites easier.

The tools were recently updated (1 1/2 month ago I realized the changes) and they contain even more useful stuff for anyone that owns a site ... I am going to give a brief description of the most important things one can find when visiting the tools ...

Keep in mind, that in order to take advantage of all the features you have to have a Google account (gmail possibly) and verify that you are indeed in control of the site and can administer it.

Webmaster tools is devided in 5 sections: Diagnostics, Statistics, Links, Sitemaps, and Tools

Diagnostics
Here you can find errors and problems encountered by Google's crawlers while accessing pages on your site. It can be very useful to know what pages Google hasn't been able to see. You can thus go and correct the errors and the next time a crawlers passes by that page can actually search through your wonderful content.

Statistics

  • Top search queries See which google search queries returned snippets of content from your site (with a link to your site), and which of them were clicked. The keywords for which your site was visited for can be found with any decent statistics package out there (ie Analytics) but the list of Ranks your site holds is very helpful in knowing if your optimization methods have paid of and which have not ...

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":"top search queries"}}]]

  • Crawl stats gives a rough indication of the pagerank distributed among your site's pages. Not an exact pagerank is given but presumably the "low pagerank" indicates pagerank from 0to 4 or 5, "medium pagerank" indicates 4 or 5 to 7 and "high pagerank" from 8 to 10 (I would appreciate any different opinions on this assumption)
  • What googlebot sees is almost self explanatory. It lets you know what anchor texts googlebot has encountered that are pointing to your site but also what keywords it encountered in your sites contents.

Links

  • Pages with external links is reporting all the links that Google has encountered that point to your site. Where exactly those links exist, which pages they point to and when those were discovered is also reveal to us.
  • Pages with internal links can help you understand how visible are the internal pages to your site. All the links to internal pages from other pages within the site are revealed.

Sitemaps
Here you can add a sitemap for your site. The purpose of the sitemap is to help googlebot crawl all your pages. This is especially useful for sites with lots of internal pages that their internal linking is not very efficient.

One can submit a list of all the pages urls in a .txt format but also a more sofisticated .xml map with additional details of the frequency each page should ideally be crawled.

Tools

Here a one can find some tools that could be very handy to a webmaster. See whether your robots.txt file blocks specific URLs or even googlebot itself. Advise Google to associate a particular geographic location with this site if you are targeting users within that area. Enable Google's enhanced search for images on your site. See all verified owners of this site, and optionally reverify them. See statistics about how often Google crawls your site, and optionally adjust that speed if desired. Associate a preferred domain with a site, to always or never show the leading "www." in Google's search results. And last but not least remove content from the Google index that was wrongfully crawled or has no value.

From all these its pretty obvious that google does indeed value links and anchor texts a lot. But this is not some new knowledge, webmasters have known this for some time now. The good thing is that Google FINALLY lets webmasters know about it and also helps them understand how well their sites are doing and helps them improve them and correct problems that might arise.

For more information on the tools Google you can refer to the help for webmasters or at the dedicated blog.

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13 Comments

Some of the new data they give you is really more useful than even Google Analytics. The webmaster console is a fantastic tool. Unfortunately, it's shown me a problem with my wordpress database that I haven't figured out how to solve yet ... a few pages are coming up when I browse the site, but are returning 404 errors when anyone who isn't logged in tries to get to them. I don't log out of my blog to test it, so without the Webmaster Tools, I wouldn't even know about this.

The google webmaster tools are a must have for all webmasters because it informs us about all problem with the google bot.

In my opinion page rank is important. It helps the viewers see the page stat of the website. At the same time, it helps the page viewer evaluate the page by himself

I agree but I am concerned Google is going to use Webmaster tools for other purposes

When all is said and done, everything boils down to trust. And trust is measured in a large measure by what value a site or those who maintain a site give to their visitors. That's what differentiates long term and short term ranking.

Google Webmaster tools is an assessment of one's site in the eyes of Google. Though it does not give definite answers on how to rank on top of Google, it provides a peek on what Google considers as important for any site.

If you manage many domains for SEO purposes should you group them into 1 account

Well SEO wise it does not make any difference, group them in a way that feels more comfortable

My concern is that is site a->b links then if they are in same console they will devalue link

Yes, webmaster tools are important.
Can give you good ideas on SEO.

Google has some very clever product offerings, one has to be wary about what Google could do with this information

but results don't depend on the algorithms used by google to classify websites? so this webmaters tools just show you the way that Google is classifying your website in relation with other websites?