SEO Consultants rely on a myriad of tools to analyze and measure the performance of their client’s websites. As far as the cost of these tools, well, they run the gamut from being free to quite expensive. As far as the free ones, many are worth exactly what you pay for them, unless you “upgrade”. Not in the case of Google Webmaster Tools. In a previous article, we talked a little bit about Google Analytics and how it is a great tool for measuring traffic, determining its source and finding out what kind of content it is drawn to. SEO Consultants can take their analysis a step further with Google Webmaster Tools. There are too many features to adequately do them all justice in a single blog post, so we will concentrate on a few tools that will help you optimize your site for your chosen keywords. But to summarize, following is a partial list of tools you can utilize in your account.
Webmaster Tools allows you to:
- Submit your sitemap
- See the external links to your site’s pages
- See the internal links to your pages
- See your most linked to content
- See what Keywords have significance on your site
- Check the Index Status of your site
- See the Keywords your pages show for in SERPs and the click through rates
- Check for Crawl Errors and Blocked URLs
- Check or generate a robots.txt file
- And more!
With all of these wonderful tools, probably the most useful, in my humble opinion, are the ones that help you to optimize your site for the keywords that you want to rank for. So, let’s take a look at how to determine if you are on the right track with your SEO and if your SEO Consultant is worth his or her weight in gold.
SEO Consultants Rely On These Tools
Content Keywords is a great tool for finding out what Keywords hold the most relevance for your site. This tells you if your content creation for the keywords you are trying to rank for are on target. For instance, when I checked the keywords for this website, I found that “marketing” has a 100% Significance and “SEO” has a 54% Significance. “Conversion”, on the other hand, only has a 6% Significance. This tells me that for those keywords, I am on track for the keyword “marketing” as well as the keyword “SEO”, although I may want to create more content focusing on SEO if I want to pursue higher SERP rankings for that keyword. And if I want to rank for “conversion”, I really need to step up my content creation for that keyword as well.
To access Content Keywords, after logging into your account, click Google Index and then click Content Keywords. You will see a list of keywords for your site listed in descending order of Significance, and a line bar showing the level of Significance from 1 to 100%. Place your cursor over the bar to display the numeric result.
Search Queries provides some valuable information about the keywords your site is showing up for on the SERPs, as well as the number of Impressions, number of Clicks, the Click Through Rate (CTR) and your Average Position for that keyword in the search engine results. Some important insights that this provides are:
- What keywords your site is showing up for and how often. If the keywords you are optimizing for are not showing up or not very often, perhaps you need to do some keyword analysis. Is there enough traffic to generate significant impressions? If so, you may need to re-look at your SEO efforts. Conversely, you may find some keywords that you weren’t intentionally pursuing are generating a lot of Impressions and you may want to focus new content on those keywords.
- The number of Clicks and CTR will tell you how compelling and relevant your Snippets are to the search queries. If you are getting a lot of impressions but very few clicks, perhaps you need to re-write (or write) your meta description so that the content is more likely to induce someone searching for that keyword to click on your link.
- Average Position is the Big Kahuna that will affect how often your keywords are showing up and the CTR. First, it shows you on average what ranking your targeted keywords are showing up for in the search engine results. If it is not as low as you would like, obviously some optimization needs to be done. If you have a high AP (1 being the lowest) for a given keyword, it may explain why you are not getting many impressions. Keyword analysis will determine if there is sufficient traffic for that keyword to merit optimization for higher ranking. The number of Clicks will also be influenced by the AP; if a significant number of impressions are not resulting in a decent CTR, it is far more relevant to your SEO if your AP is on the first page than if it is on subsequent pages. Finding out why they are not clicking on your page 1 search result would be a top priority.
You can access Search Queries by clicking on Search Traffic and then clicking Search Queries. You will see a nice chart showing all of the queries, impressions, clicks, CTR, and Average Positions for your keywords. There is also a nice graph that will show you the daily impressions and clicks.
Links to Your Site provides some great and useful insight about who is linking to your pages. By visiting this tool, you can find out:
- Who is linking to your site and with how many links
- Which pages on your site are most linked to and with how many links
- What anchor text is being used for linking to your site
Who is linking to your site is very important to monitor to make sure that the majority of your links are high quality links from relevant sites, and that very few are non-relevant spammy links. Your link profile is very important in Google’s assessment of your sites Authority, and plays a large part in its search engine ranking. Try to eliminate the really bad ones if you can, such as a link from a porn site (porn sites always get picked on). You can look for contact info on their site and politely request that the webmaster remove their link to your site. If that fails, you can use the Webmaster Disavow Links Tool. This basically tells Google which incoming links you do not endorse and wish Google to pay no mind to. It is really a tactic of last resort, as there is no guarantee that Google will cede to your wishes. But take heart! Every site has a least a few bad apple links and as long as you are building links the White Hat way, it really shouldn’t hurt you too much to have a few black sheep.
Which pages are being linked to and with how many links can give you valuable information about the popularity of your Content. This will tell you what your traffic or readers have found valuable enough to link to, and an indication of what they want to read in the future. If all of your articles on “Mobile Marketing” are showing up as the most linked to pages, you may want to provide more articles on or related to Mobile Marketing, perhaps even updating the linked to article to make them even more valuable as a resource.
The Anchor Text that is being used with the links to your site is another valuable source of information. It does not give you all of the information that you need, but is a good starting point. It merely tells you what text is being used to link to your site, not the distribution or percentages of the types of anchor texts that are being used. The main thing is Google does not want to see an unnaturally high percentage of the anchor texts as exact match keywords. That points to link building, which is a no-no. But you do want some of the links to provide relevant keywords for ranking in the anchor text, but the exact distribution is open for debate. Here is a sample distribution of anchor text:
- Exact Match Keyword 20%
- Phrase Match 20%
- Brand Name 20%
- URL 20%
- Other 20%
Opinions vary among SEO Consultants. There are several link testing tools out there that will give you the breakdown so that you can make sure that your Anchor Test Profile is Google friendly. To find Links to Your Site, click Search Traffic and then Links to Your Site.
Is Your SEO Consultant Using Webmaster Tools?
So in conclusion, Google Webmaster Tools is a great free tool that SEO Consultants rely on to help optimize websites for keyword ranking. As with all tools, the value is in the eye and the skill set of the beholder. If you would like to work with an SEO Consultant that can help you optimize your website using all of the Google Tools at his disposal, please call Moore Marketing Systems or schedule a free 30 minute consultation.