Sep 18 2007

Are You Using Google Webmaster Tools?

Published by at 1:55 pm under General,Google Analytics,Google Webmaster

Back in February, I wrote about Google Webmaster Tools. There have been some new services added since, so I thought it might be time to revisit this excellent resource.

Assuming you have a Google account, probably the best spot to start is Webmaster Central.

Google Webmaster Central

From here you find links to funky tools and applications like Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Gadgets, Custom Search, Developer Tools, Google Webmaster Blog, and even a link to submit your site to Google Search (handy for when you first set up your blog).

How to set up Google Webmaster Tools for your Site or Blog

It’s a pretty quick process. Firstly you head to Google Webmaster Tools (and sign in to your Google account, if you’re not already signed in).

Next you need to add your site

Add Site to Google Webmaster Tools

You will then get a message saying that the next step is to verify your website. Click on that link and you will get a page telling you your site is not verified and presenting two ways to verify it.

Verify your site

One option is to upload an HTML file, the other is to add a meta tag. I found this second option to be pretty easy. I just copied the code that was presented, and pasted it in my header template, as per Google’s instructions. (To do this in WordPress, I went to Presentation / Theme Editor and edited my Header.php file).

Meta Tag Example

Once you’ve pasted this code in, you can click on the “verify now” button, and assuming you’ve added the code correctly, you will now have access to the range of Webmaster Tools. Of course, you’ll have to wait a couple of days, if not a bit longer, for all the data to show up.

What’s so Good about Webmaster Tools?

I’m glad you asked :) . Webmaster Tools provide access to the following:


This section tells you if there are errors in pages on your site. For example, I sometimes forget to put an http:// in front of hyperlinks. When you do that, the assumption is that the linked url is on your website. While you should always check links when you post them, sometimes it’s easy to forget. This is illustrated below:

Google Webmaster Tools Diagnostic

The diagnostic section also shows URLs that are being excluded from being crawled, and URLs that could not be reached.


  • Top Search Queries – these are search queries that return pages from your site and your average position
  • Top Search Query Clicks – search queries that directed traffic to your site and your average position
  • How Googlebot sees your site – such as the anchor text people are using to link to you (e.g. some of the popular ones for here are “Meg”, “Dipping into the Blogpond” and “Blogpond”), popular terms in your site’s content, crawl statistics and links to “advanced” Google searches like “site:”, “link:” and “info:”
  • NEW Subscriber Stats – which shows how many readers have subscribed to your feed in igoogle, Google Reader and Orkut. This is handy if you have, say, and don’t burn through a service like FeedBurner.


  • External pages that link to you
  • Pages on your site with internal links


You can upload a sitemap here.


  • Analyse your robots.txt
  • Enable enhanced images
  • Manage your site verification
  • Set crawl rate (you can slow down how often your site is crawled)
  • Set preferred domain (e.g. to take out the “www” from Google search results
  • Remove URLs from being indexed

It really is pretty simple to get Webmaster Tools up and running, and I find that I visit once or twice a week to make sure all is in order.

Are you using Webmaster Tools? Do you find it beneficial? What’s your favourite function?

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Are You Using Google Webmaster Tools?”

  1. Christine Parfitton 18 Sep 2007 at 2:33 pm

    I look at it about once a month. I’m not currently finding it beneficial but I think it’s because I haven’t taken the time yet to figure out what I’m going to do with the information. I like looking at the stats but stats are pointless unless you take some action hence the “not beneficial” comment. My fault probably rather than the tools.

  2. Neeravon 18 Sep 2007 at 4:18 pm

    FYI the new subscriber stats are really inaccurate at the moment

  3. Megon 18 Sep 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Hi Christine – well that’s a fair enough comment!

    Neerav – what makes you say that?

  4. Snoskredon 18 Sep 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Ja, I use it, to be honest I am scared of it really. :)

    I don’t know why but I also am not sure what to do with it. 😉


  5. Johon 18 Sep 2007 at 7:35 pm

    I check it out occasionally, not sure what it all means, but it’s all part of my learning about blogging.

  6. Jayneon 18 Sep 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Still learning my way around it and my blog,so all these tips help,thanks!

  7. Peter McCartneyon 19 Sep 2007 at 3:26 am

    Silly question. Where do I edit my robots.txt and where is it?

    Regards Peter

  8. Slevion 19 Sep 2007 at 6:09 am

    Every now and then I give it a check although I’m not busy with it too much I should say.

  9. Megon 19 Sep 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Peter

    No such thing as a “silly question”. I’m not really up to scratch on the blogger platform & it appears as if you can’t edit the robots.txt file anyway. Your robots.txt is at

    I found a post that seems quite informative at

    Snoskred – nothing to be scared of.

    Joh – damn, this didn’t help?

    Jayne – glad it helped a bit.

    Slevi – it’s not something to spend too much time on.

    Thanks for your comments :)

  10. Johon 19 Sep 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Meg,
    Your article has helped me actually. I have learnt what the errors mean. I just don’t really know how to fix them and there are heaps!

  11. Megon 19 Sep 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Hey Joh

    Feel free to email me with some samples & I’ll have a go at an explanation!

  12. Johon 19 Sep 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks Meg, You are amazing! Can I take a raincheck until next week – school holidays – I can think and breathe again:-)

  13. Megon 19 Sep 2007 at 6:52 pm


    Absolutely :)

  14. Megon 04 Oct 2007 at 11:50 am

    Search Engine Journal has a great post about this.

  15. […] I wrote about Google Webmaster Tools and many of the responses were centred around “yes, but I’m not really sure what do […]