Google is great at giving away valuable things for free. And by “free” I of course mean in exchange for your personal information. I’m OK at this point with giving Google my personal information. They have not shown (to me anyway) that what they are doing with my information is improper. Providing personalized content and targeted advertising doesn’t bother me because I get great value out of Google’s products. And I don’t have to click on the ads (or even look at them, mind you). I can also log out of my account at any time. Poof! Bye-bye personalized content!
But today’s post is not about Google’s Search Plus My World. It’s about a Google product that doesn’t get much airtime but is one that we believe small business owners must take advantage of. This product is Google’s Webmaster Tools.
You’ve heard us talk of the importance of having a website. You may have also read about the basics of website analytics. If so, you know we are huge proponents of business owners collecting and making the best use of the data that is available to them. And Google’s Webmaster Tools is a great source of information about your business website. It’s different from analytics in that it focuses on your site, not the visitors to it.
Here is some of the information you’ll find out about your site by using this product:
- What keywords is your site really targeting?
- What other websites link to yours?
- Which keyword searches are the best source of impressions and clicks for your site?
- Are there any broken links on your site?
- Does Google have a sitemap for your site and how many URLs are indexed?
- How often is your site crawled?
It will even identify potential issues with content on your pages, including duplicate, missing, or problematic title tags or meta descriptions, and broken links.
Obviously these features can help you spot problems with your site. As a website owner, you need this information! Thanks to Google, you can have it for “free.” Just log into your Google account and find Webmaster Tools near the end of your Google products list.