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Lesson 14 – Part 2 – Tour Webmaster Tools

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When you have more than one site on Webmaster Tools, it shows you the various sites that you have configured with your account. Right now in this account, I’ve got some Google Apps that are set up but this is the only website I have in this account. If we click on that, it’s going to take us to the diagnostic information for that account.

Diagnostic Information on the Sitemaps

This is a dashboard that is full of data. It says that it has found 1 “Not Found” error or 1 404 error. It has found no pages that are “Not Followed”, it has no instances where access has been denied and there are no instances of 503 errors or soft 404 errors. Essentially, there’s only 1 thing and that is, it has found 1 page that it wasn’t able to reach.

What we’re going to do is take a look at the site configuration. This is your dashboard view but if you go over to site configuration and take a look at sitemaps, it sees two sitemaps. It has the sitemap.xml and videositemap.xml. Sitemap.xml was last processed today, March 15, 2012, in that sitemap 1,890 pages, posts, forum, and videos.

Difference Between Pages Indexed and Pages Submitted

The 1,890 of them have been submitted and Google has chosen to index 1,412. There are 400 or so elements on my site that Google has chosen not to index and it’s telling us that’s the case. The issue may be that it perceives some of these things as duplicate content and it chooses not to index it.

It may be due to videos that we created because when we first submit a video, there’s really very little text on that page to index and there might be a 50-word summary at the beginning of the video but there’s really nothing there for Google to index until we add the transcripts to the pages.

It can be that Google may decide that the 50-word description isn’t sufficiently important to index so it’s very common for you to find that there is a discrepancy between pages indexed and pages submitted.

Video Sitemap Error

The other one is the video sitemap and you can see the same thing exists here. It says that we have 975 videos in our sitemap and it has chosen to index 868 of them. I don’t really know why these two things are different but obviously it has gotten the majority of them. It has perceived one error in the sitemap and theoretically, my staff are supposed to be checking this everyday but apparently there’s a URL issue on Line, 16,134.

Let’s look at byobwebsite.com/videositemap.xml. We have to look at this in a different browser in order for us to really be able to appreciate it. Chrome just shows that is plain text but Internet Explorer’s going to show it as a formatted document. Although it’s not going to give us line numbers but it will display errors sometimes. If you saw any bright red as I scrolled through there, that would have been the place it was.

Generally speaking, it would have been down here close to the bottom because we do add to the sitemap all the time and I don’t see what the error is here but if I had the file with line numbers on it, I’d be able to see it and we would be able to see where this error existed. Having the ability to have your sitemaps checked so that errors don’t prevent content from being indexed is very important and that’s one of the things that this does for you.

Crawler Access

Another thing that you can get out of Google Webmaster Tools is your crawler access, that is, if you want to give very specific instructions to web bots, you can do that here under your robots.txt and you can decide if you want to exclude some things.

If you have progressed to the point where you have sitelinks, for example if you search my site, these are the sitelinks. If I thought for example that widget customization was something that I didn’t want to have in my sitelinks, I could indicate that this was something I didn’t want in the sitelinks, that’s what happens with this.

Links to Your Site

You can also look at your site on the web and for example “Links to your site”, this shouldn’t disturb you too much because this happens from time to time and it’s interesting that you can see this here and it’s showing that there’s no data available.

What happens is that from time to time, Google just loses track of some of its stuff. And for whatever reason, right now it’s showing that there’s no data available for “Links to my site”. Usually, what you’d see is about 14,000 links to the site one way or the other, you can look at those links and you can see what people are linking to.

When that happens, often lots of things fail like no data is available for keywords, no data is available for internal links and no data is available for feed so when this happens, you don’t worry about it, it happens to everybody and it’s not anything you can really do anything about. This is an error on Google’s part and they’ll figure it out and get to fixing on their own.

Google+1 Activities on Your Site

This can also tell you some things about your Google+1 activity if you are actually using Google+1 on your site. We are using Google+1 and I wish lots of people would use it on their site because lately, we’re having a lot of +1s.

If you ever feel like doing that yourself as you are looking at the site and think that something was a value, please feel free to jump on there and +1 it and that’s +1 thing is just right here in the bottom of every post. If you thought that it should be recommended on Google, that’s the thing to do.

Crawl Error Statistics

There’s one other thing I was going to show you. For example, Webmaster Tools has some diagnostic information, like it can tell you whether or not it’s perceiving any malware on your site, it can tell you whether or not there have been any crawl errors on your site. This is the top 1000 pages with crawler errors right there and there’s essentially one small error found.

You can look at your crawling stats to see how often and how much Google crawls your site. You can look at “HTML Suggestions” which is another feature of Webmaster Tools that has failed over here but “HTML Suggestions” would tell you whether or not you had missing meta tags or your duplicate meta tags which is also a very useful piece of information.

Verify Sitemap Is Being Indexed by Google

The main purpose for Webmaster Tools is for you to verify the fact that your sitemaps are being indexed. You can tell what’s in Google’s index and you can tell whether or not there are any errors, that really is its largest function.

I just want to say another thing about that, this is something that you should check regularly. I have staff that is supposed to check this every time they update the video sitemap and the video sitemap gets updated 2 or 3 times a week. Theoretically, Webmaster Tools is supposed to be checked that often and when a problem arises, they’ll spot it fairly quickly.

This crawler 404 errors can be a big deal. From time to time, your permalinks system might not work the way you would expect it to and all of a sudden you get a whole bunch of 404 errors. Sometimes the only way you know that’s happening is if you’ve checked webmaster tools, it’s a very useful resource.

Viewing Webmaster Tools Data From A Different Gmail Account

I’m going to sign out of this and sign back into my other Gmail account. I’m going to see whether or not its other version is reporting an error also in that same place as in webmaster tools.

This is a different Gmail account, this is my original account for BYOB Website. The other one that I looked at is my Google Apps account that I use all the time but was not the original one. It’s showing 871 crawler errors which actually jives with something that we discovered here today when a member reported that they weren’t able to get to a page or a series of pages.

We go to diagnostics and go to crawl errors. We found a bunch of crawl errors in December and it’s only reporting 3 crawl errors right now which is a little more like what I was expecting to see when we’re looking here. It’s not 871 errors today, it is cumulative but it will show you which of these things threw a 404 error. On the 26th of February, it could not find that URL but it’s there now.

Finding and Fixing Errors on the Site with Webmaster Tools

The purpose of this tools is to try and find those kinds of problems and if you have a real problem, to fix it and we have been fixing some of those. Let’s see if our “Links to our site” has information on this one. We have 31,838 links, these are the sources where the majority of the links exist, weightlossselect.com has 3,000 links to our site and most links to content.

For example, build-your-own-ecommerce-website, this sbcacommunity.com has a whole bunch of links to it and a couple of my sites do, smallbusinesscommerceassociation does and sammybright does, this can be a very useful piece of information.

Use of Anchor Texts

How your data is linked for example, here’s the anchor text of links that people have used. These “how to create a matrix of images and”, “build your own ecommerce website”, “tips for business web pages” and “how to move a header up to the top of”, when somebody is linked back to our site, they’ve done so using these pieces of anchor text.

Keywords Evaluation

If we take a look at internal links, you can see that we have roughly a thousand internal links, those are links from one place in our site to another place in our site. If we look at keywords here, this is its evaluation of our keywords. Thesis is the most significant, forum is kind of interesting, byob plugin is pretty high so you can see what Google Webmaster Tools thinks our keywords are.

If we look at Diagnostics and HTML Suggestions, it says, 78 of our pages have duplicate meta descriptions and if we take a look at some of those are advanced. It sees these two things, those are essentially duplicates. For “Learn how to install and configure WordPress on your site”, it’s taking this page one of comments and seeing the first page of comments as being a separate page from this and that it sees these two duplicate things in there.

Importance of Title Tags and Meta Tags

Sometimes, this is useful to find real problems and sometimes it doesn’t really matter. We have so many comments on this page that now it sees these things as two separate pages. Anyway, “Missing title tags” is important, what pages on my site that don’t have a title tag. Actually, that page shouldn’t even be indexed, nothing in our wp-admin should be indexed.

Then we have some things with short meta descriptions like this is a not really a public page, I keep various admin pages here as a note to myself but you can see here “Description coming soon”, we made a note to ourselves to make sure we put a meta tag in there and I just haven’t done it yet. This is the kind of thing that you can discover and that’s Google Webmaster Tools.

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