Webmaster Tools Tutorial: T Time With With Tillison

By | August 24, 2019


Google Webmaster Tools T-Time Mark: Good afternoon. Today we’re talking
about Webmaster Tools, a bit of a Webmaster Tools tutorial. That’s easy for me to say,
so I’m delighted to be joined by Adam Futer who’s an SEO specialist, so we can start off
with some of the fairly basic stuff – what is Webmaster Tools, that kind of stuff. And
then a bit more detail of some of the areas you might be encountering. If you do have
questions, either watching live or later on when you’re watching this on YouTube, do ask
in the comments and we will do our best to get to them. So Adam, have you got your cup
of tea? Adam: I haven’t got my tea, but I’ve got a
glass of water. Mark: Excellent, a bit of detox. I’ve got
a proper mustache mug, which is hilarious, I’m sure. So let’s dive in, Adam. Let’s just
start with the basic. What is Google Webmaster Tools and why should I care? What does it
do for me? Adam: Okay, so Google Webmaster Tools is just
quite what it sounds. It’s a tool given to you Google. It’s non, non-web-based tool,
and the short version of it is it allows you to monitor the health of your website. Now
what I say to all of our SEO clients is we would never start an SEO project or any project
for that matter without Webmaster Tools, because there’s so much information on there. You’re
missing out if you don’t have that account, area’s such as crawl errors, the search queries
that you have, if your site’s been penalized by Google, for example, a lot of the ways
you can find this out is through Webmaster Tools. Without this account, you’re missing
out on so much information you won’t get elsewhere. Mark: Okay. I like to think of it as your
view into what Google thinks of your website? Is that fair? Adam: Yeah, that’s fine. It’s Google’s view
into it. You don’t get all the information that you probably want, but without Webmaster
Tools, you’re missing out on so much valuable information, as I said, you just wouldn’t
get elsewhere. Mark: Okay, and we’re gonna cover a few of
those bits in the show, but essentially, forget rankings and SEO, just from the perspective
of what-the-hell your website is doing, there’s going to be a lot of clues in there if you’re
not making as many sales as you’re expecting to be or whatever it might be. If there were
problems with the website, it’s gonna be in Webmaster Tools, is it? Adam: Yeah, but as I said, there are other
ways to find it, but the quickest and easiest way is through Webmaster Tools. And we always
say to clients and we do it for our management projects to check Webmaster Tools weekly,
‘cause it’s more often than not, if Google update in the algorithm, you’re going to get
new messages in there. They may not be all [inaudible 00:02:21] messages, but I say,
you should check your Webmaster Tools regularly to see if there’s anything helpful as to
the website we should need to work on that you have not seen done previously Mark: Will it email you stuff? Does it alert
you? Do you have to proactively go and log in and have a look? What does it do? Adam: No, if you set up Webmaster Tools through
one of your emails, more often than not, you’ll get an email through with whatever message
Webmaster Tools has given you. But sometimes, they don’t seem to send every single email.
It’s just probably best just going in there weekly to check, just in case the email didn’t
get through to you, ‘cause some of those seem to go into the spam folder, which can
be a bit annoying. Mark: Okay, so top tip number one, set a date
in your diary and go and check your Webmaster Tools on a Monday morning when you’re getting
over your weekend, just go and have a look and see if there’s any scary stories in Webmaster
Tools, I guess. Adam: That’s fine. Mark: Okay, Webmaster Tools is free, isn’t
it? Adam: It is, yeah. There is always a free
version. At the moment, there isn’t a paid version. Google, they throw out in so many
different areas at the moment that they eventually could give you a paid version with more updates
from what you have now, but currently it is free to set up, yes. Mark: Okay, so it’s completely free. How
do we set this up? How does someone add this to their website? Adam: There’s three different ways you can
do it. The first is a verification file. Now this can be a little bit tricky, and I’ve
never actually had to use this way of doing it myself. The easiest two ways of doing it
are through Google Analytics or an HTML tag. The first is, let’s see, with Google Analytics,
this is the easiest way to do it, so if you’re an admin of your Google Analytics account
and you have full access, what you need to do is you need to set up Webmaster Tools,
and it will give you verification. It says “Verify through Google Analytics,” and then
all you need to do is if you’re admin of that particular account, click “verify,” and you’ll
be straight into Webmaster Tools. That is the easiest way to do it. The second way is through the HTML tag and
this is what I normally do for our clients if I don’t have access to their Analytics
account. You’re given a massive long old tag which is about 30 to 20 characters long, loads
of letters and numbers in that. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but what you
need to do is put that into the heading of your home page, between the heading tags.
Once you’ve done that, save it onto your website, go back to Webmaster Tools, click verify,
and you went into the account from there as well Mark: So that’s just verifying, proving, that
you own the account that you’re trying to claim the Webmaster Tools with? Adam: Yes Mark: With the Analytics one, it would be
best to log into your Google Analytics account that you use, you’re the admin of it, then
open a new tab, go to Google, and type Webmaster Tools, you’ll find webmastertools.Google.com
or whatever it is, and then that will say verify the site. So make sure you’re logged
to Google with the account that you’re using for Analytics. Adam: Yes. And say, if you’ve never set up
Webmaster Tools before, when you click on Webmaster Tools and the first organic link,
it will take you to a page with no websites on there whatsoever, all you need to do is
click on the big red “Add more website URL” button, add in your home page URL for your
website, and then you get taken to the verification screen, where you can go through the different
ways to verify it, whether it be through Analytics or the HTML tag [inaudible 00:05:19]. Mark: Okay, interesting thing we should point
out there, and obviously, you have a ton of these because you look after a load of sites,
but you have multiple sites linked to one email address?
Adam: You can. Mark: So rather than logging out, logging
in and everything else and a big mess, if you’re looking after multiple websites, some
of the clients that we deal with have a number of different websites selling different products,
a number of ecommerce stores. Rather than having to go, okay, logout, log back in, you
literally go Webmaster Tools, it would just give you a list of all the sites you have
access to and then you’re navigating from there. Adam: Yes, but I’ve got access to about 30
to 40 sites back to a single email, so yeah, you have to have one email. Once it gets a
little bit messy, I’m not doing it any other way. Mark: not to mention all the cooking disasters
and confusion and stuff. I’ve had some of that this afternoon already. That’s what they
always say, always a pain. So once we’re in Webmaster Tools, you mentioned about health
checks and issues that you get. What issues might we see in Webmaster Tools? Adam: First, the common one which everyone
worries about is if you’ve ever been hit by Google penalty, the Penguin Update is one
of the penalties which Google Webmaster Tools will focus on if you’re ever hit by it, and
there’s a section of Webmaster Tools on the home screen, it just says messages, and
these are where all your messages from Webmaster Tools will be and there possibly might be
one in there if you’ve been hit by the update that says, “We’ve pitched your website up
for unnatural backlinks, you’ve violated Google guidelines,” wherever it may be. And that’s
one of the error messages in there which a lot of people are worried about and obviously
rightly so with the Penguin Update is it can have a bad, obviously, effect on the site
where you’re currently ranked, so Webmaster Tools is the only page really you can find
out, but you can look at Google Analytics as well. Mark: Okay, what does that look like? Is it
a big, flapping penguin laughing at you or it’s just nice, little, old message? Does
it say this is a Penguin Update issue or does it actually say, “you’ve got unnatural backlinks”
or whatever? Adam: It doesn’t give you any pictures of
any penguins or anything like that. It just gives you… Mark: That’s such a shame! Adam: It could be, it doesn’t at the moment.
You literally just get a snippet of text saying, “We’ve found your website violates Google’s
guidelines.” Of course, when you read that, your initial reaction is to click that link
and see what it’s all about. You get a little message on Webmaster Tools from Google saying
“We’ve picked your website up for unnatural backlinks. You’ve violated Google’s guidelines,”
whatever that may be and it gives you a set of instructions on how it recommends that
you fix those problems, but that’s a completely different kind of fish altogether. Mark: Once we finish the show, I’ll have a
card, so it’ll probably appear somewhere on the screen, and you get to click on that.
And I think you’ve done a blog post about Panda and Penguin and various other so I’ll
put a link in for that for you anyway. So there’s a whole bunch of technical stuff about
what those updates are about and what you can do about them to try and fix those problems.
Okay what other issues might we see in there? We talked before about crawl errors? What’s
a crawl error and what do I do about those? Adam: There are multiple crawl errors you
can find, There’s a section in Webmaster Tools which usually tells you about crawl errors
and it gives you definitions on mobile, for example, desktop, and the most common ones
I find in there for clients, any 404 pages which come up, obviously, 404, it affects
user experience which has a bit of effect on SEO nowadays. So sometimes, you may find
10 to 20 errors. Other times you can find hundreds, thousands of pages depending on
what your site is all about. In an ecommerce site, for example, you might find more. 403
pages, we’re also gonna view, there’s other pages that will be in there as well.
You would tend to find less of these 404 pages, but they’re the main ones that we would find
them. The ways you can also check whether any of
your pages have been shown type to Google’s [inaudible 00:09:06] robots.txt tester in
Webmaster Tools. What you can do, again, there’s a section on this. You can go into Webmaster
Tools. You can put your different URLs in there, and it tells you anything which is
blocked at Google. So this is a good tool if you set up any new pages, new filters,
any thing’s being blocked, go to the txt tester, it will give you recommendations on
what’s being blocked and what you need to do to fix the problem. Mark: Okay, that could be I created to a new
landing page or something on my website, and I’d go to Google the next day, I’d search
for it. and its not there. And I go to Google the next day, and I’m like, “Man, why is it
not showing?” I can go to Webmaster Tools, I can paste the URL of that page straight
in there, and it will say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or it will go, “Well,
we couldn’t really do this because…” [Inaudible 00:09:49] Adam: Yeah, a set of instructions of why they
can’t see what you’ve got on the page Mark: Okay, so that’s got the paranoid among
us like me, where you kind of go, “I’ve written this thing and I posted it live a minute ago,
why isn’t it on the first page of Google and why isn’t it number one?” So that would
give you some insight into that Adam: Yes, that’s it. You have to remember
as well that Google may take a little bit of time to index a new page that we’ve just
done, for example. It may take them a day or so to index the page. If they haven’t indexed
it, there’s something in Webmaster Tools, it’s called the fetch tool which should
say to Google, “I’ve put this URL on my page, please go and fetch it.” That’s another way
you can try and if you will. Mark: Is there some best practice for that?
I guess we probably shouldn’t abuse that fetch tool too much. Adam: You only get, I believe it’s about
500 a week. They might have scaled it down. They seem to scale that down all the time.
There’s only so many of those you can do within a week. If you do more, obviously,
you can’t do more, but,yeah, you don’t want to abuse that and just add loads of URLs because
some feels you don’t want to annoy Google with what you’re doing there. Mark: No, absolutely. And we talked before
about you can put your sitemap URL into Webmaster Tools, so obviously, if you’ve got a website
that’s built on Magneto or WordPress or Shopify or any of those platforms, then the sitemaps
tend to be fairly dynamic, but you can specify that URL , put that in Webmaster Tools and
that will, effectively, it would just come and crawl that site map regularly for you.
That’s another thing you can do with Webmaster Tools, isn’t it? Adam: It is, yeah. A common one that we put,
they seem to take the HTML sitemaps pretty well, but there XML site map variations, you
can put into webmaster as you mentioned. Obviously, it cruises the site mapped out and tells you
how many pages you have in there, how many are being indexed. So you’ve got a hundred
URLs, but only 50 have been indexed, then obviously, you’ve got a problem within your
site maps you need to fix. But again, this is another health check. We can check on the
health of the site map, if there are any errors, you can deal with it from there. Mark: Okay, excellent stuff, excellent. So
next thing just to move on to that we get asked quite often in the SEO coaching that
you do, that’s what’s a search query? I know what that is from Google’s perspective,
but what’s a search query as you might likely see in Webmaster Tools? Adam: Again, there’s another section where
you’ve got search queries. What it is it’s telling you keywords that users have typed
in to find URLs for your website. So for example, with us, [inaudible 00:12:14] website, you
may find queries in there which say “AdWords coaching,” “AdWords training,” and it gives
you a whole list of queries that people have typed in to find our website. And we always
have a look at this within the keyword research as well, because you might find opportunities
in there which you don’t think of before. The only issues with these, these keywords
don’t tend to have too much traffic, but if there are good opportunities and you find
that you could get rank four or five to ten of those keywords quick than you could a more
competitive then, it’s a no-brainer to really target those. That what gives you all the
information of Webmaster Tools of how many impressions, what the click through rate is,
and also the average position as well. Mark: Okay, so similar in some ways to the
data we might get with a Google AdWords campaign about impressions. Adam: It is, yes. Mark: And how many clicks, and that kind of
stuff. A little while ago, it’s probably getting onto two years ago now, we got into
this whole hot water with Google that started doing this, not provided in Google Analytics,
where you have your organic data, but they’re now, essentially, not telling you what the
search queries were that lead the person to your website. So in years gone by, you’d see
your organic traffic and your 300 visits from SEO specialists or SEO Portsmouth or whatever
it might be, and it would tell you in Analytics — this is how many clicks you got for that
term from organic traffic and this is how many goals reached, how many conversions,
how many phone calls, whatever it might be. We don’t see that in Analytics anymore, but
some of that is in Webmaster Tools. Adam: it is Mark: Or at least the search queries are there
and the impression is there? Adam: Yeah. And you can see the clicks and
also the average position as well. You can see that data and you can link it up to Analytics
as well. So originally, when you’ve got that Webmaster Tools, there’s a way in Analytics
that you can link it together, so that the information that’s from Webmaster Tools
will get pulled through to Analytics, and you can check date ranges as well which makes
it even more helpful. Mark: Okay, and we’ve got another video, I’ll
put a link in. We’ve got a video, Another Potts, he’s our senior strategist, he did
a little video on how to connect the two, so I’ll put a link in for that later as well.
Does that there mean in Analytics you can see that not provided data? Adam: It is difficult. The keyword information
it gives you, I don’t think it’s completely accurate. That’s my opinion of It. I think
a lot of it is, but since they got rid of that keyword data, it’s made a lot of the
SEO specialist’s life a little bit more difficult, because you can’t tell them, “Oh,
this keyword, for example, generated you a hundred leads,” whatever it might be. But
I think Google will give in more and more of that data out. We think that in the future,
you may again get more keyword data, that you might get it back, but it may be a paid
version. Again, we’re only guessing here, but it’s something we reckon Google might
throw out in the future as well. Mark: Okay, all right, excellent stuff. I
should say, by the way, that we’ve got a guide that you can opt-in to, just some of the basic
stuff you can do for SEO. And I think it’s got some Webmaster Tools stuff in there, so
I’ll put a link up on that for you anyway. And I should also say Adam spends quite a
lot of his day doing SEO coaching one-to-one, so if you want to learn some of the stuff
one-on-one with Adam and look for your Webmaster Tools and your Analytics and start getting
some more traffic, etc., then that’s what Adam does apart from managing full clients
as well. Just before we move on to our last question, I should tell you that in a couple
of weeks, I’m really chaffed we’re going to get Nikki Cradle on the show. Nikki’s
awesome. She knows all about Twitter, and we’re going be talking about a lot of the
new funky stuff that’s coming through on Twitter. And there have been a lot of changes
in the last three or four months. We will be talking about all those, so make sure you
do subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss that show, and that will be in two weeks from
today. So Adam, just onto our last question you mentioned
about impressions and click data, that stuff. A lot of people, they’re kind of impression…
what’s one of them, what’s an impression? That’s not someone doing Donald Duck. What’s
an impression in Webmaster Tools? Adam: For example, if someone typed in AdWords
Trading, for us, it’s just an example, they’ve seen our URL 10 times, that counts as an impression
each time they’ve seen the URL or the organic link. So if they’ve seen it 10 times, that’s
10 impressions; 20 times, 20 impressions; etc., etc. Obviously the clicks are happening,
they’re counting the clicks on it. Mark: So the same terminal Gs you would see
in Google AdWords account. Adam: Yes, very similar. Mark: An impression means that your site listing,
your page has appeared in the organic listings for that search query. What it is isn’t
how many times that search query has been typed into Google. Adam: No, it isn’t. Mark: If you’re hovering around page one/page
two for certain variations of a particular search term, then if that is searched in average
a thousand times, but you were only on the first page for 500 of those times, then it’s
going to show 500 impressions. Adam: Yes, exactly. Mark: That’s not the total search volume.
That just the number of times that your site or page from your site is actually shown,
and then the clicks, obviously, is how many clicks you’ve got of people proceeding to
your website. Adam: You also get different data. You get
the click-through rate there, and also the average position of you’ve seen, so there’s
quite a lot of data in there. There’s a little bit more data for Webmaster Tools monthly
as well, it changes so often. Mark: Yeah, okay, so just to summarize then,
I guess, absolutely go and use Webmaster Tools. It’s completely free, and you’d be nuts not
to set it up. The easiest way to do that is log in with your Google Analytics account,
into Analytics, into Google generally, open a new tab, go to Webmaster Tools, and then
verify by using Analytics, and that takes literally seconds. I’ve done that recently
for somebody and even I can do it, so it’s really easy. Make sure you check this weekly.
Don’t rely on email alerts, because you may not get them. Yeah, make sure you check it
weekly. Check for your crawl errors. 404 is missing pages. What’s 403? Adam: It’s a server error page, and you seem
to find less of these than what you do a 404 pages. I’ve checked a client who just recently
signed up with us. I found 10 404 pages which means the page is there, but there’s no content.
It’s just a missing page, whereas the 403 is a server error page. Mark: So that’s temporary error rather than
a permanent one? 404 is permanently or ip has gone. Adam: It is, yes. Mark: Okay. So make sure you check your crawl
errors. Make sure you check those alerts. And don’t look out for fluffy penguins, ‘cause
you won’t see any, you’ll just get a little text going, “You’ve been naughty, just don’t
do that again.” Kind of fix those as well. Brilliant okay. Well I’m really looking forward
to next time as well, but thanks for being on the show Adam. I really appreciate you
taking some time out from your busy day, and make sure guys you subscribe for the next
show because Nikki, that’s going be a real cracker. It might be a bit longer than today’s
one. But yeah, make sure you subscribe and join us. That’s going be great fun. Thanks, Adam. I’ll enjoy my mustache cup
of tea, and I’ll see you next time. Cheers!

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