Thursday, January 24, 2008

Be webmaster of your domain (or sub-domain)

If a tree falls in the forest and no one can hear it, does it make a sound? Even more perplexing: if you have a great, content-rich website and nobody visits it, is the content useful? Rather than debate this, I'd like to share with you five ways that Google webmaster tools can help you drive more users to your site and improve the visibility of the site content you've worked so hard to create.

1. Submit all of your pages to the Google index – for free.

By using Google Sitemaps to submit your URLs, you help Google's web crawler do a more complete and efficient job of crawling your site. Sitemaps enables you to submit all of your pages to the Google index, and it's particularly useful for making sure that we know about all dynamically generated URLs or pages that are not adequately linked to on your site. But please note: submitting a Sitemap will not guarantee inclusion or influence your PageRank, and isn't a replacement for creating compelling and useful content.

2. Find out how Google sees your site.

Once you've made sure we have access to your site, you can see the common words used to link to your pages and that are seen by Google. This allows you to see trends in your site's content, and can help you determine why you may be ranking for particular keywords. You can also see which page has the highest PageRank by month. Some site owners are surprised to find that this isn't always the home page. If an internal page has the highest PageRank, you might consider spending more time optimizing the ads there.

3. Diagnose potential problems.

We let you know if, and why, we're having trouble accessing your site or specific pages. If we can't crawl a page, we can't index it -- so fixing any errors we list can help improve your overall coverage. If the AdSense Site Diagnostics tool shows that you're blocking pages from MediaPartners-Google (the AdSense crawler), you can use the robots.txt analysis tool of Google webmaster tools to test changes to that file and make sure those changes allow access. You can also see what pages you are blocking from other Google bots -- this lets you experiment with changes to see how they would affect the crawl of your site.

4. Find out which queries drive traffic to your site.

Using Google webmaster tools, learn which Google queries created clickthroughs to your site and where you were positioned in the search results for that query. You can also view data for individual properties and countries as well. For instance, you can see the queries from users searching Google Images in the United States that returned your site in the results. You’ll only see properties and countries for which your site has data.

5. Get re-included.

If your site has disappeared from the search results, read through the Google quality guidelines, then correct any problems on your site and request re-inclusion from your Google webmaster tools account. Please keep in mind that the reinclusion request form is only available to people using Google webmaster tools.

There's more.

Google webmaster tools are evolving, and we frequently add more features. Stay up to date on the newest features with the Google Webmaster Central blog and get your questions answered on the Google Webmaster Help discussion group.

Here's to building a loyal following for your website and, in turn, optimizing your AdSense earnings!

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