As a website owner, one of your top priorities is going to be getting your site indexed and ranked by Google. People perform over 235 million searches a day with Google, so the potential to receive significant traffic from this search engine should be enough for you to invest the time to make sure it's done right.
Google wants to fill its index with quality, error free websites that are beneficial and targeted to their searchers. Enter Google's Webmaster Central Tools http://google.com/webmasters . If you've never heard of it, it's Google's way of helping you with your website's indexing. Not too long ago, it went through a redesign and upgrade process which made it more useful and easier to use than ever.
First thing you'll need to sign in with is a Google account. Google requires an account to be able to use all of their free services, including Blogger and Analytics, so if you don't have one, now's the time to register.
If you have multiple websites to list, that's no problem. Up to 500 sites can be added all under one roof. You will need to perform what Google calls "site verification" for each site submitted. This proves to Google that you are the owner of the site before they release detailed information to you. At one time it was a lengthy process of cutting and pasting code into the head section of your index page or uploading a separate HTML file. Now they've streamlined the process and it's all done with one click of an email.
If you use Blogger.com, "Webmaster Tools" can be enabled from within the Blogger dashboard under tools/resources. Once your sites have been submitted, you'll have access to a whole suite of useful tools. The website is broken up into three main sections.
1) Site Configuration (Information about your site)
2) Your Site on the Web (Google data re: your site)
3) Diagnostics (Any problems Google had while indexing your site)
If your website has never received a decent ranking with Google, these numerous reports will help you in tracking down the problem. It's truly an "eye opener" to see your site through the eyes of a search engine.
On the "Crawl Errors Page", any errors Google encountered while crawling your site are revealed. The url's not listed, and the types of problems such as restricted by robots txt, url's that timed out, and unreachable url's will be uncovered. If numerous pages of your site are not indexed, Sitemaps can also be submitted to help Google find and crawl all of the pages of your site.
If your website is not showing up in Google's index, or you think it's being penalized for some reason, you can contact Google from within the "tools interface" with a "reconsideration" request. This will ask Google to take another look at your site. Before submitting, make sure you've cleaned up any errors, and that you're not in violation of any of Google's webmaster guidelines.
Here's a small sample of some other tasks that can be performed.
- Keyword Research: The keywords page lists the most
important words Google found when indexing your site.
So you know what keyword/phrases your site is ranking for.
- Who's linking to your website.
- Page rank for individual pages can be reviewed.
- Change of address feature, which is useful when
moving domains to let Google know.
- Data can be downloaded in spreadsheet format
in order to be analyzed and tracked.
- Any RSS feeds can also be submitted as sitemaps.
- Parameter Handling- Allows you to tell Google which
url's you want them to ignore.
- Emails from Google's Webmaster Tools can be
forwarded to any email address you specify.
Contrary to popular belief, Google wants you to succeed online which is why they give you the tools needed to fix any problems, and make your site a search engine's indexing dream. That's not just good business for Google,it's good for your website too.