This post will start with a great video from Google titled, What are the 3-5 most important things I should pay attention to in Google Webmaster Tools? (update 2022: Google Webmaster Tools is now called Google Search Console). Then I will illustrate the examples from the video in case the information went over your head.
I would be the first to admit that sometimes it takes me hours to figure out what they were talking about on the Google Webmaster Tools. Don't let that stop you.
We covered Google Webmaster Tools in a previous post: Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?
Google Webmaster Tools is the foundation for this series on improving your website performance.
Google Webmaster Tools - All Messages allows Google to inform you about your site's status if there are critical or important issues detected with your site. Make sure you "Enable email notification" in Google Webmaster Tools.
How to find "Site Configuration Settings" (This took me an hour to figure out.)
- On your Google Webmaster Tools HOME page (shown below)
- CLICK on the blue website URL (in the example image below it is www.harriete-estel-berman.info.) On your Google Webmaster Tool, it would be your website or blog.
This is a little overwhelming. We are only going to cover the topics mentioned in the video.
Set preferred domain, if you want. (I decided not to do Set Preferred domain at this time. It was really scary and involved several steps. I also couldn't decide which is better www.harriete-estel-berman.info or harriete-estel-berman.info.) Are people ready for URL without www? Opinions anyone?
Set the Geographic Target
Setting the Geographic Target seemed an easy decision. Shipping my work internationally is expensive, and the economy worldwide is no better than in the U.S. My primary audience is in the U.S. People in other countries can still look at my site.
The next item in the video was URL Parameters. You can find this in the left column of the Google Webmaster Tools.
I did not use the URL Parameters tool. It said, "Currently Googlebot isn't experiencing problems with coverage of your site, so you don't need to configure URL parameters."
This also looks like a very advanced tool for an amateur like me.
KEYWORD REPORT is mentioned next in the video. As the video says, "It's the top keywords that appear on your site. So it's really interesting to compare that list to what you think your site is about."
Links to Your Site was interesting to me.
It shows what people found interesting.
Moving on to the next topic in the video...HTML suggestion.
From the video:
"what that [HTML] feature does is it lets you know if we've detected any possible issues with your meta descriptions or your title tags. And those are pretty important because those two things can directly influence how your search result appears on that search results page. The title tag, for example, is often what we'll use to show the title of your site, and the meta description will often prefer that, if you've written one yourself, over us just trying to generate a snippet automatically as the description of your site. And the things that we detect are if you have a bunch of duplicate titles or meta descriptions."
OPTIMIZATION is under HTML Improvements.
There is lots of work for me under this category but this tool is fantastic. I fixed the duplicate Title Tags a few days ago. Obviously, Google hasn't searched my site since I fixed the duplication.
I have 0 Long Meta Description but 9 Short Meta Descriptions that need repair. I will cover this in another post.
SITE PERFORMANCE is the last item mentioned in the video. "Site Performance lets you see how fast your site is relative to other sites on the Web. Since site performance has a lot to do with user experience, users enjoy browsing faster pages. It's good to know which end of the spectrum you are on. Is your site one of those that people have to wait to load?"
Guess what? I can't find it, but I will..... and SITE Performance will be a future post.
That was a lot of great information that will take a couple of hours at least. That is why I like learning this information during the holidays when the rest of my world is dormant. Long hours of quiet time and cold rainy days to work intensively.
This post was updated on July 2, 2022, to provide current links.