Search Marketing

5 Google Webmaster Tools that Marketers Can Put to Work Today

September 18, 2012

Google Webmaster Tools is an ever-evolving resource that helps marketers to better understand the health of their websites – straight from the horse’s mouth. Yet, as Google continually updates the features to this tool, it can be challenging for webmasters to keep up.

Webmaster Tools currently provides a wealth of website data – search query relevance, crawl errors, crawl activity, URL traffic and social statistics, linking, indexation and more – that together grant a valuable layer of transparency into the ebbs and flows of Google’s ongoing algorithmic updates.

In this post, we take a look at some of the most recent developments to Google Webmaster Tools and explain how marketers can use them to better manage their websites’ performance within Google.

1. Want to know what’s interfering with your users’ experience with your website? Webmaster Tools’ Detail Site Error Information provides a step-by-step breakdown of your Site Errors report, which sheds light on the different errors by category type. This detailed breakdown of site errors allows you to identify the error source directly, thus helping non-technical webmasters to locate DNS or server problems with ease.

2.  Search Query Alerts are a great way to keep an eye on how people are finding your pages via the engines. This tool is helpful when analyzing trends over time (spikes or dips in traffic via search), allowing marketers to see how various queries are influencing traffic to your site. This tool provides insight into shifts in users’ search behaviors as they relate to your site, as well as an additional layer of security from potential technical problems that might be affecting your SEO efforts.

3. Check in on your site’s structured data markup (that’s the contextual information around your site in search results) with Webmaster Tools’ Structured Data Dashboard. This feature – beyond increasing  awareness of the standard markup data formats and rich snippet schemas – lets marketers confirm that Google is picking up new structured data markup on different pages and address any existing markup problems.

4. The Index Status feature informs marketers as to how Google indexes web pages and provides information needed to resolve indexing-related issues. In addition to sharing the total number of indexed pages of a site, this tool also points out pages disallowed by Google as well as any pages that have been redirected to other URLs.

5. Crawl Error alerts can help marketers stay on top of site or URL errors, and point them in the right direction in terms of how they should be resolved. If Google finds significant errors, the webmaster will receive an alert that describes each error by category – leading to the appropriate section so that you can see which pages need troubleshooting. These alerts can be sent straight to your inbox, so you can be made aware of problems in near real-time.


Webmaster Tools can quickly provide useful insights into how Google perceives your website, allowing you to focus more on solutions rather than searching for problems. Yet, while this is a useful service, we advise marketers to balance and complement inferences gathered using Webmaster Tools with additional measurement and analysis tools to achieve deeper insights.

Both Google and Bing offer these robust tools for free, making it easier for marketers to evaluate site performance and SEO opportunities within their respective engines. This kind of transparency makes way for a solid system of checks and balances between SEO agencies/consultants and their clients and allows for expedited movement on new opportunities, as well as quicker resolution of issues impacting a brand’s website.