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Improve Your SEO with Google Webmaster Tools

However unique and insightful a site’s content is, unless it has a top search engine ranking, visitors will not be able to find it. Traffic will build up very slowly.

Google Webmaster Tools offers you insightful data about your site that can help you place better in its search rankings.

Check and Correct Your Crawl Errors

Crawl errors arise when there are pages in your site that Google cannot crawl, or when the site server returns an HTTP error code. While crawling your site, Googlebot, makes page requests to your site server. In response, the server returns HTTP status codes.  You can see the error codes for your site by following these steps:

  1. Login to your Google account and go to the Webmaster Tools page.
  2. Click your site.
  3. Click Health > Crawl Errors.

It is important to review the crawl errors on your web site regularly, and take corrective action. This makes the indexing of your site effective, besides retaining link juice from other sites.

There are two types of crawl errors: critical and informational. You need to correct only the critical errors. So do not be intimidated by the large number of crawl errors that you may see.

Some of the common crawl errors are: 404 (the requested page does not exist), site map errors, unreachable pages and timing out of page requests.

You can minimize crawl errors by following these guidelines:

  • Minimize redirect pages on your site.
  • Eliminate dead pages (pages that you have removed, but not the links)
  • Make sure all the outgoing links are functioning. There are software tools that do this automatically.

Check and Correct Your HTML Improvements

HTML improvements are issues with your page titles, meta descriptions and content distribution that Google finds on your site. These are not as critical as crawling errors, as they do not prevent indexing. However, correcting them improves your user experience, and thereby traffic.

To view the HTML Improvements page on Google webmaster central:

  1. Go to the Webmaster Tools home page and click your site.
  2. On the left-hand menu, click Optimization > HTML Improvements.

To minimize errors in HTML improvements, do the following:

  • Ensure that the title tags on your pages do not have missing or repeated page titles.
  • Make sure that you do not have duplication or other issues with your meta descriptions.
  • Ensure that pages with rich media files, video, or images have some leading text (for Google indexing)

Don’t have time to fit this into your schedule? Many Virtual Assistants are experts at using Google webmaster tools. Check out the many skillsets available to you through Virtual Assistant Teams.

 photo credit: homespot hq

Posted on April 11th, 2013 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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