If you're serious about using your website to get new customers and spread the word about your home performance business, you should seriously consider setting up Google Webmaster tools. We've discussed cool ways to use Google Analytics, including using Google Analytics Goals; Webmaster tools goes a step further and provides some really interesting data that can be extremely useful for marketing your business.
We recently focused one of our Energy Circle PRO webinars on Webmaster Tools for home performance, and thought it would be worth picking out a few of the coolest things about the product to share with anyone who couldn't sit in on the webinar.
This screenshot from our webinar on Google Webmaster Tools shows just a few of its functions.
In no particular order:
Set It and Forget It
Google Webmaster Tools is pretty easy to set up (especially if you're on a system that allows easy integration... ahem, like Energy Circle PRO). And if you don't have the time to dive right in right away, fret not: once you set up Webmaster Tools the data stays there, so you can check back in any time and know that the service is doing its quiet work all the while.
Best Practice for SEO
Webmaster Tools incorporates best practice for SEO functionality, which helps you identify and place keywords throughout your site. It will also track errors that are potentially harmful to your search rankings, and let you know if you have any issues with duplicate titles or descriptions within the HTML Improvements report.
This report gives you data on not only the terms that drove traffic to your site, but also the terms that are generating impressions. This data is separate and equally useful to the similar data you might find within Google Analytics. When you view this report, consider your click through rate - if you're getting a high number of impressions but not many clicks, it could be a sign that you need to improve your ranking even further, or that your title and meta description are not compelling enough to get the click amongst all the other results.
Your site may have navigation issues that you're not aware of: internal or external links that aren't working, or other broken components of your site on the back end. Using Webmaster Tools' crawl errors functionality you can identify every broken link and anything else that's missing, so you can fix it efficiently.
Fetch as Google
This report and functionality lets you look at your website as if you were a Google-bot. Although this may not be a particularly exciting venture for someone unfamiliar with code, it's pretty cool. Search engine robots, and how they perceive your website, are an extremely important component of your overall success on the web, and being able to "walk in their shoes," so to speak, can be pretty enlightening. If your site has been hacked, or has malware, or isn't showing up the way you want, this can be a useful tool to see what's really going on. You're limited to 500 fetches per month, but that should be plenty for most small to medium sites.
Another additional benefit of this feature is the ability to force Google to re-index a page once you fetch it, via the submission option. If you've recently changed a title or description and want it to update sooner, this feature will get you there faster than waiting for Google to take care of it on its own. The catch is that you can only do this 10 times per month, so don't go submitting every page on your site without being thoughtful and strategic.
Content Keywords lets you analyze the keywords that appear most frequently on your site. These keywords are a good indicator to search engines of what your site is all about, so this functionality gives you a good idea of how your site is being read and understood by search engines.
This is a good way to find out what terms you're using a lot (maybe too much? maybe not enough?), as well as to identify spam that may be appearing on your site without your awareness.
Any questions about Webmaster Tools or how to set it up for your home performance business's website, feel free to give us a shout; we'd be happy to help.