If you’re like me, you might not like signing up for new services. I have hundreds of accounts everywhere, and if something isn’t worth my time, I’d rather skip it. However, Webmaster Tools is one of the things that you absolutely shouldn’t skip. Here’s three reasons why!
Indexing with a Sitemap
Chances are, Google won’t naturally index every page of your site, so Webmaster Tools lets you go in and add a sitemap that lists them all. If your website has several hundred pages, give it a few days. Then, when you log in, you get to see how many pages are indexed. At first, I used my RSS, but I was surprised to see how little this helped. Google only knew about 11 pages. Eleven! I opted for a WordPress sitemap plug-in, instead, and now 1600+ pages are indexed. Nice!
Sitelinks are what Google calls all those little sublinks under your domain when someone searches for the domain name. Once your pages are all indexed, you’ll start to see them. Google automatically picks ones that work the best, but the search engine isn’t always right. You can log in to Webmaster Tools, click on a property and add certain links to the ignore list, which strongly encourages the search engine to promote other links, instead. It’s not perfect, but it does afford you some control over your website’s appearance in the SERPs.
Fix Those Broken Links
Four oh dear! No one likes a broken link, but I had quite a few, because my site had been around for so long. I’d transferred blog platforms and domains and permalink structures a couple times. For whatever reason, Google was still thinking that pages from six years ago still existed, when they didn’t. I could have saved some hassle if I started it on my broken links after the indexing completed, but I waded in before. Regardless, you can use Webmaster Tools to look for broken links on your own website–and then fix them! It results in a better experience for your users, and those links can help your PageRank in the long run.