Webmaster’s and web site owners should take advantage of Google “Webmaster Tools” program. Upon logging into Google Webmasters Tools, you will see a simple dashboard indicating your web sites that are currently active in the program. Below is a sample of my dashboard:
Upon selecting a web site from the dashboard, you will then have the power to educate the Googlebot (which is Google’s search engine spider) to scan certain pages, enable rewrite rules, set crawl rate, block URL’s, image search optimization, and so on. All of these features will only benefit and your web site as the Googlebot will have a better understanding of your preferences.
Under the Diagnostics tab, you will have access to monitor Google’s Web and Mobile crawl of your web site. I check this regularly to keep track of any HTTP errors or Not Found errors.
I browse the Statistics tab on a regular basis due to its great advantage for SEO purposes. All of the options under that tab can be used for advertising purposes, top keywords, Google statistics, and much more..
I believe this is the first most essential option for your web site. If your web site does not currently have a sitemap, I would encourage that you create one and submit it to Google by selecting the “Sitemaps” tab. Upon submitting a sitemap, Googlebot will have a much easier time scanning your web site for new content. You will also have the ability to view the last time Google downloaded your sitemap.
Analyze Robots.txt – This is another essential option for your web site as you can tell the Googlebot what to do when “it” visits your web site. I feel comfortable with my current robots.txt file, but if you want to get more information regarding your robots.txt file, do take advantage of this option.
Manage Site Verification – This is a must if you want to take advantage of the Google Webmaster Tools.
Set Crawl Rate – I feel that this is a pretty cool feature as you can control the Googlebot crawl rate. If your server is having trouble handling traffic as-is, it may be best to take advantage of this feature by changing the crawl rate to “slower”, improving your servers performance.
Set Preferred Domain – Now this is a feature that I absolutely love! Before enabling this feature, my site had duplicate pages indexed in Google as http:// and http://www. In order to solve this, I enabled this feature which redirects/rewrites all http:// indexed pages to http://www. I believe this is something that will really help in SERPS as you will not be slapped on the wrist for having duplicate content..
Enable Enhance Image Search – By default, this is disabled. If you have an Album or image database that are all images owned by yourself, I would DEFINITELY take advantage of this feature as you could experience a great increase in traffic from Google Images. When enabled, this feature allows the Googlebot to observe images across your entire web site. So if you have a Gallery or Album, and your images have defined alt tags, you should benefit greatly with this option enabled!!
By teaming up with the Googlebot, you can help excel all of the potential in your web site. So sign up, verify your site, and work with your new friend “Googlebot” to help achieve betters SERPS!!