As a Webmaster (or someone who has a website managed for you) you should make sure you are getting as much value from your hard work as you can.
Both Google and Bing offer free tools designed to help you manage and track your website. They let you answer questions like, “who visits it and how often”. One of the old adages of improvement is that if you can not measure something then you can not improve it. Without details on your website you are flying blind when it comes to understanding what changes will make the right sort of difference.
Why not use these tools – they are free and your competitors are certainly using them!
Google Webmaster Tools Offering
Google are still the leaders in the web tools space with their Webmaster tools, AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, and Apps. Each of these offers a different dimension and capability.
Webmaster Tools gives you information on how your site is configured and is invaluable it it seems like Google is not indexing your site (check the settings for crawl errors and malware). It tells you how often your site shows up in the Google Search results and what customers were searching on.
Analytics is fantastic for detailed information on the visitors to your site. You can have reports on traffic and trends emailed to you on a regular basis or drill down on these real time – you web master should at least have offered you access to all these reports
AdWords and AdSense are key components for driving traffic to your site or adding paid advertising to your site (just make sure it is consistent with the perception you want to give your readers)
Apps are a whole set of capabilities for your business – for example you can have your email managed by GMail but it will use your domain name for a professional image with little of the worry that comes with other options. The advantages of one of the largest web-mail providers, with your own private domain.
The Google Webmaster blog is well worth subscribing to in order to stay up to date on the latest developments and there are a large number of ‘how to’ articles and tutorials on the site to keep you up to date and educated on what’s possible.
Bing Webmaster Tools Offering
In many ways this just closes the gap a little more between Bing and Google, but an area you may want to use for some free support is the self help guides on subjects like:
- How to perform Link Building
- Removing or blocking pages from our index
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guidance
- Managing URL parameters
- Implementing Rich Snippets (www.schema.org)
- Managing Canonicalization (duplicate content)
- Using the <rel=”nofollow”> tag
- Managing redirects
- 404 page management
- Rich Media and Search
You can either use this information directly yourself or just make sure that you can ask some really insightful questions to however is managing your website for you.
So which Webmaster Tools should I use?
The answer to this one is – Both!
You may have a preference for one over the other and I find that I spend most of my time in the Google camp. But you still need to make sure that you have a healthy and happy site on Bing (and other fronts too). Google is by far the biggest player but if you ignore the other search engines then you will be ignoring a part of the market for readers and clients too.
If you need help understanding how this can make a difference to your web presence then get in contact with me.
Here’s to you having all the statistics you need,
your ‘Peoples Geek’