So, you have been using Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics since the dawn of the civilization, (sorry just kidding) and you religiously entertain the belief that you know every bit of them right? Wrong, there are some gems hidden deep inside these two amazing products that you might have not discovered yet. Wondering what these features could be that you have not checked out yet. Ok let me go straight into the thick of things:
Checking Robots.txt File Before You Make it Live: few days ago I was entrusted with the responsibility of checking XML Sitemap of a website to figure out whether it contains any URL which is blocked by Robots.txt file in one way or other way. Now, there were 10 thousands of URLs, so checking them manually one by one was a dead man’s job. Then I found this wonderful feature in Google Webmaster Tools under Health >> Blocked URLs.
Put all the URLs that you want to check within this field – “URLs Specify the URLs and user-agents to test against” and then press test. It will show you status of each URL individually about whether they are being blocked by robots.txt file or not. A great tool to ensure that the XML sitemap and robots.txt files are not clashing with one another.
Index Pages Fast with Fetch As Google Bot: Webmaster tool has another mind blowing features that lets you check how Google bot is viewing a particular web page of yours. Go to Health and then click on “Fetch As Google Bot”. Then fetch a page by using this tool, and when it says success, click on the tab – “Submit to Index”. By doing so, this page will be indexed by Google relatively faster than other pages.
Try this tool if you wish to get some pages indexed quickly.
Check sitemap.xml before submitting: Do you feel embarrassed when you find that the XML sitemap that you have submitted in Google Webmaster Tools contains zillions of errors? If yes, here is the face-saver. Under “Optimization” tab, click on “Sitemap”. At the top right section click on “Add/Test Sitemap”. It will open up a dialogue box.
Now test the sitemap and if the system finds any inconsistency, it will show you that automatically. Based on that information, you can make necessary changes in the XML sitemap.
HTML Improvement: This is one such feature that has saved my skin in different ways in my stint as an SEO professional. It will give you a detail report on the number of pages having “Duplicate meta descriptions”, “Short meta descriptions”, “Long meta descriptions”, “Missing title tags”, “Duplicate title tags” and more. There are options to download the details in CSV format for further pruning of information.
In page Analysis of Google Analytics: “In Page Analysis” gives you detailed info as to where users have clicked mostly on a page. You can check each page individually and find out which sections have drawn more attention of the users. This is a great way to find out the most popular sections in a page without getting into trouble with something complex as A/B testing or something like that. Though the reports are not always correct, they at least give you an overall idea of visitors are interacting with your website.