Should Google ever see a problem with your site, or should you ever be singled out (God forbid) for a penalty, Google will let you know. This is a direct line of communication between you and the Big G. Those telemarketers who call you PRETENDING to be Google– they aren’t.
Search Appearance— The tools here affect how your website appears in the SERP (search engine results page). Getting included in a search is one thing– getting the searcher to choose YOUR site is another. From Search Appearance, you can take action that supports both.
Structured Data: The more Google can determine about your website, the better Google likes it– and the better Google treats you. Check this page for a look at basic markup properties. Or– if you want to take the easier way, keep reading.
Data Highlighter: A pretty impressive tool, the Data Highlighter allows you to auto-tag your site’s structured data. In essence, Data Highlighter is a “point and click” means of implementing microdata.
HTML Improvements: This is a webmaster’s dream. When your site may have issues hindering their crawl and index activity, HTML Improvements is Google’s way of giving you a gentle nudge. Whether your meta descriptions need work, you have duplicate title tags, or are in danger of another potential choke-point– this is tune-up information you don’t want to ignore. The results may not be earth-shaking (or they may), but every little bit helps.
Sitelinks: These are the links you sometimes see below search results. Use microdata to let Google know you have something important to say … and you may get rewarded with sitelinks if you want your business to stand out. This is a super-valuable exercise for your SEO efforts. It’s a bit like winning the lottery. This feature allows you to let Google know how you think your sitelinks should appear (assuming they ARE appearing).
Because some of what you find here overlaps information from Google Analytics and because the data often presents differently, some say you shouldn’t trust this data. Always remember that Google gives you clues, but seldom does Google give you the full picture.
Search Queries: When you know the search terms visitors use to find your website, you can adjust content accordingly. Columns include the query used, the number of impressions, number of clicks, and the average SERP position.QUICK NOTE– In the last week Google was really awesome and changed “Search Queries” to “Search Analytics”, essentially providing you with more valuable data about what keywords your website is ranking for (or queries), pages that are associated with those keywords, how many clicks you got, impressions, click through rates (CTR) and much more.
Links to Your Site: Which other sites link to you and what are the words (anchor text) they use in the link? Either way, Links to Your Site empowers you to take SEO action or check on what your SEO company has been doing for you.
Internal Links: These are links you make to yourself. The more links to a particular page, the more important Google thinks it is.
Manual Actions: What you want to see here is “No manual webspam actions found.” Take immediate action if you see anything else. You might need to engage an experienced SEO Agency to help you resolve these issues.
International Targeting: Allows you to target languages and countries.
Mobile Usability: Pay attention here. Mobile traffic is huge, and Google will push you down in the SERP if your website doesn’t play well with mobile devices.
Google Index— Just as the index of a book tells you about the contents, Google collects information about pages on the World Wide Web– and that is where search result information comes from. It must be found in the Index if you want your site to be included in the SERP.
Index Status: This tells you how many of the pages on your site Google was able to index. This is version-specific. It will give you data on the www or non www version, but not for both (more about that soon).
Content Keywords: These are the words Google says are most significant on your site. Remember, if you are selling beach balls, but Google thinks you specialize in umbrellas, then you need to make significant changes to your content.
Blocked Resources: You can ask Google not to crawl specific areas of your site via a robots.txt disallow file. That is something that should seldom be done, and is often used incorrectly. Get in touch with qualified individual to find out why if you see ANY blocked resources for your site. Blocked sites won’t be included in the index– and that’s normally not good.
Remove URLs: Similar to Blocked Resources, this is a place where you should not mess around, unless you know what you are doing. This is a tool to help direct Google crawls.
Crawl— The index is gathered by “bots” or “spiders” that crawl the web constantly. This is where you can get a look at exactly how Google sees your site.
Crawl Errors: This is where you will see any issues (past 90 days) with crawls– whether affecting the entire site or a specific page. What you’re looking for is a little green circle with a white checkmark and the words, “No errors detected in the last 90 days. Nice!” Anything else needs attention.
Crawl Stats: By monitoring the stats, you can see how many pages are being crawled daily, how much content is being retrieved, and how long it takes for the crawl.
Fetch as Google: This feature simulates a crawl for the URL you indicate. The Fetch box shows you what Google sees.
txt Tester: Allows you to edit and test the robots.text file mentioned earlier. This is not a place to play around.
Sitemaps: This is where you can add and test your sitemap. Bots use the sitemap to make the crawl easier and more effective– so you DEFINITELY want to have one. Use the Help pulldown to get more information about how to add a sitemap and build for your site.
URL Parameters: If you don’t know what it is and how to use it, don’t mess with it.
Being able to understand these categories will help you understand what areas of your site are performing best and which ones need improvement. Be certain to pay attention to errors and such because Google will lower your rank if there is any errors showing. Be sure to hit the share button to pass along all this information to your friends.