Google Webmaster Tools is a powerful (and completely free!) tool that gives you insight into the health of your website, and how Google is crawling your site.
But this data can be a bit overwhelming. We've simplified the process with our six-point checklist for reviewing the health of your website with Google Webmaster tools!
Step 1: Check to see if you have any urgent Site Messages from Google
This is where Google will notify you if there are any major errors or issues with your site. You’ll want to log in at least every few weeks to check for new messages.
Step 2: View recommended HTML Improvements
Click under "Search Improvements" to "HTML Improvements."
This is where Google will recommend improvements you can make to your HTML that aren’t necessarily critical but can help make sure your site is performing the best it can in the Search Results.
The most important thing here is to look for Duplicate meta tags – Google will penalize your pages if it thinks you’re posting duplicate content – so check things like Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Duplicate Title Tags. The best practice is to give each page its own unique Title and Description, so Google knows that it is a unique page.
Step 3: Look for Crawl Errors
Under “Crawl” click the first option for “Crawl Errors.” Typically you will see 404 Errors, which means the URL Google tried to crawl doesn’t exist anymore. You’ll want to remove any links to these broken URLs or set up redirects so that the URL resolves to a real page.
Step 4: Look at your Crawl Stats
Again under the “Crawl” dropdown, click “Crawl Stats.”
Make sure Google is crawling your content. You should see data tracking here that shows the number of pages Google crawls each day. If you see no data or a flat line, check your Robots.txt file to make sure all of your content is accessible to search engines.
Step 5: Look for Blocked URLs
You should only have blocked URLs for pages you don’t want the search engines to see like private pages, admin backend content, etc.
Step 6: Check for Malware
Click “Malware” at the bottom of the sidebar and you should see this message that Google hasn’t detected any malware.
If you do see Malware on your site, you’ll want to contact your webmaster to get it removed as soon as possible.