Google Webmaster Tools is a mature collection of tools for managing and maintaining the health of your website or blog. It’s also a great way of finding out who’s linking to your articles or web pages…
I still get people asking me if I use Google Webmaster Tools, or if I think it’s any good. And the answer is yes on both counts. If you’re serious about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), then you’ll use all of the tools available to you — especially the ones from the likes of Google.
In a continuation of my previous Google Webmaster Tools article, I’d like to expand on some more of the great things you can do.
One of most immediate benefits of Google Webmaster Tools is that it lets you see things like web crawl errors and top search queries. Yes, there are plenty of similar tools out there, but you don’t always get all of them in one place.
Although, I would also highly recommend the excellent SEO Chat tools, that boasts a large collection of SEO tools, some of which you won’t see on Google Webmaster Tools.
First off, if you’re new to Google Webmaster Tools, pay a visit to their help page for more information, and to sign-up, which is free.
Discovering external links to your web pages and articles
Now, if you’re like me, knowing who’s linking to you can help you find websites you might not have discovered otherwise.
Finding these websites with Google Webmaster Tools is dead easy:
- From the Dashboard, click on: “Links” in the left-hand navigation.
- From the sub-menu, click on: “Pages with external links”.
- You’ll see a table, much like a spreadsheet, now click on the number for the page of choice in the right-hand column under the “External links” heading.
- Alternatively, you can search for pages by their page URL, which requires some foreknowledge of your pages.
From here, you can sift through the table of links to your articles or web pages, looking for the interesting and the unusual. You’ll be surprised (pleasantly, I hope) by the links you find.
As a rule, when I find a link that I hadn’t seen during the course of the day, watching the web traffic to my blog via Clicky, I go read the article and, if I feel it’s appropriate, make a comment and thank the author.
The benefits of finding external links to your website
So why should you bother using Google Webmaster Tools to track who’s linking to your website or blog?
- Discover new websites, social networks and communities.
- Seek out any “Bad Neighbourhoods” linking to you, or anything that’s inappropriate.
- Discover bloggers writing about similar / same topics as you.
- Help manage your brand by keeping track of how you and your website or blog are being represented / discussed et cetera.
Improving your website through SEO
There are various ways of getting more people linking to your articles, and the amount of effort required varies. For me, optimizing my articles for the search engines is by far the most cost-effective and simplest method. I say simplest, but the simplicity is relative; I’ve been at this for a few years.
Fortunately, I’ve written plenty about how to increase the chances of the articles you write being found by someone using a search engine, a Social Media website or a Social Network.
- Improve SEO with Google Webmaster Tools
- Grabbing SEO by the Long Tail
- Google Webmaster Tools improves, Sitelinks clarified
- The Social Loop — to write, share and promote
- Enhancing timely content with SEO and Social Media
- SEO for URLs and externally linked files on websites & ‘blogs
- Search Engine Optimization: the art of ti…
- Making a name for yourself — Personal Branding tips
Any questions? You know where to find me, so don’t be shy!