Are You Using Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics? You Should!

by Alan Eggleston

Two tools you should consider adopting for your web editor’s toolbox are Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Both are free from Google with a free gmail account.

Google Analytics

Let me start with the latter: Google Analytics. It tracks activity on your website or blog, including how many visits your site gets, how many are new or returning, how long visitors stay, how they got to your site, what they searched to find you, and more. There is a ton of information there if you mine it well, which can help you determine how to maintain your site. Google Analytics is easy to install: All you need to do is insert some code into your site and verify ownership.

Webmaster Tools

The former is equally informative: Webmaster Tools. It provides both data on your site and hints and tips on how to make it better for searches, which as we all know is key to finding you on the Web. The name may make you think this is only for a webmaster, but really, it’s meant for website decision makers. Whoever sets up the account can add users, so even if your webmaster initiates it, he or she can add you as web editor – or the reverse.

Webmaster Tools is a way for Google to alert the site owner to trouble: Are they having trouble reading any pages? You can fix it and have Google re-index them. Have they identified “unnatural” links? You can examine your links and fix the problem so they don’t damage your ranking. Has Google found malware on your site? You can locate and eliminate it. They can also look at your structured data to make sure it isn’t messing up the way Google reads and displays it.

More Useful Tools

In addition, Webmaster Tools allows you to tie your articles into your Google+ Profile for search ranking to help highlight your authorship. They also offer Google Places to make it easier for searchers to find local businesses and the Google Merchant Center to make finding products easier in a Google search.

There is so much more. Both Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools have blogs to help explain the services and forums for finding help. All can contribute to making life easier and more productive for web editors and their teams.

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