Google Launches Important New Tools for Webmasters

Site Health and Real-Time Analytics

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Google Launches Important New Tools for Webmasters
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Google made a couple relatively quiet announcements this week that have pretty big ramifications for webmasters who want to get more traffic to their sites.

If you’re a Webmaster Tools user, you can thank Google for a new “Site Health” feature. In a nutshell, it’s Google’s way of helping you prioritize what you’re doing in WMT by highlighting the “health problems” your site has. In fact, they’ve even redesigned the homepage around this concept.

Do you like the new design? Share your opinion in the comments.

The thinking is that you can see what needs attention the most, in order, according to Google. Given how much sites generally rely on Google for the majority of their traffic, whose advice would you rather take in this department?

If you don’t want to see sites listed by priority, you have the ability to view them alphabetically like before.

webmaster tools homepage  

Site Health  

The new home page is only available if you have 100 or fewer sites in your account, but they don’t all have to be verified. Google says it will be available for all accounts in the future. If you have over 100, you can still access Site Health info from the top of the dashboard for each site.

So what’s included in this site health data? Malware detection, important pages that have been removed with Google’s URL removal tool, and important pages that are blocked from crawling in robots.txt.

Google will provide additional info about any of these things as they’re found.

In a post on Google’s Webmaster Central blog, Webmaster Trends Analyst Susan Moskwa writes, “A word about ‘important pages: ‘as you know, you can get a comprehensive list of all URLs that have been removed by going to Site configuration > Crawler access > Remove URL; and you can see all the URLs that we couldn’t crawl because of robots.txt by going to Diagnostics > Crawl errors > Restricted by robots.txt. But since webmasters often block or remove content on purpose, we only wanted to indicate a potential site health issue if we think you may have blocked or removed a page you didn’t mean to, which is why we’re focusing on ‘important pages.’ Right now we’re looking at the number of clicks pages get (which you can see in Your site on the web > Search queries) to determine importance, and we may incorporate other factors in the future as our site health checks evolve.”

“Obviously these three issues—malware, removed URLs, and blocked URLs—aren’t the only things that can make a website ‘unhealthy;’ in the future we’re hoping to expand the checks we use to determine a site’s health, and of course there’s no substitute for your own good judgment and knowledge of what’s going on with your site,” she adds. “But we hope that these changes make it easier for you to quickly spot major problems with your sites without having to dig down into all the data and reports.”

It’s important to note that it may take several days for Google’s health warnings to go away after you fix the problems. Hopefully they can do something to speed that up in the future as well. If you’re still seeing it after a week, Moskwa says, the problem may not be resolved.

Feedback from webmasters about site health has been generally positive, but some still want more. For example, on Moskwa’s post, Antonio Ooi comments, “We’re more interested to know what is missing, critical level (high, moderate, low) and recommended action/solution. For example, which image alt, meta tags, video sitemap etc are missing/invalid and how to fix. Or what else that has yet to be implemented on our site to take advantage of the new Google search engine’s cool features and so on. This will not only make us work smarter, this will also make Google team work smarter.”

Another commenter going by “knowj” says, “It would be a great feature if the Webmasters Tools API allowed developers to feed error reports/logs into for websites/applications.This could generate an RSS feed/alerts ordered by priority/severity. This would create a useful single location for keeping track of the health of websites.”

What do you think? What else should Google show you as part of its site health feature? Let us know in the comments.

Now on the Analytics side of things…

In addition to launching a premium version of Google Analytics for bigger sites, Google announced the launch of Real-Time Analytics. What this means is that you can now see how your traffic is coming in as it happens, which could be huge for helping you shape your promotion strategies, and play to your strengths.

Essentially, it can help you do what you’re already doing with the data you get from Google Analytics and do it faster.

“One way that I like to use these reports is to measure the immediate impact of social media. Whenever we put out a new blog post, we also send out a tweet,” says John Jersin of Google’s Analytics team. “With Real-Time, I can see the immediate impact to my site traffic.”

“For example, last week we posted about the latest episode of Web Analytics TV and also tweeted about the post,” he adds. “By campaign tagging the links we shared, we could see how much traffic each channel is driving to the blog as it happened. We could also see when we stopped receiving visits from the tweet, which helps know when to reengage.”

He says he also uses real-time analytics to make sure campaign tracking is correctly implemented before launching a new campaign.

The new real-time reports are only available in the new version of Google Analytics. You can find a link to the new version at the top of Google Analytics if you’re not already using it. So far, only a few users have access to the reports, but they will be available for all in the coming weeks.

Do you think real-time analytics data will help you improve the your site’s traffic? Tell us what you think.

Google Launches Important New Tools for Webmasters
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  • SEO Ahmedabad

    SEO Ahmedabad :- Why they put some restriction like you have to 100 sites in your web master account?Is there any logic behind this?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      It’s 100 or less.

    • http://www.PlacesToEatOkay.com Steven

      If you have over 100 websites that you seriously need to look over the stats for you either have a lot of people working for you, or you’re spamming the internet.

  • http://inextsolutions.wordpress.com/ Amit

    I can see some changes in Google News as well :)

  • http://seoxl.eu SEOXL

    Google is changeing, good news!

  • http://www.dr-luxuryrealestate.com/ alex

    nice comment….

  • http://hosting.unichost.com Ashwini – India

    That would certainly save you from using several other plugins to get real time analysis.

  • http://www.realizzazionesitiwebancona.it/ Jino

    I’ve been checking out the new analytics, but where is the “right now” ? I can’t find it in any widgets.

  • http://www.ahasess.com/vb dani

    Surprise us with new Google

  • http://www.conversioningredients.com Conversion Rate Expert

    The new Google Analytics Premium can serve billion of hits per-month. Our standard analytics can serve a million hits per-month only..

    So if you think your website serving more than 300.000 hits per-day, or just simply want the unsampled data as your base-data for making the right decisions, you should consider this this google analytics premium services.

    Conversion Ingredients

  • http://www.q3tech.com/services.html Software Development Companies

    The best feature of the new analytics is its real-time feature. To get the new analytics sign-up for the beta version.

  • http://hjoseo.se HjoSEO

    Thanx Google, for a nice new tool for checking site health. Should come in handy for many of us!

  • http://autobacklinkdirectory.blogspot.com/ eric

    Feedback from webmasters about site health has been generally positive, nice info, a lot of the information I can find here.

  • http://www.modeltrainhobbyist.com Lionel Bachmann @ Model Trains

    While I appreciate Google implementing some features in WMT, what they did doesn’t help much. The three factors in the site health are important, but are less likely to be a problem for a lot of webmasters. Like Antonio, I would like to see what’s missing from my site, and recommendations to make it better. If I can make my site better, then visitors will enjoy coming to my site through Google. It’s a win-win.

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    As always, I just wish someone would write their Help information and other site documentation who was a normal person and not a computer geek. I find their stuff difficult to figure out sometimes so I can only imagine how much trouble an ordinary user would have.

    • Keith

      I agree. Their tools are great but impossible to use if you can ever find them or figure them out.

  • http://www.kentuckyspecialfx.com Mike Bisch

    I understand google is trying and in my eyes making a decent effort to get the WMT in a better place for those who want to work with them but google still dosent understand that not everyone is a HTML god or file share guru, I feel right now its still hard for amatures to make major positive improvements to they’re sites like myself so google will be happy.
    My only two complaints, It would be nice if there were better explainations on analytics but I agree I want google to tell me exactly what to do, ill do it if I get decent customers to my site by all means. My halloween website www.kentuckyspecialfx.com kinda took a few negative hits the past few months and now that the season for us is here im literatly working around the clock to save us.

  • http://www.navegandopelaweb.co.cc Edie

    By the way, almost changing the subject, when it comes to be about webmaster, google needs to improve the tools of google sites, I’m having the greatest difficulty to which I have configured the site hosted there. Neither option of add comment to the visitors I could do.

  • http://www.seolatino.com Rafael Montilla

    I think It will help but I do not want to depend on it.

  • http://www.amberddesign.com website design

    they have the best tools. great post

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    Thanks for some other fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that type of info
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