Google Wants Some Ideas For Webmaster Tools. Got Any?

    November 22, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

In a recent article, we asked if Google is being transparent enough. While the question was asked broadly, much our discussion had to do specifically with webmasters. Is Google providing them with enough information?

I mean after all, a single algorithm tweak can completely kill a business, or cause one to have to lay off staff. Webmasters want to know as much about how Google works, and how it views their site as possible.

What do you think Webmaster Tools needs more than anything else? Let us know in the comments.

We’re not asking that question just for conversation’s sake, though that should be interesting too. Google actually wants to know. Or at least one pretty important and influential Googler does.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, has taken to his personal blog to ask people what they would like to see Google Webmaster Tools offer in 2014.

So here’s your chance to have your voice heard.

“At this point, our webmaster console will alert you to manual webspam actions that will directly affect your site,” he writes. “We’ve recently rolled out better visibility on website security issues, including radically improved resources for hacked site help. We’ve also improved the backlinks that we show to publishers and site owners. Along the way, we’ve also created a website that explains how search works, and Google has done dozens of ‘office hours’ hangouts for websites. And we’re just about to hit 15 million views on ~500 different webmaster videos.”

I like to think we’ve played some small role in that.

Cutts lists fourteen items himself as things he could “imagine people wanting,” but notes that he’s just brainstorming, and that there’s no guarantee any of these will actually be worked on.

Among his ideas are: making authorship easier, improving spam/bug/error/issue reporting, an option to download pages from your site that Google has crawled (in case of emergency), checklists for new businesses, reports with advice for improving mobile/page speed, the ability to let Google know about “fat pings” of content before publishing it to the web, so Google knows where it first appeared, better duplicate content/scraper reporting tools, showing pages that don’t validate, showing pages that link to your 404 pages, show pages on your site that lead to 404s and broken links, better bulk URL removal, refreshing data faster, improving the robots.txt checker, and ways for site owners to tell Google about their site.

Even if we don’t see all of these things come to Webmaster Tools in the near future, it’s interesting to see the things Cutts is openly thinking about.

The post’s comments from Webmasters are already in the hundreds, so Google will certainly have plenty of ideas to work with. Googlers like Cutts have been known to peruse the WPN comments from time to time as well, so I wouldn’t worry about your response going unnoticed here either.

What do you think Webmaster Tools needs more than anything? Let us know in the comments. Better yet, let us know what you think it might actually get.

Image: Google

  • http://www.solwininfotech.com Thomas

    It would be great if Google provides a check box option in each every domain name from where we got backlinks. So, that we can select them and directly claim to remove them. How amazing it would be if Google allow us to do that?

    • http://www.seoservices.net.nz Perry Bernard

      Awesome idea! Save fluffing around with some Disavow file and having to list them all. Recently I’ve had to ‘fix’ the efforts of some India-based SEOs providing our clients with somewhat dubious links. In another case, where someone has obviously been using negative SEO to affect our client’s ranking. By the way, I say “obviously” only because the client claims not to have (ever) hired any link builders, but ‘newly discovered’ shows a vast amount of newly found links of poor quality.
      But back to your idea of a tick box, YES PLEASE! Maybe we should post this on Matt’s blog?

  • http://www.designersareesalwar.com/designer-sarees-c-100_19.html Designer Sarees

    Great article.
    Why the ‘Index Status’ page show another number than typing “site:www.example.com” in the search engines? and Anybody understand what the latency is perfect for showing the particular info via “Search Queries” tab?


  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I would love to see some kind of advance warning if you are at risk for a penalty. I have a client who has a partial manual action penalty and a lot of it is because their content was copied be scrappers and they got all these links from stolen content on junky sites. I’d love to see Google sent you an alert saying your link profile is starting to look unnaturally and here are some examples of how/why/where and what you can do about it. Better to catch it sooner than get the penalty and not know! There are plenty of site owners out there that wouldn’t know how to evaluate if their link profile was about to put their website in trouble.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/chris-crum Chris Crum

      I’d imagine that’s a highly-requested feature.

    • http://byronbaydirectory.com.au Nick

      I couldn’t agree more but like to go a step further, Google knows exactly what pages hurt another, so why not show it the site owner. Instead site owners have to go through thousands of sites and check them all manually. What a waste of time.

      • http://Www.bestcarhire.com Malcolm McNeill

        Totally agree Nick – legitimate businesses don’t have time or resources for this nonsense.
        Mark my words Google will pay dearly for their smug attitude.
        Not a threat but a prediction!

  • http://londarmarks.com Londa

    Something better than Dreamweaver! Closer to Adobe Muse but with more options like dynamic websites and design capability, but easier to develop like Dreamweaver used to be when Macromedia owned it. Everything Adobe touches turns to FRUSTRATION. Something easy to design on like CorelDraw. So, a combo: Dreamweaver/Muse/CorelDraw web design program. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to design websites and I’ve been designing websites since the Internet started opening up in 1994.

  • http://dansullivaninsurance.com/ Dan Sullivan

    The link profile is such a mystery, if they know what the entire profile is they should show us, after all we do not control who links to our site anyway. Hope this happens.

  • Alexander

    I would say that the most helpful tool that google could include would be notifications of ALGORITHMIC penalties, along with an explanation why the algo penalized you and what steps you can tale to remedy the problem. Basically the same level of information that we would get should we “earn” a manual penalty”, there should be no distinction. I know for a fact we are under an algo penalty, possibly links from years ago, but nevertheless if we were TOLD exactly what’s wrong, then we can fix it, and hey-ho Google gets a better quality site on their search engine too. Simple. I hope Matt Cutts pays attention to this.

    • http://Www.bestcarhire.com Malcolm McNeill

      Agreed Alexander we spend so much time trying this and trying that.
      Maybe if I deleted my affiliate adverts – nope that didn’t work. OK let’s try adding more content – nope that didn’t work – I know Ill ask for a Google Reconsideration Request – oops! Sorry you can only ask that if Google highlights a Manual Action.

  • http://www.pjprins.com peter

    Not that I am breaking my neck about seo any more, but…

    what would make me reconsider is this:

    a “suggestions for improvements” report – even if it does not tell you everything at once, you can keep going back to see where your site still lacks –

    pretty much like LinkedIn keeps telling you what you can do to improve your profile.

    just my 0.02c

    • http://www.seoservices.net.nz Perry Bernard

      Good idea Peter, but I’d be worried about some folk ending up going in circles, much like when you add info to Linkedin. On that site, once you add a small something, it asks you for more and more every time to elaborate, when I just want to get on with networking!
      I’d be worried that folk get advice saying “build some links to your site”, then end up with “you have too many low quality or spammy links pointing to your site”. What I would prefer to see is for Google to make some more hard and fast recommendations – which they will never do, because it then makes them liable for the advice (if not legally, then in sentiment).

  • http://www.mindconnection.com Mark

    Having fought Googlegeddon since the launch of Panda, which was designed for no other purpose than to sacrifice the quality of the Google “search engine” organic results to force owners of good sites to increase their spend on AdWords, I have a few suggestions.

    1. Update Webmaster Tools so the link information is less than a year old. Why this is so challenging for Google, I have no idea. Bing, by contrast, seems to be only a couple months behind. Google consistently shows inbound URLs from pages that have been non-existent for over a year.

    2. Do something with the reports sent via the dead links removal tool, other than simply ignore these reports. Repeatedly informing Google that specific pages no longer link to my site or no longer exist is an exercise in futility. The results remind me of the joke about the “Employee Suggestions” sign sitting on top of a wastebasket. That seems to be what Google does with the dead link reports.

    3. Make the Disavow file actually work. Currently, it has about zero effect for link cleanup. After 6 months of using it, I adopted a “why bother” attitude. Thanks for baiting me into wasting even more time, Google.

    4. Mark disavowed links in WT. Show us that they are actually “nofollowed” in our profile.

    5. Take a look at the Amazon Marketplace tools for sellers (you know, Amazon, where thousands of e-tailers have fled thanks to Google’s destruction of what used to be a pretty good search engine). They give you scores on specific metrics so that you can improve. This is in stark contrast to Google, which gives vague and conflicting Webmaster Guidelines plus outdated and inaccurate info in WT–as if “improvement” is a dirty word at Google.

    6. Most of the tools in WT are useless for SEO or site improvement. Adding some that actually help the victims of Panda and Penguin is the least Google can do, considering the damage it has caused.

    7. Give us tools for easily reporting the empty content sites that now dominate the Google SERPs so that, if Google actually cares (no indication it does) about organic search, it can manually remove these poor user experience sites. For example, you search on Crystal Reports Scheduler and visit the top ranking sites on Google and then you find most of these have “no mistakes” because they have no real content. Sites with rich content get penalized for some mysterious, probably insignificant things. Google seems to adhere to “Don’t do anything, and you don’t make mistakes.”

    8. Think about giving us some incentive to work on Google organic. Maybe actually rewarding good sites? What a concept. I’ve given up on Google organic, because I have better things to do with my time. Google gives me zero incentive to meet whatever crazy criteria it has. My pages show up great on Bing, which right now has little value from a sales standpoint but it does mean I’m doing things right at least according to Bing. And that’s good feedback for things such as conversion and good user experience, two concepts Google no longer values.

    9. Consider actually living by the “do no evil” slogan. Then overhaul WT with that in mind. Currently, WT seems to be just a distraction to waste people’s time (if they are already doing all the basic stuff) under the false promise it will help them fix organic SEO problems on Google.

    10. Try to get it through your thick skulls that causing thousands of small sites to lose their rightful positioning in the Google SERPs to lame, empty-content sites means they will have no time to manage their AdWords acct. The AdWords acct is a supplemental thing; we still must get most of our sales from other channels. Losing the organic channel means a huge change in business model. That model will necessarily exclude AdWords. My AdWords spend went from a couple grand a month to exactly zero. The time I once had to devote to actively managing this (and I did take all the Google classes on it) now must be devoted to managing things on the online marketplaces.

    I don’t intend the above list to be a la carte. I intend it to be a starting point for Google to clean up its act. Probably, another good Webmaster can come up with a “list of 10” completely different from mine–but equally valid. How Google ever lost its way so badly, I don’t know. But it is now a very, very long way from being a good company.

  • frank burns

    The first impression that springs to my mind is ‘Site Reviews’.

    If a website has high paying keywords that are organic, good ppc, authentic backlinks and traffic, those high ranking sites should be made compatible for mobile as a “website app”.

    Only the very few high rollers would attain such stats and that would separate a class distinction from all the other players.

    It might encourage others to adhere to best practices more rigorously to be rated and included with the select few.

    If the playing field remains the same as it is today, there wont be much scope to leave to the imagination.

  • STEF

    How about a SPAM REPORT that works… So many times i’ve reported the same site that comes out 6,7 and 8 times on the first page of Google with absolutely no content… Only iframe and AdSense and nothing as change. Been reporting that site for a year on many different request and absolutely nothing as been done about it.

    So a SPAM REPORT that works would be a GOOD idea.

    I’m not even sure if there is realy a spam team…


  • http://www.nerdsrus.us Kenneth T. Parker

    One thing that needs to greatly improve in web tools and web stats in general is to open it’s base structure to accommodate newer programming standards and platforms. It is and has been based solely on HTML. Why not open it up full throttle and accommodate PHP, ASP.NET, JSP more. The stats are currently base on the system finding a home.HTML with content and links as well as site maps and other requirements. The web these days is no such animal and has tons of MVC,CMS and other types of web site applications. So why not update everything to correctly reflect the net today.

  • Frank

    email: Google Wants Some Ideas For Webmaster Tools. Got Any?

    Yes, I and many others have ideas, but why should we help those that hurt us? That’s like voting for a politician who promises to raise your taxes so we can have another war.

    The ONLY idea i will offer is to show all back links. Google penalizing people for back links they didn’t create, then saying, clean them up, and you don’t even know where they are. Nope, go spend hundreds, maybe thousands to find out where the spam links come from. And of course, this doesn’t stop people from continually spamming with links, so a few months down the road, you have to do it all over again.

    At least if you had this information, you could disavow it. But no, the almighty G wants to place an undue burden on the entire internet.

  • http://www.banglafilmonline.com Topu

    Keywords position is not very clear.

  • http://www.loriswebs.com Lorel

    I would like to see a site backlink analysis program that shows us which links are considered bad quality. Why should we have to pay another program for this info when it may not be what Google doesn’t like?

    Also I’d like to see GWT get more specific on keyword ranking — not just give us an average rank for a term but a specific rank. We have to pay for this service on other programs also and may not be the same as how Google ranks those terms.

  • http://baliaccommodation.com Nick

    As competition for top ranking is fierce, I think it is time to limit the number for any domain shown in the say top 100 to maybe one or two. This will allow for more competition and diversity in the SERPs.

  • http://www.backwaterstudio.com Kathleen Johnson

    1. Glad to see that “Authorship” was just not troublesome for me. If fact, despite following all the criteria – I still have not been able to validate.

    2. Would be wonderful to “know” what is bothering everyone else. I have a tendancy to blame my ineptitude before assigning blame to Google convoluted myriad of instructions in a language only the very Tech saavy understand.

    3.Showing pages that dont validate – again, I though it was me “not being able to find the “hidden” list somewhere in the buried menus at Google Webmaster.

    4. Refreshing Data faster – and here I was blaming my aged computer and service provider. I will issue them an apology now….

    5. Ways for site owners to tell Google about their site

    6. Just what does Google want for Meta Tags – if at all.
    If Google is not using them – then tell us.

    7. Exactly – how many words/letters in the description. Give us an exact parameter and we will oblige.

    8. Google Webmaster is so myriad in deep menus – I get lost wandering around trying to find what I need. Make a list and let us check it twice

    9. If participating in Google Plus is part of the SEO parameter – just tell us. But “playing” over there sure does seem to help no end.

    Thank you for asking

    Owner of an iddy biddy website in the depths of the Bayou in Mississippi


  • http://Www.bestcarhire.com Malcolm McNeill

    Bring back the old Google Keywords generator!!,

    • John

      They have no cred left and will only make you jump through hoops and penalize you later for doing as they asked…at this point cheat any way you can

  • https://sites.google.com/site/bbcfetch kbmnj

    the instructions are too confusincg unecessarily convoluted, have no leaway for anyone with brain ie independent thought, leave no manner to ask questios, in totally they r too rote.

  • http://www.mezonhandbags.com rodney

    the best tools is to have some kind of approval or confirming links in webmaster , what i mean is when a website owner is creating some links to have that option to confirm those links in webmaster before indexig by google ,so in this case there is no negative seo or scam and competitions against any website .
    since our site is a victim of negative seo by scam or competitions we think this is the best way to prevent that .
    rodney / http://www.mezonhandbags.com

  • http://www.tixirixi.wordpress.com Nadir ALTINBAS

    Nowadays ,we know that specialized & dedicated Radio broadcasting services are available for companies which present customers request in their location .Why not ??? Radio webcasting.Web site should have an own radio webcast services dedicated to it’s user’s.I mean, airline web site must have a meterological RadioWebcast or A museum web site may have a classic music radiowebcasting.These Samples can be derive to other industries too.If there is a source webcast database for webmasters who can choice appropriate radio services to add their web site ,webmasters can create more live web site which interact with users.

  • http://www.selftours.co.za Steve

    Google controls the world – scary hey? Yes their last mess virtually kill our tour business – we laid off 50% of our staff in June. We have never recovered. We have an old site launched on 2000 and used to have good rankings. Why does Google constantly interfere – just leave things alone??

    I don’t believe we where involved with content farms or link farming we have several websites and they are all linked plus a few links to outside sites.

  • mike

    How about someone to talk to on phone?…our site was in business for 7 years and now we are banned for no apparent reason…Google spends billions on glasses and video pictures of streets but cant afford to tell sites what they dont like and what they are doing wrong before they bann them….not even an email, nothing!

  • Roger M

    When webmaster fools started, signed up for it. Started getting letters from Google to use Adwords to increase traffic – for some important key words traffic reduced. Closed WT account and be done with it. Same with analytics – Panda, Penguin didn’t see the stats.

    If you don’t use WT, analytics, it vastly reduces G ability to track traffic from third party sources to your website. Ditch chrome, free fonts and free api scripts – G almost goes blind….. If you use firefox remember to disable malware, geo etc tracking… shhh it is sponsored by G.

  • http://www.transgateslimo.com Younes Aitouazdi

    There is so much Google can do to make their business practices more transparent and more moral. I think we need a third company beside Google and Bing, the more competition we have on the market, the better the service will get. whenever there is a monopoly like Google, they will keep abusing the consumers for their own benefit, and their own benefit only.

  • http://www.transgateslimo.com http://www.transgateslimo.com

    There is so much Google can do to make their business practices more transparent and more moral. I think we need a third company beside Google and Bing, the more competition we have on the market, the better the service will get. whenever there is a monopoly like Google, they will keep abusing the consumers for their own benefit, and their own benefit only.

  • dale

    Provide a way to delete back links you do not want,their dis avow tool is worthless

  • http://www.salinasneighborhoods.org Dave Clark

    Google Screwed up the Maps. They no longer offer the ability to put a street view map in an I Frame. They look just link Bing now, which is not a compliment. Why can’t people learn to leave well enough alone when it is not broken.

  • Gilad

    If a decision has been made by the “System” to remove a website from the index then the criteria for the decision exist, therefore it should be specified exactly in the Email sent to Webmaster.

    Just sending an Email with obscure template-like message that your site was found to violate Webmaster guidelines without referring to the exact issue of what exactly was violated is not effective.

    And as I always say – Google eat from hands of Webmasters and lavarage on content created, managed and collected by Websites. If for example 50% of webmasters will decide to promote other search engines then Google on their website, e.g. putting some banner, a trend could be created that will put Google in deep trouble. So Google should stop treat Webmasters as negligible resource. The Email sent to Webmasters when site is down of index and the inability to get the exact reseaon for removing the site from the support team (although the factor for this decision should be logged in the System) is an example for that attitude.

  • http://blogspot.com Dave

    Google doesn’t publish ANYTHING about it’s own products. That’s a little one-sided guys. Blogspot.com is a huge pirate haven. Also, youtube.com is not put in the report because it’s their own product. Picassa and now Google Drive and Docs have huge issues with illegal piracy.

    You’ll never see those in the “transparency report” though. It’s like Ford making a report on the top crashes by brand and simply omitting their own stats.

    What a joke.

  • http://www.elementmassage.co.uk Steve

    It really needs to bring back a proper keyword search and stop encrypting keyword searches. I already offer a service in a particularly difficult sector, and marketing is incredibly difficult at the best of times.
    I used to know what my website visitors were looking for- now, I have absolutely no idea. Even though I keep updating and making the site more informative, I can only do so much. i am not in the position to pay a fortune to other SEO companies or whizzes.
    I am really quiet, some weeks only just turning over enough money to pay rent. I don’t know that Google has done anyone any favours, and know it certainly doesn’t help me!
    I’m not a big wig, with well known content, nor do I know anyone who I could link to. I am unfortunately an SEO DIY’er, so its proving really, really hard.
    Apart from having to use paid advertising, I’m not sure what the solution is. Nor do I know what to suggest. Some sort of user friendly, uncomplicated tool, which helps one do the kind of SEO Google expects, might be more the biscuit, I think? How about an app or plug-in either for people who do their own website content, or maybe a small downloadable program that one can install on their PC or laptop that helps you write really good articles. I would even be happy to pay for such a program if the cost was reasonable. But lots of the stuff out there has to be subscribed to every month- not a viable option for the likes of me.
    Best wishes to all,

  • Victor Carrasco

    Hi, I do have a great project that could be included as part of google tools.