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.