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Google Webmaster Tools Update

A new look and less features for GWT

Importance:

Recommended link: Google Webmaster Blog announcing the new design

New Google Webmaster DashboardOur commentary

In the past 3-4 weeks Google have made various changes to the Google Webmaster Tool platform, including, more recently, updates to the design.

The new design implementation is focused on bringing the platform into line with other recent design updates for the search giant. During the update Google has also updated the navigation grouping of features:

We distinguished the following groups: Configuration, Health, Traffic and Optimization. Each group represents a related set of functionality:

  • Configuration: Things you configure and generally don’t change very often.
  • Health: Where you look to make sure things are OK.
  • Traffic: Where you go to understand how your site is doing in Google search, who’s linking to you; where you can explore the data about your site.
  • Optimization: Where you can find ideas to enhance your site, which enables us to better understand and represent your site in Search and other services.

Google has also removed the following features from Google Webmaster Tools due to low usage:

  • Subscriber stats
  • Create a robots.txt
  • Site Performance

Marketing implications

The new grouping and designs take a little getting used to, but the implications of the updates are not far reaching which is why we rated this two stars importance.

Still, it's a reminder that there is actionable info in Google Webmaster Tools - so use it! Take a look at the Traffic reports which are the most useful for ongoing SEO. Make sure your Search Queries data is linked to Google Analytics; check the health of external and internal links (if you're not using other tools) and check new +1 reports from Google Plus since this is starting to be considered as a ranking signal as this recent example suggests:

The other important thing from the update that affects visits through SEO is to remember even though Google have removed the site performance feature it is vital you monitor and improve your site performance. You can still use Google Analytics or use the Yslow plugin or the Google page speed website for this.

 

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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