Blog Tune Up ~ Mastering Webmaster Tools

I’ve been wanting to give the ol’ blog a bit of a health check.

I’m sure you can pay someone to check out your blog and fix any issues which might be affecting performance, but one of the best free tools is ready and waiting to be used.

Google's very own Webmaster Tools

blog tune up

If you have a Blogger blog, you already have a Webmaster Tools account, simply log in with your Google account info.

webmaster tools log in

Webmaster Tools shows you a whole heap of information about your blog, included issues you need to address.

The first stop is your Dashboard, the menus on the left hand side allow you to address individual issues.

webmaster tools dashboard1

Not wanting to mess about with things I know bugger all about I stayed away from the {Configuration} tab and moved swiftly on to {Health}.

Under the sub heading {Crawl Errors} you get the following details.

health crawl errors

These errors , I had 33, indicate every time an URL goes to a non existent page, the 404 error, clicking on the grey box will expand all the errors.

Each individual error, once highlighted will proved details.

crawl error individual error details

Whilst 404 errors don’t actually cause you any problems, they are something you might want to take a look at, I found that the majority of my 404s were linked in someway to this site, thanks!

crawl pest

A few were linked from other blogs, most likely when I have linked up to a hop or something and the blog owner has had an overhaul, not something I’m majorly worried about.

crawl details from external websites

An awful lot were the temporary posts used by Windows Live Writer, easily solved by marking as {Fixed}.

One thing I did notice going through these crawl errors was that the majority were from early on in my blogging, I’m wondering whether chopping and changing between templates and other add ons has left a few random pieces of coding and dead links, once I get some quiet time I will go back through the posts and check links and what not.

Not wanting to mess too much, I skipped the next few drop downs and performed a Google Fetch

google fetch of blog

This allows you to see a web page as Google sees it, handy to use in conjunction with the {Crawl Errors}

I then skipped down to Malware and got a lovely message.

no malware detection

I then went to {Traffic} and {Search Queries}, this gives you some insight into what is proving popular on your blog, good info if you want to know which direction to take your blogging in.

traffic search querries

The {Links to your site} tab is another handy one.

links to your site

This lets you see who is linking to your blog, and what they are linking to. Most of these were legit and sites I was perfectly happy to be linked to, one or two I’d rather just buggered off and stopped trying to jump on others coat tails. And a few were a great way to find peeps who follow my blog whom I had no idea about, Hi!

This info is also broken down into {Most Linked Content}, a handy way of determining popular posts.

So, once I had cleaned up the 404s and made note of who was linking to what I scooted down to {Optimisation}.

The first option is {Sitemaps} which is basically a way for Google to search your blog in all its glory including pages URLs not caught in the regular Google crawl, this is handy way to get Google to look at all those old post you haven’t linked to!

When I first heard of Sitemaps I just closed the browser and walked slowly away from the laptop, then thought ‘Sod it!' did some research and discovered that good ol’ Google had done the hard work for me.

In the top right hand corner you see the {Add / Test Sitemap} tab, hit this and add the following.

/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=70000

add sitemap

Hit the {Submit Sitemap} and wait for Google to do its thang, it might take awhile!

Skipping along {HTML Improvements} I can see there are no issues other than 6 {Duplicate Title Tags} these are all for blog parties I hosted so the duplication of tags isn’t a problem.

html improvements

The next section I went to was {Content Keywords}, this was more informative than I thought it would be, a very handy way to see just where you can clean up your keywords and perhaps improve your standing in search results.

content keywords

This list gave me a basis to work on in stream lining my tags, not a quick process, but one I’m determined to work on!

Phew, that was a lot to go over, hope you found some of it useful.

These are just a few of the things Webmaster Tools can do to help either tweak your blogs performance, and give you a better understanding of what is popular on your blog and help your ranking in searches.

Before anyone panics, when you first link your blog to Webmaster Tools it can take a little while for Google to crawl all over your blog and start showing some stats.

3 comments :

  1. Oh boy could I do with your help! I've got 696 not founds. That's not good is it! Some may be down to tag/category converting, I'm not sure. Others are from deleted categories. I've recently changed my theme, could that have had an adverse effect? How can I delete these not found links from the web? Is that even possible or do I have to individually redirect them to either the correct address or my homepage? I'm bamboozled! I SO need some advice...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure it's all okay.
      Filter them and fix the ones you can i.e. 404 pages, temporary posts and links to blogs which are no longer valid, and click them all as fixed, they then disappear from the list.
      You don't need to go back over every single one, going back and clearing up the dead links is a good idea, don't panic and just do a few at a time.

      Delete

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