If you are dipping your toes into the SEO waters for the first time then setting up your website on Google Webmaster Tools should be part of your set-up plan. My top 5 reasons for using GWT:
1. Site Troubleshooting – Every website owner should ensure that the coded in their website is not hindering its crawling and ranking. GWT allows you to gain valuable feedback from Google. They will inform you of any issues it has with your site and they will even make HTML suggestions. This is very important information and should be accessed by all.
2. Site Speed – The speed of your site has now become a ranking factor. Fast loading sites will rank higher than slow loading sites. GWT provides information on how it views the site speed of your website. The site performance option will tell you how long it takes to download a web page and how you can improve the download speed. It also compares your website to other websites so you get an idea if it is fast or slow.
3. Link Analysis – Inbound links are possibly the most important ranking factor. Gaining any information on the links pointing to your site is highly important. As Google is the most popular search engine, finding out what link records they have is very important. GWT can provide information on both your inbound links and your inner links.
4. Site Speed – This is a relatively new ranking factor, and it is one that can be analysed through GWT. In the ‘Labs’ section of GWT you will find a ‘Site Performance’ option. This will inform you of your site speed and compare it to other websites. If your site speed is slow then you will need to improve it. GWT also makes suggestions on how this can be done.
5. Link Analysis – Links are very important for achieving high rankings. Google is notoriously shy in providing inbound link information. Typing site: and your domain into their search engine returns very few results. It is possible to view a greater number of the links Google has found through GWT. GWT also provides you with inner linking information too.