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Google Updates Webmaster Tools: What’s New and Useful

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Photo Credit: Carlos Luna via flickr

Curious what Google is looking for these days? It isn’t rocket science to decipher. Speed, responsiveness, unique and relevant content; these are some of the criteria demanded by the search engine giant for anyone to win the ranking wars.

For most companies, the go to resource for all diagnostics, results, and overall website performance reports is Google Webmaster Tools. This free service helps webmasters maintain a website’s SEO presence and helps them to better understand how to optimize a site for increased visibility, traffic, and ultimately ROI. Following the ranking guidelines laid out by Google is always a good strategy.

Earlier this month, Webmasters across the world rejoiced as Google announced several updates to these prestigious tools along with a brand new report to help businesses better understand how a website is being seen and essentially how to increase SEO rankings. These updates can help unlock massive amounts of optimization potential for companies, assuming that time is taken to study the results and make the necessary improvements to a site.

Here are the hot new reports and updates from Google Webmaster Tools:

Brand New: Blocked Sources Report

The announcement of the blocked sources report opens up a gateway for companies to increase, optimize, and truly hone in on search engine rankings. The report will give businesses insight into exactly which images, CSS, JavaScript or other resources on a website are obstructed from Google’s view and from which hosts the blockages occur.

By viewing and understanding this report a company can eliminate these damaging blocks which will then allow Google-bots to crawl a website in its entirety. If there is one thing in recent years that Google has taught businesses, it is that if a site cannot be crawled by the bots, it will not rank well (or at all, really), which could spell disaster for some smaller organizations. The blocked sources report will assist business owners and marketers in the following four ways:

  • The landing page of the report compiles a comprehensive list of hosts that provide a resource on a site which is blocked by robots.txt rules.
  • A simple click on a given host will allow one to see a list of resources that are blocked from that host. This will include the number of pages on a site that are affected by the blocked sources.
  • Blocked resources can then be clicked within the table to reveal a full list of pages that load the particular resource.
  • Click on any page in the table holding the blocked sources to obtain guidance on how to rid the page of the blocked resource which will help optimize the site.

Updated and Improved: Fetch & Render

Google’s Webmaster Fetch & Render tool is a diagnostics platform which allows users to simulate how Google renders a URL on specific websites. Google updated this tool back in May of 2014 to have the ability to fetch & render by device. Now, webmasters can dive even deeper into the analytics of a site with the added feature to view the URL as Google sees it side by side with how visitors will view the same page. These snapshot images will allow operators of a site to definitively detect even subtle differences in how Google-bots see a page versus how a browser renders it.

This update, although not exactly announced by Google, again goes back to blocked resources and how much of an impact they can truly make on a site. Apply this updated tool to see how blocked content alters what is seen of a site by Google and potential visitors. It may seem like a slight alteration, but the benefits of this comparison view can be significant.

It is critical for organizations to understand the resources on a business website that hold the company back. Clear out all unnecessary resources that do not serve a website’s purpose and increased rankings and traffic are sure to follow. Take the time to evaluate your site and the benefits could prove to be dramatic.

The updates give business owners, marketers, and website operators a leg up in understanding how to optimize a website for increased efficiency and SEO ranking. It is important for organizations to utilize the tools handed out by Google because they are often the gatekeepers to complete success or utter failure.

If you have already used these updates on your website, provide your insights and comments below on how useful you found them to be.

About the author

Tina Courtney

Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile


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