Webmaster Tools and specifically the terms that are used are the most confusing aspects of what SEO is. ,For the un-initiated this can be extremely confusing. In our part 1 of what is SEO series we outlined the overview of SEO and the important role it plays in digital marketing. In this 2nd part of the article of what is SEO, we track down and demystify the various webmaster tool terms that are used
What are Google Webmaster Tools?
Are you looking for some sweet love from Google? Other than buying paid traffic through AdWords program, then the best way to get more traffic is through search engine optimization. But before you start optimizing your site, the first thing you should do is to sign up for Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). “Google Webmaster Tools” is a web interface provided by Google free of charge that helps you understand what’s going on with your website. This is also called the Google Search Console.
“Google Webmaster Tools” helps you in identifying issues with your website and can even let you know if it has been infected with malware (not something you ever want to see). Such a check is essential for the Search Engine Optimization of every site and it is the only proven way to position better in web searches..
For more in-depth help, go to Google’s Webmaster Help
Using the Google Webmaster Tool is the starting point in making your site SEO optimized for Google. Like Google all the popular search engines like Yahoo and Bing have their own webmaster tools to allow you as the web publisher create clean seo optimized sites which can be easily tracked by them.
Why use a Webmaster Tool?
A Webmaster Tool is a key cog in the entire SEO optimization game plan. Using the webmaster tool, you let search engines crawl specific pages of your website by indexing them. You also get to know what specific queries people have put in which has led to your page or your url being shown to them and you can use this information to further iterate on the content of your website.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain Authority (DA) is a website metric developed by Moz. It predicts how well a website will rank on search engines on the scale of 1-100. The greater your DA, the more likely you will have strong traffic and high rank.
Domain authority is based on a lot of factors. Most important is link profile factor such as how many backward links are pointing to your website & how authoritative those sites are. It is very difficult to gain a DA number of 100. Sites like Google and Facebook have it, so don’t be disappointed if you never hit 100. TRY! TRY! DA is difficult to influence directly. You can’t change your DA score like you can change your Meta tags.
Strictly speaking DA is not a Google Webmaster Tool nor does Google use specifically DA to rank websites the way Moz does. However, Google has their own alogo to determine website rank and one could use the Moz version to understand broadly where your website stands.
What is a Backlink?
“Backlink” is one of the most used words in the world of SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO). Many bloggers who have recently started blogging or a website often struggle to understand what the term “backlink” means.
Let’s get started…
Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage. When a webpage links to any other page, it’s called a backlink. In the past, backlinks were the major metric for ranking of a webpage. A page with lot of backlinks tended to be ranked high on all major search engines, including Google. This is still true to a large extent.
Here are some common terms related to backlinks that you must know:
- Link Juice: When a webpage links to any of your website’s homepage or articles, it passes “link juice”.
- SEO Practice: Good to have lots of Link Juice flowing in.
- No-Follow Link: Whenever a website gets linked to another website, but the link has a no-follow tag, that link does not pass link juice. No-follow links aren’t useful concerning the ranking of a page as they do not contribute anything.
- SEO Practice: If you’re contributing to some other site, make sure they don’t have a no-follow tag policy. Contributing to them won’t add anything to your SEO.
- Do-Follow Link: By default, all the links that you add into a blog post are do-follow links, and these pass link juice.
- SEO Practice: Have do follow links
- Linking Root Domains: This refers to the no. of back links coming into your website from a unique domain. Even if a website has linked to your website ten times, it will only be considered as one linked root domain.
- SEO Practice: Try and increase the number of linked root domains. Having 100 different LinkedIn root domains is better than having 1000 links coming from only 5 linked root domains. Essentially the more linked root domains point to you site, the indicator is that your site is highly popular and hence deserves to be shown at a higher rank by search engines.
- Low-Quality Links: These links come from spam sites, automated harvested sites, or even porn sites. These links do far more harm than good.
- SEO Practice: Avoid low quality back links. A good way to know if a site is high or low quality is to check their DA.
- Internal Links: Links that go from one page to another within same domain are called internal links. It is considered good SEO practice to have strong internal links. Internal links also help you reduce the single page visitor (bounce rate) effect and helps you cross-sell other aspects of your site that you believe could be of value to the reader.
- SEO practice: Very Importance to practice
- Anchor Text: It is the text that is used for hyperlinks. Anchor text backlinks work great when you try to rank for particular keywords. The text that’s shows up behind which an hyperlink rests is an Anchor Text.
- SEO Practice: Very good practice to have in all your blogs.
Importance of backlinks in SEO:
Before I talk about advantages of backlinks, one needs to understand that much has changed concerning backlinks in the past couple of years. There was a time when even low-quality links helped a lot in ranking a site. But ever since, Google rolled out its Penguin algorithm (http://searchengineland.com/library/google/google-penguin-update), the whole landscape of backlinking has been changed.
It is really important to have backlinks from quality sites, and those backlinks must be contextual. For instance, you have a site about orchids, and you are creating links from other niche sites about roses, then these links will be of no use. Your goal should be to get links from authoritative and relevant sites. You can use the webmaster tools handy feature to check the external links that point to your site.
Now let’s take a look at why is it important to create backlinks to your site:
- Improves organic ranking
If any of your content is getting organic links from other sites,that content will naturally be ranked higher with search engines. Your goal should be to create links to individual pages/posts along with those leading to your homepage.
- Faster indexing
Backlinks help search engine bots discover links to your site and crawl your site effectively. It is important to get backlinks as they help in the faster discovery and indexing of your site especially for a new website.
- Referral Traffic
One of the major advantages of backlinks is that they help in getting referral traffic. Usually, referral traffic is targeted and has a low bounce rate.
What are Sitemaps?
Wikipedia has best explained the definition of Sitemap
A sitemap is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. It is a document (can be made in any form) used as a planning tool for Web design , or a Web pagethat lists the pages on a website , typically organized in hierarchical fashion.
Sitemaps make good relationships between pages and other content components. It depicts shape of information space in overview. Sitemaps can demonstrate navigation, organization, and labelling system.
Types of Sitemaps:
HTML sitemap (written in Hypertext Mark-up Language) for visitors
XML sitemap (written in Extensible Mark-up Language) for search engines
An HTML sitemap:
-Improves user experience thereby reducing bounce rate
– Ensures improved search and navigation by human visitors
– Helps you distribute links to various pages of the website
An XML sitemap:
– Helps with orphaned pages or broken internal links that cannot be reached in other way
– Alerts search engines to any changes/additions to your site
– Helps you choose pages that you don’t want to index
-Enables you to rely less on external links that will bring search engines to your site.
– Ensures better visibility by search engines
What are Robots Txt in webmaster tools?
No. this has nothing to do with the Terminator series. Robots.txt files are essentially pieces of codes written by web developers that give instructions to search engine robots what pages of your site you want to them to crawl and what you don’t want them do. This is called the Robots Exclusion Protocol
Robots.txt files are useful tools to block the search engine from crawling certain parts of your website that you do not want indexed and displayed in search results.
What are Rich Cards?
The Rich Card is a new feature that was rolled out by Google in 2016 that allowed for an even sexier display of search results. It is a new webmaster tools feature that really makes for interesting usage.Rich cards allow you as the web publisher to display search results visually instead of the standard search results or even the rich snippet results as in the example shown below.
Google currently allows for Rich Card Display of search results in the following categories of content:
- Recopies: Imagine being able to showcase your signature lasagne on google search!
- Movies: Searching for the latest Avengers show? Display the results with a visual!
- Events: You can now showcase your event better!
- Products: Create Rich cards for each of your products so that they show up when people search for them!
- Reviews: Capture your reviews and have it displayed
- Courses: Now feature your courses in a more visually appealing manner on organic search results.
The Webmaster Tools provide an interesting array of easy to use and good to use tools that can help you as the web master optimize your website more effectively for SEO. By default most of the work that happens is closely linked to what changes Google makes in its search algorithm but these webmaster tool terminologies have more or less stood the test of time and more keeps getting added.
We will keep updating this webmaster tools blog with more terminologies as they continue to emerge. However if you want to ask a question from our community of SEO experts, check out our Forum Discussion Areas
Next Read: How to do on-page SEO