Viewing the site messages lets you stay up to date with how your website is performing. Site messages will let you know if Googlebot can’t access your site or other critical issues. It is good to stay on top of things by viewing the site messages of your website
If you click on the Search Appearance tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see links for Structured Data and Data Highlighter.
Structured data markup lets you add extra data on your pages as it is shown in the Google search results. For instance, IMDB.com attaches movie ratings and # of votes as such:
By going to Structured Data in GWT, you can see the different data types you’ve marked, the # of pages that have marked up data and the items with errors.
By using the Data Highlighter tool, you can mark data on your pages that will teach Google about the pattern of structured data on your website. The supported data types are:
• Local businesses
• Software applications
• TV Episodes
If you click on the Search Appearance tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for HTML Improvements.
HTML Improvements shows you which meta descriptions, title tags and non-index-able content needs to be addressed by the webmaster to improve the site’s user experience and performance.
In the sample data above, there are 233 duplicate meta tags and 33,224 duplicate title tags that should be addressed for this website example.
If you click on the Search Appearance tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for Sitelinks.
Google will show sitelinks for results that they think will be useful to the user but sometimes it will show inappropriate links. The Sitelinks tool lets your demote links that are shown under your website in Google search results.
If you click on the Search Traffic tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for Search Queries.
The Search Queries page shows the search queries that people used to in Google search to click on your site and the top webpages on your website they go to. By default, it will show the report for the past 30 days but you can change the date range at the top right of the graph.
If you click on the Search Traffic tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for Manual Actions.
The Manual Actions page is probably one of the most important pages to check on GWT. Manual Actions will let you know whether you have a manual action to take to fix your website for Google. Usually this means that your site has been de-indexed or penalized due to spam, hacked site, hidden text or keyword stuffing, thin content with little or no added value, image mismatch or unnatural links. This could happen if you hired someone to do SEO work for you and they used blackhat SEO methods or maybe your site was breached by a hacker.
After taking the necessary manual actions to fix the problem, such as disavowing links, you can request a review from Google.
If you click on the Search Traffic tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for International Targeting.
If you manage a website that has pages that are designed for users in a specific country speaking a specific language, you may want to display the relevant language and country version of your pages to those users using international targeting.
There are two general mechanisms you can use to ensure your content reaches the right users:
1. URL-level targeting
1. Page-level markup – use
tag in the
section of your pages.
3. HTTP headers
4. Site-wide targeting
The International Targeting page will show whether you have any hreflang tags on your website. You can also click the Country tab to set your entire website to target users in a specific country.
If you click on the Search Traffic tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for Mobile Usability.
The Mobile Usability page lets you know how many pages on your website have errors related to mobile usability. Some of the common errors related to mobile are: viewport not being configured, touch elements too close, small font size, flash usage and content not sized to viewport.
A simple way to fix viewport not being configured errors is to add this meta tag to all of your pages in thesection.
If you click on the Google Index tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for Index Status.
The Index Status provides stats of the URLs that were indexed for the site in the past year. Here you will find the total indexed, blocked by robots and removed. There is also a line graph below. A steady rise for total indexed is good. If you see that there is a sudden drop in indexed pages, it might mean that Google is having trouble accessing your site.
If you click on the Google Index tab on the side bar of GWT, you’ll see a link for Content Keywords.
The Content Keywords page lists the top keywords that are most significant to your site. This page shows you how Google interprets your website. You can click the “show more…” button to extend the list. If you find keywords on top of your list that is irrelevant to your site such as “Viagra”, it could mean that your site may have been hijacked by spammers or hacked. If this is the case, you can implement countermeasures for spammers.