Hello and welcome to part 6 of my 7 1/2 part guide to Google Webmaster Tools. In this post I will be covering the different sections Site Messages, Security Issues and Other Resources.
Here we are able to see any and all communication directly from Google regarding our websites. Don’t get too excited though, it’s not an open dialog rather, it’s more along the lines of notifications. For example, if we were to connect our Webmaster Tools accounts to Google Analytics, we would see notifications (like the ones below).
Notice there are three options on the top menu when we first get to this screen. All allows us to see all messages regarding our website, Starred shows us messages that we manually star which is like bookmarking them, and finally we have Alerts. Under alerts are the important messages like if we receive any manual action from Google or receive some sort of penalty. Clicking on the message subject will provide us with more detail and in some cases a link. The two messages I have displayed are letting me know that I have chosen a preferred version of my domain, joerega.com sans the www subdomain and that I have linked my Webmaster Tools profile to my Google Analytics account. This allows for more information in Analytics such as keyword data, landing pages and geographical data. One of the messages we may receive regarding our websites is about Security Issues.
This section in Google Webmaster Tools shows us any warnings we may receive regarding an attack or hacked site. If you have ever seen a website in the SERPs display a message underneath a URL that says this site may harm your computer or this site may be hacked, changes are the webmasters would head over to this section to see what’s wrong. Google goes into greater detail here. Fortunately, there are no issues with my site and I hope that all of you reading this see the following when you log in to this section:
Here we have access to some more powerful tools in Webmaster Tools.
First up is the Structured Data Testing Tool. This will let us test any rich snippets web have on our website by either a URL or the source code directly.
If any schema are used to markup your website, this is the section to use to test it. Since structured data is not yet widely implemented, there is also a tool to help us make sure our configuration is correct. Enter the Structured Data Markup Helper. This area allows us to select the type of data we are trying to markup and enter the URL or HTML. This works for both websites and email.
By selecting the type of data then entering the information below, Google will know what data to be looking for and therefore tell us if our markup is correct.
The email screen has a different set of data types to choose from. Rich snippets in email allow for dynamic emails that companies can send out to enhance them. This may include flight departure and duration times as well as a countdown to a specific event. Here are the current options at the time of this writing:
For structured data in email, the only option to verify if the coding is correct is by HTML.
The next link down is the Email Markup Tester. This is just another place to test the rich snippets in your email, similar to the one above, just without the data type selection.
The following link is for Google Places. This is not a part of Webmaster Tools but an external link to the Google Places website. Since it’s not a part of Webmaster Tools, may I’ll cover that in a future blog post?
After that we see Google Merchant Center. This is another external link to the Merchant Center Website. Merchant Center is used to upload product data to Google shopping and other Google services wherever available.
The second to last link is the PageSpeed Insights. Another external link to Google Developers, PageSpeed Insights allows us to see how fast our websites are and what, if any, areas we can adjust to make them faster. This is also a great way to determine how the user experience is. There are two options to measure speed, one for mobile and one for desktop.
The final link in this section is Custom Search. Google Custom Search allows us to add a search engine to our website. This will display search results that favor our webpages first and can be configured a number of different ways. Google continues to improve upon this feature as it is now available with different schema.org types.
We touched upon some more features of Google Webmaster Tools today from the different types of site message we can receive to security issues that warn us when our sites may be hacked. We also covered the other resources section which contains some advanced tools regard rich snippets, Google Places, Google Merchant Center, PageSpeed Insights and how to create our own custom search engine.
In my next post I will cover the Labs section of Google Webmaster Tools.