Google Webmaster Tools: Part 2, Diagnostic Reports





Once you have set up your site with Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll be able to view two types of reports: Diagnostic Reports and Statistics Reports. In this post, I’ll review the information available in the Diagnostic Tab.

Under the Diagnostic tab, there are three main sections: Summary, Crawl errors, and Tools. Let’s take a look at each one below:

Summary

The summary page showing the following:
1. Whether pages from your site are included in the Google index.
2. The date Googlebot last successfully accessed the home page of your site.
3. Whether you have submitted a sitemap to Google.
4. Crawl errors Google found, including:

  • HTTP errorsĀ
  • Not found
  • URLs not followed
  • URLs restricted by robots.txt
  • URLs timed out
  • Unreachable URLs

This error report is useful in helping you identifying incorrect links to your site, especially from internal links.

Crawl errors

The Web crawl report under Crawl errors shows any crawl errors in more detail. The Mobile Web report shows any crawl errors for your mobile site in CHTML, WML/XHTML.

Tools

robots.txt analysis: This report shows whether Google found a robots.txt file in your site. You can also experiment changing the content of robots.txt file and see how that affect Google’s crawlers.

Manage site verification: This report displays information webmasters need for verifying that they are indeed the owner of the site.

Preferred domain: Google allows you to specify whether you want Google to think www.sitename.com and sitename.com are the same. This is the one functionality that I think is the most valuable for Google Webmaster Tools. Since you have no control on how other people link to your site, you’ll want to make sure that Google knows that links to www.sitename.com and sitename.com are the same (this should usually be the case). This way, your site can get full credit for all the incoming links.

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