Google Webmaster Tools provides three things that are really important to your NetSuite website. First, it’s where Google will attempt to communicate issues to you. Second, when linked to your Google Analytics account, you’ll get access to three powerful Google reports. And third, it provides an opportunity to let Google know about all of your pages (at least those you want Google to know about). So, you want Google Webmaster Tools for back and forth communication with Google, and access to reports that’ll give you an advantage over competitors that haven’t taken this step.
While it’s important to note the three items mentioned above are not the only advantages you’ll get with a GWT account, they’re the ones I use most frequently with NetSuite clients. Let’s discuss them in order.
GWT has an area call messages. In the last couple of weeks, Matt Cutts – the guy at Google with responsibility for their search engine algorithm, has indicated that Google is now communicating 100% of actions taken manually by Google employees. An “action” is Google-speak for applying a penalty. The quicker you know about an “action”, the quicker you can react by doing what needs to be done to resolve the issue and communicating with Google that you’ve made good faith efforts toward resolution, requesting a review (could take a month or so). With Google’s focus on improving the quality of content available via search, you’re more likely than ever before to trigger an “action”. Having a GWT account opens a line of communication that could preserve your online business.
Google Analytics Reports
When you connect a GWT to your Google Analytics account, you get access to three fantastic reports. They’re located beneath the Traffic Sources section on the lefthand menu. The first, and most powerful from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective is “Queries”. This report tells you the number of impressions for a specific keyword, the number of visitors you’ve received from same, and your average rank in the Google search results page. So, if you’ve received 67 visits in the last 30 days from keyword xyz, where the impressions are over 4,500 and you’re average rank is 33 (the fourth page of a Google search result) – you’ve just found an amazing opportunity. Imagine if you can get the page optimized for keyword xyz ranked within the Top 5 results! The other two reports deal with landing pages and location. You can explore those on your own, both have practical application.
A sitemap.xml file is a structured document that communicates to the search engines all of the pages that you’d like to have indexed (found and displayed when relevant). When you provide this document, you make it easy for Google to find pages and include them in their search results. One of the disadvantages of NetSuite websites, is they don’t provide the ability to create a dynamic sitemap.xml file. What I mean by dynamic, is automatically adjusting the file based on changes or additions to your website (see my article WordPress + NetSuite = Success for an alternate strategy). Until NetSuite provides this functionality, you’ll need to schedule a repetitive task to create a new sitemap.xml file (you can go here to create one). Then, you’ll need to login to your GWT account, find the Sitemaps section and upload your new file. Google will run a check and indicate how many of the pages have been indexed. This will go a long way toward making sure your pages are available for search.
Make it a point to get your GWT account this week and upload a recent sitemap.xml file.
3 Reasons Your NetSuite Website Needs Google Webmaster Tools by John-Scott Dixon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.