26 August 2008

Google for webmasters

Sometimes Google doesn't exactly make a brilliant job of helping us to find their own services. There are lots of useful tools lurking in strange places behind the familiar search page that we all stare at at some point in the day.

One of these is their webmaster tools section. The main reason you'd want to go there is to get Google to recognise your site and some nice reports on who knows about it as well as lists of what Google perceives as problems.

On the search page, there's something called Business Solutions. Click that and then look for Web pages. (I guess you'll need a Google account but it's free and well worth getting anyway.)

Click that link and you'll be able to register you sites and get all sorts of useful information. Registration is reasonably straightforward and certainly quick. You simply enter the site address in a box and then will be asked to verify the site. This is to make sure that you are actually a webmaster and not just a passer-by. Verification can be done in a couple of ways but the easiest is probably to add a new page to your site. Google will provide the name - some long combination of characters.html - so you just make a new page and save is as whateveritis.html (best to copy and paste the name!) Keep the Google webmaster tools page open.

Upload that file to your server and then click the box on the webmaster tools page to get Google to verify the site. A second later and there should be a nice tick appear and Google will start doing what Google does best.

There's a bundle of stuff about sitemaps too. It's all pretty heavy stuff, though, and the help files and further links seem to have been written by aliens. Do I have Python on my server? is a frequent question, for instance. I don't think I shall worry too much about sitemaps just yet.

No comments: