Google Webmaster Tools Gets a Makeover

New Tools!
New Tools!

Google announced yesterday that they have launched a fresh new design for webmaster tools. If you have never used Google’s webmaster tools the you can get started with the new interface right off. If you are already using these excellent tools from Google, then login to find a link to “Checkout the New Look” in your overview screens.

Switch the New Look On
Switch the New Look On

One nice feature right off is the ability to forward dashboard messages from Google about your sites to any email address associated with your Google account. To take advantage of this go to your Google Webmaster Tools main page and in the top right hand side (inside the blue bar) click forward your messages — Select the email address and save. We like this!

When you select a domain in your account you will notice right away that the resulting page has really changed. Now you have a quick summary of Top Search Queries, Crawl Errors, Sitemaps and Inbound Links too. These are probably what Google refers to as the data we view most regularly. Nice!

The menu for navigation is still on the left side and breakdown is below.

Site configuration
-Sitemaps > Your site’s sitemaps info
-Crawler access > Robots txt and url removal tools
-Sitelinks > Your sitelinks
-Settings > Settings like geographic target and canonical url

Your Site on the Web
-Top search queries > Top search queries for your site now 100 of them
-Links to your site > Inbound links and anchor text too
-Keywords > Keywords
-Internal links > Your internal links
-Subscriber stats > People subscribing to your feeds

-Crawl errors > Errors found crawling like missing pages, urls in sitemaps that are blocked or gone etc.
-Crawl stats > Googlebot activity in the last 90 days for your site’s crawls
-HTML suggestions > This was previously the content tool. Reported duplicate, short etc tag and titles information

Some other cool new additions to the toolset:

Sitemap tracking for multiple users: In the past, you were unable to monitor Sitemaps submitted by other users or via mechanisms like robots.txt. Now you can track the status of Sitemaps submitted by other users in addition to yourself.

Smarter help: Every page displays links to relevant Help Center articles and by the way, we’ve streamlined our Help Center and made it easier to use. These are everywhere, nice!

Sites must be verified now to access detailed functionality: Since we’re providing so much more data, going forward your site must be verified before you can access any features in Webmaster Tools, including features such as Sitemaps, Test Robots.txt and Generate Robots.txt which were previously available for unverified sites. If you submit Sitemaps for unverified sites, you can continue to do so using Sitemap pings or by including the Sitemap location in your robots.txt file. This was necessary, and I think an added level of snooping prevention as well.

Removal of the enhanced Image Search option: We’re always iterating and improving on our services, both by adding new product attributes and removing old ones. With this release, the enhanced Image Search option is no longer a component of Webmaster Tools. The Google Image Labeler will continue to select images from sites regardless of this setting. Soooo, if you DO NOT want your images crawled, better block them with robots.txt.

The new tools interface supports 40 languages and the help center 21, now that is International usability! The video tour below is a nice little virtual tour of the new features and interface changes. Don’t forget that it was in part our request and suggestions that brought about the changes and advances in the toolset… So check it out and make sure to let Google know what you think.