Tag Archives: webmaster tools

New Webmaster Tools Layout

Yesterday Google announced on their Webmaster Central Blog that a new Webmaster Tool Homepage layout was available for accounts that have less than 100 sites (verified or unverified).

New Google Webmaster Tools layout

The new layout shows users a brief health check for every site on their account as well as a small screenshot of the homepage.

There are currently only 3 issues reported:

  1. Malware detected on the site
  2. Whether any important pages have been removed by the URL removal tool.
  3. Whether any important pages have been blocked by the robots.txt file.
Right now, that’s not really much, but it leaves a lot of room to expand. Sowing any HTML or crawl errors could be helpful, or just have a small overview of no. of search queries, clicks and links if there are no errors to report.

New Bigger Google Sitelinks!

Google announced last Tuesday on the Webmaster Tools blog that some changes had been made to sitelinks.

Instead of appearing as two columns containing just links to the site in slightly smaller text.

Google site links own the SERPs
The updated version shows the links in full size text with the destination URL below and an excerpt of the meta description which is about 35 characters long.

The maximum number of sitelinks has also increased from 8 to 12.

These new updates are great for sites with a good enough page or link structure for Google to create sitelinks for them, however if a site isn’t structured well enough for sitelinks to appear it could look like your site is pushed further down the SERP due to the sheer size of the new sitelinks.

The average height of the old style of sitelinks was about 150px high, the new style takes up about 450px!

To put this into perspective on a SERP which contains no ads at the top or sites with sitelinks I can see 9 different results, whereas on a SERP which has a result with sitelinks at the top I can only see 5.

There are still 10 results on the page, but I’m even less inclined to click the ones further down (I’m quite lazy).

The lesson for today? Get your site structure sorted!

URLs should reflect the hierarchy of that page in your site and what category or categories (depending on the complexity of your site) it relates to.

Link structure is probably one of the biggest factors in ensuring you get sitelinks (it’s the only specific factor mentioned on the Webmaster Toools blog post).

The two most important rules of good link structure:

  1. Every page on your site should be accessible within 3 clicks.
  2. Ensure there are no orphaned pages on your site (unless you don’t want them indexed).
What do you think of the new sitelinks? Has your site been affected for the better or worse?

Instant Previews in Webmaster Tools

After checking out webmaster tools blog today I saw they’d announced a new tool in the labs section.

It’s an Instant Preview Troubleshooter. It send a request to the specified page of your site to create a small screenshot of it and crawls the page to create a preview that will appear in the SERP. You may need to request pages several times so all images can be cached and presented in the instant preview.

Webmaster Tools instant preview troubleshooter

In conjunction with the Fetch as Googlebot tool you are able to see your site the way Google sees it in real time rather than waiting for it to be crawled, indexed and updated in the SERP.

One thing to bear in mind when using this tool is that each request you make using this will be considered a page view in Google Analytics.

Google inc site visits in analytics

So don’t be too surprised when you request every page on your site and end up with a huge spike in traffic!