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Google webmaster tools saved my Blog

Google webmaster tools displays problems related to crawling of Google spiders and access & displays information of Google search data of a website. GWT gives you a chance to look at the issues from Google search engine’s perspective.

Google Webmaster Tools service is one of the most useful SEO tools for bloggers. This was my only reliable companion at times when I experimented with my blog and went close to screwing the Google search results that led to my blog. Thanks to Google web master tools for helping me save my blog in such occasions.

Two occasions when Google webmaster tools proved particularly useful to me were when:

1. My blog was permanently moved to a new domain

My Blogger blog had previously been associated with the custom domain name www.nodalo.com. (Read: how to use a custom domain for a blogspot blog.) For the sake of SEO – to use a relevant keyword ‘ interview ‘ in the domain of my career advice blog, I wanted to permanently move my blog to a new domain name called www.interviewmantra.net.

While you are permanently moving your website to a new domain, if you don’t do it the way Google recommends, you run a risk of losing the Google search index partially or completely. That’s because domain names often are one of the key factors in determining the rank of a page.

I am not an SEO guru, but am just another blogger who wants to get better traffic to my blog. So I had no clue how to proceed until I luckily stumbled upon a well-written article on how to properly move domains. The steps suggested by Danny Dover in that article include the usage of Google web master tools for registering the old and new domain, filling out the change of address form and periodically checking for crawl errors.

I carefully followed those steps and went back to Webmaster tools dashboard over and again to check how things went. The result of this process was a happy and smooth transition of my blog to a new domain.

2. My Blogger blog was migrated to wordpress

Maintaining the xml templates in blogger was such a painful and time-consuming process. The quality of blogger third-party widgets is very poor. Don’t you agree? I tried hard to continue living with blogspot. But, after a breaking point, I decided to divorce blogspot and move my blog from Blogger to self-hosted wordpress.

Moving from Blogger to wordpress is not as straightforward as it may seem in this article. It gets tough when your blogspot blog uses a custom domain. Tougher when the lame formatting features in blogger such as “Convert line breaks” were tweaked. Toughest when custom html and css styling were added to individual blog posts in your blogger blog.

Few of the challenges I faced while migrating from blogger to wordpress were retaining the perma-link structure and more importantly, keeping the Google search results intact. This process is similar to changing the engine of a running car; you never know when it breaks down after the change.

I used the Google web master tools to check if there were 404s in my old URL so I could correct them to forward traffic to my correct/new URLs. Also the sitemaps feature of Google web master tools came in handy. I got to know how many urls have been indexed after the migration from blogger to wordpress happened. I could also get to know if there were any crawling errors or other SEO issues such as duplicate meta tags/titles in the new self-hosted wordpress blog.

Finally, I was pleased to know that all my blog posts had been successfully re-indexed by Google without any hassle after the migration took place.

Useful features of Google Web Master tools

  • Top Search queries – shows info of user queries in Google that returned pages from your blog.
  • Sitemap – lets you submit your blog’s sitemap to  ensure discovery of all your blog posts by Google.
  • Change of address form – lets you notify Google of changes to your blog’s domain name.
  • HTML Suggestions – shows basic SEO errors in HTML such as duplicate meta title tags.
  • External links – shows all the websites linking to your blog.
  • Set Crawl rate – lets you select the rate at which Google crawls your blog.
  • Crawl errors – shows HTML issues encountered by Google while crawling such as 404s.
  • Crawler access test – lets you test changes to robots.txt
  • Set Geographic target – lets you target visitors from a specific country.
  • Set preferred domain – lets you to choose whether the urls be displayed as www.shoutmeloud.com or shoutmeloud.com

In conclusion, Google web master tools guarantees peace of mind to you when making any drastic changes to your blog, eespecially the ones which may affect the Google search results for your blog.

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