This is Part 2 of “Search Engine Optimization – Do It Yourself!” series of articles I wrote to share my experience about SEO.

  1. Search Engine Optimization – Getting Started
  2. Webmaster Tools
  3. SEO Content Optimization
  4. Duplicated Content
  5. Friendly URL for SEO (Permalinks)

These are very useful tools and they are in a MUST have list. It will show you an actual impact of your website optimization. Almost any change you do to the website or any google’s change to the search logic (yes it is happens from time to time) will be reflected here. So you will be aware of this and take necessary actions before its too late.

I am not going to explain everything that these tools do, I will just show you the main thing, how to setup and what to configure.

  1. Let’s assume you already have Google’s account, so just go to: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and login. You should see Dashboard as on picture below. Press ‘ADD A SITE’ button.
  2. In the popup enter your website url. Google will ask you to verify this site. So please follow verification instruction step by step until site is completely verified.
  3.  Great, you are doing good. Now as we verified website you will be able to see it in the list. Simply click on it to open website’s webmaster tools panel.

Preferred domain setup

Now you would have to make a hard decision how would you like your website to appear in Google’s search results, with www. or without it.
The problem with having multiple URLs for the same page is that you’re effectively diluting your link authority. For example, if you rank for both website.com and www.website.com, Google sees these links as two different websites. Pick one URL and stick to it.

Using the left menu, navigate to: Configuration :: Settings.

Pick one of the preferred domains. I personally like without www. When it’s saved, Google might ask you to add another site with or without www. for this change to take an effect. Please do the same steps mentioned above.

We are almost done. Now we have to redirect visitors from www.website.com to website.com or in opposite direction (depends which domain you picked as preferred), with the 301 redirect. This is also suggested by Google.

To read more about the Preferred domain configuration please go here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=44231

301 Redirect

There is many ways how you can do 301 redirect, I will be talking about two of them. Basically this redirect should be done to any page that has a duplicate content. More about this please read ‘Duplicate Content’ article.

.htaccess method
.htaccess file is usually located in the root folder of your website. You would have to modify it a little.

If preferred domain is www.website.com

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^website\.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.website.com/$1 [L,R=301]

If preferred domain is website.com

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.website\.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://website.com/$1 [L,R=301]

WordPress method
If your website is using a wordpress software, and you already installed Redirection plugin I mentioned in my previous article, you can quickly setup 301 redirect without modifying .htaccess file (However .htaccess way is recommended from the performance point of view).
Login to your wordpress admin and navigate to Tools::Redirection.

Add New Redirection if preferred domain is www.website.com:

Source URL: ^website\.com$
Target URL: http://www.website.com/$1
Regular expression: checked

Add New Redirection if preferred domain is website.com:

Source URL: ^www.website\.com$
Target URL: http://website.com/$1
Regular expression: checked

To read more about the 301 redirect please go here:
https://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=93633

We are done with the Webmaster Tools for now. Now you are ready to start optimizing your website’s content. We will talk more about some important sections of Webmaster Tools in my further articles.

Continue with SEO Content Optimization

Dima Svirid

Software architect. Ajax/Javascript, HTML5, Android, iPhone/iPad, JAVA, PHP, Cold Fusion, SQL, Air, Flash, Open source software, Frameworks

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One Response to Webmaster Tools

  1. Alex Smirnov says:

    Great article

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