Google Webmaster Tools is a no-charge web service by Google for webmasters. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites.
One of the first things every SEO service company should do is setup this tool. It's invaluable for knowing if there are any issues with your website that you can fix or have fixed by a web services agency.
One of the most important features inside Google Webmaster Tools is setup the primary domain. Most people don't know that your website is actually viewed separately by Google as WWW.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com (without WWW). Setting the primary site helps Google apply all of the ranking value of your site correctly. This is called canonicalization (see resource link at bottom of article).
There are two other tools you should look at next - "Fetch As Google" and "Index Status".
1) The Fetch as Google tool allows you to retrieve a page of your website as if you were Google. This can be very helpful if you want to verify whether or not a page is accessible. Sometimes, with very large sites, there are so many things going on, it can be great to have this simple tool to turn to. It can give you a straight answer as to whether Google can grab a page or not.
2) The index status report shows you how many URLs are indexed out of all of those that Google can find on the website. If these numbers are low or way off from how many pages you think you have on your site, you should get a developer to help you figure out what's wrong. (It might just be you're looking at the report for the non-canonical version of your site too.)
This is just the tip of the iceberg work that can be done to improve the visibility of your site in search under the hood of your website. (It's not just about good keywords, especially if Google can't find the content!) We offer a complete monthly service that I'm happy to talk with you about.
Also, I'll be sharing some more of the latest important tips and best practices in Chapter 8 of the Business Smarts 2014: Telling Your Business Story
For more information, check out these resources:
- https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en#1 (about canonicalization)
Web Accounts Manager at Immerge