Monitor your SEO progress with Google Webmaster Tools

By Rob Drummond on Wed 29 September 2010 in Web Analytics

As I’ve talked about in a previous post, the way Google ranks pages is now changing. 

Besides all the changes surrounding Google Instant, Google is now by default presenting personalised results based on your previous search history. Because by default different people see different results, traditional ranking software cannot be relied on to give you an accurate indication of how well your sites are performing.

There is a free tool that I do use and recommend though. And, surprise surprise, it’s provided by Google.

Google Webmaster Tools provides you with a list of search queries that people have used to find your site on the web. Not only do you get your average position for each term, but also a breakdown of the number of times your site has appeared on each page of Google’s results (different people see different results, remember), and of those impressions how many resulted in a click through to your site.

What if the terms I want to rank for aren’t appearing?

Webmaster tools allows you to ‘star’ keywords that are important to your business, however you cannot select a term that you aren’t currently ranking for.

How do I get Webmaster Tools?

Sign up today at Before you can start using webmaster tools you need to verify your site, which can either be done by adding a meta tag to your HTML pages (simple if you have a content management system), or by linking to your Google Analytics account.