We should really applaud Google for the tools they offer free of charge. The barrel loads of tools they offer are all of a very high quality, and yet they do not charge for their use. Other software companies are charging a fortune in license and subscription fees, all for something that Google offers for free. This article explains how those tools may be used to improve your website. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not vital for the success of your website, but the application of SEO techniques is free (unless you are silly and buy links). The tools used to measure and improve your SEO are free (if you use Google Webmaster Tools). So refusing to follow SEO guidelines and free SEO tools is a little bit like shooting yourself in the foot, looking a gift horse in the mouth, and turning down a free meal, all rolled into one.
What does Google allow you to do?
You can submit a sitemap and check it. You can check the crawl rate of your website, and view the statistics about how the Google bots access your website. You can actually generate a robots.txt file and check it too. You can use this to check which of your website pages are being blocked.
You are able to see what internal links are linked within your site, and what external pages are linked to your website. You can even see the broken links for your site. You can check to see what keyword searches have lead to people visiting your website. You can see what keywords have placed you where on the search engine results pages. You can also see what your click through rate is too, to see if the information being listed on the search engine results page is pulling its weight and bringing you traffic.
You can see the statistics about your site that are listed in the Google index. It will point out any possible errors and you can set a preferred domain display. It will determine how your page URL is displayed on the Google search engine results.
Get your Google messages through Google webmaster tools
If Google want to send you a message then this is how they will do it. They will let you know if your website is being punished or is going to be punished. They will also tell you why so that you can fix the problem.
Site links can be changed
If your website is a bit of an authority site, then sometimes in the search engine results page, Google will show a few links of other pages that it feels are important. Sometimes they will show links to pages that do not make you look very good online, and you can change this function to hide them on the search engine results if you wish.
The Google AdWords keyword checker is powerful
You will probably have a few keywords for each web page. This tool can help you find new ones, better ones, and check how powerful your current keywords are. The best thing is that the tool can be used hundreds of times for free. Your website may be based around a much focused topic, but with the AdWords keywords tool you can come up with plenty of keywords to share around your entire website.
Use Google Analytics to see how well your website is doing
If you set up your analytics correctly, then you can pull a lot of information from it. You can see how well your website is linked internally and externally. You can see how many people are visiting your site and where they are coming from. Basically, you can gain access to almost all of the factors that decide your PageRank. You can even use it to see if people are looking at your website right now.
You can tailor your entire website based upon the information you get from Google analytics. It is especially good if you have set up landing pages and would like to see how well they are performing. It is also good at showing you were you are doing unexpectedly well. It is able to show you how, where and why your website is receiving more traffic on one URL over another.