Google Webmaster Tools is a pretty cool tool for analyzing architectural issues with websites.  It can point you towards duplicate content issues, redirection issues, site performance issues, etc.  And best of all it’s free.

Unfortunately all of this great data does come at a price: Complacency.

When you get all of this awesome technology handed to you on a platter you may find yourself starting to use it all of the time, because it’s just so damn easy and free.

Here’s the problem:

  1. The data is often out of date
  2. The data is not complete
  3. It doesn’t seem to work for subdomains

Case in point, a client of mine showed no issues in Google Webmaster Tools.  The site looked perfect.  Then why was their traffic sucking wind?  Well, for some reason Google Webmaster Tools neglected to show that a test subdomain of theirs was in the index (Check out “Dev Server Indexed = SEO Death“).

If you are a SEO consultant you should be using your own tools to do this analysis, or at the least be able to find these problems manually.

If you are a publisher, consider this fair warning, what Google Webmaster Tools doesn’t tell you can hurt you, badly.

So get off the GWT crack already and get high on SEO.  It’s like totally psychadelic.

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12 Response Comments

  • John Shehata  February 17, 2009 at 10:49 am

    You need to submit each subdomain as a new domain in Google Webmaster Tools to get the data. If you are using tag verification, it should be the same tag.

  • Andrew Shotland  February 17, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for noting this John. I should have mentioned it in the post. I guess what I was trying to illustrate is that many sites have subdomains that the current publisher doesn’t even remember exist and often these subdomains are exposed to Google, but not picked up by GWT because no one ever submitted them to GWT.

    Sounds like a new feature for GWT – subdomain identifier.

  • AhmedF  February 17, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Not just dev subdomains – IPs too. That is the worst one.

  • GWT Hater  March 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Not to sound like I buy into the Google conspiracy theories but I do know Google uses your GWT to fight abuse to their algorithms. I had 15 websites that all heavily used paid links to rank in Google. All 15 were in the same niche (but scattered around in subniches).

    10 of my sites where in GWT and 5 were not. I had top 3 positions for all 15 websites. For some odd reason the 10 sites in GWT were all penalized on the same day and thrown out of the index. The other five not in GWT still rank in the top 3 positions five months later.

    I had the opportunity to talk face-to-face with Matt Cutts about this and he basically danced around the subject. He did state that Google’s policy is to not use Google Analytics against your rankings but there is no policy concerning GWT.

    I understand that if I don’t pay by Google’s rules they have the right to fight against my tactics. However, I do oppose violating privacy to do this.

  • Mike  March 5, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I have been addicted to Google’s webmaster tool for a while now and I know I need to leave to leave it alone, mostly because it is out of date. Thanks for the other reason to leave it alone.

  • mirc  May 22, 2009 at 8:56 am

    webmaster tool for a while now and I know I need to leave to leave it alone, mostly

  • karabaglar  June 12, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you 🙂

    Thank you 🙂

  • seyrettube  October 13, 2009 at 6:26 am

    helal olsun başka ne diyiym gavurlar yapıyor ya