Useful Search Engine Tools for Web Site Management

The search engines have come a long way in their willingness to provide webmaster tools for site owners interested in maximizing their seo efforts, link integrity and content inclusion within these search indexes. Currently, only Google, with Google Webmaster Tools, and Yahoo, with Yahoo Site Explorer, have developed robust webmaster suites complete with tools allowing site owners to understand how well the particular engine, and it's users, interact with the site. This powerful information can help illustrate what is, and what is not working so webmasters can modify their sites and stay current with regards to site activity within the major engines.

Google Webmaster Central

Google Webmaster Central is a suite of comprehensive information about how Google crawls and indexes web sites as well as how its users find your web site. This suite provides access to the Google Blog for Webmasters, Help Center, A Site Status Wizard to learn if your site is currently in the Google index as well as a method for submitting content to Google for Google Base and Book Search.

The most powerful tools of the suite are the Google Webmaster Tools. Here you can manage one or many sites with tools such as Google Sitemaps, which allows you to submit detailed sitemaps to Google to ensure all of your pages are crawled. You can learn how often Google crawls your site, which links Google found to be dead [404] and which URLs were unreachable. You can even learn which sites are linking to you and which pages in your site are the most popular and most linked.

Google Sitemaps

Google Sitemaps management is also available within Google Webmaster Tools. Sitemaps can be provided to Google in a variety of formats including simple text, RSS, OAI-PMH and the holy grail of site maps, Google's proprietary format called Sitemap protocal which allows site updaters to provide an incredible amount of page information for Google's crawlers. If you aren't submitting a site map to Google using the Google Webmaster Tools, I highly recommend that you start.

Yahoo Site Explorer

Yahoo Site Explorer is not yet as advanced as the tools available from Google, but, it does include sitemap functionality which helps get all of your important pages crawled by Yahoo. With Yahoo Site Explorer you can explore your site with functionality to view your pages that currently reside in the Yahoo index, view sites that Yahoo recognizes as linking to your web site, and explore any of your subdomains that Yahoo may have also indexed. One cool feature is the actions tab which keeps a history of activity as you use the Yahoo Site Explorer. Everybody can use reminders every now and then.

Both Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools are helpful tools in your quest for better site reliability all the way around. Use them and you are bound to learn more about your site, the search engines and how users interact with both.

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