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If you have a business website and want to engage in Google marketing, you are going to need to set up a Google Webmaster account. This will give you some control over how Google finds and displays your website, as well as providing some valuable information that can help you with your website marketing.

To create your account go to www.google.com/webmasters

If you don’t already have a Google account, you will need to set one up. If you do already have a Google account, just click the sign in button. To add your website, click the add a property button. Before Google will allow you to use its webmaster functionality, you have to prove that you are the owner or manager of the website. There are a few different ways that Google allows you to do this, but the quickest way is to upload a file that Google provides to your server. Then when Google finds the file, it knows that you have control of the site and are qualified as its webmaster.

Two things that Google shows you in your Webmaster account that are very useful to know are impressions and clicks from Google search. It will also show you a list of keywords that were used in Google that resulted in impressions or clicks to the website. The impressions data is especially interesting because you can’t get that data anywhere else. You will find that the number shown for clicks does not match what is shown for sessions in your Google Analytics account. This is because clicks and sessions are different. Multiple sessions can result from a single click, but a click is a click.

To clarify, an impression is when someone loads a search engine results page that has your website in the listings. An impression does not necessarily mean that the visitor clicked to your website. But you can’t have clicks until you have impressions.

Google will not show you a complete list of all the keywords that generated impressions or clicks. It will not show you what it refers to as “long tail.” I believe this generally means keyword phrases that consist of more than five words, but that is not always the case. So Google will show you many of the keywords that created search engine impressions, but not all of them.

Your Google Webmaster account is also were you submit your XML sitemap. An XML sitemap is a file consisting of links to all the pages of your site that is coded in a markup language called XML. Your website platform should generate this file for you automatically, unless you are a glutton for punishment and choose to do everything manually. Go to the crawl/sitemaps page and there you will see the button to add your sitemap. This will just be the URL to your sitemap page on the server. After some period of time, Google will process this sitemap and tell you if it had any problems with it.

Another important thing that Google will tell you is if it has had any crawl errors on your site. These are errors that Google has encountered while traveling through your site. You should work to fix these. For example, if Google finds links on some pages that are incorrect, it will tell you. The cleaner your website is in terms of mistakes, the better your chances of ranking well. You want to be Google’s friend.

This has just been a quick introduction to Google’s Webmaster tool. If you are serious about Internet marketing, having and using a Google Webmaster account are a necessity. If you feel this is an area where you could use some help, call Work Media today and we will be happy to help you with your Google marketing.