Due to popular demand, Google has finally updated the design and functionalities of it’s Webmaster Tools, and claims to have improved the interface considerably and they are very pleased with the outcome.
The new design holds many changes from the previous one and here is a list of the favourite changes that have been implemented:
- The previous style dashboard has been transformed into a ‘one-stop’ dashboard, that now collates all the most important data, such as links to your site, top search engines, sitemaps and crawl errors.
- The number of search queries that are available to track has been increased to 100 and improvements have been made to the quality of this data.
- The option to track sitemaps that have been submitted by other users has also been added. This was not possible with the previous interface, as users were unable to oversee sitemaps that were submitted by other users or via robots.txt or other such mechanisms.
- The new design also allows users to set up email alerts, which means that they can be notified of any important occurrences without having to log in to their webmaster account.
- The availability of help has also been increased as there are now links to relevant help articles on each page, this means that if a user needs help with a particular aspect of the system then it is simply one click away.
- The navigation and menus have also been changed and Google has reorganised it’s features into more logical and plausible groupings, making some of the features easier to find.
- Due to the improvements in the data that is now provided in Webmaster Tools, Google will now insist that sites are verified in order to access any of the features such as Sitemaps, Test Robots.txt and Generate Robots.txt. Sitemaps can continue to be submitted for unverified sites but this has to been done so using sitemap pings or by including the sitemap location in the robots.txt file.
- Finally, in order to improve the design of the tool Google has also decided to take out some features that were not working well, as well as implementing new ones and one that they have decided to remove is the enhanced image search option. The Google image labeler will continue to function the same as before, however, and will continue to select images from sites without the enhanced image search being available.
The new interface is available at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/new, however the previous one will still be available for a couple of weeks in order to allow users the time to adjust to the new design and provide Google with their thoughts.