Yesterday at PubCon Las Vegas, Matt Cutts dropped a hint that there would be a new Google service launched. That new service is an SEO tool addition to Google Sitemaps, that will SEO companies cringing as webmasters are given easy guidelines for optimization and error correction.
“The timing worked out to announce a new webmaster console on Google Sitemaps. I signed up today and it’s pretty sweet. For example, you can now see crawl errors, timeouts on pages, robots.txt errors, unreachable urls, etc. Just really useful hard data that tells you if you have crawl problems and what they are. And you do not need a sitemap to use this functionality. You just create an empty file to verify that you own the domain,” writes Google software engineer Matt Cutts on his Gadgets, Google, and SEO weblog.
“This is really a major step towards self service SEO with Google,” said Rich Ord, chief executive officer of iEntry Inc. “Why hire the big SEO guns if Google’s webmaster console in Sitemaps gives you the answer to your SEO problems?”
The webmaster console and Google sitemaps is the latest addition to a string of recent releases from the Mountain View, Calif.-based search company, including: remove result; Blog Search; Google Reader; Google Talk; Google Base; Google Local; Google Maps API; Google Desktop; Search 2.0; and the three-pronged Jagger update.
Webmasters using the webmaster console will receive reports on 40 different types of errors in 5 categories, as well as showing top Google search queries that return pages from a site, and search queries that brought searchers to a site.
The new functionality might inform a webmaster to drop all question marks in the URL’s or to 301 old URL’s to new URL’s.
At the conference, Cutts demonstrated the tool on his own blog. Sitemaps revealed that digg.com referred more visitors to his blog than Google, and that Firefox is delivering over 50% of traffic.
On a humorous note, thanks to a post about a search engine marketer making his way on the Martha Stewart’s The Apprentice, Cutts’ blog showed up as the #12 result for [Martha Stewart], an unexpected keyword refferal.
In addition to gushing over the Sitemap tool, Cutts also expanded on Google’s approach to fighting spam. As Google creates faster cycle times for detecting and taking action on spam, Cutts says that in the future, SEO will be easier, and spamming will get harder.