Google Webmaster Tools: Updates to Search queries, Parameter handling and Messages

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Google Webmaster Tools: Updates to Search queries, Parameter handling and Messages Powered By Docstoc
					Each query listed in Search queries now links to a query details page which includes a graph of
impressions and clicks for that specific query, providing a quick visual of its performance in the search
results over time. Below the graph is a table listing of the pages returned in search results for that query,
along with impressions, clicks and CTR. Each column in the table is sortable, offering a quick way to re-
sort the data based on what's most interesting to you. If you'd rather use your own favorite tool to slice
and dice the data you can use the "Download this table" link to export all the information from the main
Search queries page or from each individual query details page.




Better Parameter Handling: We've moved this feature under its own tab in the Settings section of
Webmaster Tools, and introduced a new action to manage parameters. When we introduced Parameter
Handling last year, we allowed you to specify URL parameters and whether they should be ignored or not.
When you choose to ignore a parameter, you are telling us that this parameter has no impact on the
displayed content. For example, consider a session id parameter, like “sid” in the following URLs:


      http://example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish
      http://example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&sid=1234
      http://example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&sid=5678


Assuming that these three URLs display exactly the same product page for tasty Swedish fish candy,
Google only needs to crawl and index one of them. You can simply select action “Ignore” for parameter
“sid” in Webmaster Tools and Google will just crawl and index one of these URLs, avoiding duplicates.

In addition to the old functionality, you now have the ability to choose a specific value among the known
values for a given URL parameter. This is important when a parameter is relevant to the content, but
different values of this parameter lead to similar pages. For example, consider a sorting parameter, like
“sort-by” in the following URLs:


      http://example.com/shop.php?category=candy&sort-by=asc-price&page=1
      http://example.com/shop.php?category=candy&sort-by=desc-price&page=1
      http://example.com/shop.php?category=candy&sort-by=asc-price&page=2
      http://example.com/shop.php?category=candy&sort-by=desc-price&page=2


These four URLs show products in the candy category. There are enough items in this category to fill two
pages, and the products shown can be sorted by price, in ascending or descending order. Selecting action
“Ignore” for parameter “sort-by” would be incorrect and could potentially limit our indexing of the site.
This is because, after ignoring “sort-by”, we would consider the first two URLs equivalent and may choose
to index the URL with ascending sort order. We would also consider the last two URLs equivalent and
may choose to index the URL with descending sort order. In this scenario, we would be indexing the
candy category inconsistently, with some candy products appearing in both of the pages selected for the
index, while other candy products not appearing in either of them. The right solution comes from the new
action “Use specific value” now available in Webmaster Tools. To avoid duplicates but still keep our
indexing consistent, you can simply select action “Use specific value” for parameter “sort-by” and choose
one of the valid values, say “asc-price”. After this, our indexing would be fully consistent, as we would
focus only on the pages with products sorted by ascending price.




Messages: Some sites receive lots of messages in the Webmaster Tools Message Center. With this
update we've added the ability to "star" specific messages that you deem important. There's now a
separate "Starred" view where you can see all the messages that you’ve starred, making tracking and
finding the most important messages for your site a breeze.