While John Mueller did a great job explaining how to analyze your website with Google Webmaster Tools, I thought I could outline a few tips on how to diagnose both on-site and off-site issues with Google Search and its advanced operators.
- Make sure your site is free from any type of filtering issues: search [yourdomain.com] in Google; if your sites comes up #1 for this query, you are doing alright. If you see other site mentioning your domain ranked first, that’s a bad signal;
- Make sure there are no duplicate content problems: search for a pretty long citation from your site (exact match, i.e. in quotes). With a blog, for example, you have a good chance to see the category page (summarizing the post) instead of the corresponding post page;
- Check how many URLs from your site have been indexed: search [site:yourdomain.com] and “dig deeper” into the search results:
[site:yourdomain.com/subdirectory1] + [site:yourdomain.com/subdirectory2] + etc (the “deeper” you digg, the more/ the more accurate results you get)
- Learn if the site has canonical problems (for sites using www): search [site:yourdomain.com -inurl:www] and see if any non-www URLs have been stored in the index);
- Identify most powerful pages of your site:
[ www site:yourdomain.com]
[ tld site:yourdomain.tld]
(kudos to SEOmoz for the tip)
- Find most relevant pages of your site (to further promote them for the specified term): search [site:yourdomain.com keyword] or [site:yourdomain.com key * phrase]
- Check your site is crawled and indexed frequently enough: search [site:yourdomain.com] + play with “date range” advanced search option.
- Check who (and what) your site is associated with: search [related:yourdomain.com] to identify your site co-citation (i.e. basically, who your promoters also link to).