Losing Trust in Google's Webmaster Central?

Dec 29, 2006 • 7:45 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

We have reported time after time again the issues with Google's Webmaster Central tools, specifically Sitemaps. It is a wonderful tool, it allows you to see a ton of data about your site plus submit data back to Google. But some folks are losing trust in the information Google is sending back to you via Webmaster Central.

A thread at WebmasterWorld recounts some of the issues people have repeatedly had with the Sitemaps tool. They include (but not limited to):

A recent report at WebmasterWorld shows that some people are noticing that the "Home page crawl" that shows the last time Googlebot crawled your home page in Google Webmaster Central, is not on par with the Google Cache date. Now, Google explained this before, the cache date is different that the crawl date, but it should say so on this page - so Webmasters don't lose trust in that data.

I am seeing the same thing here. "Home page crawl: Googlebot last successfully accessed your home page on Nov 18, 2006." Yet my logs show that the googlebot has been downloading my home page several times in the last days.

This causes some Webmasters to lose trust in these tools.

Especially some of the reports that show Webmasters that there are no pages of their site in the index, when in fact they are and they are ranking just fine. Yes, that is an other bug people have noticed, but I did not report.

I personally give new software a lot of time to mature and get the kinks out. But how much time is too much time?

I haven't trusted Webmaster Tools to reflect accurate information for some time. There are ongoing issues with site verification, where previously verified sites suddenly need to be verified again, then when verification is attempted, it won't work.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Jason Poteet

12/29/2006 02:26 pm

I saw one of these problems last week. I logged in to check one of my sites and was greeted with the not verified bug plus a nice little note that the 8 year old website in question had no pages in the index. Just like a few of the posts I found said, after a few days it cleared up and the verification returned, the no pages in the index message went away, and the Last Crawled date jumped a couple of weeks.

Vanessa Fox

12/29/2006 09:41 pm

The verification issue and index status display issue should now be resolved. If anyone continues to have trouble, please let us know by posting in our Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help I'll take a look at how we describe the home page crawl date to make sure it's clear. Thanks for that fedback. I've looked closely into the concerns about the page listed with the highest PageRank and have confirmed that the information shown in webmaster tools is accurate. It tends to be updated more often than the toolbar PageRank, so those may not always be in sync. You'll find reading further in the WebmasterWorld thread about the common words feature that the site owner who found surprising data discovered that the data was correct. She had recently acquired the site and the information we had about it was for the previous version before she owned it. It can be helpful to know that Google has not yet completely recrawled a site and learned about the changed content. As Googlebot crawls the new and changed pages in this situation, the common words are updated to reflect this. We talked a bit about this in a blog post a while back: http://sitemaps.blogspot.com/2006/02/unexpected-common-words.html We appreciate feedback about webmaster tools. Please let us know about any issues you see in our Google Group.

Jorge Ramirez

12/29/2006 10:07 pm

The same, I logged and notice that all my sites are not verefied.

Doug Karr

12/30/2006 12:51 am

It's still a helpful tool, though. I recently was troubleshooting some Adsense issues with a new site I launched and was able to track it down to the fact that Google had not crawled it yet. I put together a sitemap, registered it, and it was all good to go in a couple of days.

Barry Schwartz

12/30/2006 10:45 pm

I am all for the tool, it seriously rocks. I just hate for people to complain about it, when it has so much to offer.


02/24/2007 01:35 am

Come on man, this is wonderful tool, and offering all the services free. Still I think it should connect with PPC and Analytics.


06/08/2007 05:18 pm

Helpful info: but one can "lose" trust, not "loose" trust.


09/15/2007 01:20 pm

I too face this problem, while my site is being indexed and the home page is shown indexed last week, the caption shows its last indexed 2 months back. Some help would help..

Vandan Chopra

07/17/2008 04:18 am

Exactly the same issue. The server stats show that the spider comes our site everyday and indexes about 40-50 pages, but the home page crawl status is still 2 months ago ! Vandan Chopra http://www.iexplorehere.com

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