Why Does Google Hate Webmasters So Much? #SEOLunch

Why Does Google Hate Webmasters So Much? #SEOLunch

#SEOLunch - Google Webmaster Tools

Okay, it’s time for another #SEOLunch! …and since no one provided me recommendations on topics to discuss, I’m choosing my own.

SPOILER ALERT… I’m upset with something Google is up to. Such a shock, right? Cue the sensationalist headline…

Today I’m going to rant a bit about Google’s Webmaster Tools. Why? Because they’re making changes again – and typically – that means that the abilities of webmasters and online marketers are compromised or altered.

That’s precisely what has happened.

Another note… When you, as Google Webmaster Tools, do enough to upset Vanessa Fox enough to write a compelling post like this one – you had better check yourself.

Disclaimer: I’ve been on a couple of Vanessa’s SMX conference panels in the past discussing various components within Google’s Webmaster Tools. She’s awesome, accomplished and incredibly insightful. While her decision to include me on panels was always a surprise, I feel a little confident in being critical of Google Webmaster Tools here.

All that said, I’m assuming (or now asking) that you’ve read Vanessa’s post on SEL, “Google Webmaster Tools Revamps Crawl Errors, But Is It For The Better?

I want to discuss the some of the changes and recent options that have been removed from the Webmaster Tools interface. Specifically, the following:

  • Download Crawl Errors
  • Caps at 10K Erroneous URLs
  • Redirect Errors
  • URLs Blocked by robots.txt Files
  • Site Level Errors

Now, I won’t get into each one of these issues specifically, but I’ll pose the following points and questions:

  1. If SEOs are actively developing tools that rely on exported information (or information available via APIs) – what benefit would these changes have? Is it an intentional case of limiting an SEOs ability to make actionable, productive changes to a site?
  2. If you have a track record for telling webmasters to enhance user experience and preach efficient, operative sites… what added benefit would there be to hiding critical site issues from those empowered to correct them?
  3. The robots.txt thing annoys me more than anything. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m baffled by the number of people who do not know how to work with these files despite being in a position to modify or make recommendations for them. Those same people (and others, with good intentions) often slip up and insert bad code that can render entire site sections (or worse) unavailable and unindexable. Again… Why would you pull a feature this useful?

I’m open for some ongoing discussion on this because it seems incredibly counter-productive to me.

Does Google genuinely care? Or, are they taking the easy way out by spinning the removal of these essential tools as a bonus for their users? Weigh in with the comments area below!

5 thoughts on “Why Does Google Hate Webmasters So Much? #SEOLunch

  1. I think they’re trying not to overwhelm the “straights” (i.e. normal people, not us) with information they don’t understand, but they’re making a huge frickin’ mistake. the robots.txt thing pisses me off but *nothing* pisses me off more than not being able to download crawl errors and pull them into Excel. That’s a core part of any site audit; at least any audit *I* do.

    1. You have no idea how much that pisses me off. To think that the change was made knowingly is the worst. I cannot tell you how many people I know, our office included, use that option regularly for pulling errors and fixing them. I did think of you when writing it too.

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