Occasionally, Google sneak through some changes without any fanfare, just quietly going about the business of giving their customers what they want.  In this article, we’ll look at two recent changes to Google Webmaster Tools.

Outdated Software Alerts

If your website software becomes outdated, you leave your site open to attack.  Following on from their popular security alert service, Google are preparing to roll out a service to alert webmasters to website software updates and releases.  The service will also alert customers to new modules and plugins for existing programs as they appear.  The alert will be based on inserting software version numbers into the meta-tags.  An alert will automatically be generated when the crawler finds a lower number than the latest version.

PageRank

If you look in Google Webmaster Tools now, you’ll notice that the Page Rank function has been removed.  This follows on from Google’s continual insistence that webmasters were placing too much emphasis on PageRank, above other, more relevant indexing considerations.  Although PageRank does have a bearing on a website’s place in the index, and all webmasters should aim for a “green” ranking, the truth is it’s only one out of a couple of hundred factors to take into consideration.  Google are very keen for webmasters to see the whole picture, and have a detailed FAQ on Google and SEO.
PageRank can still be found in the Google Toolbar, for those who wish to use it.

Both of these changes are designed to help webmasters build better and more relevant websites, and should be welcomed by all of those who use Google Webmaster Tools.

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