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5 things I hate about Google’s Webmaster Tools redesign

May 13, 2009 4 Comments

Google has redesigned Webmaster Tools. Some of it's good. Some of it I hate. This is what I hate about the design (on top of that fact it's much slower than the old version) - and at the bottom are two more from Christian Schenk.

1 Pagination has been removed from links data

You can see how many inbound links each page has got. In the old design, you could choose whether to look at data for 20, 30, 50 or 100 pages at a time.

With the new design, you can only see data for 25 pages at a time - which is a lot of pointless clicking.

Old vs new options for reviewing inbound link data

Old vs new options for reviewing inbound link data

2 Pages that are 301 redirected are listed separately in links data

301ed URLs are listed separately

301ed URLs are listed separately

I 301 redirect and to

Under the old system, I'd see these 3 URLs amalgamated under /blog/ when reviewing the inbound link data.

Now, they are listed separately. So if I want to see links to my home page (which is what any of those 3 URLs is), I have to review 3 separate sets of data.

3 The webpage looks rubbish in a wide browser window

Data is miles from label

Data is miles from label

Much of WMT shows a URL and a bit of data about that URL. But the pages stretch to fill the browser. So if you have a wide browser window, the data is miles from the label (the URL).

I can't see any real need for this. Can't they put it in a table? I don't want to have to shrink my broswer window just to use Webmaster Tools.

4 It truncates URLs when it doesn't need to

Under the crawl errors, if URLs are too long, it truncates them - by chopping the middle out. This makes them hard to read. Actually, it used to do this in the old design, but it's still annoying.

URLs truncated in the middle

URLs truncated in the middle

5 What do all the menu items mean?

There used to be landing pages for the main sections in webmaster tools. These were a bit pointless as they added an extra click to get anywhere. But they did contain an explanation of every page in the section.

They've got rid of these landing pages, and every page can be accessed from the left-hand menu.

All very well, but now there's nowhere to go to see what each page means. Couldn't they use the new method of accessing pages from the left hand menu AND still have the landing pages for people who don't know what all the terms mean?

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  • I'd like to add that switching between your various websites isn't that nice either. In the old version you'd go to, say, Content-Analysis and use the drop-down-box right under the heading to switch through your sites. Now this box seems to show just the recently used sites and I'll have to click on "Show All..." and start over again.

    Another thing that's annoying me is that the new site doesn't seem to display the most recent data. E.g. in the old WMT it says that a sitemap has been downloaded and x of the pages have been indexed - the new site tells me that it hasn't even downloaded the sitemap. What's happening there?

    Since WMT is a great tool I hope that they'll sort out these glitches soon.

    • Sagar says:

      I am the PM for the Webmaster Tools team. Thanks for the feedback Malcolm and Christian.

      Christian, can you post your issue with regards to sitemaps on our forums (including URL) so we can research it further:

      • Hi, Sagar. Thanks for taking the time to post (and for your reasonable tone - so different to mine ...). I've emailed Christian in case he doesn't see your message.
        Incidentally, I have the opposite problem to him with data - I see more links in the new version than the old one.

      • Hi Sagar,
        I'll sure add a post in the forum - I'll just wait another week or two.

        Just this morning the new WMT said that one of my websites wasn't verified. I checked that the verification file - google.html - was available, clicked on "Verify" and it said "We weren't able to verify your site. Did you upload your HTML verification file to this location: []?" - yes I did and since it now displays a green "Verified" under "Status" that's okay for me. So the error message clearly doesn't match the output under "Status" ;)

        For now I'll just wait a little bit...

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