Thursday, January 22, 2009
2008 was another great year for the Webmaster Central team. We experienced tremendous user growth with our blogs (97% increase in monthly pageviews), Help Center (25%), Help Forums (225%), and Webmaster Tools (35%). We would like to welcome our new users that joined us in '08, and thank our loyal and passionate user base that have been with us for the last couple of years. We focused on two basic goals for 2008, and here's how we think we did:
Goal #1: Educate and grow our webmaster community
- We had our first ever online webmaster chat in February '08 to answer your top questions, and followed it up with three more. They have been incredibly successful, and we're planning for more this year.
- We'd like to send a special thank you to our Bionic Posters, who have played a huge part in supporting our growing community.
- Localization has been a big focus for us, so we launched our blog and Help Center in additional languages, and made Webmaster Tools available in 40 languages. We hope this makes it easier for people in other parts of the world to adopt our tools and gain a better understanding of how search works.
- We launched a new Help Forum in English and Polish, with a broader rollout planned in other languages this year.
- Our SEO starter guide was released and it has been one of our most successful articles to date.
- We placed an emphasis on sharing material via YouTube and created seven video series totaling two hours of content. We kicked off '09 with a bang on the video front with Matt's "Virtual Blight" presentation.
Goal #2: Iterate early and often on Webmaster Tools
- We launched GData APIs and iGoogle gadgets, allowing end users to access their data outside of Webmaster Tools in a way that makes sense to them.
- Managing a robots.txt file can be complicated, especially for first time webmasters, so we launched a robots.txt generator.
- In our effort to be more transparent and proactive, we enhanced our Message Center to send out messages such as the infinite spaces and hackable site warning notifications.
- To simplify the process of getting up and running on Webmaster Tools, we launched the Webmaster Tools Access Provider Program.
To reduce frustration felt by users when trying to access a URL which does not exist on a site,
we created a
We enabled webmasters to view
404 Not Foundcrawl errors.
- Sitemaps keep getting better, including integration with Custom Search Engine and simplified submissions.
4 new members of our product development team joined us in '08 to work on many of these efforts:
- Josh Teague, User Experience Designer, soon-to-be-dad, Southern gentleman
- Tanya Gupta, Software Engineer, passionate community services volunteer, thrill-seeking skydiver
- Pooja Shah, Software Engineer, nature lover, enthusiastic cook always looking to experiment
- Javier Tordable, Software Engineer and International Man of Mystery
Thank you once again and we hope for another exciting and eventful year!