26 Apr 2012

WT Update: Site Performance, Subscriber Stats & Robots.txt Tools Removed

The latest webmaster tools update by google has rolled out, and several tools have been discontinued / dropped.

Google confirmed via an announcement on the Google Webmaster Central blog that it had removed 3 features, citing under-use as the primary reason for removal.

Many users are at a loss and still consider them needed and used tools.

Site Performance Tool

The Google site performance tool provides details and historical information about the performance of your website (in terms of load time).

This Tool played a significant role for many webmasters and SEO agents alike. Especially since Google several years ago confirmed that website load times and latency is one of the signals used in the ranking algorithm.

Luckily we are not left totally out in the cold when it comes to measuring website access time . Users can still utilise the site speed feature in Google Analytics, the PageSpeed tool provided standalone by Google and a range of 3rd party products including the widely used YSlow browser plugin.

One user (MagicYOYO) has voiced a valid concern “I’ll miss a lot(sic) ‘Site performance’. No other tool can show historical data of site’s speed.”

Robots.txt Tool

The webmaster tools robots.txt provided a way for users to generate and test robots.txt files. Robots.txt files are a polite way for webmasters to instruct the Google spiders what is and what is not allowed to be spidered.

Google states “While many websites don’t even need a robots.txt file, if you feel that you do need one, it’s easy to make one yourself in a text editor or use one of the many other tools available on the web for generating robots.txt files.”

From memory it also had a robots.txt testing tool.

Subscriber Stats

Webmaster tools subscriber stats reports the total number of subscribers to a websites RSS feed or Atom Feed. Google has advised that this ongoing functionality is actually also part of Feed burners statistic interface (another of Googles products), so is encouraging users who used that tool to migrate to Feedburner.

That’s it for this  webmaster tools clean up, I’m hoping its made room for some awesome new tools for webmasters!

So how do you feel about the Web master tools cleanup? Let us know below.