Google Webmaster Features Wishlist
Back in July Matt Cutts started a poll to gather feedback on what features people wanted added to the Google Webmaster Tools console. I imagine that Google will ultimately include many of the requests, but I found it interesting to see what people are most concerned about.
Almost a third of the 3000+ responses wanted, "More information about penalties or other scoring issues." I think this tells us two things. First, people are concerned about being penalized without knowing it. Second, I suspect a good number of the voters are worried that they've crossed the line and perhaps have over-optimized so they want someone to pat them on the head and say everything is OK.
The second most popular request was for functionality to detect or report duplicate content. I'm all for this one and I think Google would love to have something like this in place. Why? Because, if implemented correctly, it allows Google to tap in to thousands of people and allow them to do the grunt work of flagging splogs and such. This is similar to the benefits of Google's image tagging game that taps in to our collective intelligence to identify the content of images. The trick, of course, is how do you allow people to claim ownership of content without being those same people also being able to claim someone else’'s content?
Even though much has been written that PageRank has decreased in importance, the third most requested feature is more detail on the PageRank assigned to pages on a site. Rather than low, medium, and high buckets, people want the actual numeric value. I'm not sure that this is so useful though. A nice number to look at, but what are you really going to do with the information?
Items 4, 5, and 6 are interesting in that they suggest people aren't as skilled as they could be or aren't aware of some SEO tools. Voters for these three items want Google to show links on a site that are broken (could use Xenu Linksleuth), score the crawlability or accessibility of pages (look at the HTML source folks), and show rankings (DigitalPoint's Keyword Ranking Monitor is good for this along with your web analytics data). I hope Google pushes these 3 requests to the bottom of the list so we can get some really useful things instead.
One request that I do hope gets implemented first is domain migration. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to switch domains and have rankings/trust adjust quickly rather than fret over using 301 redirects and waiting for months for everything to transfer?
Kudos to Google for soliciting user-feedback!