If you own a website, Google’s free webmaster tools are vital resources that you should utilize.
Most people are familiar with and utilize Google Analytics, but if you haven’t already, Google Search Console should be added to your list of go-to Google resources to help you gain more from your business website.
This free tool will assist you in improving the overall performance of your website by identifying any flaws that may prevent it from being indexed by Google or appearing in organic search results.
What Is Google Search Console?
Google Webmaster Tools changed its name to Google Search Console on May 20, 2015.
Google Search Console is a free Google service that allows you to get a lot of information about your website and the people that visit it.
It helps you to keep track of, maintain, and troubleshoot the performance of your website.
Although it is not required to set up Google Search Console in order for your website to appear in Google search results, you should do so for the sole purpose of understanding and improving how Google views your site.
You may improve your search results significantly if you invest the effort to learn about search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Search Console.
Features of Google Search Console
The Google Search Console tool aids in the completion of the following tasks:
Optimization of Content
You can learn about the searches that send a person to your web page or website with the use of a performance report. This report gives you the option to improve your existing content by using new keywords for which the page has achieved Google search visibility.
Website visibility on the Google Search Engine
You would have some visibility on the Google search engine even if you didn’t have a search panel set up for your website. However, this does not guarantee that the Google search will return all of the relevant pages.
You may verify that all essential pages are uploaded to Google for crawling and indexing through the sitemap by configuring the search console for your website.
Notifications for problems on a website
You will receive email notifications regarding any difficulties that occur on your website once you have established the search console for it.
Index coverage reports can also be used to keep track of these concerns. When you’ve resolved these issues, you can also notify Google using the Search Console.
Validation of the appearance of web pages for Google bots
It is vital to guarantee that the material served to users and the content served to Google bots or crawlers are the same. You may test the URLs using the URL inspection tool in the Google Search Console.
The application also generates web page screenshots, which you may use to see how the website appears to crawlers.
Adding a website property to the search console and verifying ownership
To add a website property to the Google search dashboard, you must first verify that you are the owner of the website. You can use one of the seven methods listed below to verify ownership in the Google search console, depending on the type of website property.
- DNS record
- Google Analytics
- Google Tag Manager
- Google Sites
- HTML File upload
- HTML Tag
Google Search Console Tools
AMP Test Tool
The AMP Test Tool is used to see if the AMP pages that have been built are properly set to appear in Google search results. Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are web pages that load more quickly on mobile devices. You can use this tool to verify if there are any errors on the amp page.
For a brief period of around six months, the Removal tool in Google search console can be used to remove certain material from a website from appearing in Google search results.
When you wish to prevent an entire page from being served in search results, you can use this technique. The tool can also be used to remove specific content from a page without removing it from Google’s search results.
When you wish to retain serving the page in Google search but delete certain material from the page, use the “clear cache” request type. This tool may be found in the Google search console’s index area.
Note: Make sure you delete the specific content from the page before sending a ‘clear cache’ request. This ensures that when Google bots re-crawl the page, the updated content is served.
Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
When compared to desktop searches, the number of searches conducted on mobile devices has grown. As a result, it’s critical to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
This mobile-friendly test tool will reveal any mobile usability flaws that degrade the user experience on a device with a small screen. The following are some of the most common mobile usability mistakes:
- Plugins incompatible
- Viewport not set
- Text too small to read
- Content wider than screen
- Viewport not set to device-width
- Clickable elements too close together
Rich Result Tool
Have you used structured data markup on your website? If this is the case, you can use the rich result tool to see how the page will appear in Google search before publishing it.
To check for problems, either input the code snippet or the test URL. This tool now supports the following schema types: FAQ, how-to, movie, product, video, local business, recipe, and event.
Note: that Google does not guarantee that the page will look exactly how this tool has rendered it. This is dependent on a variety of criteria, including the user’s search request, location, search history, and many others.
URL Inspection Tool
This application allows you to acquire information about indexed pages in Google as well as submit a URL for crawling and indexing. The information that this tool provides about a URL or a webpage is summarized below.
- Current index status of the page
- The rendered version of the page by Google Bot
- AMP errors if any
- Structured data markup errors
- Indexing issues if any
- Canonical URL
How to Make the Most of Google Search Console
Now that you have access to the Google Search Console, you may start working on a variety of activities. Here are a few of the most important applications.
Submit a sitemap
While Google’s web crawlers can learn a lot about a website and its individual web pages on their own, by uploading a sitemap to Google, you may give them a little extra help in learning the information they need.
A handful of websites will build a sitemap for you automatically. You’ll need to construct a sitemap and upload it to your server if you don’t already have one. It’s really simple to add it to the Google Search Console once you have it.
Discover out what search terms people use to find you
Anyone who reaches your website through organic search did so by typing in a specific search term. Google Search Console displays the most popular terms that lead visitors to your website.
In the Google Search Console, you’ll find the information by clicking on Performance either in the left side menu or in the top box in the main dashboard.
On the main screen, Google displays the number of clicks each term generates as well as the total number of times your website appears in search queries for that term (impressions), with the other categories (CTR, position) accessible by clicking on the upside-down triangle above the list.
This data shows you whether your content is successfully drawing visitors depending on the keywords you targeted in your SEO strategy. It will also display any keywords that people find you with that you didn’t intend to target.
Determine which of your pages are the most popular
There will be pages on every website that perform better in search engines than others. Google Search Console can assist you figure out which of your web pages is bringing in the most traffic.
Your most popular sites can be accessed in the same section where you found the keywords, and filtering and seeing other subsets of data works similarly. In the same Search Analytics section you viewed the keywords in, select Pages in the menu.
In descending order of popularity, you’ll get a list of all the pages users have seen and clicked, with your best-performing pages at the top. Clicks and impressions are displayed. You can also check which ones are the most effective in terms of click-through rate and location.
Examine the origins of your visitors
If your company serves a certain region of the world, traffic from visitors who live in that area is more essential than traffic from everywhere else. Google Search Console can also tell you where your visitors are coming from, allowing you to make sure you’re reaching the correct individuals.
This is located in the same section as the keywords and pages information. Select Countries from the menu.
The number of clicks your website receives from each country will be displayed, with the most clicks at the top of the list. You may also check the results based on impressions, click-through rate, and search ranking position, much like the other categories.
Find out what devices they use
Every company should have a mobile-friendly website by today. Even if you’ve previously made steps to ensure that your website appears excellent on mobile devices, it’s still useful to know how many of your visitors use each type of device to interact with your site.
There’s no need to worry because Google Search Console has you covered. This is the final piece of information in the same section as the previous three. Select Devices in the menu.
You can see how many clicks you get on each sort of device in this graph, and you can switch to show the amount of impressions, click-through rate, and average position if you want to (you know this song and dance by now).
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
While self-testing your website for mobile usability is a good idea, you can also utilize the Google Search Console to validate that your site meets their mobile usability guidelines.
Select Mobile Usability from the left-side menu’s Experience area. If everything about your site meets Google’s mobile usability guidelines, you’ll receive a green checkmark indicating that no mistakes have been found.
If it detects something on your website that doesn’t operate well on mobile, such as the usage of flash or a small font size, you’ll receive a notification in this area explaining the issue so you can address it.
Check out which websites have links to you
This is crucial information for everyone who is interested in SEO. Backlinks are one of the most important ranking criteria, so every time another authoritative website links to you, Google’s algorithm enhances your website’s authority.
In the left-side menu bottom area select Links. You’ll notice a list of websites that link back to yours, as well as a list of the pages of your site that other websites most frequently connect to.
You can also view the most common anchor text used by other sites when referring back to yours in the section under “Top linking text”
By going to the website and then clicking on the link given, you may learn more about each backlink. You may then look at specific pages that contain the link and visit them to observe how it’s used.
Look for any broken links
Broken links detract from your user’s experience and direct them away from the pages you want them to visit. As if that wasn’t terrible enough, they also make you look terrible in the eyes of Google, which might hurt your rankings.
You may find data on any faults Google identified while crawling your website in the Error or Excluded area of the Google Search Console, including all URLs that returned a 404 error.
Identify website security issues
It seems like big website hacks are in the news every day these days. Even if your company isn’t large enough to make the headlines if it’s hacked, it can still cause major issues. This is especially true if you operate an ecommerce site that collects sensitive consumer information such as credit card numbers.
If your website has a security problem that you should be aware of, the Google Search Console gives you a quick and easy heads-up. On the left-hand menu, select the Security Issues option. The Console will notify you if there is nothing to be concerned about.
If Google detects a problem, you’ll find all the information you need to resolve it here.
Finally, the Performance section displays key information about your site’s performance in Google Search results, including how frequently it appears, its average position in search results, click through rate, and any unique features (such as rich results) associated with your results. Use this information to improve the search performance of your website, for example:
- Examine how your search traffic fluctuates over time, where it originates, and which search terms are most likely to bring your site up.
- Learn which searches are conducted on mobile devices and utilize this information to better your mobile targeting.
- See which Google search results pages have the highest (and lowest) click-through rate.
The Google Search Console is completely free, and as you can see, it’s jam-packed with information that every business website can use.
This is your best resource for diving into the data available and establishing an action plan for how to enhance your SEO moving forward if you care about where and how you show up in the search engines.