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September 22, 2020
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Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a platform where you can monitor your website’s performance on Google. The search console gives you an overview of the search queries that bring your website the most traffic, which domains are pointing towards your website, how well your website is performing on mobile devices, and much more.
It’s a useful tool for anyone with a website: you don’t need to be an SEO specialist, a webmaster, or an online marketeer to use Google Search Console. Since all websites can benefit from free organic traffic, it’s important to understand the underlying pain points of your website and optimize and improve based on data.
This could mean boosting a particular keyword or two that are performing well and bringing in lots of traffic. Or reaching out to other websites that have linked to yours: a simple thank you could lead into a partnership or more sponsored posts if you play your cards right.
The GSC is also useful when it comes to spotting any pages with errors or mobile compatibility issues. Maybe you were wondering why an email marketing campaign was performing poorly, and realize that the page you were linking to was redirecting elsewhere, or plain broken.
In the best case, the search console can help you save money while helping you climb the SEO ranks.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are often mentioned in close relation to each other. And no wonder: these SEO tools are used alongside each other, and usually by the same people.
While these tools may seem similar to the untrained eye, they are actually used for different purposes.
Google Analytics is used to view and analyze how your website is performing. It tracks information such as how many visitors your website has, how long they stayed on your website and where the visitors are coming to your website. It focuses on reporting the analytics of your website.
Google Search Console, on the other hand, is used for optimizing and improving your website’s performance. The console shows you which other websites are linking to yours, whether there are any errors or faulty pages, and how your keywords are performing.
You can use the search console to perform crawls through your whole website and get a clear idea of which pages and ads get the highest amount of clicks.
Google Search Console offers a wide range of different features, and it might be a little overwhelming for a new user to understand which functions are worth your attention.
With the search console, you can monitor:
You should be concerned with your website’s SEO. Whether your website can or can’t be easily found online matters, and can easily translate to fewer bookings and fewer sales in an eCommerce context.
With a tool like Google Search Console, you can monitor your website and spot any instances that would affect your website’s SEO negatively, and make search engines to punish your ranking.
To get started, you only need to have your own website and set up your free Google Search Console (GSC) account.
Once you’ve created your GSC account, it’s time to link it with your website. Unfortunately, you can’t analyze your competitors with Google webmaster tools, since you need to be able to prove that you own the website you want to add to your GSC account.
You should use GSC primarily for monitoring the health of your own website and use other tools to keep track of your competitors’ movements.
Adding your website to your GSC account is easy:
To help you get the most out of your data, you need to know how the basics of the dashboard. Rather than clicking around aimlessly, it’s better to approach the GSC systematically.
Let’s go over the main items that you can find in the Google Search Console dashboard.
In the performance tab, you can analyze and monitor which pages and keywords are ranking well on Google. You can use this overview to see which pages get the most visits from Google’s search traffic. It also shows you which keywords people used prior to landing on your website as well as the total number of impressions on Google search results.
This section of the search console has subsections for:
This tab helps you understand which pages are indexed and shown in Google. While indexing is a bit more technical, it’s an important factor to get right in your search engine optimization.
In the index tab, you can see all the errors and potential warnings that appear on your website. You will also get a notification from Google when any new errors occur.
If a page is not working and gives out a 404 error, it shows up in the index tab in GSC. Other errors could include a typo in a link redirecting elsewhere from your website, any problems with your theme, or with your code, for example.
All errors and warnings are listed here, and you can get more information on individual errors by clicking on the specific URL.
Pay close attention to a few things in the index tab:
Keeping a regular eye on the index tab helps you avoid Google penalizing your ranking due to bad website maintenance. The faster you can fix errors as they appear, the better the browsing experience will be for anyone visiting your site. And this will mean your content will be in the good books of the Google algorithm.
Sitting under the index tab, enhancements gives you an overview of where you can improve your website’s SEO performance. It will give you insights into your website’s speed and mobile usability, and other more technical aspects of your site.
Speed matters for your website. The GSC speed report gives you a good overview of how fast your website loads on different devices and whether Google encounters any issues when loading up your site. Google bases the data on the Chrome browser’s user experience, so you can trust that the data is accurate and tested by real users.
Paying attention to the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) can also have a drastic impact on your website’s SEO ranking. If you have installed AMP on your website, this report gives you an overview of all the AMP valid pages and any potential errors or issues.
If you have structured data on your website, you’ll be interested in checking out the rich results report. In this part of the GSC, you can view and solve any warnings or errors related to this data. You can monitor the performance and status of your
A sitemap is the roadmap of your website, most commonly submitted to search engines as an XML file. The file contains all the URLs of your website and is basically an index of your whole website. It explains to Google which pages belong together under certain categories, and what hierarchies are present on your site.
Submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console is easier than you may think.
First, you need to sign in to your GSC account and select your website. You need to click on the sitemap tab on the lefthand side menu. Next, you need to add a new sitemap URL and click on submit. Now the search engine will crawl through the sitemap and begin the indexing process of all your URLs.
The report that you’ll get after the crawl has finished will include the number of discovered URLs as well as the overall status (including any errors or warnings) of the crawl.
The links tab is split between internal and external links. This section of the GSC will give you a detailed overview of which websites are linking to yours and vice versa, what those links are saying and where they take the visitor.
Google considers links as evidence that your content is considered useful by other websites and pages. Internal links mean the linking that happens between your own web pages.
For example, you could be linking to your pricing table a lot across your website. Since the pricing table page would be getting lots of links from within your website, Google considers it as an important page.
External links, on the other hand, are links that your website receives from other websites. In SEO terms external links are also referred to as backlinks, and they’re seen as even more valuable than internal links.
The more backlinks a piece of content has, the better it will rank, as Google considers the page containing a lot of useful information that answers a particular search query.
Maybe you did a study in your field and published the results in your blog. Let’s say you uncovered some great techniques that helped your eCommerce store reduce abandoned carts at checkout. Many other websites find your study useful and include your tips and link back to your original article in their posts on eCommerce marketing strategies.
Google sees that your content is being linked to by external websites a lot, and takes this as an indicator that your content is very useful in answering a question on great eCommerce marketing strategies. This will improve your page’s ranking and overall SERP position.