If you haven’t heard of the Google Search Console by now, you’re missing out! This handy set of tools is a valuable resource that can give you incredible insight into your website’s performance, thus giving you the upper hand when it comes to search engine optimization. If you have a company website and want to keep tabs on your site and remain competitive in your industry, it’s in your best interest to start learning how to effectively use the Google Search Console.
What is the Google Search Console?
Before we start talking about how you can use Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) to boost your SEO, we need to define it. The Google Search Console is a special and 100% free Google web service that can be used to help optimize your search engine ranking and drive organic traffic to your website. Companies can use the tools provided within this console to monitor their website’s status on Google by measuring site performance, troubleshooting issues, and making updates. You can easily examine the specific keywords and phrases your site visitors are using to get to your website, which can help you see what search queries are working best and what’s not.
The Google Search Console also offers in-depth reports and analytics that allow you to view clicks, impressions, and your search engine ranking, all from a convenient and organized dashboard. Your company’s web developer or the person in charge of your site can receive email alerts when Google discovers a problem. In addition, the console offers detailed crawling, indexing and serving information through its URL Inspection tool, which keeps you updated on what’s happening on the Google Index. Overall, this resource is intended to give webmasters and business owners the ability to track site performance, progress, and fix problems.
Thankfully, with a little guidance along the way, anyone can use the Google Search Console. You don’t have to be a web developer or SEO specialist to use it well. Keep reading below to learn how you can start using it to your advantage!
The Difference Between Google Analytics and the Google Search Console
Many people associate Google Analytics and the Google Search Console and think they are the same tools. However, they each have some distinct differences. Google Analytics focuses on the amount of site visitors you’re getting, who they are, how they’re accessing your site, how long they are spending on each page, and where they are located. The Google Search Console, on the other hand, concentrates more so on detecting security issues, what keywords people are using to get to your site, and what sites are linking to yours. The best part is, you can actually link the two tools together in the Google Search Console!
How to Start Using the Google Search Console
The first step is to log into the console using your Google or Gmail account. If other people need access, you can add other team members and set permission levels later. Next, you’ll need to select your property type: Domain or URL Prefix. The main difference between these two options is that the console’s domain option recognizes different versions of your site (https, http, www, etc.) while the URL prefix option only recognizes specified addresses and protocols. For example, if you choose, “http://www.domain.com,” the console will not recognize a URL that differs from that one (i.e. https://domain.com). The option you choose depends on your specific SEO strategy. Those who are looking for a cleaner, all-inclusive view would benefit most from the domain option, while those who want to analyze your traffic separately, you’ll probably want to pick the URL prefix option.
After you’ve selected your property type, you’ll need to verify site ownership. If you select Domain, you’ll need to provide DNS verification. If you select URL Prefix, you can provide DNS verification as well as a variety of other methods, including uploading an HTML file, inserting an HTML tag on a page, submitting a Google Analytics tracking code, etc. Once you’re officially verified, you can begin using the Google Search Console data to benefit your business!
How to Use the Google Search Console API to Optimize Your Site
The search console changes periodically, so it’s essential to stay updated on the latest modifications to make sure you’re doing the right things. After you gain access to the Google Search Console, you can begin performing a variety of tasks. Here are several things you can do as soon as you’re in the console:
- Discover Keywords
One of the most beneficial things you can do on the Google Search Console is find the keywords that are driving visitors to your site. Simply navigate to the Search Analytics section and click on it. Here, you’ll see a list of keywords searchers used along with the recorded number of times users clicked on your site after using a specific keyword or phrase. If you want to dive in even more, you can click on a keyword and use the various filters to see where people are located, what type of device they’re using, and even the keyword’s specific stats (CTR, impressions, clicks, etc.).
- Check Mobile Site Status
In this day and age, it’s critical to have a mobile-friendly website. Most people nowadays are searching using their mobile devices, which means you need to stay in line with Google’s mobile usability standards. You can use the Google Search Console to see if your site passes the test. To check this, go to Mobile Usability on the left side of your screen. If Google determines that your website is all good, you’ll notice a green checkmark and a message that reads: “No mobile usability errors detected (be sure to check all site variants).”
- Track Inbound Links
Link building and tracking plays a crucial role in any SEO strategy. Google takes the quality and quantity of your backlinks into consideration when it ranks your site. Whenever a credible, authoritative site links to yours, you’ll look better. However, sometimes it’s difficult to track where these links are coming from. After all, the World Wide Web reaches far and wide. How are you supposed to know when someone links to your blog or web page? An easy way to do this is by using the Google Search Console. Navigate to Search Traffic and click Links to Your Site. Immediately, you’ll see a list of sites that link to yours and the pages that are the most popular for links. If you want even more data, click on the website and the listed link to see what site linked to you, the anchor text they used, etc.
- Determine Your Most Frequently Visited Pages
It’s always helpful to know what pages are performing the best, as this gives you an idea of what to aim for on other pages. To find these, click on Search Analytics and select Pages. From here, you’ll be able to view all the pages people have visited. It will list them from most popular at the top to the least popular at the bottom. This section will also give you insights into how many clicks and impressions each page received, your page’s current search engine ranking, and its click-through-rate.
- Spot Site Security Issues
So many things can go wrong in the web world, and sometimes it’s challenging to even identify problems or potential threats. The Google Search Console is an excellent tool for spotting website security issues and providing quick solutions. The console will email you an alert if it detects a security threat or notices that security is lacking on a specific area of your site. If you want to double-check your notifications, click on Security Issues and read the messages there. If nothing’s going on, it will tell you. If something’s off, the console will offer detailed information and some practical steps to fix it.
- Submit Sitemaps
Your sitemap helps Google understand the content and layout of your website. When you submit your sitemap to the Google Search Console, you’re making it easier for Google to crawl your site. And if Google understands your site better, then it can make it easier for people to find your site. When it comes to dealing with Google, the more information the better! Although it can learn quite a bit about your site by itself, it’s always beneficial to offer some extra help. After you develop your sitemap (you can use a free template online or create it yourself), the uploading process is simple. Navigate to Sitemaps. Click Add/Test Sitemaps and enter your site’s URL address. Google will then analyze your sitemap. Keep in mind that it may take several days before Google will crawl and index your pages.
Take Your SEO to the Next Level With Professional Optimization Techniques
There are countless tools used to boost SEO, like the Google Search Console and Google Analytics. We understand if you’re feeling overwhelmed or are too busy running your business to worry about learning the ropes. Fortunately, our SEO specialists are available to help! Here at Zeidan Digital Marketing, we offer second-to-none SEO services that will take you from zero to hero. Our goal is to foster your success by driving leads to your website, improving your search engine ranking, and increasing your sales. Are you ready to thrive with first-rate SEO? Contact our team today to get started! 1300 353 237