Google Search Console: Beyond The Marketing Minute

Five Reasons To Use Google Search Console

Google search console (GSC), formally known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a platform that provides website analytics, tools and data about traffic and search engine rankings. It also helps website owners monitor and maintain their website, search rank and more. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out on a tremendous resource. Did we mention it’s free?

In our Monday Marketing Minute video above, we cover the top five reasons to use Google Search Console:

  • Submit and check your sitemap.
    • Think of the xml sitemap as the roadmap spiders use to crawl your site. Make sure they know where to go! You can submit, edit and check your sitemap with GSC’s easy-to-use tools.
  • Track internal link structure and track what external sites are linking to your pages.
    • Internal and external links are a powerful ranking factor, use GSC to keep track of your links.
  • Use search analytics to see what keywords brought users to your site.
    • What are people typing into search engines to find your website? Use GSC to find out! This way you can optimize your site for certain keywords or expand your keyword strategy.
  • View average rank, organic clicks, and clickthrough rates.
    • Keep track of where you rank and other important metrics all in one place. Did your rank increase or decrease after you did some site optimization? Monitoring these metrics can guide your SEO strategy, track your progress and suggest what’s working and what isn’t.
  • Get alerts on crawl errors to your site.
    • Crawl errors can impact your rank. GSC makes it easy to identify errors and provides resources to fix them.
  • Get site health alerts to see if your site is compromised by malware or important pages are blocked by the robots.txt file.
    • Malware is bad news, and so is an improperly configured robots.txt file. GSC allows you to monitor your site health and provides helpful resources when things go awry.

Since we only had a minute, we just highlighted our favorites. So, what else can you do with GSC, and how do you set it up? Learn more below!

Setting Up Google Search Console

Google made it easy to set up your GSC. Sign in to GSC with your Google or Gmail log-in information. If you do not have a Google account, follow the instructions to create one. Add your website to GSC and follow the onscreen prompts to verify that you are the owner. Make sure you verify both www and non-www versions of your website. Once you verify your website, you’re ready to go!

Begin by submitting your .xml site map. Next, set your preferred domain in the site settings. Now you can test your robots.txt file by clicking on the robots.xtx tester to make sure Google will crawl the pages you want crawled. While you’re doing this, make sure the xml sitemap is included in the robots.txt file.

Next, navigate to the Fetch as Google tool. Use this tool to let Google crawl your site and identify any errors. If everything looks good click the “Submit to index” button. Select “crawl this URL and its direct links” in the popup menu and click Go.

What else can you do with GSC? Here are a few other ideas:

  • Check the index status of your website and pages
    • If a web page isn’t indexed, spiders won’t crawl it and people won’t be able to find it. Sometimes a page is blocked during development and a “no index no follow” tag isn’t removed, or there may be issues with your sitemap. Click on Google Index in the left-hand toolbar and Index Status to check on the index status of your website.
  • Filter search analytics by device, country or pages to understand your users’ search patterns.
    • This will show you what content is popular, where people are coming from, and what device they’re using. This will give you clues about what pages to optimize, untargeted markets, and inform your SEO strategy.
  • Identify and fix mobile usability issues
    • With mobile first indexing and mobile use now surpassing desktop use, it’s important to make sure the mobile experience for your website provides a great user experience. Click on Search Traffic in the left-hand toolbar and then on Mobile Usability to begin using this tool. If an error is detected the tool will say so and provide resources to fix it.

Learn By Doing

The best way to figure out GSC is to dive in and use it for yourself. If you have questions, reach out to the team at Oneupweb. We can answer questions, fix crawl errors, or help you with an SEO strategy.