Understanding Google Search Console
There are lots of tools to help you to improve your SEO performance, but one of the most useful for website owners is Google Search Console (GSC) and best of all, it’s completely free!
Formerly Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a Google service designed for SEO folk and developers, to diagnose and fix indexing issues with their sites’ pages. If you have Google Analytics account, you can set it up by linking to it via the admin panel. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, you can do this by entering your website URL into the bar on GSC’s homepage and selecting “Add A Property” to verify it.
Google Search Console has an array of useful features that give transparency over how your site is performing on Google. Some of these features include search traffic reporting, performance reporting, coverage data and URL inspection. Some of these features used to be available through Google Analytics, but the visibility was taken away, leading to a greater interest in GSC.
Google Search Console gives you a view of your site from Google’s perspective, with an array of tools available to fix them, essentially allowing you to better optimise your site for search.
Why Is Optimising Your Site Important?
The effort that goes into creating a website and its content is substantial, so you want to make sure it converts. Revenue from online sales can be massively compromised if your site isn’t performing as well as it could. Issues that can cause your site to not perform include error response codes on pages, sitemaps not being correctly submitted, robots.txt failure and DNS errors. If you have a large volume of pages on your website, then diagnosing these issues individually can be a massive task.
Using a diagnostic tool like Google Search Console simplifies this process, pulling up data monthly to highlight any issues that need to be fixed, thus improving your site’s performance. This maintenance should be a fundamental part of your ongoing SEO activity. Optimisation is not just about what you do to your page content, it’s also what you fix via GSC.
Useful Reports in Google Search Console
There are lots of reports in GSC, but these are some of the most useful:
The data highlighter is designed to make structuring website data possible for everyone, regardless of their knowledge’s of schema mark-up.
Before Data Highlighter, webmasters had to edit html on their sites in order to highlight structured data for Google to present in special ways. Now we can achieve the same result by tagging structured data using Data Highlighter.
Structured data is a real focus for Google right now and we are seeing more and more Google search results delivered in formats based on structured data from schema tagging, and this expected to become even more of a focus.
If you haven’t yet embraced schema tagging or structured data, we recommend jumping on the bandwagon. It’s already a competitive field, with businesses embracing this style of structuring.Wait too long and you may find it a real struggle to get to the top of the SERP rankings.
This insightful report gives you transparency on how Google views your website by analysing all the keywords you’ve included in you content and your metadata.
To access this report, you need to click the ‘Content Keywords’ menu in the Google Index section to find a list of the keywords Google has found on your site, accompanied by bar graphics indicating their relative perceived significance.
Select a particular keyword to get more information, such as data on how many times the keyword was found, semantic variations on the keyword which Google used to contribute to that figure, and the top-ranking pages of your site, where the word was found.
Links to Your Site
Inbound links are still one of the most significant factors that Google looks at to determine the quality and authority of your website. If the third-party websites that link to yours are high quality, it will have a much bigger impact on your search engine rankings.
Google Search Console’s Links to Your Site report (under Search Traffic) doesn’t tell you how good your inbound links are, but it does give you plenty of other useful details.
If you want to see a list of the domains linking to your site, click ‘Links to Your Site’ you’ll be presented with data for your most linked content, as well as insights on ‘How your data is linked’ – click ‘More’ under this section to view the anchor text that is most commonly used to link to your content.
There are of course a number of other incredibly useful features, for example a crawl report that tells you what pages may be producing 404 errors. You can then fix these by putting a 301 (permanent) or 302 (temporary) redirect in place. You can also use GSC to submit your xml sitemap when you add new pages or make changes to your URL structure.
Search Engine Optimisation in Kent
Do you need help with your website’s search engine optimisation? Whitefish Marketing is an established Kent based digital agency with expertise in helping businesses to digitise offering SEO, PPC, website development and social media management. Give our friendly team a call on 01303 720 288.