How to Use Google Search Console Tool to Improve your SEO
In this competitive age, every business owner works hard to be on top in the industry. But, do you think working hard is enough to beat the competitors? No, it is not. The effective and efficient digital marketing strategies plus keeping a track on their operations are equally crucial.
Nowadays, there are many tools available to help the businesses to monitor their site’s presence in Google. Among all the accessible options, Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is the best. It has become a must-have tool for digital marketing professionals to improve SEO activities. Moreover, its most useful features are free and simple to use.
Whether you are already familiar with this or you are learning about it for the first time, this article is certainly useful for both.
Why Google Search Console?
Before knowing HOW to use Search Console, learn WHAT it is and WHY you should use it. Let’s first understand the meaning Google Search Console (GSC):
It is a powerful tool which helps SEO professionals, web owners, app developers, web marketers to monitor and maintain their site’s performance in Google Search results.
The objectives of using this tool:
- It provides you with the complete reports about the number of visitors, their demographics, and the browser used to visit the site.
- It also helps to rectify malware or spam issues to keep your website clean.
Before you use this tool, you first need to follow the set up and verification process. Understanding the main menus is the first step to using it efficiently. Let’s review the four menus.
1) Search Appearance
This section shows how your website is currently set up and how it will look on a Search Engine Result Page. Further, the functionality is subdivided into 5 components listed below:
- Structured Data: It is programmed into the HTML code and marks up your website in the search result. It is in the form of rich snippets and helps your URL for attaining better index in the search result. For this, Google uses your data such as ratings, votes, reviews, etc. to lure visitors towards your site.
- How to use it: You can use rich snippets for all the mentioned features available on your website. Moreover, refer Schema.org for coding and other help.
- Rich Cards: It is mostly like the structured data in more appealing visuals, for making the results engaging. However, it increases your site’s traffic. Mostly, this is found in recipes and movies website.
- How to use it: You can ask your developer to create rich snippet data if you are into something related to recipes, movies or corporate contacts. You can use this to boost your page by showcasing your logo, social profile link, events, local business, etc.
- Data Highlighter: It also helps to enhance the content just like structured data but doesn’t need coding snippets in HTML. The limitation of this tool is that it asks users to write different tags for every URL.
- How to use it: In your Google Search Console login, click on “Start Highlighter” and start tagging pages on your site. You can then select the data you wish to highlight like images, text and rating.
- HTML improvements: It provides you the report of any problem Google has revealed while indexing your website.
- How to use it: You need to fix the issues like duplication and redundant data, non-indexable content, etc. detected by Google.
- Accelerated mobile pages: This is a technique used to build fast-loading HTML and JS pages. The notion of the tool is to make your web pages user-friendly and quicker on mobile devices.
- How to use it: You can ask your developer to convert your HTML to AMP HTML. It helps to know about coding errors.
2) Search Traffic
It gives you insights on ranking, keywords from your site, linking metrics from internal and external factors, international targeting metrics, and usability of your site through mobile. Further, the functionality is subdivided into 6 components:
- Search Analytics Report: It provides you with the information that how often your site’s URL has appeared in the search result. Also, insights on specific keywords clicking and the geographical rank of the website will be also available .
- Link to your site: With this tool, you can know the number of backlinks as well as keywords used for backlinks to your website. You can use this to know how many backlinks are relevant. This will help you to increase the quantity with quality of backlinks, eventually increasing engagement and advertisement of your site.
- Internal Links: This section helps to know the number of internal links of your website’s page. Many such internal links show its importance to Google which results in increasing your ranking in the search engine. Make sure to frequently keep a check on the existence of the internal linked pages.
- Manual Action: This tool informs you of the Google penalties occurred due to black-hat techniques in your Google Search Console login. So, to use this, you can take extensive actions to resolve the issue and update your pages with more relevant content. Moreover, after this, you have to submit a reconsideration request to regain your rank in the SERPs.
- International Targeting: This helps when your site is used in different country and need translation or modification in accordance with the region. To use this tool, you need to employ the hreflang tag which informs Google to make reforms with respect to the geography.
- Mobile Usability: This is useful to get information on all the troubles coming in delivering the user-friendly experience on mobile devices. Use this to tackle mobile optimization issues to increase your ranking.
3) Google Index
This tool informs you about your crawling and indexing purposes. It shows your site’s URLs’ status. Further, the functionality is subdivided into 3 components:
- Index Status: It shows you the URLs indexed by Google, blocked or removed URLs, etc. So, after knowing your URL status, you can easily rectify the errors. In case, any indexation issue came to your notice, examine robots.txt file or check for your sitemap’s accuracy.
- Remove URLs: This tool informs Google about those URLs which it is not supposed to index. For instance, you don’t want Google to crawl in your visitors or members personal data.
This menu renders the report on how often Google bot crawls your site, errors picked by it, robots, sitemap, URL parameter, etc.
- Crawl Errors: It detects crawl errors such as 404 error pages, server errors, URLs that direct to irrelevant web pages. However, fixing such errors will certainly improve SEO.
- Crawl Stats: This provides you with the status of your site’s crawled pages, kilobytes download, page load time. You can use this Search Console Google analytics to modify your site’s performance and pay more attention to draw more users.
- Fetch as Google: This tool provides you to learn about how Google fetches and interpret your URL. Use this tool to fetch the errors on devices like smartphones, desktops, mobile XHTML/WML. You can then repair these and submit for indexation again.
- Robots.txt tester: It notifies search engine that your site should be crawled or not. It reports you with errors and warnings for your site.
- Sitemaps: This tool amends your sitemaps.xml and makes sure that all your URL is in working condition.
- URL parameters: This subsection gives you the advantage to tell Google how to handle your URLs. Moreover, if you are not a web developer, don’t use this tool.
You can see that Google Search Console is a very powerful tool and it is highly recommended for increasing your site’s SEO and overall knowledge of your site’s performance. Use this tool and increase your search engine ranking with ease now.
Sanket Patel is Founder & Director of Blurbpointmedia, an SEO, and digital marketing company. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. He is an expert in Web marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing, B2B Marketing, Online Advertisement of Google, Yahoo and MSN. Connect on Twitter.