Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a free suite of tools that anyone can use to enhance their website and potentially improve SEO. If you are creating your first website or looking to push forward to the next level this is a fantastic starting point.
We get that it can be daunting to know where to start when looking at SEO and without the help of an SEO consultant you may feel overwhelmed. By using a tool like Google Search Console you can ease yourself into the world of SEO and make small but important changes to your website without too much effort.
But what exactly can you expect from this Google product and why is it important? To help, we share our experiences and show seven vital things that Google Search Console does.
1. To Make Simple HTML Changes
It’s the simple things that are often overlooked with web design and SEO but these typically have a huge impact! Something as basic as missing a META description tag could completely derail your SEO strategy for a particular keyword for example.
With Google Search Console you don’t have to worry about this anymore as it highlights simple HTML errors so you can make quick changes.
It shows important SEO features like META title and description tags, image ALT tags, and the correct labeling of headings. By perfecting basic SEO like this you can then push on to more complex and rewarding processes.
2. Improve Link Building Strategies
Creating a link portfolio and internal link strategy helps greatly with SEO but it can be tricky knowing where to start. How do you know which pages are linked? What about external websites that link back to you?
These are all things you can monitor with the Google Search Console link reports. Want to know if you have any high-quality website backlinks? Of course – just jump onto the link reports and Google shows you this data!
Using this info you can then look to find new link opportunities, remove outdated ones, and asses the internal structure of your website.
3. For Notification of Site Errors
We get that running a business and maintaining a website is tough and this can result in things being overlooked.
Google Search Console aims to give you a helping hand and make your job easier via its handy error messages and notifications.
You can configure the console to email you notifications of critical site problems like security threats and crawling issues. When these notifications pop up in your inbox you can then take immediate action and keep your website running optimally.
4. To Monitor Search Traffic
A simple aspect of Google Search Console is its traffic monitoring. As a business it’s important that you understand how, where, and when people are accessing your website and the console lets you see this.
There is a complete section for traffic monitoring and you can get some fantastic insight from the reports generated.
You might want to know which are the most popular search queries people use to find your site for example. This is just one of the many statistics you can find together with things like top-ranked pages and user demographics.
5. To Boost Mobile Optimisation
Did you know that approximately 50% of web browsing is done via smartphones? While desktops and laptops are still used, it’s clear that smartphones are the way forward and your website has to reflect this.
Indeed Google previously had a mobile-friendly update that gave more weight in rankings to mobile-optimized sites.
By using Google Search Console you can see any mobile display issues that could affect usability. These include things like incorrect font sizes, overlapping touchscreen elements, and resizing issues. With this data in mind you can then look at improving the mobile responsiveness of your website.
6. To Highlight Crawling Errors
Search engines index your web pages via crawlers – I like to think of these as little virtual spiders that scuttle along the “webs” of your website hierarchy to find information and links.
Sometimes those little crawlers might reach a dead end in your link structure or notice a page that cannot be accessed.
These instances are logged as crawl errors and you can monitor and fix them using the Google Search Console to make sure all of your website is crawler-friendly. This is an important process as you always want to make the crawler’s job easier so your site can be indexed quicker and more effectively.
7. Gain Insight Into the Indexing Process
After you have made all these changes and improvements you need some way of monitoring the progress to see if there is any difference.
You can do this using Google Search Console as it gives you an ample amount of index data. Want to see how many of your web pages have been indexed by Google? No problem – just access the relative dashboard and you can see everything in an easy-to-understand format.
Perhaps you need to check that “no follow” pages have not been indexed as desired? Simple! The Google Index report also shows important data like this.
Use Google Search Console Today to Improve Website Efficiency
Out of all the available SEO tools Google Search Console is one of the first we recommend. Its integration with other Google tools and its insight into how Google crawls and ranks pages is invaluable.
We get that it may seem overwhelming initially, but don’t panic – take it one step at a time and look at the different tools within the console. You can then pick out the most important ones for your business and spend time improving your website accordingly.
Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.
He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.