A basic guide to getting found on the web using Google Search Console
If you have a website, chances are that you want to be found, and with search engine optimisation being of utmost importance, sometimes we may need a little help with getting noticed. One of the tools I find simple and effective to use is the Google Search Console, (formerly known as Webmaster Tools).
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for Search Console for your site to be included in Google’s search results, but doing so can help you understand how Google views your site and optimize its performance in search results.
Using Google Search Console can give us great insights into how visible we are, and how well we are being found through search. In order to better understand this, it can be helpful to understand how Google search works.
Although we can see information on which searches drive traffic to our website using Google Analytics, the emphasis here is on searches which have brought up your website, and if this resulted in the user clicking that link. What Google Search Console does is much more in depth, and explores many facets of the online search, including, where we are going wrong.
First we need to get the Google Search Console setup. To do so, sign in to Google Search Console with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you can sign up for one free here. Once signed in, you need to verify that you’re the site owner, we find it easiest to add a new DNS record in our domain admin panel.
This overview gives us a breakdown of how our pages are displayed as search results.
We need to be aware of how our pages are displaying to users when they conduct a search, as it is based on this information that the user will make a decision on whether or not to visit that page.
In Search Appearance, we can look for errors in our Structured Data, which can prevent a search from returning a rich snippet. If you have a lot of errors, it can be worth investigating what is causing these, and seeing if you can fix the markup on your site which is causing the error. You can also identify improvements which could be made to the HTML, which may help your site’s user experience and performance.
Search Traffic is where it can get super interesting. We can not only see the total number of clicks through to our site from search results, but we can see which search terms provided us with the most clicks, and when these clicks were made.
Links to your site is very informative, as it provides a list of other web pages, which provide a link to a page on your website. Identifying other sites who direct traffic to your site can be a great place to start if you’re looking to form partnerships across the web. It’s also good to see who out there is talking about you!
Crawl is another one to keep an eye on. Crawl errors lets you know when Google was directed to a 404 not found page when following a link on your website. These occur when pages you may have linked to some time ago are removed or re-named, breaking the original link you put in place. It’s important to keep on top of these errors, and either correct or remove the broken links, as no one likes a 404 error.
In addition to the above features, Google Search Console can also flag up security issues with your site’s content!
While there are other features of Google Search Console which may take a bit more time to come to grips with, we think that checking out the basic features above will be more than enough to get you going, and make significant changes to your site.
Thanks for reading!
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