Google’s suite of search tools and analytics continues to evolve with its platform. One of the most effective tools they offer for monitoring your site’s performance on Google comes in the form of Google’s Search Console.
Google’s Search Console is a free feature that empowers you with the information you need to improve how Google’s algorithm sees and inevitably indexes your site. It provides you with the key data need to monitor your website’s performance to improve your organic search rankings.
Since it is proprietary and limited to Google’s platform, the data provided by Google Search Console is available nowhere else. So, while you’re not required to use it to rank on Google’s search results, knowing how to make the most out of Google Search Console will ultimately give you a leg up on all your competitors who don’t.
Is Google Search Console Free?
Google Search Console is a free web service offered by Google to help digital marketing specialists, website publishers, and search marketing professionals to monitor their website performance on Google and its related platforms.
What Does Google Search Console Do?
Google Search Console provides users and digital marketing professionals with a clear overview of key metrics related to their website’s search engine performance. This helps publishers improve their sites and generate more traffic, while also helping you to understand the things you can do to offer site visitors the most robust experience possible.
Google Search Console’s Communication Tools
Google Search Console also gives you a way to communicate directly anytime you discover potential security issues. This includes things like hacking vulnerability as well as notifying you if the search quality team has imposed a manual action penalty.
Key Features of Google Search Console
Google Search Console gives you access to a variety of important settings and tools that can help improve your SEO ranking as well as overall site performance.
Setting Preferred Country
Locality and regionality are critical components of website success. If your service area or products are only available in a country, then you want to specifically target visitors in that country. You can use this feature in Google Search Console to make Google aware of this, and they can adjust your ranking in that country accordingly while reducing your presence in countries that you don’t specifically serve.
Submit & Check Your Sitemap
Google places a high priority on accurate sitemaps as they Google to index your site. While this might be relatively easy for smaller sites, a larger website that is rife with products, events, people, and posts, needs to use an accurate sitemap to help bots as well as visitors to effectively navigate pages.
Setting the Crawl Rate
Google has a crawl rate that you can set through Google Search Console. This lets you optimize the crawl rate for your site, and lets you customize it for the rate of new content you upload. This lets you directly set how often Google crawls your site. This can come in handy if you have server load or website speed issues and don’t want Google’s spiders eating up bandwidth.
The Robots.txt Tester is a special tool that lets you know whether your site has blocked Google’s crawler. If you find out that robots.txt is blocked, Google won’t be able to display your page in their search results. Of course, the last thing you want to do in your SEO strategy is accidentally forbidden Google from ranking your site.
This shows how well your pages perform on desktop and mobile. It will help users understand the good user experience criteria established by Google. Doing so, well help you make the necessary adjustments to improve those metrics, and in return Google will show your site more often than your competitors when everything else is equal.
Core Web Vitals
A next level data showing even more info than the page experience based on real world data that could be holding your site back. Things like mobile friendliness, popups, load times, and other user experience features that often make the difference when ranking your website.
Being that most traffic to your website comes from mobile devices, over 60% is many cases, Google wants to ensure that your pages give the best mobile experience to users by ensure it looks and functions per best case scenarios. This report will show what works, and what doesn’t so you can make the necessary improvements.
Recently google has integrated the shopping metrics in this report, that if you have an ecommerce site pushing products into google shopping, this will show how the overall performance stacks up of individual products so that you can improve upon that and compete in the huge shopping space..
Tracking Internal Links & External Pages Linking to Your Site
Being able to track internal links and external pages that are linking to your site helps you monitor the performance of your outreach, social campaigns, and link-building initiatives over time. This ultimately means that you can keep track of who’s directing site traffic to you, as well as how well-received your own internal links are to visitors as part of your SEO strategy.
Identifying Crawl Errors
Even though one or two broken links might specifically impact your ranking on Google’s search results, they can certainly hamper the user experience. Broken links might also deny your site authority from another site. To prevent these problems Google Search Consoles makes it easy for you to see which links are broken, and which error codes are received when Google crawls your site, and also to see where the broken links originated.
Google Search Results Statistics
Renamed from Google “Search Queries” this rebranded feature incorporates various filters to allow you to see keyword searches that may have brought users to the website. It also allows you to sort the data by:
- Click-through rate
- Number of impressions
- Average ranking position
- Organic clicks
You can then integrate this data with your Google Analytics information as well as Google AdWords data to get a better understanding of how well your website is performing.
Setting a Preferred Domain
Google’s Search Console allows you to set up your website’s preferred domain by allowing you to choose how your site’s web address is displayed in Google’s search results. If you haven’t already set up a preferred domain setting through Google Search Console, Google’s search engine might treat the www and non-www versions of the domain as separate references to separate pages. This might be interpreted by Google’s algorithm as linking to different pages which wouldn’t pass link authority to one location.
Adding Rich Cards to Your Website Data
Rich Cards help tells searchers important details about your site, such as the products you offer, important services, branding information, and more. Rich cards are served exclusively to mobile customers, so are better suited for use with visual or hot topics. They can be used to gain extra success in search engine results.
A Site Health Messaging System
Google Search Console also comes with a special messaging system. You can set it up to alert you if your website has been compromised by hacking or malware or hacking. It can also be used to alert you if critical pages on your site have been removed or if important pages have been accidentally blocked by robots.txt.