In this video, my search engine optimization specialist Shea Bailey joined me to talk about what Google Search Console is, why it’s important for your SEO efforts, and the steps that you as a business owner should take to set up and use Google Search Console.
Google Search Console
I get the question a lot: Why do you need to be using Google Search Console? Because I talk about it a lot and I mention it.
First, let’s talk about what is Google Search Console. It used to be called Google Webmaster Tools and they switched the name, I don’t know how long ago, maybe a couple of years ago.
You may know it as Google Webmaster Tools. It is now Google Search Console. You can search for either one if you’re looking for it and it’ll pop up.
So what is Google Search Console? Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google’s search results.
Why would they do this? Google Search Console, it helps you create a better experience for your website users by telling you what needs to be fixed on your website. It’s basically a free website auditor.
Again, why does Google provide this?
Well, you have to know Google’s intention and what their overall goal is. They want to provide the best information possible in the least amount of clicks to people. In order to do that, they need to help you to make your website more friendly so they can index it, and for your users.
I talk about this a lot – what’s the difference between Google Search Console and Google Analytics?
Google Analytics tells you how your visitors are interacting on your site.
Google Search Console is Google telling you how they interact with your website, e.g., are they finding any errors when they crawl it?
So it’s them telling you, hey these are the things that we’re having problems with when we crawl your site. These are the things you need to update, change, fix, whatever.
So it’ll make it easier for Google to crawl so that way they can index your site and then, provide your information whenever somebody is searching for it.
What can Google Search Console do?
If you go there now, they’re kind of in a transition from an old Google Search Console into a more updated user interface. More than likely, if you go to the old one, they’re going to make you switch over and go to the new one because that information is being transferred over.
What I’m giving you here is the stuff from the new version of Google Search Console.
So, what can it do?
It’ll show your website’s performance. It’ll show search queries. It’ll tell you what keywords people are using to find you. These are the search queries that Google is saying are the keywords people are searching, and these are the pages that we’re showing because of those keywords.
It’ll show all your pages on your website; devices people are searching from; your search appearance.
So basically, you know where you’re appearing within Google, the total number of clicks you’re getting per page, the total impressions you’re getting per page, your average click through rate, your average position for that particular keyword.
If you go to Google Search Console, you’ll see on the left hand side there will be little tabs. One of them is called URL inspection.
So what does this do? It’ll tell you if your pages or your website is indexed. This is also where you submit your pages or your website to be indexed or re-indexed if you update the info on the page. And that is a cool tool.
If you have a page on your website and it’s kind of out of date with content, you don’t have to get rid of it. Just go on there and update the content, and because whenever you update the content, if you update the URL or anything you update, you can go back into the Google search console and submit that link through Google Search Console.
They will go out and re-crawl it and re-index with the updated information, which is awesome. And they can do that within minutes.
It’ll also tell you, is it mobile friendly? It will give you suggestions on how to improve problems if they find problems. So this is valuable because as we know, everything is going mobile and Google shows your website based on how mobile friendly your website is.
Another section is called coverage. This shows you if there’s any crawling errors. This is when they’re telling you that they’re having problems crawling your site and if they’re having problems, they may not be indexing that particular page.
So this is very important. It’ll tell you if there’s any crawling errors and you can go in there and fix those.
There’s one for site maps – this is where you add site maps for Google to crawl.
Mobile usability. Again, it will give you suggestions on how to improve the problems are found.
Security and manual actions – this will tell you if they find any security problems on your site. The manual actions are… there’s a couple of different ways that Google will alert you if there’s a problem with your site. One of them is they’ll just crawl it and it’s a computer saying, okay, there’s a problem that pops up here.
A manual action is an actual live person will go to your website. Usually it doesn’t have to do with code; you may be doing something that is against their user terms and agreements they’ll look at and then go ‘Oh, this is not right’ and they will flag that particular page or your whole website or whatever.
This is a manual action that somebody is putting against your website and it can definitely hurt your rankings until you fix it. But this is where that will show up.
Then there’s another one called links. This will show you the links, external and internal, in your site.
The external – it’ll show you other websites that are linking to you so you can get an idea who’s linking to you and the particular pages.
Internal links will show you what pages are linking to other pages. Most of these are very important because internal linking definitely helps us.
This will tell you the top linking sites, so the external links that are coming to you – it’ll tell you which ones are the top linking sites to you.
So basically, in my opinion, and most everyone else that’s doing SEO, this is why you need to be using Google Search Console.