Probably the name Google Webmaster Tools is more familiar for many users. However, in 2015 this service was rebranded to the Google Search Console. Why? Google is always expanding its range of activities and the potentiality of its services, and always trying to add something new. Now this toolset is used not only by webmasters and publishers, but also by SEO people, marketers, designers, programmers, small business owners and others. Thus, the previous name no longer matched, as it represented just a part of its target audience, purposes, possibilities and ways of utilization. So even if you aren’t a webmaster, this toolset may be useful anyway. Read further to find out how you can apply it to your needs.
Main issues covered in main dashboard sections:
The term “structured data” refers to the information in a universally understandable format. It allows search engines to filter content with better accuracy and makes it easier to find exactly what the users are looking for. Google Search Console shows all your structured data elements, markups and errors.
Metategs improve the user experience and the search engine’s understanding of what is your page about. In “HTML Improvements” you’ll find recommendations for your meta title and meta description tags. You should expand short ones and specify details.
The Accelerated Mobile Pages standard was included into mobile search algorithms, and sites running AMP are rated higher. Google Search Console shows the number of pages with AMP implementation and errors to be fixed in order to improve your mobile search.
“Search Analytics” allows you to track the search patterns of your visitors. Clicks and impressions show how much traffic is generated thanks to search engines. The CTR (click through rate) reveals your organic traffic. If certain pages have a high impressions rate but a low CTR, that means users often see them on the SERP, but don’t click on them, and you should think of changing its metatags.
Besides this, you can observe internal and external links that direct users to your pages. In the “International Targeting” tab you can specify the country on which your business is aimed in order to increase the position of your site in this region, as well as check whether a correct version is displayed in case you have a multilingual site. “Mobile usability” help you to not be removed from the mobile search by detecting corresponding errors.
You can see the number of indexed pages, presented in the convenient form of graph and the lists of most frequently occurred keywords and blocked resources, found by Google’s bots on your site. Also, if you wish, you may delete a URL permanently from the search results and cache or temporarily hide them. Not everyone knows that a page being removed from a website don’t mean is automatically removed from search results. It’s normal when some information is out-of-date and some pages are no longer needed, for example, certain items in online shop are no more for sale. Nonetheless, Google search engine may still keep directing Internet users to these non-existent pages, showing them broken links. You don’t want a 404 Not Found error for your business, because it makes you seem unreliable. This is why “Remove URLs” helps you remove those URL-addresses from the SERP and “URL Errors” option (mentioned below) helps you detect them.
There is a list of “Crawl Errors” discovered by Google’s bots while crawling your web resource during the last 90 days. This tab is divided into two subgroups. The “Site Errors” refer to your site’s domain name system and the possibility of server connection and crawl postponement. The “URL Errors” explain why Google cannot access some of your pages on different devices. It may be because of the server or the URLs, which should be replaced by a 404, or those already replaced.
Also, you can “Fetch and render” any page to see and compare how it will look on visitors’ desktops and mobile devices and submit it to indexing. “Sitemaps” allows Google to better understand the website’s structure and to index new pages more quickly. There is also information about the quantity of both submitted and indexed pages.
If you care about improving the visibility of your website to Google search engine and are interested in increasing the number of clicks and the number of visitors to your page, then you should absolutely use Google Search Console. It will crawl through your site, find errors of different types and alert you to them. Knowing what to fix means knowing how to gain search engine optimization of your web resource. If you have any questions, or want to order ongoing SEO maintenance, then contact us.