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Google search console is a free collection of SEO tools and resources offered by Google, and these tools are available at Google Webmasters. We can use this as a free SERP rank tracking tool & monitoring tool. It helps webmasters, website owners, digital marketers and SEO professional to monitor and maintain a website performance and its online presence in the Google search results.
Google Search Console helps webmasters to understand how Google crawls, analysis and index the website. It has great tool and resources to identify the problems which might hurt your rankings and User experience. Also, read How to Perform SEO Competitor Analysis for Businesses, and Download A Comprehensive Digital Marketing Guide.pdf.
Google search console include futures like Google search index, search appearance, search traffic, sitemap and structured data issues.
Here are Reasons to Why Use Google Search Console:
Who Should Use Google Webmaster Tools?
Google webmaster tools can be useful anyone with a website, from a beginner to professional. Include business owners, digital marketers, SEO specialists, website admins, web developers and app developers.
Google Search Console Guide:
Here’s the complete list of tools and resource of Google search console, and how to use them to improve website performance and track SERP rank position:
1. Search Appearance:
As in the name, the Search Appearance section of Google Search Console tells you about how your website visible in the Google search results. Search appearance is influenced by a number of factors and certainly, have an influence on the click-through rate.
a) Structured Data:
In this section, Google gathers all the Structured Data that was found on your website. It will show all the structured data elements and markup error. The graph lets you easily understand the stats. You can download the report in excel sheet format to fix the errors.
Use the Structured Data testing tool to find the suggestion to solve the issues. First, identify the pages with errors and put the URL in the structured data testing tool to find the suggestion to fix the errors.
b) Data Highlighter:
Structured data will help search engines to easily understand the content on a website and show them in search result page. The data highlighter is a simple yet easiest point-and-click tool to implement Structured Data.
Start with the URL of a typical page on your website, select the type of information and start highlighting. When you highlight an element, use the context menu to select a tag.
All the highlighted information will be shown in the right sidebar. If there is something went wrong, hit the clear tag button. If the information is not visible on the page, you can be entered manually. Click on the gear icon and select the add missing tag.
c) HTML Improvements:
The HTML Improvements page collects all errors related to meta descriptions, titles and non-indexable content. This report is mostly used to identify the duplicate content.
Sitelinks are used to enhance the user experience of your website. Sitelinks create a list of shortcuts linked to deeper pages of your website, which might be very useful and relevant to the user. The site links of a website will be shown in the Google search results as shown in the below picture.
In case if you want to remove site links, you can demote it. Select the specific URL of a site link and put it in the “Demote this sitelink URL” box and hit the Demote Sitelink button.
2. Search Traffic:
Well, this will be going more interesting section of Google Webmaster Tools, you can find where your visitors are coming from, which domains have linked with your website, internal link structure and for what keywords your users are searching for? The subsection of this section has all the answers.
a) Search Analytics:
Search analytics previously known as Search Queries is one of the most important reports in Google Search Console. It gives you more in-depth information on the organic traffic from Google search. You can find the popular queries, pages, countries, and devices.
This filter helps you to understand how your website performing in Google search results.
- See how many visitors used “Image Search” to visit your site.
- Compare the average CTR of desktop and mobile.
- Check the average position of certain pages.
- Compare the number of visitors vs countries with the same period last year.
b) Links to your Site:
There are plenty of other online tools to analyze the link profile of a website. They are premium and require a monthly subscription, such as Ahref, Open Site Explorer, and Majestic SEO.
But, these Google search console’s tools are a free and great alternative to those paid tools. It shows linked domains, anchor text and most linked to pages. Click on more button and download the preferred list in excel sheet format.
c) Internal Links:
This section will show you the full list of pages and number of times that received internal links.
d) Manual Actions:
The Manual Actions page is the worst nightmare of every SEO professional. In this section, you’ll find information about any Google penalties which are currently in effect. For most people, this page will be blank, but if you happen to be penalized, you’ll find a message on this page.
There are several factors that can trigger a Google penalty, read our previous article for more information.
e) International Targeting:
Most of the websites try to attract international visitors. The hreflang markup should be used to identify the language and geographical targeting of each page. If any error has occurred in implementing hreflang markup, it will be shown in the Google Search Console International Targeting report.
The “Country” tab is only available for generic domain extensions, like .com, .net and .org. If you want to target users in a specific country, use this option. Country-specific domains (such as .in .de and .es) are automatically associated with the corresponding country.
f) Mobile Usability:
With the rapidly increasing usage of Mobile search, Google gives more priority to the websites with the mobile-friendly design. And considered mobile friendliness as a ranking factor.
If there is any error in mobile SEO optimization, will be shown in this section.
Pro-SEO Tip: Use the Mobile-Friendly Test to check how well your website has optimised for mobile devices.
3. Search Index:
Here you can find how many pages of your website have been indexed in Google search index, also you can remove unwanted pages from the Google index.
a) Index Status:
On this page, the graph will give a clear picture on how many pages of your website have indexed. These are the pages that Googlebot can access — the URL’s which are blocked by robots.txt or require a login to access content are not shown in this section.
b) Blocked Resources:
Here you’ll find all pages that are blocked by robots.txt rules.
c) Remove URLs:
If you find a page that already indexed that you don’t want to show in Google search results. In this context, you can use this Remove URLs feature of search console.
To remove a URL from Google index, first, you need to prevent that specific page from being indexed by blocking the URL via robots meta tag or robots.txt. Ensure that URL correctly disallowed before submitting a removal request.
Made an error? Don’t worry, you can cancel removal requests at any time.
4. Google Crawl:
Before any web pages can be indexed, your site needs to be crawled. Here you will find all the information related Google crawl status.
a) Crawl Errors:
We recommend checking crawl error regularly because? It shows the errors that Google bots encountered while crawling web pages of a site. Response codes like 404, 403, etc., can be subdivided by device, Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet. Ensure to mark as fixed them to keep things organized.
b) Crawl Stats:
Here it will show the number of pages that have been crawled including how much time spent download and download size in KB’s. Crawl status metrics are available from the last 90 days.
Generally, you want to minimize time spent downloading pages and download size, whilst maximizing the number of pages crawled per day. If the download time and size increased the number of pages crawled per day will decrease, check your site for performance issues.
c) Fetch as Google:
“Fetch as Google” is a diagnostic tool that allows you to simulate how Google renders a certain web page.
d) Robots.txt Tester:
This tool will help you to test new robots.txt markup and check for errors. All types of Google-crawlers (Googlebot, News, Images, Video, Mobile, Media partners and Adbot) are available.
A sitemap is a planning tool for Website, that lists the pages on a website, you can add or edit sitemap of a website using the button in the top right corner of the window. After adding the sitemap, you can see the difference between the number of submitted and indexed pages. All sitemap error will be shown here.
f) URL Parameters:
Google tries its best to understand URL parameters and most of the time, it’s very good at doing so. But occasionally, it needs some help understanding certain parameters.
When this is the case, add a parameter (case sensitive) and indicate if it changes the page content seen by the user. For a tracking parameter, you can select no. For parameters that reorder products, for example, you can select yes.
5. Security Issues:
In the Security Issues section, the user will get the information whether his website is hacked or infected with malware? The user will get the information about the type of problem and solution to fix it.
6. Extra Settings:
This is one of the most important features of Google Search Console. You can find it by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner.
a) Site Settings:
In this section, you can set a preferred domain version. You can choose between the www and non-www version. To do this, you may need to verify ownership of both domains.
b) Crawl Rate:
Users can also adjust your preferred crawl rate according to their hosting bandwidth. By default, Google tries to crawl into web pages without overwhelming your server’s bandwidth. And, the user can change the default crawl rate via Google webmaster tools. This custom crawl rate will be valid for 90 days.
c) Change of Address:
If you want to move your primary website to a new domain this Change of address feature will help Google to update its index.
Google renamed it as Google Webmaster Tools in 2015, to reflect the changing landscape of web developers & SEO professionals. The tools and resources available under the Google Search Console are simple, but most useful when setting up a website. Even if your website has well established on the web? Use Search Console to optimize and improve its search performance. And Google Search Console is the best alternative to all paid SEO tools.