Do you have a business website that’s struggling to attract visitors? Are you looking to increase the organic traffic to your client’s site? If that’s the case, you need to know exactly how the website is performing and identify major pain points! It can be as simple as accessing the valuable insights offered by Google’s free tool: The Google Search Console, formerly called Google Webmaster.
Google’s Search Console can help you track and evaluate your site performance and review the indexing status of your website. If there is ever an issue with your site, Google will quickly make you aware of it and allow you to fix it before it becomes a problem for your business. And that’s why we think it’s one of the most valuable tools every marketer and business owner can have in their repertoire.
Here, we’ll explain why you should learn to use Google’s Search Console and what exactly you need to do to improve your search engine optimisation (SEO)! Let’s get started!
In today’s post for SEO beginners, we’ll discuss the following:
- The benefits of using Google Search Console
- A basic understanding of how Google Search works
- Signing up for a Google Search Console
- How to optimise your site to attract customers
- Measuring your web performance
Benefits of Using Google Search Console
Google Search Console is free to use and gives you extremely insightful data into your website’s performance. This is the knowledge you need to improve your site’s ranking in Google Search results and drive traffic to your website to increase your online sales or bookings.
Other advantages of using Google’s Search Console include:
- It helps you to identify internal website errors
- You can check for security issues if there are any
- It allows you to check the indexing status of each page
- You’ll immediately receive notifications about manual penalties
- See what keywords help bring visitors to your website
Google Search Console Quick Starter Guide
How to Use the Google Search Console to Optimise Your Marketing Strategy
If this sounds a bit overwhelming to you, don’t worry, this tool is great for anyone who is wanting to start looking at improving their SEO and maybe not used to managing a website. We’ll give you a breakdown of how Google Search works to help you understand the basic terminology and ways to get your business recognised by Google.
1. Understand How Google Search Works
If you use Google’s Search Engine to look up, let’s say, “coffee near me”, Google gets information from many different sources to deliver you the best results that match your specific input. Those sources include websites, Google My Business and Google Maps submissions, book scans and public databases (think Wikipedia) and many others.
How does Google Generate Search Results?
Google does that by using three basic actions, called crawling, indexing and serving. To optimise your site, you need to understand what those terms mean and how you can improve your page to help Google do its job!
Crawling is what Google does to find out what websites exist on the internet. Google’s ‘web crawlers’ constantly check for new or updated pages. There are a few different ways for Google to find out about a website or a new page. If the crawlers haven’t visited it before, they might discover it because another website or page linked to it (this is why backlinking matters!) or because the website owner has submitted a list of pages, which is what we call a sitemap.
To improve your site crawling:
- Ensure your website contains a good site navigation system which links to all the important pages on your site
- Submit a sitemap of your website to Google
- If you’ve created or updated a single new page, you can submit an individual URL.
- Create and optimise a Google My Business listing
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
When Google finds a new website or page, it also needs to know what the site is about. To do so, Google uses a process called indexing. Simply put, Google takes a look at all the text, images and videos files on the site to understand what the page is about. This information is stored in a huge library – the Google index. Google is constantly adding websites to their index to help serve people better.
To improve your website and page indexing:
- Eliminate any duplicate content
- Minify your on-page resources, such as images or code for faster loading times
- Use internal links on your website and build a consistent information architecture
- Have a solid content marketing strategy and regularly blog relevant, high-quality content
- If you don’t want pages to be crawled and indexed, which is usually done to increase efficiency, place a noindex tag or place the URL in a robots.txt file
Here is one you’re probably well familiar with! Once Google has determined which websites and pages answer your query best, it serves you the search results that’ll help you find the information you want.
There are many factors that Google looks at when determining these results. We won’t go all that much into detail today, but your location, language, and the device you are using play a big role. So, if you’re looking for a closeby coffee shop to quench your thirst for a double-shot flat white and live in Brisbane, Google will show you different results than it would coffee aficionados living in Berlin or New York.
To improve your serving and ranking:
- Make sure the content on your page and blog are relevant.
- Keep your website up to date – this includes changes in opening hours or the products and services on offer.
- Get more tips in our SEO starter guide.
For a more detailed breakdown of how the Google Search Console works, check out Google’s long version of our summary on crawling, indexing and serving.
2.Signing up for a Search Console
Getting Your Website on Google
This should be self-explanatory by now, but to get crawled, indexed and listed by Google you need to have content that can land you a spot in the search results. Depending on what type of content you have, there are different ways to solve this. Google has a good guide on how to tackle this task.
Setting up the Google Search Console for Your Website
To set up your free Google Search Console account, simply do the following:
- Sign in to your business’ Google account.
- Go to Google Search Console.
- Click “Add a property.”
- Choose “Website” from the drop-down menu and enter the URL of your site.
- Click “Continue.”
- Pick a way to verify you own your website.
- If your site supports both HTTP:// and HTTPS://, add both as separate sites.
For a detailed description of all the things you can do with the Google Search Console, click here!
3.Optimising Your Site to Attract Customers
As discussed, there is a lot you can do to help Google understand your site.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Be explicit about what you offer and use descriptive copy on your pages
- Use a mix of text and other visual media to engage customers
- Regularly update your content to account for seasonal trends and holidays
- Keep updating your website and blog (You’ll probably find these tips on repurposing old content useful)
- Make sure your website works on different devices (particularly mobile)
- Fix issues like incompatible plugins, small text, elements that overlap, content that doesn’t fit within the device screen constraints
- And finally (we can’t stress the importance of it enough) submit your sitemap
Tip: Set an alert to get notified if the Search Console has found any issues with your website.
4.Measuring Your Web Performance
From there, you can use the Google Search Console to learn how often your site appears on Google and monitor traffic and any changes you’ve made with the Search Performance report feature.
You’ll be able to see and analyse the ‘impressions, clicks and average position’ of your website.
- Impressions: The number of times your site has been seen by someone searching on Google. Google counts an impression even if only the search result page was loaded.
- Clicks: The number of times someone has clicked a link to your website in search results.
- Average position: The average position of your site in Google’s search results. It’s calculated top to bottom.
Tip: To quickly check if your website appears on Google, search ‘site:<your website URL’ – For example ‘site:anchordigital.com.au’
Getting Started With the Google Search Console
We hope that this article has better equipped you with the knowledge needed to use Google’s Search Console and take your SEO efforts to the next level. If it still seems like a daunting task to you, don’t worry. Google does recommend getting an SEO specialist on board if you think it could improve your site’s performance.
They are specialised in optimisation strategies, reviewing and updating content, doing site audits and much more! Google might not allow companies to pay for prime real estate on search results, but it’s worth looking at investing in organic traffic by working with the right people.
If you have any worries, concerns or questions on how to get your site to appear in the search results, contact the SEO gurus at Anchor digital, your partners in climb.
One last tip: Check out these free Google Search Console training videos to learn how to optimise your search appearance on Google and increase organic traffic to your website!