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What is Google Search Console?

what is google search console

What is google search console?

A lot of small businesses rely on being found in Google or Bing but can’t afford to hire an SEO specialist.

But is easy to do a number of things to help you rank. One of these should be to set up your Google Search console.

The Google Search Console is free from Google and you, as a small businesses can use it to understand and improve where you appear in search results.

In simple terms, it's like a command center that provides valuable insights about how your website performs in Google's search results. You can learn about the keywords people use to find your site, identify technical issues that might hinder your visibility, and see which other websites link to yours. Armed with this information, you can optimize your website to attract more organic traffic and ensure that it's performing at its best in the competitive online landscape. So, think of the Google Search Console as your trusty ally in enhancing your online visibility and attracting more potential customers.

Why bother using Google Search Console?

You can pay a lot of money to access a lot of the features in this tool ... and it's free from Google. You just need to put in the time to understand how to use it:)

Insights into Search Performance: Google Search Console provides valuable data about how your website appears in Google's search results. You can see which keywords are driving traffic to your site, the number of impressions, clicks, and click-through rates for each keyword. This helps you understand what content resonates with your audience and what can be improved.

Identify and Fix Issues: The tool alerts you to technical issues that may affect your website's visibility, such as crawling errors, broken links, or mobile usability problems. Identifying and fixing these issues ensures that search engines can efficiently crawl and index your site, which is essential for ranking well.

Submit Sitemaps: You can submit your website's sitemap to Google through Search Console, helping search engines discover and index your pages more effectively.

Monitor Backlinks: Knowing which websites link to your site allows you to assess your backlink profile's quality. You can disavow harmful or irrelevant links to improve your site's authority and search ranking.

Security and Manual Actions: The Search Console notifies you if Google detects any security issues on your website. Additionally, it informs you of any manual actions taken against your site, which may negatively impact your search performance.

Rich Results and Enhancements: The tool provides insights into how your site may appear in rich results (like Featured Snippets), and it helps you implement structured data for better presentation in search results.

URL Inspection: You can use the URL inspection tool to understand how Google sees a specific URL on your site, helping you troubleshoot indexing or ranking issues.

Performance Optimization: Armed with data and insights from Search Console, you can optimize your website's content, keywords, and technical aspects to increase visibility and attract more organic traffic.

How to set up Google Search Console

To set up Google Search Console, you need to sign in or create a Google account. Then, you can add your website as a property using either a domain or a URL prefix.

The easiest is via the URL prefix using your Google Analytics as the verifier. Literally just click and verify ownership.

Here are the steps to set up Google Search Console:

Go to https://search.google.com/search-console/
Click on “Start Now” button.
Type in your website (URL prefix) and then click "Add Property" and select Google Analytics.

How to use?

With the dashboard set up you can get down to work.

1. Explore the Dashboard
After successful verification, you'll land on the Search Console dashboard. Here, you'll find an overview of your website's performance, including search queries, pages, and errors.

2. Submit Your Sitemap
If you haven't already, submit your website's sitemap to Google. Go to "Sitemaps" under "Index" in the left sidebar. Click on the "Add/Test Sitemap" button and enter your sitemap URL (e.g., "sitemap.xml"). Click "Submit" to add it to Google's index.

3. Monitor Performance
Navigate through the different sections in the left sidebar to explore various data and reports. Here are a few essential sections:

Performance: Check how your website performs in Google Search. Review clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position for specific keywords and pages.

Coverage: Ensure that Google can crawl and index your pages without issues. This section shows valid and indexed pages, as well as any errors or warnings that need attention.

URL Inspection: Enter a specific URL from your website to see how Google has indexed it and if there are any issues.

Links: Explore the external and internal links pointing to your site. Backlinks play a vital role in SEO, so keep an eye on this section.

Mobile Usability: Check if your site is mobile-friendly, as mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor.

4. Resolve Issues
If you encounter any errors or issues in the Coverage section, try to resolve them promptly. Common issues include crawl errors, duplicate content, and blocked pages.

5. Set Up Email Notifications
Stay informed about any critical issues with your website by setting up email notifications. Go to "Settings" and then "Preferences" to configure your preferences.

6. Utilize Additional Features
Search Console also offers additional features, such as Data Highlighter (to tag structured data), Removals (to temporarily hide URLs from search), and Rich Results (to explore how your site appears in rich search results).

Bonus tip - Set up Bing Webmaster

It's a similar process as for Google, and bonus, you can use Google to draw across all the details you gave to Google.

For Bing got to:  http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster

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