Google has announced that it is rebranding Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console to more accurately reflect its users and their needs. According to the announcement, the update will be unrolled over the next several weeks.
The way this tool works isn’t changing. It will still offer the same resources and allow businesses to analyse their websites to find ways to make them more effective.
Whether you are a new or experienced user, these tips will help you get the most out of Google Search Console so you can use it effectively.
Stay on Top of Site Errors
One of the first things you see on your dashboard is a summary of “crawl errors.” If you see error messages here, it means Google is having a hard time crawling your site, which could have an impact on your rankings.
Check this section for errors regularly and fix any issues as soon as possible so you can maintain high search rankings.
Use the Search Appearance Overview Feature
On the left-hand side of your account you will see a “Search Appearance” option. When you click on the “i” symbol next to it you will see a sample search result. You can select each piece to learn more about it and find out how you can edit your own site’s appearance in search results.
One way to use this is to do an organic search for your website and see how it appears in the search results. Then, head over to Search Appearance for details on how you can change things you don’t like about how your site is listed. Things like the title, snippet, sitelinks underneath your snippet and other elements can all be edited with Google Search Console.
Look at Search Analytics and Content Keywords for SEO Planning
The “Search Traffic” section on your dashboard will tell you about visitors’ habits, who is linking to your site, what kinds of internal links your site has and more. This information is valuable and should be used as you create SEO plans.
The “Content Keywords” section will tell you what keywords, and their variants, Google has found on your site. This information can be useful as you determine what your site is already ranking for and what keywords you want to rank for that are missing from your site.
Analyse Mobile Usability
Google has recently made mobile readiness a larger factor when it ranks pages, so it’s essential that your site is mobile friendly if you want to achieve high rankings. Use the “Mobile Usability” section to see how well your site is optimised for mobile devices.
The best part of this feature is that it will generate a report for you that shows exactly which pages on your site need work and how you can fix the issues.
Submit your Sitemap
In essence, a sitemap file tells Google how your site is organised, so it can more easily understand and rank it. One of the best things you can do is submit your sitemap through Google Search Console.
Google explains that this is particularly important for sites that are new and have few outside links to them, are very large, have many pages that lack a good linking system or that use rich media content.
If you aren’t using Google Search Console regularly to maintain your site and support your SEO campaigns, you should start right away. This dashboard is full of useful data, statistics and tips for how you can optimise your site so you can achieve high rankings and drive more organic traffic to your site.