While there are many SEO tools out there that can help improve your rankings in different ways, Google Search Console falls at the top of the list as far as functionality is concerned. It provides a variety of features that allow you to fully optimize your site for organic search. With the new and improved Google Search Console, there’s even more to utilize than before. The following steps will guide you through on how to make the most out of this SEO tool.
- Add and Verify Your Site- The first step you’ll need to take before diving into any functionality tools, is to add and verify your site. You can do this by selecting “add property” and enter your site’s URL exactly as it appears. You’ll want to enter each version of your site as a separate property (http://, https://, www.example.com, and example.com). From there, search console will give you multiple different options to verify the site. Once these steps are complete, you’ll be ready to get started
- Indicate Preferred Domain- By choosing your preferred domain, you are telling Google exactly how you want your site to be listed (https://www.example.com or https://example.com. While this is not necessarily going to give you any sort of advantage in organic search, it is important to choose one or the other.
- Submit a Sitemap– This allows Google to understand the content on your site, and makes it easier to find the pages on your site. This is crucial as Google not only ranks websites as a whole, but pages as well. Find the sitemaps tab under “index” in the new Google Search Console, enter the URL for your sitemap, and you’re done! It’s that simple.
Using the Index Coverage Status Report
The new Google Search Console displays the Index Coverage Status report right in the dashboard so you can’t miss it! In this report you’ll see 4 different tabs to categorize your apges: Error, valid with warnings, valid, and excluded. So what do these mean? If you have pages marked as “error” this could include server errors, redirects errors, 404, or others. You’ll want to click on the URL, which will lead you to a panel allowing you to inspect the issues, and from there determine how to fix it. Pages marked as “warnings” means that it is indexed, but blocked by robots.txt. To correct this issue, Google prefers that you use the “noindex” tag. The valid pages tab shows all pages have been indexed. Excluded pages have intentionally been blocked by a “noindex”, robots.txt, or it could be duplicate content. This report provides great insight on the status of all pages and how you should fix them.
Using the Performance Report
This report is in place of the “search analytics” report that you may have been familiar with in the old Search Console. Using this tool can help to track performance and continuously look for ways to improve. The tabs let you view by queries, pages, countries, devices or search appearance. From there, you can filter, for example, by position to see where you are appearing in the ranks. You can also see how many impressions you’re getting and clicks to the site. This data could help determine if you need to update your metadata to increase clicks, etc. There are variety of ways that you can utilize this tool to your advantage!