If you’re involved in managing SEO on a website in any way, you already know that there are tons of tools out their to help you monitor and analyze your site’s performance. Many of these services charge hefty fees to use them. But one service you should be using for sure is the Google Search Console. It comes from the most important player in the search engine industry, the one you have to pay the most attention to, and best of all, it’s free.
What Is Google Search Console?
The short answer to that question, from Google itself, is that it provides you with detailed analytical reports about your site’s and it’s pages visibility in a Google search. You can easily monitor how many visitors you’re having to your site, broken down in a variety of ways, and the ways those visitors are finding it, the search queries they used, and which ones worked best. You can also find out whether more people are viewing your site on a desktop or a mobile device.
But it does a lot more than that. It also gives you tons of data on why your visibility on Google is what it is, things like backlinks, sitemaps, robots.txt, errors with crawling, etc. Other things that Google Search Console can do for you include:
- Help you create content that is visually engaging in search results
- Tell you what sites are linking to yours
- Show you if your business info is properly highlighted in rich results
- Let you monitor how well your mobile site is performing
- Allow you to monitor spam and malware problems on your site
- Help you improve and maintain your site for the best search performance
- Get email alerts whenever Google finds a problem on your site
And more. Google Search Console really is a comprehensive set of tools for your site, at least as it pertains to how it performs in Google searches. And if it performs well there, it will perform well on other search engines too. Whether you’re a business owner, a site administrator, SEO marketing specialist, or a web or app developer, you’ll find this service very useful.
Adding Your Site To Google Search Console
If you’re a first time user, you’ll have to add your site and then verify it to get started. Verification simply proves that your are the website owner or another authorized user, like the webmaster. It’s an easy process. After inputting your URL on the Search Console website linked above, you can verify your site by either downloading a file, adding an HTML tag to your home page, by using your Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager account, or by signing in to your domain name provider account.
The New Search Console
At the beginning of January 2018 Google released a beta version that they had been testing for several months with limited users to everyone who uses Search Console. The new version includes many of the functions of the old one but also offers some significant improvements. One of the most vaunted additions is a new Search Performance report which will allow you to analyze 16-months of previous search data for your site. This makes it easier to do year-to-year comparisons and to look at long-term trends. It also offers an updated report on how the URLs of pages from your site are being indexed by Google and warns you of any issues that need to be corrected. There are also updated search enhancements aimed at Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and job postings.
Google promises to continue to add improvements to the Search Console, and welcomes feedback from users to improve their product.
So go ahead and sign up for the new and improved Google Search Console. It’s powerful and it’s free.