DELIVER BETTER CONTENT EXPERIENCES
DELIVER BETTER EXPERIENCES
By Marc Schenker
Google Search Console, previously Google Webmaster Tools, was the product of a rebrand meant to acknowledge the resource’s wider audience. This included not only webmasters, but marketers, designers, SEO experts, programmers, app developers and more. This new name was meant to reflect that, and I’d say it does. Just like Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a collection of tools and resources to help website owners, web marketers, and SEOs monitor website performance in the Google search index. Features include information on search appearance, search traffic, technical status updates, crawl data and additional educational resources. Why else should you use it?
- To track the progress of content marketing efforts
- To track your website’s SEO performance
- To gain info about your site’s mobile usability
- Google Analytics integration
- Site crawling, so Google can find and index your site
Reason #1: To track the progress of content marketing efforts
In Google Search Console’s Content Keywords reports, you’ll learn the most commonly found keywords on your site as determined by Google’s web crawling bot, Googlebot. This is a great feature content creators can use to assess the progress of their content marketing endeavors. By understanding whether certain tactics are working (i.e., does Google perceive your content as you intended?), marketers can have better control over their efforts in this area. Cross-check this list with your own keywords lists and look for any discrepancies or contradictions. If a particular keyword has a much lower (or higher) significance than intended, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to revisit the content and adjust accordingly. You can find the content keyword report by navigating to ‘Google Index > Content Keywords’ on the left-hand side of the Google Search Console. Consult this often to ensure that your SEO goals are on track. Need help identifying the best keywords for your business goals? Try using one of these keyword suggestion tools: WordStream Keyword Research Tool, Keyword Tool, Wordtracker
Reason #2: Insight into SEO performance
Search Analytics, previously known as Search Queries, is your one-stop destination for learning just how often your site appears in Google search results. You can see how your search traffic changes over time, where it’s coming from, and which queries are most likely to display your site. You will also learn which queries are made on smartphone and which pages have the highest (and lowest) click-through rate from Google search results. Unsurprisingly, Search Analytics one of the more popular sections within Google Search Console. This particular tool gives marketers an easy way to assess their site’s search performance and improve as needed. By understanding which queries and pages earn the most clicks, you can focus your efforts on what’s already working and cut their loses on what’s not. Furthermore, by knowing which queries are made on smartphones, you can use this information to improve your mobile targeting and the mobile user experience of the corresponding pages. Find Search Analytics under ‘Search Traffic’ on the left-hand side of the Console dashboard. Check this at least once a month and whenever you’ve made changes and updates to your site.
Reason #3: To track your site’s mobile compatibility
In April of 2015, Google debuted its mobile-friendly update which boosted rankings for mobile-optimized sites and web pages in mobile search results. This was a huge incentive for webmasters to optimize their sites for mobile devices.
To track your site's mobile usability, go to Google Search Console’s Mobile Usability Report. There you can track your mobile compatibility and identify areas for improvement. The report will point out any issues affecting your site and exactly how many pages contain the issues. From there, you can begin to improve your site’s mobile optimization. To find the report, navigate to ‘Search Traffic > Mobile Usability.’ Check in often to monitor your site’s mobile progress, especially when you make significant changes. Another great tool is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Just type in your URL, and the test will tell you whether the page's design is mobile-friendly.
The test will also show you how Googlebot sees your page and provide helpful resources for improving your site’s design, like this guide to mobile-friendly websites.
Reason #4: Seamless Google Analytics integration
You probably already use Google Analytics and may be thinking, ‘the last thing I need is another tool I have to monitor.’ Luckily, with Google Search Console, you can integrate the two so that you are able to see your Search Console data in your Google Analytics reports.
This feature offers you the option to keep all of your most powerful website data in one place. You’ll see that the two are perfect complements that will give you fuller view of your site’s performance. So while Google Analytics gives you the total number of user queries for a keyword across the web, Search Console gives you the most significant keywords Google found on your site. And while Google Analytics will give you information on whether your site visitors convert, Search Console can help you narrow in or why or why not. Search Console does some additional data processing to handle things like duplicate content and visits from robots, which may cause your stats to differ from stats listed in other sources (like Google Analytics). Needless to say, all of this data is crucial to your brand’s marketing efforts. Which is why the integration of these two services is such beautiful thing. To link your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts, follow these steps:
- Go to the Search Console dashboard, and choose the site you want to link.
- Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner.
- Click on “Google Analytics Property.”
- Select the desired Google Analytics account from the list of choices and click “Save.”
Reason #5: So Google can find and index your site
Site crawling is when Google uses its web crawlers to discover publicly available web pages. According to Google, “Crawlers look at webpages and follow links on those pages, much like you would if you were browsing content on the web. They go from link to link and bring data about those webpages back to Google’s servers.” From there, Google creates an index so that when people search, its algorithms look up those search terms in the index and find the most appropriate pages for the query. There are many aspects of crawling that are useful to marketers that are available to them in Search Console. For instance, Search Console’s Crawl Errors page shows you all the different errors its crawlers encountered when attempting to access your web pages.
You’ll want to fix said errors as soon as possible so Google can properly index your pages. Another area to check is Crawl Stats. This shows how many of your pages were successfully crawled in the last 90 days. You’ll also see kilobytes downloaded per day and time spent downloading a page.
You’ll want the number of pages crawled per day to be as high as possible and the time spent downloading as low as possible. Track this every few weeks for any oddities or irregularities. If you see a dip in pages crawled per day, you may have some crawl issues that need fixing. Likewise, if you see a spike in time spent downloading, you probably have a loading speed issue that you’ll need to address. Fetch as Google is also important to look at. This is a diagnostic tool enabling marketers to view how Googlebot sees their web page compared to how visitors see it, so they can spot any inconsistencies.
This way, you can ensure that your marketing message show up the way you intend them to.
Google’s rebrand of Google Webmaster Tools was a great one. Google Search Console is much more user friendly and appeals to a wide variety of users, from small business owners and hobbyists to SEO experts and webmasters. Don’t let your marketing suffer another second. Search Console provides you with the data necessary to improve your digital marketing tactics and strategy for better leads and conversions. What do you think of Google Search Console? How has it helped you increase your marketing ROI?
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Marc Schenker Marc Schenker is a writer and expert in business and marketing topics like e-commerce, B2B, digital marketing and design. He is a regular contributor to various, highly ranked publications such as Shopify and Web Designer Depot. To find out what really makes him tick, head on over to his website and don’t forget to make his day by liking his Facebook page.
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