Google Webmaster Tools, currently known as Google Search Console, has been for years one of the most helpful SEO tools for web owners, marketers, and SEOs, along with Google Analytics. Its features allow you to access crucial data for optimising your website and making it rank high in Google search results. It provides valuable insight into your website’s technical performance, the way Google crawls it, and your content’s value.
In this article, we will have a look at the most important actions you can take using the Google Search Console and how to interpret the results for maximising your success.
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Measure Your On-Page SEO Performance in Google
Showing the Keywords on Your Website
Some of the most valuable metrics to follow when it comes to driving more traffic to your website are found under the Search Analytics tool. Here you can find out how your site is shown in Google search result pages.
Analysing your search traffic is crucial for your SEO strategy, as it shows what search queries bring you most visitors, where you should optimise more, how many times people see the pages on your site in their search results, and so on.
One of the best implementations that you can do based on the information you get through the Google Search Console is to see which keywords generate a large number of impressions but have low click-through rates. These keywords are highly exploitable, as you can tweak elements like title tags and meta descriptions to get more clicks.
This is just an example of how search traffic data can help your SEO. By monitoring this information, you know exactly where you get the most and least traffic.
Using Data Highlighter to Organise Structured Data
One of the best ways to stand out in SERPs is to use structured data markups in order to be shown as a rich snippet. The Data Highlighter tool in GSC shows Google how to interpret the data on your website and present it in a more engaging way.
To use this tool, you must create at least one page set for pages with similar templates, as Data Highlighter only submits the data about pages in a page set. You can then start adding markups that will show in rich snippets and dramatically increase your CTR and, ultimately, your conversion rate.
For example, for a product page, you can add tags like: name of product, price, availability, rating score, reviews, etc. For a business, Data Highlighter should be a very interesting tool as it allows you to answer your audience’s questions promptly and efficiently.
Checking for Backlinks and Internal Links
Getting valuable backlinks is still a major ranking factor, and GSC can show you which pages perform best.
Internal linking will also pump the ranking of underperforming pages, as long as you determine which pages have the power to boost these underperformers. While external links and internal ones are separate entities, you should consider both when building your internal link network.
For starters, find out which pages have the most backlinks, as they will play an important role in getting other pages to rank better. It’s best to filter and arrange the results by the number of individual websites linking back to that page. The pages with a lot of quality backlinks can then link internally to pages that you’d like to rank better.
Perform Technical SEO Audits and Implementations
Integrating GSC with Google Analytics
If you want to look at the Google Search Console data against other metrics collected and reported by Google Analytics, you should integrate the two consoles. From your Google Analytics account, go to “Property Settings” of the Admin window. Add the Search Console to your property by simply clicking on the “Adjust Search Console” button.
If both accounts are created and verified, you should start seeing GSC data in Analytics. Google has gradually extended the amount of data it’s giving to its users. If at first, you could only see 28 days of history in GSC, it was extended to 90 days, then 16 months of data. Both GSC and Analytics will give you that time window, allowing you to better strategize your SEO and advertising.
Submitting a Sitemap to Google
One of the first steps you should take after setting your GSC account and verifying your website is to submit a sitemap to Google. That tells Google exactly where to look for the content that you consider to be most relevant, and how to crawl your site for indexing.
There are special protocols to be followed when building a sitemap, and you can do it manually or with the help of a third-party tool. You can then submit it to Google through the Search Console.
The easiest ways to submit a sitemap are storing an XML sitemap in the root of your website and adding its URL in the console. You can add it directly in the robots.txt file or by pinging Google through an HTTP GET request.
Once your sitemap is submitted, you can see the status in your GSC Sitemaps report. Here you can identify possible crawl errors and act in time if something doesn’t go smoothly.
Finding and Fixing Crawling Issues
Using the Index Coverage Report function, you can check if Google indexed your pages properly or if they retrieved any errors. Pages with an error or warning status (like broken links, 404 errors, etc.) should be checked immediately. GSC mentions the reason for a warning or an error for each page, so it should be easy to correct them either through 301 redirecting or by removing the page from the sitemap.
Checking Your Page Experience Metrics
The Google algorithm will be updated again in 2021, and one of the biggest changes is that user experience will weigh more than it already does. GSC will give you detailed reports on the page experience metrics based on factors like page speed or responsiveness.
Until this update is implemented, you can work on improving your UX, especially your mobile usability since this will become a crucial ranking factor.
Checking Why Some of Your Pages Aren’t Showing in SERPs
Sometimes it’s not easy to find out the cause of an SEO problem. If your important pages don’t show in SERPs, even though you have invested significant effort in optimising them, you might want to check the Manual Actions report in GSC.
There, you will find out if any of your pages was flagged manually by a human reviewer for a breach of Google’s guidelines. If, let’s say, one of your blog posts has thin content, stuffed keywords, or sneaky redirects, it might not make it in the SERPs
Do You Need Expert Insight About GSC and SEO?
Mastering Google’s SEO tools takes time and effort, and a path of trial-and-error tests is not always something a business can afford. If you want to see fast results and avoid mistakes that can delay your marketing goals, it’s best to work with SEO experts who can bring their experience and professional know-how to the table.
We at Australian Internet Advertising offer SEO packages designed to bring your business more revenue while building a strong brand image. We are focused on results and can guarantee rankings on Google within 60 days, which makes us one of the best companies in Australia.
Do you want to give your business the best shot? Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation with an online marketer and start growing your business with our help.