Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a free dashboard provided by Google for helping users analyse their website from a search engine perspective. As a website owner, it helps you understand how Google crawls and indexes your website pages. Analysing search console data can help you optimise your website to improve rankings in Google search results.
The Console gives you detailed information on the pages crawled, indexed pages, crawl errors and any other such vital information that is necessary for you to optimise your website and improve your site’s performance in search engine results.
Your website will rank in Google without a Google Search Console Account, however, it is advisable to set up one especially because it is a useful and free technical analysis of your website directly from Google.
Why should you use the Search Console?
You can use the Google Search Console to do the following:
- Ensure your website is accessible to Google robots for crawling
- Submit new content for indexing and remove or block content you do not wish to be crawled by Google
- Monitor and resolve malware or spam issues
- Analyse your rankings to monitor and optimise your website to maintain or improve search rankings.
- Analyse the queries that triggered your website results to be shown in the search engine
- See other websites linking to your site.
How to set up and use Google Search Console?
Login to your Google account and go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools
1. Add your website or App to Search Console using the “Add Property” Button on the home page. Ensure you add both www and non-www versions, and all subdomain versions (a.test.com, b.test.com, etc.) of your website.
2. Verification. To prove that you own the website, you need to verify it with Google. Once your website has been verified, you can start using the Search Console. You can use one of the following methods to verify your website:-
- HTML file upload: You can verify ownership of a site by uploading an HTML file provided by Google to your site.
- Domain name provider: You can verify your site via your domain name provider if you have access to the control panel.
- HTML tag: You can verify your ownership of a site by adding a tag to the HTML of a page specified by Google.
- Google Analytics tracking code: If you use Google Analytics to track your site’s traffic and have access to edit your GA Account, you can verify your site using the Google Analytics tracking code associated with the site.
- Google Tag Manager container snippet: If you have a Google Tag Manager account, you can verify ownership of a site using your Google Tag Manager container snippet code
3. You can manage owners and users who can access your Search Console Data or change your Site Search Settings.
4. Be sure to familiarise yourself with Google’s Webmaster guidelines and follow them to get your website crawled and indexed by Google and to avoid any penalties arising out of incorrect SEO activities.
5. You can also submit your sitemap (generally an XML file of your website pages) to help Google robots find and index all pages of your website. If you wish to hide certain pages and do not wish for them to be seen in Google’s search results, make sure you add these pages to the robots.txt file.
6. Once you have set up your site in the Search console, monitor your site and search results.
7. Look out for any crawl errors reported in the Console and resolve them or report it to the person who is responsible for handling errors.
8. For any new content added, you can use the “Fetch as Google” option in the Search Console. This will manually submit your changes to Google for indexing.
So, if you haven’t set up your properties in Google Search Console, do it right away. There is a wealth of information and insight available for you to optimise your site’s performance and rankings in Google Search. We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any other tips on the Google Search Console, feel free to share them with us on our Twitter Page. We would love to hear from you.