Why Google Search Console?

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free web application that can vastly improve the daily performance of your website by identifying the issues that are plaguing search functionality.

Here are the top five reasons that make Google Search console a must-have for any website owner that wants to achieve the best SEO.

1. Search Indexation

One of the largest search issues is indexation errors that prevent webpages from showing up in a SERP listings. GSC provides detailed reports that show website owners the number of total URLs indexed by Google; URLS not indexed by a robots.txt file; and the total number of removed URLs.

This report allows website owners to diagnose what URLs they wish to be be indexed by Google, and potentially fix issues with their robots.txt file, XML Sitemap, or deeper technical issues. Google Search Console also shows blocked resources, such as JavaScript, CSS, or media files that are not able to be indexed by Google and rendered to users. This will allow website owners to fix issues with media files and plugins that are providing indexation errors for entire webpages.

GSC also allows website owners to remove URLs that are broken or irrelevant. Using Google Search Console, you can fill in a “Temporarily Hide” field to hide webpages you wish to be indexable later, or entirely remove URLs you don’t wish search engines or users to access. This can be valuable in combatting private, third party, or irrelevant webpages that may harm your overall rankings.

GSC also displays content keyword reports that show owners what keywords are performing particularly well or poorly for individual webpages. This is ideal for keyword research, and helps you discover what webpages are worth linking to.

2. Traffic Reports

Google Search Console provides organic traffic reports, which show web owners: the total number of impressions a webpage created; the total number of organic traffic from international sources; and the CTR of a mobile versus desktop search. This report is a favorite by many SEOs because analytics is the foundation of optimizing an SEO campaign.

GSC recently began showing users reports about the mobile friendliness of their website and the CTR of mobile devices. In a world with a mobile-first index, this is a crucial tool for checking the performance of mobile optimized pages. If your website has substantially higher organic traffic, and higher conversion rates across desktops than mobile devices, making a more mobile-friendly site is a must for the future of your SEO efforts.

Google Search Console also provides detailed reports about the amount of traffic generated from internal links within your domain. Links are a major factor in PageRank, and the GSC linking report provides valuable insight into the information hierarchy of your domain and importance of individual webpages.

There also exists international targeting features that allow websites to track international traffic from any given time period. This feature also allows web owners to assess the significance of the “hreflang” tag in their international SEO efforts. International targeting can also be used to target traffic from specific countries under generic domains, such as a .com or .net domain.

3. Search Appearance

One of the top features of the Google Search Console is the Search Appearance tab, which shows users an exact look of its structured data in a SERP listing. This information could be used to identify the appearance of a website’s rich snippets, rich cards, and sitelink extensions. The GSC provides tools for live data testing that can help identify problems affecting your search appearance.

Structured data is an important aspect of SEO because it has a major impact on your website’s CTR. An optimized rich snippet contains a relevant and keyword-specific title tag and meta description, which will market the benefits of clicking through to your webpage. Rich cards and sitelink extensions are useful tools for PPC campaigns that seek to market individual products to users by providing visual features that could substantially increase a landing page’s CTR.

The Search Appearance tab also provides HTML improvement options to fix long or broken title tags, meta descriptions, or uncover duplicate content. For example, if your meta-description is beyond 70 characters, it may be truncated in the rich snippet, and the HTML improvements tab will allow you to identify and fix this problem immediately.  This tool is also used to fix links that are not indexable by Google, and allows you to optimize your structured data.

4. Crawling Issues

Google Search Console provides crawl stats that provide valuable insights into how recent Google crawled your website; the amount of data downloaded; and the pages Google couldn’t crawl. It’s wise to utilize the robots.txt tester to identify which pages the Googlebot is crawling and those it cannot.

The GSC crawl tab is also useful to find issues plaguing your website’s performance, such URL redirects and broken links. In greater detail, the GSC can be used to discover 404 page errors, server errors, end URLs that redirect to an irrelevant page. Discovering crawling issues helps your web development team fix deeper coding issues that may potentially be blocking the Googlebots from accessing specific pages in your domain.

The Fetch as Google tool provides a real time analysis of Google’s ability to crawl and render individual webpages. Simply enter a URL, and Google will display any potential security or URL issues that are preventing Google from displaying your webpage. This can also be used to display mobile specific versions of webpages.

5. Additional Features

The Google Search Console provides users with monthly or weekly emailed reports ranging from detailed traffic reports to potential issues affecting your security. GSC provides numerous features that will help you assess other issues affecting your website.

The manual actions tab will allow users to view if they are in violation of any Google penalties. The GSC can also be used to discover potential security issues affecting your website. The GSC also provides a structured data parsing tool, live speed tests, the appearance of your Google My Business page, and a webmaster academy where you can learn to create your own optimized website.