Google Search Console, formerly known as “Google Webmaster Tools,” is a free service offered by Google that provides a range of tools for webmasters to improve their website’s presence in Google search results. It’s an important tool for SEO because it allows you to monitor indexing issues and measure the performance of video and mobile pages. Some tools are available only to users who verify their site ownership, while others are available to anyone.
How Does Google Search Console Help SEO?
By checking site performance in GSC, you can see how many users click through to your site from Google search results, which is an indication of your site’s performance in Google. You can also view user-friendly descriptions (Snippet Previews) and the associated page titles that appear with your URLs, helping you to improve how your pages are described on search result pages.
One important thing every SEO should be monitoring is whether or not their site is being indexed. If your site isn’t showing up in the search results, then all of your hard work is for nothing! GSC will let you know if any of your URLs aren’t being indexed and give you the option to submit those pages.
This will help you find HTML link errors, such as broken links or image tags pointing to non-existent files. Reviewing the list of external links returned by this tool will also help discover any links that may need to be removed from other sites pointing back to yours.
The Security Issues report shows messages about detected security issues on your website, including mixed content issues (when both secure and non- items load on a single page) as well as other issues.
This report will tell you if any of your pages have been marked as not mobile-friendly by Google, which means those pages will not rank as highly in the Google search results on a mobile device. Note that the report only includes information about page URLs, so to see a full listing of all non-mobile-friendly pages, make sure to use the “Index Coverage” tool described above.
File Type Optimization
You can check whether or not Google is indexing common file types, such as .pdf and .doc, by clicking on the “File Types” tab under Crawl. To find out more about how content files impact your site’s SEO efforts, read this article on the impact of content files on SEO.
This tool will allow you to see if you have submitted a sitemap file for your site, how many URLs are in your sitemap and whether or not any errors have occurred during indexing. Note that every new sitemap you submit through GSC must be approved by Google before it starts to appear in search results.
Bing Index Status
By adding your site to Bing’s Webmaster Tools, you can see how well indexed your pages are on Bing as well as which pages are currently blocked from indexing. You can also view page titles returned by Bing for each URL which helps with improving titles if necessary.
The Duplicate Content tool will help you identify pages on your site that are likely to be considered duplicate content by Google, which means those pages may not receive full credit for specific search queries. This is because Google doesn’t want search engines to index more than one version of the same page from a website.
If you have implemented internal links as a part of your SEO efforts, this report will let you know which outgoing links from your homepage are directing users to other internal pages on your website and vice versa.
Use this report to find out how quickly your site’s URLs are being indexed and discover any errors that may be slowing down the process. You can also use this report to submit a sitemap file directly from GSC, so your URLs are submitted in a timely manner.
View a list of mobile usability issues with your site’s pages in order to see how well optimized your content is for mobile visitors. You can then use this information to improve the quality of your site from both an SEO and User Experience perspective.
View any pages on your site that may not be mobile-friendly and see how the page title, URL and preview snippets appear when viewed on a mobile browser. You can then use this information to improve your website’s overall appearance for mobile visitors.
Google will show you which of your pages have security issues (such as mixed content errors). Mixed content occurs when both secure (https://) and non-secure (http://) items load on a single page. This is considered an insecure practice because it exposes users to potential attacks by hackers who are monitoring web traffic over unsecure internet connections.
If you’ve made an effort to improve your site’s backlink profile, this report will let you know if any problems exist with the links pointing to your website.
Links To Your Site
View data on all of the external websites linking to your domain. This can be helpful for identifying sites that are not following Google’s guidelines and building relationships with other relevant sites that may not be linking directly to you but could still provide value by sharing related content. By clicking “Who links the most,” you can find other relevant websites that also link to the same third-party domains as well as view which links should be removed or disavowed, moving them from “inbound links” to “disavowed links.”
See which links from your internal pages are directing users to other internal pages on your website as well as which internal links may lead users down a path of least resistance and away from your site.
Links To Your Site
View the top referring sites sending traffic to your website and discover where you can build relationships with other relevant websites that link to the same third-party sites (this is one way of identifying potential competitors). You can also view which links should be removed or disavowed, moving them from “inbound links” to “disavowed links.”
Link From Domains
Research external domains linking directly to your site. And prioritize those that align most closely with the content on your own site. This is helpful for identifying opportunities to build relationships with other relevant websites that link to the same third-party sites. You can also view which links should be removed or disavowed, moving them from “inbound links” to “disavowed links.”
See a list of external domains linking directly to your website and prioritize. Those that align most closely with the content on your own site. Viewing this data can help you identify opportunities to build relationships. With other relevant websites that link to the same third-party sites (this is one way for identifying potential competitors). You can also view which links should be removed or disavowed, moving them from “inbound links” to “disavowed links.”
View which keywords are used in your internal pages’ anchor text when linking to other pages on your site. This is helpful for determining which opportunities exist to use more unique or specific anchor text. You can also view the top referring websites and expected click-through rates based on the search volume of each keyword.
Anchors Linking To Your Site
Discover what anchors are being linked from as well as those that should be removed or disavowed. Moving them from “inbound links” to “disavowed links.” This report will provide you with a list of all the external anchors being used. Throughout sites linking directly to your domain. So you can prioritize those that align most closely with the content on your own site.
Receiving a manual or automated penalty from Google can have a negative impact on your site’s search rankings. To help get your site back to normal, you can disavow backlinks pointing to any of your website’s pages. This will let users know the specific links carrying unwanted weight. So they can remove them from their own link profile and avoid passing on any spammy signals to Googlebot.
Links From Your Site
View data on all of the external websites linking directly to your domain. You’ll also be able to see which links should be removed or disavowed. Moving them from “inbound links” to “disavowed links.”
Check for important messages about issues with your account. And alerts about any manual actions being taken against your website from Google.
If you have been manually penalized by one of our search quality algorithms. This report will list all the offending links that you can then disavow to recover your site’s organic search traffic.
This report shows a summary of traffic and trends for your domain over time. Including clicks, impressions, CTRs, clickthrough rates by location and browser. Referral URLs sending traffic to your website, and top queries driving traffic to your website. You’ll also see top landing pages and exit pages allowing you to uncover potential opportunities for improvement.
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