If you intend to outdo the competition from online competitors, your job will be to constantly monitor your site’s presence in Google search results. But in what way?
A correct and detailed SEO optimization necessarily involves the use of Google Search Console. This is a free service (as confirmed here) offered by Google, which can allow easy resolution of a series of problems: indexing, spam, AMP or usability on mobile devices.
To date, there is no better tool that can help you understand and improve the way Google “sees” your portal. But what functions does it actually perform, to whom can it be useful and how can it be activated?
Google Search Console: what it does and who should use it
There are numerous tasks that Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) can perform for optimal performance monitoring, which in the long run can lead to a marked improvement in the SEO positioning of your website. So what does GSC basically do? This tool:
- verify that Google is able to find your site and crawl it;
- helps solve content indexing problems;
- allows you to view, in detail, the traffic numbers of the Google search relating to your website (e.g. for which search queries the site is shown or what is the click through rate of users for specific queries, or the number of click / impression related to a desired time range);
- checks the backlinks of the site and allows you to “ask” Google not to take into consideration those that may have a negative influence on your site (for example because they come from spam sites);
- clarifies a series of technical issues (e.g. the usability of the site on a mobile device and possible activation of Accelerated Mobile Page to speed up the loading of the pages );
- highlights any penalties;
- Notify you of any crawling errors on your site (e.g. pages returning 404 errors, “broken” links or similar situations).
You might mistakenly think that a tool like Google Search Console should only be used by those involved in SEO indexing. The truth is that GSC is a potentially useful tool for:
- website administrators : this would make it easier for them to manage the site correctly; problems such as loading some pages would be better monitored; any maintenance and modification of the site would also be checked to ensure that there are no errors;
- Web developers : any markup problems would be monitored and solved more easily (e.g. errors in the implementation of structured data);
SEO and marketing professionals: to control and optimize the ranking and make the right decisions based on Google search results. Or again, to carry out a more detailed market analysis.
The Google Search Console features you need to know
Below you will find the most interesting features of the tool:
- Performance: This is the most important section, where to obtain data about the organic visibility of the site on Google in terms of queries and pages, in order to plan the optimal SEO strategy accordingly. More specifically, you can analyze:
- Query: the keywords searched by users and for which the site appeared in the SERP in the period of time considered;
- Clicks: for each query, the number of clicks that, in the selected timer range, led to visits to the site is specified;
- Impressions : the number of times the site was visible in the SERP for the related query
- CTR – the ratio of views to clicks for a given query;
- Position : the average position of the site for the query considered (attention: a site can position itself with multiple pages for the same query, which affects the average position and for this reason it is a metric that must be analyzed carefully).
This section therefore allows you to know in detail the queries that led to the most visits, and to understand, for example, if there are search keys for which the site is not performing (with all the relevant considerations).
- Index: This report will help you to get detailed information on the indexing status of the site. In this section you can therefore analyze:
- Coverage: You can use this report to make sure that all pages on the site are actually indexed and thus receiving traffic. In this case, you will be able to consult detailed reports on errors, such as the presence of pages with a 404 error or that otherwise have indexing problems.
- Sitemap: through the Search Console it is possible to submit the URL of the sitemap to Google, in order to provide the search engine with the list of URLs to be crawled and indexed; any errors detected by crawlers will be reported in the “Coverage” section.
- Improvements: The main purpose of Search Console is to help you improve your website. In this section, you can receive reports on improvements regarding:
- Usability of mobile devices and AMP: the mobile version of a website must necessarily take into account specifications related to usability and page loading speed. In these subsections dedicated mobile tests can be carried out and request validation of any changes made.
- Structured data: in the subsections logo, breadcrumb and search box, the structured data of your site can be analyzed. Especially useful for e-commerce, where structured data can really make a difference as it makes the relationship between the different entities of the page explicit to search engines (e.g. product name, price, brand, etc.).