At the forefront of a strategic SEO roadmap lies an advanced all-encompassing tool that helps webmasters boost search visibility and SERP ranking — Google Search Console.
Formerly known as “Google Webmaster Tools,” Google Search Console (GSC) offers business owners and webmasters a direct insight into how Google sees your website. GSC gives you a thorough analysis of how people interact with your site, the amount of traffic you’re getting, the devices your visitors use to find your site, and above all, what makes your site perform well (or poorly).
SEO professionals can use this mighty tool at their disposal to check for broken pages, site indexing issues, domain errors, etc. GSC, when combined with a keyword rank tracker tool like Rank Genie, allows webmasters to track key site performance metrics and create a direct line of communication with Google.
What’s more, Google Search Console is where website owners receive direct messages from Google regarding any issues or actions taken against their website, such as technical notices or manual penalties for bad linking practices.
App developers use Google Search Console to connect apps with websites and handle crawl errors more proactively. They use it to discover problematic areas in websites that might be hurting search result rankings and user experience. Needless to say, there’s a lot that you can do with GSC, which often gets overwhelming for beginners. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of practical features that you can explore to monitor your SEO progress expertly.
How to Use Google Search Console to Improve Website’s Organic Visibility
Before we discuss how you can get the most out of Google Search Console, make sure you have it added to your website. Keep in mind that Google will only grant you access to the data if you have verified the ownership of the domain. Check out our recent blog on how to set up Google Search Console to get everything up and running.
Keyword Performance Analysis
Unless you have complete insights into keyword traffic data, you won’t be able to view the complete impact of your SEO efforts. This is where Google Search Console comes in!
In addition to displaying the common list of keywords that drive traffic to your website, Google Search Console displays the number of clicks each keyword earns and the total number of times your website showed up in search results for a particular keyword. This information allows you to determine if you’re targeting the right keywords in your content and SEO strategy. It may also reveal hidden keywords that bring traffic, which you weren’t targeting in the first place.
Looking at impressions and clicks of target keywords is a good indicator of the success of a particular device, landing page, or location.
What’s more, in Google Search Console’s “Performance” section, you can incorporate filters, change search types, and adjust timelines to further dig into the data. You can also use it to:
- Identify high-performing pages
- Identify web pages with low CTR
- Evaluate hreflang tags with GSC’s International Targeting feature
Combine Google Search Console with Rank Genie for Competitive Research
You can use Rank Genie’s free keyword rank tracker tool to get a daily update of how your SEO efforts impact keyword ranking progress over time. By analyzing keywords across multiple devices and locations using Rank Genie, you can find out which device works best for your site and spot keyword opportunities in less-targeted geographical locations.
Google Search Console and Rank Genie’s SEO rank tracking tool work together effortlessly to stay on top of local competitors! Moreover, you can utilize keyword analysis to improve rankings for under-performing keywords and optimize pages with low CTR and high keyword ranking.
Identify Indexation and Crawl Errors
The Google Index segment of Google Search Console provides extensive information about how Google indexes your website and tells you more about your content’s performance in SERPs.
Here’s how the Index Coverage report can help you:
This tells you if your site suffered from index bloat—an instance where Google indexes an excess of low-quality pages on your website instead of the important ones.
By looking at your Index Status, and comparing it with data from Google Analytics, you can determine if your website is correctly indexed.
This provides you with an overview of the items that are blocked by your site’s robots.txt file.
Crawl stats report
The Crawl segment of GSC shows you how often Google bots crawl your website. The report is divided into the following sections:
- Kilobytes downloaded per day
- Pages crawled per day
- The time it took to download a page
Look at the graph to see which direction your crawl rate is headed toward. Sites that are quicker to crawl are better for indexing, and realize a rise in rankings as a result. On the contrary, a drop in the graph indicates that there are some problematic areas in your site that may be contributing to lower rankings.
Fix sitemap issues
Sitemaps are an essential part of any SEO strategy; they serve as roadmaps of how content is organized within your web pages and include information about images, metadata, videos, and how frequently pages are updated.
Not only does the Google Search Console allow you to submit a sitemap, but it also gives you an overview of issues in the submitted sitemap that may be causing problems and confusing the crawlers. You can check all sitemap-related issues in the “Sitemaps report” under “Index Coverage.” You should also be able to see errors, warnings, excluded URLs, and 404 Not Found pages.
We already know that Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing, giving ranking boosts and preferences to mobile-friendly sites. In addition, Google has recommended the use of Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) to provide lightning-fast load times and optimal user experience.
Fortunately, GSC is the perfect tool to diagnose your website’s mobile optimization issues. Here’s how it can help:
The Mobile Usability Report displays errors and issues your visitors may be facing when accessing your site via mobile devices. These errors can be text too small to read, content wider than screen failure, clickable elements appearing too close together, or viewport not set to “device-width, which means that the content isn’t adjusting to the device’s width and scale.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
If you’re currently leveraging AMP, the APM status report provides additional information about the warnings and potential errors of any AMP pages. Upon clicking a specific issue, you can find a sample list of pages that are affected by the issue, details on how to fix it, and the process of notifying Google about your fixes.
Google Search Console is a powerful tool that allows you to recognize problems, fix them, and discover new opportunities for conversion rate and SEO growth.
However, keep in mind that SEO isn’t a single-player game; to understand the competitive landscape and compete with websites for top spots in search results, you’ll need a multi-faceted strategy—and that’s where SEO rank tracking tools like Rank Genie can help.
By combining insights from Google Search Console with those from Rank Genie, you can further improve your content, track backlinks, and discover link building opportunities. Get in touch with us at (888) 838-2691 to find out how you can use these insights to your advantage. Start your 30-day free trial for Rank Genie today!