The Ultimate Guide to Google Search Console and SEO Best Practices

One of the most powerful SEO tools available today? The Google Search Console. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked ones. Most business owners don’t know how to effectively harness the full potential of Google Search Console to increase their website traffic. But, if you’re not leveraging all of the powerful features that Google Search Console has to offer – you’re missing out.

Luckily, it’s never too late to join in, and we’re here to help you catch up. Find out what Google Search Console is, what you can do with it, and unlock its vast potential for improving your website’s SEO and getting more organic traffic.

What Is Google Search Console?

Originally known as “Google Webmaster Tools” for nearly a decade, Google rebranded its suite of tools as Google Search Console in 2015. It’s a free service that helps you monitor, maintain, troubleshoot, and optimize your site’s organic presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but it does help you understand and improve how Google sees your site.

Every new year, Google has given us new tools, analytics, and data to track on this platform. It provides essential marketing data that you need to start tracking from day one and also alerts you about errors, security, and indexing issues that may affect your website’s search performance and rankings.

Who Should Use Google Search Console?

Google Search Console was the product of a rebrand meant to acknowledge the resource’s wider audience. This included not only webmasters but marketers, designers, SEO specialists, programmers, app developers, and more.

If you’re someone focused on making it in the competitive digital world, Search Console will help you monitor your website traffic, optimize your ranking, and make informed decisions. You can use this information to influence technical decisions for your website and do sophisticated marketing analysis in conjunction with other Google tools like Google Analytics and more.

Untapped Benefits of Using the Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a set of tools designed to help you make sure your website is healthy and Google-friendly. But it does so much more than that. Not only it can help you diagnose any technical SEO issues, but also help you understand your most popular pages, see where you are ranking, and help you increase organic traffic.

Google Search Console (or GSC for short) is completely free and any website, regardless of the platform it’s built on, can use it. Need more convincing? You can use GSC to:

  •       Track the progress of content marketing efforts
  •       Track your website’s SEO performance
  •       Gain info about your site’s mobile usability
  •       Aid Google Analytics integration
  •       Avoid crawl errors, so Google can find and index your site

However, to get the most out of Google Search Console, you need to set it up correctly, understand what the metrics mean, and know how to access its features.

Getting Started: How to Set Up Google Search Console?

New to GSC? No worries. We’re here to get you started with complete beginner-friendly tips:

1.  Add Your Website to Google Search Console

If you haven’t already, go ahead and add your website to Google Search Console. It’s really simple and won’t take more than a few minutes. Simply go to the GSC website and click on the Start Now button. Sign in with your Google account. You should see a welcome message with two options. Select the first one, then enter your domain or subdomain (without the HTTP(s)://) and hit “Continue.”

2. Verify Your Domain

Next, it’s time to verify your site. This used to involve having to embed code into your website header or upload an HTML file to your web server. Today, if you already have Google Analytics, it will automatically verify your site for you. If not, simply use one of the other options available. Once your website is verified, you’ll want to submit a sitemap if you have one.

3. Add an XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a way for you to tell search engines about all the pages that exist on your website, as well as which links on your website are more important than others. Adding an XML sitemap to your website helps search engines crawl your website better. While it doesn’t give you a direct boost in search rankings, it can help search engines index your content more efficiently. Head over to the “Sitemaps” section and make sure the toggle for “Enable Sitemap” is switched on.

SEO Best Practices: Using Google Search Console to Effectively Grow Your Website Traffic

Truth be told, staring at vain, standalone metrics isn’t going to improve your SEO anytime soon. Sadly, most businesses don’t utilize the full potency of Google Search Console because they think that just adding their website to GSC is enough. In reality, there’s so much more you can do with this powerful tool.

Let’s get to the fun part of growing your website traffic by utilizing the data available in Search Console and getting the most out of it.

Smart-Mining for Keyword Data

Google Search Console helps you uncover keyword data, find your top-performing keywords, and discover hundreds of potential keywords you can easily rank and get more traffic. Simply connect Google Analytics with Search Console or view the keyword data in your GSC reports. It gives you a full view of the keywords your website is ranking for, average position, click-through rate, and impressions. Leverage it!

Targeting Low-Hanging and Easy-to-rank Keywords

How can you practically use this data in your SEO and content planning? Some of your pages may be ranking low in Google search results for different keywords. These are the keywords you can work on to rank higher and get more traffic. You can use Google Search Console to find them by clicking on the filter icon in your Performance report and selecting the “Position” option.

When choosing the keywords to work on, you want to choose them based on their number of impressions. Higher impressions mean more search traffic.

Getting More Backlinks

GSC shows third-party websites that have linked to your site in the “Top linking sites” report. You can use this data to get more backlinks for your site. Simply reach out to the website, see how they have linked to you and what other content your site can be linked from. Repeat the process for all your important external links. With consistent effort, you can get proper backlinks without spending any money!

Improving Internal Links

Strong internal links are a must-have when writing new content on your website or blog. The good news? You can use the links reports in Google Search Console to help you build internal links. You don’t just want to go and add internal links to anything – you want to make sure that they are contextually relevant. Search Console’s Links report will show you how many pages are linking to your targeted page. You can then compare it with other pages and their rankings.

Using Core Web Vitals

Google considers your website’s loading speed as a ranking factor. It also introduced Core Web Vitals in 2020, which measures how fast your website is and helps the search engine measure its UX. You can view the “Core Web Vitals” report in Google Search Console, under the “Experience” menu. It provides a complete report about your site’s speed score for mobile and desktop. 

The best part? You also get recommendations on how to improve your Core Web Vitals score and your site’s load time. It’s a win-win!

Get the Most Out of Google Search Console 

Google Search Console can give you powerful insights into how your website is performing, as well as what you can do to keep Google’s attention. Once you have the basics down, use our tips on getting the most out of your GSC data to increase your efforts, boost organic traffic and grow your site.

You’re welcome!

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