Google recently changed the name of their fantastic Google Webmaster Tools to Google Search Console. Whilst this is purely a rebranding exercise to reflect the fact that webmaster is probably an outdated term for the breadth of users that use these tools, it’s also a good time to revisit this tool. If you don’t have your website connected to the new search console, then you really must and here’s why.
The main reports and information in the search console provide you with a huge amount of information about how Google is interpreting your website – all this data is free!
Learn how your website appears on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPS). Check your structured data, see suggestions for improving your site and control your sitelinks.
If you only look at one thing in the search console it should be this! See the search queries people use to find your site, see which sites link to your site, check your international targeting and your mobile usability.
How many pages of your site has Google indexed? What keywords does it think your content most relates to? Check if any of your pages are being blocked and remove any pages you don’t want Google to have indexed and showing up in the search results.
See any page errors on your site, see how often Google is checking your site, view pages on your website as Google views them, tell Google about your sitemaps and check if Google is having any issues with the URL parameters on your site.
If Google finds something dodgy on your website i.e. you’ve been hacked, then they will warn you here.
All in all no serious website should be without the search console and you should be checking it weekly if not daily! At the very least get your site on there and make sure you get email notifications about serious issues on your site.
Insert shameless plug here: Of course if you see anything of concern when you’re looking through the search console reports and you’re not sure what to do – get in touch with the experts here at Philosophi.