Getting The Most Out Of Google Search Console
While Google Analytics is well known to website owners, Google Search Console is often used less. However, a lot of important information about your site and its referencing are indicated there.
In particular, they can help you improve the user experience and the visibility of your website. Here’s a handy guide to what information you can find there, how to access and use it.
Monitor its positioning and determine avenues for improvement
Search traffic> Search analysis
Very important point, the Search Console tool allows you to know the queries that Internet users type before accessing your website, as well as to have an estimate of your positioning on them.
However, this information is not exhaustive, since 2011, Google no longer indicates a large part of Internet users’ requests for the sake of data security.
The positioning data is not to be used either, because the positioning depends on several factors such as the place from where the Internet user searches, the device used (smartphone or computer), if it is connected to his Google account or if it is in private navigation… The positioning data provided is therefore an average.
The Search Analysis data is very comprehensive and can be filtered based on;
- A website page (which is most often found in the results and what keywords sent to it),
- The country from which the search is performed,
- The type of device used,
- Whether the displayed result included a “rich snippet”, or
- By date.
Correct URL errors on your website
Exploration> Exploration errors
URL and server errors can occur frequently on a website and are not always easy to identify.
When its robots crawl your site, Google kindly tells you what errors it finds and displays them in Search Console so that you can correct them.
Here are the different types of errors that can be indicated and their explanation:
- Access denied: the site’s robots.txt file blocks access to one or more pages of the site.
These errors are indicated by the code 403.
This may be normal if you have configured the robots.txt file to prevent Google from indexing certain pages or directories, or system files.
- Blocked: Concerns mobile URLs. Some mobile URLs are blocked by the mobile Googlebot robot.
- Not Found: These are the URLs with a 404 or 410 error.
The 410 error indicates that a page no longer exists, a 404 error indicates that there is no page for this URL.
- Server error: Googlebot could not access the page due to a server error type 500 and 503.
- Soft 404: the page does not return a 404 error yet it displays an error message. It could be from a server error.
- Untracked: A 301 redirect exists on the page but it refers to an empty page. You must therefore correct this redirection.
- Other: groups together with other types of server errors that do not fit into the previous categories.
Watching for these errors is therefore important. This will allow you to identify possible recurring problems at the server level, as well as improve the user experience of your customers.
404 errors in particular are often caused by a deleted page. By correcting them, you will prevent your users from finding them and causing frustration to make them leave your website while maintaining the SEO obtained by these pages.
Check the correct indexing of your website by Google
For a site to appear in search results, it must be indexed, that is to say, that Google has visited the pages and added them to its index. All the pages of a website are not necessarily indexed.
Indeed, duplicate, duplicated, and/or low-quality pages are not always taken into account since they are of no interest to the Internet user.
Google provides you with several tools in the Search Console to estimate the number of indexed pages and influence their inclusion.
These tools are not exhaustive, they will not provide you with the precise list of pages present in the Google index, but it will give you an estimate and an idea of the indexing of your site to take the necessary measures.
Exploration tab> Sitemaps
The Sitemaps tool allows you to submit your site’s sitemap.xml file to Google. This allows, in particular when launching a new website or creating pages, to launch indexing.
This interface also shows you the number of pages in your sitemap and those that are indexed. If there is a significant difference between the two digits, it could mean that several of the URLs in your sitemap are not relevant enough to Google robots to be indexed.
This tool will also tell you about any errors in your sitemap that would prevent Google from exploiting it.
Google index> Indexing status
The “Indexing Status” interface presents a curve indicating the progress of the indexing of the pages of your site.
A drop in indexing may indicate the deletion of certain indexed pages, for example.
On the other hand, a drastic decrease can indicate a problem of access to the website, the deletion of a very large number of URLs, or the setting in no index of directories of the site.
So you need to watch this curve to make sure everything is normal.
Exploration> Explore like Google
To ensure that Google is accessing all elements of your pages correctly, use the “explore like Google” function.
By entering a URL, Search Console will return the page to you as it is read by the crawlers. This will ensure that all images are easily accessible, that no script is preventing access to content, or that no important element is blocked by the robots.txt file. This tool allows you to obtain a rendering from a computer or a smartphone.
Once the page is displayed, you can ask Google to send a robot to index it. This procedure does not guarantee the indexing of a page since it is the robot who decides according to the criteria of the algorithm, but it can encourage Google to index the page and its direct links. This can speed up the indexing of a new page of content.
Correct your mobile compatibility issues
Research traffic> Mobile ergonomics
Mobile compatibility is an important issue for Google, its Search Console tool includes advice to improve the ergonomics of your mobile version.
Via the “Mobile ergonomics” menu, you will access a list of mobile ergonomics errors, with the pages on which they are present. You will be able to correct them to improve the user experience on mobile and therefore potentially your conversions.
Monitor poor quality inbound links
Search traffic> Links to your site
The “Search traffic> Links to your site” menu allows you to find out which sites and pages make one or more links to your content. You can easily check if you are not the victim of a negative SEO operation or if your link profile is good, without too many poor quality links (too many links from directories, sites unrelated to your theme, etc.).
Search Console is therefore a tool provided by Google as essential as Google Analytics! It provides you with essential data about your site and your SEO which, when properly exploited, will allow you to improve your visibility and the user experience of your website.
Do you want an analysis of your Search Console data, an audit of your website, or advice for your SEO? Our SEO experts are here to advise you!
If you found this article useful do leave a comment, can’t wait to hear from you.