Why You Cannot Rank Your Website Without Using Google Search Console ?

You may know this tool by its former name: Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Search Console is probably one of the most underestimated and under-exploited SEO tools for website owners.

What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console tools and their benefits for websites

  1. Search analysis
  2. Sitemaps
  3. Netlinking from Google Search Console
  4. Mobile usability
  5. Content indexing in Google Search Console
  6. Crawling errors
  7. Performance data
  8. Exploration
  9. Security and manual actions
    Steps to using Google Search Console

What is Google Search Console?


If you have a website and search engine optimization is important to you, you MUST learn to master the basics of Google Search Console. It’s completely free to use, but it pays big dividends for those who take the time to use it properly.

What Google Search Console can do for you


Check the indexing of your pages


First and foremost, Google Search Console lets you check which pages on your site are known (or indexed) in Google’s index (database). This is the basic principle: if a web page isn’t known to Google, there’s no chance of it being proposed to web surfers. This may seem obvious to you, but too many webmasters forget to carry out this essential check.

There are many reasons why a page might not be indexed, and this simple check allows you to remedy the situation immediately. The sooner your content is indexed by the search engine, the better for your SEO.

Identify your backlinks


As you know, backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO. They sculpt Google’s PageRank (or PR). Don’t believe what some (pseudo) SEOs are saying: while it’s true that Google no longer publicly communicates the PR value of the sites it indexes, PageRank (and therefore link strength) remains one of the major ranking criteria.

Take advantage of the link report in your Google Search Console to find out which sites rank your site the highest, and which pages rank your site the highest. The advantage of this report is that it gives you this information from Google’s point of view. It’s the internal view of the search engine that you get, i.e. what matters most for your ranking in the results provided by the engine. There’s no point in having a fantastic link if Google doesn’t take it into account…

This X-ray of your links (internal and external) provides a mountain of invaluable information for your SEO consultant (if you’ve called in an external expert) or for yourself if you’re your own SEO and the main player in your SEO operations.

In particular, you’ll learn which domains (other sites) are referencing you the most. Perhaps you’ll identify spam sites whose links are detrimental to your ranking, and take action to protect yourself from any penalties. If, for example, a domain name is considered spammy by Google and a site from that domain (or sub-domain) points to your site, it’s best to get rid of that link. This section also shows you which pages (URLs) on your website receive the most inbound links.

One piece of information you really need to take into account in your netlinking strategy is: how varied and relevant is the anchor text (link anchor text) in the eyes of Internet users and Google? Does it correspond to an external link profile that Google considers natural (for example, a natural proportion of nofollow links / dofollow links) and consistent with the content of the pages receiving the links?

Finally, Google Search Console will also help you to understand whether your website’s internal mesh (i.e. the way you’ve arranged your internal links) is good or needs some fine-tuning.

Track your performance


This is the section of most interest to webmasters.

If you’re closely monitoring your Google referencing and ranking, it’s not for nothing. You don’t just want to index your site. Your aim is to rank for as many keywords as possible and generate as much targeted, qualified traffic as possible.

You know that behind every search query are potential visitors, and therefore potential prospects and future customers. Of all the free Google tools, the Search Console Performance section will quickly become one of your greatest allies in online marketing.

The performance report gives you vital statistics on how your site is faring in the Google search results pages (SERPs):

most popular queries, generating the most views and clicks
impressions: the number of times your site appears in the results
average CTR (click-through rate)
pages on your site receiving the most clicks
etc.


This information is worth its weight in gold for your webmarketing and deserves regular attention.

It lets you know what web users are really looking for, which pages need more attention, and which aspects of your web copywriting strategy need you to produce better quality content, so that you can put in place a more effective editorial strategy.

This valuable data will help you decide which on-site (or on-page) optimizations to prioritize, particularly in the title tags (page titles) and meta description tags of each page of your website.

Check your robots.txt file


The robots.txt file is a simple plain text file that should be placed at the root of your site. Search robots (or web crawlers such as Googlebot) follow a convention (or standard) that informs which parts (or resources) of a website should be crawled (or not) by search engines.

Google Search Console has a page called robots.txt test tool which, as the name suggests, lets you check whether the syntax of your file is correct.

The tool also allows you to test any modifications to the content of the robots.txt file. Please note, however, that you’ll need to copy the tested modifications to the robots.txt file hosted on your own site, as the tool only tests a copy of your file, not the one actually hosted by your web host.

Other benefits of using Search Console
Google Search Console will help you rank your site and aim for top position in many other ways.

Here are some of the other features of this indispensable tool for all SEO consultants:

find out how often your site is visited (or crawled) by Google’s indexing robot;
view your site’s pages as a Googlebot and understand how they are viewed by the indexing robot;


announce and check the validity of your sitemap;


specify which canonical domain you prefer Google to display, whether your site is accessible with or without the www. or via several domain names
get a report on potential errors that could block Google’s crawler
receive suggestions for possible improvements to the HTML and CSS code for your site (loading time, mobile and responsive accounting)
request the removal of pages from the search engine index
etc.

How do I activate Google Search Console on my website?


As you may have gathered, Google Search Console is not a software program or script to be installed on your website.

Rather, it’s a webapp that compiles data from Google itself and displays it to the legitimate site owner. Understand that Google’s Search Console will not extract data from your site, but will extract data from its own index and from the way your site appears in the SERPs (search results pages) and pass this information on to whoever can prove they have the right to it.

To activate or “install” Google Search Console, you need to :

have a Google account, such as a Gmail address or other e-mail address associated with a Google account
go to Google Search Console and log in with your Google Account
add site ownership, since you may own several sites and want to explore data from all your sites from the console with the same user account
validate your site ownership, i.e. prove that you are the webmaster or SEO authorized to explore your site’s data.
What is ownership validation and why is it important?
The validation process protects your private data. You certainly don’t want just anyone to be able to access your site’s crawl data. Only the legitimate publisher or owner of a site (or the commissioned SEO agency) should be allowed to view private data and influence how Google services crawl your website pages.

Validation methods
Google offers several validation methods.

The simplest methods for validating site ownership in Search Console are importing an HTML file and adding a meta tag to the HTML code of a specified page.

The first method (importing an HTML file) simply involves retrieving (downloading) an HTML file from Search Console, then dropping it (probably via FTP) into a specific location on your site, typically the root. Search Console will then check the existence of the file in question, which must not be modified or renamed.

The second method (insertion of a meta tag in the HTML code) consists of verifying the presence of said meta tag in a specific page of your site.

There are other methods of confirming to Google that you are indeed the owner (or authorized SEO agency), such as adding a DNS TXT or CNAME record to the domain name, or using Google Analytics tracking code, but these methods are generally more time-consuming and complex than the two validation methods presented above.

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