“Why isn’t my website showing up on Google!”
It’s something we hear from businesses all the time. Google is a powerful tool, but we still need to give it some help to ensure it finds our website content and knows when to show it in search results.
In this article, we will give you a quick primer on the free Google Search Console tool and how it can help boost your SEO strategy on Google.
But first, a quick SERPs tutorial
Before we go further, it’s important to understand how Google finds and includes your website in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Here is the quick version:
- Before your website can appear in Google search results, Google must know it exists. This is called indexing.
- Google saves “images” (like a snapshot of your page for that moment) of your pages. It searches these cached pages when determining the content and ranking of your page.
- Once Google knows, it will crawl (scan) your website regularly to see if you’ve updated the content. If you have, it will take a new snapshot of the page to replace the old one.
- Google will start to know how often you update your website and crawl on that schedule. The more frequently you update, the more often Google is likely to crawl for updated content.
What is GSC (Google Search Console)
Google Search Console is a free online tool that monitors your website performance and technical health, providing insights into how you can get more traffic from Google. Once linked to your website(s), you can:
- Learn what users search for in Google when they find your site so you can optimise your pages and content for those keywords.
- Submit and manage the pages that Google uses in search results.
- Get alerts of technical issues on your website.
- Track links from third-party website to your website
Your GSC dashboard contains many helpful tools and reports, including:
A Performance Report
This report helps you see how well your Google search result listings are doing (aka how well they drive traffic to your website). It shows you four valuable key performance indicators ((KPIs):
- Total Clicks (from Google Search Results)
- Total Impressions (the number of times your site showed up in search results)
- Average Click Through Rate (percentage of impressions that resulted in a click to your website)
- Average Position (your average rank in search results pages)
URL Inspection Tool
This tool helps you understand what pages of your website are not crawled by Google and troubleshoot why. For each page of your website, you can see when Google last crawled the page and if it meets Google’s mobile accessibility criteria. You can manually “Request Indexing” for any new or updated pages.
Page Indexing and Sitemaps Reports
These two reports help you see what pages have been indexed (crawled) by Google and the status or any sitemaps (a digital file listing all pages you want Google to crawl) you’ve submitted. If there are any errors with these pages or sitemaps, Google Search Console will tell you.
Why you need Google Search Console
There are many powerful ways you can harness the functionality and insights from GSC. Here are six of them:
1. Ensure your website is crawled
Every time you create a new page or update an existing one, you want Google to know it’s been updated so it sends you more targeted traffic based on your content. If you leave Google to crawl your website in its own time, it could take weeks or months (even longer if it’s a new website that hasn’t been in Google search results yet).
With Google Search Console, you can “nudge” Google to crawl your whole site or individual new pages anytime, speeding up the time it takes for your site to appear in search results.
2. Understand and fix crawling issues
Google uses over 200 factors to rank a page. If there are any issues crawling your page, it may affect your Google ranking. GSC will tell you if any pages on your site don’t meet the requirements (such as being mobile-friendly) to be included in search results.
3. Monitor site performance
A slow site or a site with broken links doesn’t give a good impression to web visitors and it’s a red flag to Google that your site is broken. Google Search Console can alert you to these issues quickly so you can fix them. They can also alert you if your website is down for any reason so you can fix it quickly.
4. Increase website traffic
You can use the Performance report to see what people are typing in Google when your page appears in search results. This can help you better optimise the content on your page for the keywords that have the highest click-through rates or conversions.
Also, by ensuring your site is optimised through GSC, Google may be more likely to show your website in relevant search results, increasing your chances of searchers finding and visiting your website.
5. Content analysis and improvement
Through Google Search Console, you can also see how often each page on your website shows up in search results (impressions). This can help you determine your most popular pages for deeper SEO optimization and to emulate for new pages.
6. Manage your backlink strategy
If you want to optimise your backlink strategy (links to your website), GSC is a great tool. Quality backlinks from other websites is a factor Google uses to determine ranking in search results. Through GSC, you can view all third-party websites that link to your website. You can then create a strategy to get more links on other reputable websites.
SEO Benefits of using Google Search Console
Technically, you don’t have to use GSC as part of your website and search engine optimization strategy, but this free tool makes it so much easier:
- You get website performance alerts quickly, so you can fix them before they impact the user experience.
- You can view what people are searching for in Google so you can optimise your content to match and increase impressions and clicks to your website as a result.
- You increase your visibility and ensure that all important content on your website has been crawled and indexed by Google, so they show up in search results.
- You can monitor your search results ranking to see the effects of your other SEO enhancements.
How to create a GSC account
To create your account and link your website:
- Sign in on the landing page with a Google account.
- Choose to link your whole domain (and subdomains) or just the URL and pages under that address.
- Next, you’ll need to verify that you own that domain. Follow the instructions to add a small line of code to your DNS configuration file (your web developer can help), by verifying your G Analytics code if it’s already installed on your website, or using another recommended verification method.
- Once you’ve added the required code, click the verify button.
SEMRush has created detailed instructions for creating a Google Search Console account.
Increasing traffic for local heavy equipment company
The Out-Smarts team recently helped a local equipment company enhance its SEO strategy using Google Search Console. Before coming to us, they had another development company redesign their website, but it wasn’t done optimally, and they lost the good SEO and leads their old website had.
(NOTE: A good website developer can ensure that most of the SEO momentum your previous website had, can be transferred to your new website.)
Using data and insights from Google Search Console, we were able to optimise their website backend and content to achieve:
- 50% increase in targeted traffic
- 65% increase in organic search traffic
- 62% increase in direct search
- 5 qualified leads per week
Imagine what you could do with a 50% increase in targeted traffic to your website.
We can help you do that using Google Search Console as a helpful tool. Book a discovery call today to talk about the possibilities.