Google Search Console is a collection of free tools from search engine giant Google. It helps website owners to submit and monitor the performance of their websites. Though there are many useful features available in Search Console, there are three important things you should keep track in your account. Google will also show these three top features in the dashboard when you login to your account to help you instantly access them. In this article, we will explain the top 3 things you should do in Google Search Console after initial setup.
New Search Console Interface
Google renamed the Webmaster Tools as Search Console and changed many things in the new interface. However, you can still access the tools by using webmaster tools link or go to Search Console directly. In this article, we used old Webmaster Tools interface. We will update the screenshots once new Search Console is fully functional.
1. Monitor and Correct Crawl Errors
The coverage section shows all the errors encountered by googlebot during the time it visited your site. This section has two sub-sections – Site Errors and URL Errors.
- Site Errors shows all errors faced when accessing server, DNS server and robots.txt file. This is an indication that the total site is reachable or whether there is a problem exists in hosting or DNS servers. Check each section and take corrective action, if required you can discuss the server problems with your hosting company for seeking more assistance. In general once setup your account these sections will always be in green unless there is a change in server or robots.txt file.
- URL Errors – individual page level errors are listed under this section with the HTTP response code from the server. There are plenty of sub-sections indicating different types of error like not found, access denied and server errors for desktop, smartphone and featured phone. You can remove the errors by selecting the URLs and click on the “Mark as Fixed” button after taken corrective actions. Use “Fetch as Google” feature to check how googlebot see an error URL and troubleshoot accordingly.
You can also access crawl errors section from the menu “Crawl > Crawl Errors”.
2. Track Search Queries to Improve Search Ranking
Google replaced “Search Queries” option with enhanced “Search Analytics” option as a beta feature for doing all type of analysis.
Search queries section is the very useful feature displays top search queries and pages generated impressions and clicks for the selected period of time. Here you can find the queries and pages along with CTR and average position in search results. Here is how you can use this feature more effectively:
- Assume your target keyword is “webmaster” and you want Google to list your site in number one position for this query.
- Check “Google Index > Content Keywords” section to see what are the important keywords in your site and ensure to use your keyword “webmaster” throughout your site.
- Now check the search queries to understand visitors land on your site for which queries and on which pages. For example, your top query may be “webmaster tutorials” and top page may be “/webmaster-resources.html/”.
- Work hard to ensure your target keyword “webmaster” is used on all your pages and visitors land on your site mainly for the query containing target keyword like “webmaster tutorials”. This will help you to create a focused site hovering around target keyword.
- Google like targeted sites and list it on top of the search list ahead of any other pages. Over the period of time you will see the CTR and the average search position are improved considerably.
You can also access search queries section from the menu “Search Traffic > Search Queries”.
3. Monitor Sitemap Errors and Indexed URLs
Sitemap submission helps googlebot to understand the structure of your site and crawl the URLs easily based on the Sitemap information. Here you can see the number of items submitted and how many numbers Google included in the search index. Items include individual posts, pages, custom pages, tags, categories and images.
Here are some tips to use this Sitemap section effectively:
- Check the “Issues” column to see errors and warnings on the submitted Sitemap. Warnings are generally for the URLs blocked by robots.txt which you might have done intentionally and can be ignored. But the errors should be immediately acted upon which may be indicating that the Sitemap itself is not accessible.
- Ensure that your Sitemap is processed daily and successfully by googlebot and showing appropriate date under “Processed” column.
- If the indexed number of URLs is very low try to check the new URLs in Google search to ensure whether new URLs are not indexed or old URLs are not indexed. If it is new URLs then you can use “Fetch as Google” option to submit the content and if it is old URLs then Google might dropped them due to duplicate or less important content.
- After correcting any issues, check “Test Sitemap” button to see the crawling is successful and resubmit Sitemap if necessary.
You can also access search queries section from the menu “Crawl > Sitemap”.
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