Back in the age of the dinosaurs, right before the extinction of keyword spamming and mass reposting of stolen content happened, there was a thing called the Google Webmaster Tool. It was good that Bing also made one, but fast forward to our more algorithm-update littered present time, it has since evolved into what we call today as the Google Search Console. For us younglings, what is it, and why do we need it?
Google Search Console is a service by Google (obviously) that is –thank goodness– absolutely free. It helps a webmaster monitor and maintain the presence of their website in Google. And if you’re an SEO specialist, this description alone should convince you the importance of this tool in all your campaigns.
Essentially, you don’t need to be in Google Search Console to rank and perform fine on Google, but having access to how Google perceives your website is a very important thing.
What happens when you get to use the Search Console?
One of the immediate things you can do with this tool is make sure that Google sees your contents. Content today is literally the blood that keeps the site, and therefore the business, alive. If you have limitations in producing content, you got to make sure that these are seen more.
At the same time, if there are parts of your site or content that you do not want to be indexed or needs to be removed from the search results of Google, the Search Console can help you in that situation as well.
With the Google Search Console, you can also get a quicker look at malware or spam and all these sneaky issues your enemies might be doing behind your back. This is like having eyes at the back of your head, basically. But not only that, there are also options on how you can resolve these different problems.
Then, with it, you can also see which kinds of queries were responsible in making your website appear on search results. Want to see what other keywords you can use for your SEO campaigns? When you pick from GSC, you know for sure that these keywords are useful and could give you traffic; because they literally were used to look for your website.
In our Schema Markup story, we went over this a little bit. If you’re having trouble implementing the Schema Markup on your site (there could be a lot of reasons) and you still want data on your pages to be highlighted, Google Search Console can come in to the rescue for you once again.
The Data Highlighter from Google Search Console looks exactly like the one on the Google Markup helper; only more simple and easy to use.
Want to know which sites are linking to you and all your tools are either way past their bills or have all expired and are now limited? Surprise! GSC can also do that for you.
At this point, if you still can’t see how much of a Swiss-knife type of tool Google Search Console is, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life, man.
Today, mobile performance is slowly becoming a very important part and main focus of SEO. To me, it’s like the bottom part of the iceberg. And all of the business and website owners that aren’t focusing on optimizing their sites for mobile are about to slam into it.
The Search Console can also help you see the performance of your website on mobile. You can see all the aspects of it right up to the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).
Now that we’ve convinced you, (we did, right?) all you have to do is go to the Search Console itself and add your site in it. Of course, you need to be logged into your work Gmail to do so.
The tool will then give you a set of choices to help verify your website. The easiest and widely used way is that you upload an HTML file on your website. Be sure to get the help of your trusty web development team for this.
Once that’s in, you can go back to the tool and verify it. Once done, you can completely use all the magical features we discussed.
A few of the more important aspects of it also — if you’re an SEO youngster, listen up– is that if you have a website that’s got a couple other versions like this:
You need to make sure that you add them in as well.
With them registered in the Search Console as well, you can then set the Preferred Domain settings. Meaning, you can ask Google directly which domain version to display on search and which domain is the correct one.
This is also important for AMP. If you got to install it on an HTTPS domain version and you only have the HTTP version on the Search Console, it will not pick up the data from the AMP’s performance.
Actually, the Google Search Console is a fun and straightforward tool but is a very essential one that you need when you want to make sure that your site and your campaign, in general, is safe and is firing on all cylinders.