Google Search Console- what is it and why’s it so useful?


If you run a business here in Wales then its highly likely that you also have a website for your business.

If your business has invested in a website then you will want to know how well the company’s SEO is doing.

There are many tools that you can purchase, yet there’s one that’s offered for free is Google Search Console.

Many SEO agencies use both Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Plus, Google also offers Google My Business, so there are a lot of tools that businesses can use to help improve their SEO for free.

However, with that said, you can pay a lot of money for SEO tools, but if you do not know what backlinks are, what bounce rate means or what organic visitor numbers means, well the information that these SEO tools provide is pretty much meaningless, this is why we thought we would write a detailed article explaining which tools we use, plus which information we find useful from Google Search Console when improving a businesses seo.

So, we thought it would be a really good idea to write a whole article on what Google Search Console is, and how it can be used to help improve your businesses SEO.

So, Google Search Console is a free service, it was launched in May 2015, and Google Search Console replaces Google Webmaster Tools.

You may therefore here some digital marketing agencies refer to Google Search Console as Google Webmaster Tools, however this is the old name for this tool and Google Search Console is the new name.

Google Search Console was updated in January 2018, it can help business owners in a range of ways, for example it can be used to spot technical issues, plus also used to monitor the performance of a website.

So in a nutshell, here’s some of the useful information that Google Search Console can offer:

·        Information relating to backlinks, for example how many backlinks the website has

·        Where the business ranks for certain keywords, for example we use the tool to see where our business ranks for “SEO company”

·        You can use the tool to see if any errors have been detected stopping Googlebot crawling and indexing your website

·        Can be used to see if any manual actions have been taken against the website

·        Much more

Can help to identify some technical issues

If a website cannot be crawled by GoogleBot, then this will severely impact a websites SEO performance.

And what do we mean by that?

Well, if GoogleBot cannot crawl the website, then Google will not know if any SEO improvements have been made.

This means for example that you may publish a 10,000 word article, and you have spent many weeks writing the article, yet then something as simple as a “no-index” tag may well be left on, which means that Googlebot cannot crawl and index that page, so you may see in your Google Search Console account that the page cannot be crawled, and is therefore not indexed.

This is useful information for your SEO agency, as they will need to fix any errors, such as errors which stop pages from being indexed. If the entire website cannot be indexed, perhaps because a no index tab has been left on which means the whole site cannot be indexed, then this will mean that the website will not show up in Google.

So a technical SEO expert will need to work out why some pages cannot be indexed, whether that’s because of say a WordPress pluggin which has been incorrectly configured, or it could because a web developer has left code on each page which stops the company’s website from being indexed.

In which case your SEO company will need to fix this issues, that’s before they spend time on improving other areas of the businesses seo, because there’s no point in building backlinks if the site cannot be indexed.

So Google’s algorithm will not be informed of any SEO improvements have been made, which means that a website may not show in Google’s results.

So, some digital marketing agencies use Google Search Console to look for “coverage issues”.

Plus, you can also use Google Search Console for the following purposes:

·        Mobile usability (does the website work on mobiles)

·        Any manual actions

·        Has an XML sitemap been submitted?

Mobile usability report

Google has been using mobile first indexing for a while now, so your web developer plus your marketing company should make sure that your business has a mobile version of your website, and that it can be indexed.

Sometimes some businesses opt for a very basic mobile design, yet sometimes this can hamper SEO performance, for instance, if the pages are deemed as content thin, which means that there’s not much information on each page, well it will be hard to get the mobile version of the website to rank.

You should use Google Search Console to make sure that the mobile version of your website can be indexed, then you may wish to work with a web developer to design a mobile version of your website that has a lower bounce rate, and then use A/B or split testing to improve the design, for example if you were to improve the design, lets say by making the product descriptions longer, and more detailed, plus removing any duplicated content, well, this could reduce your businesses bounce rate.

So often an SEO agency like Adore in Cardiff, will be asked to work with a local web design company to improve the SEO of the website and the design, this is so the company can reduce its bounce rate, improve where the company ranks, and often Google Search Console is used by many agencies as it can provide useful information, such as whether a page can be indexed.

Is your website mobile friendly?

If your website mobile friendly? If not, you may have to work with a website designer so that they can make the website mobile friendly.

Any manual actions?

Has the website got any manual actions?

If you have hired a low-quality marketing company work on your site, or you have implemented low-quality seo yourself, then it is possible for a website to incur a manual action penalty.

This basically means that some pages on your website, or your entire website may well be removed from Google.

All businesses and all marketing companies must follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

If a business does not follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and lets say the business in Cardiff builds low quality backlinks, then the business may incur a penalty.

A penalty occurs when Googlebot crawls and indexes a website that has used low quality seo, for example building low quality backlinks. Then Google can issue a penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty.

When a penalty is incurred this can then mean that the website drops in terms of where it ranks.

Sometimes, one of the first things that a digital marketing agency like Adore will do when we take on a new customer is to check if there are any manual actions. For example one of our seo consultants will log into the company’s Google Search Console account, we will then look to see if there are any manual actions, and whether the business has any penalties.

If the business has a penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty, then one of our SEO consultants must allocate work to fix the penalty that’s before any other SEO work is carried out.

For example, lets say that a company here in Cardiff, South Wales had hired a link building company, but the links that the company built are low quality. Then the business may have incurred a Google Penguin penalty, this is normally when the business will drop in terms of where it ranks, then the business will normally switch agencies.

However, fixing a penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty may mean that it takes many months for the business to recover- and what do we mean by that?

Well, if a business has received a penalty normally the business will have dropped in terms of where it ranks, yet fixing these problems, such as a link penalty will normally mean that the problem will not be fixed overnight, instead a lot of work is needed, and time for the business to recover.

This is why when we work with a new business, the first thing we do is to see if there’s any manual actions. Google Search Console will tell us if there’s any manual actions, then we will then need to see if backlinks need to be disavowed, and to work with the company in Cardiff to see how we can build new backlinks which are high quality.

Performance Report

Okay, so this is why a lot of businesses use Google Search Console, and that’s because it provides some really useful data, such as:

·        Impression data

·        Keywords

·        Average position

·        Backlinks

This information is critical to any marketing company, as Google Search Console can be used to see which search queries your business ranks for, plus the businesses average position.

A marketing agency can then see which keywords get the most impressions, and then the marketing company may then form a marketing strategy around that.

White hat

Here’s a really important tip, that is some businesses use Google Search Console, they spot that for one keyword during say the month of March they rank 11.2 which means right at the top of page two of Google.

So let’s the business sells washing machines, and ranks 11.2 during March, and this is for the term “8kg washing machines”- and then you may then decide to work on improving the businesses seo.

But if the work is not white hat, not high-quality then you could actually damage the businesses seo.

So do make sure the work is white hat, as a common mistake is a business will place the phrase “8kg washing machine” in meta titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, content marketing and then basically over optimise the website, which could damage the businesses seo.

So, talk to a respected white hat marketing company, why not call Adore Online Marketing?