If you are in charge of a business website, or if you are just trying to draw more attention to your personal blog, then you know how important it is to monitor your web-traffic and keep up with data associated with your visitors.
For years, people have talked about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the use of Google Analytics as a means of driving traffic to your site and then tracking how well those campaigns work.
Another tool that you can add to your belt is Google Search Console. This is the perfect way to help you see just how well your website is performing so that you can make corrections as needed.
What is Google Search Console?
First, let’s look at exactly what this can do for you. Google Search Console started out as Google Webmaster Tools but was rebranded in 2015 to its current name.
The service is free and one that every business should take advantage of. With this service, you can determine:
- How many impressions your website is getting in search results;
- What searches your website is showing up for;
- What errors are popping up on your website;
- If there are issues with web speed;
- What types of devices your visitors are using to access your site;
- Which pages of your website are being indexed by Google;
- If your website is having security issues; and
- What pages on your website are the most read/most popular.
All of this data can then be used to tweak your site to make it the best it can possibly be.
How do I get started with Google Search Console?
The first thing that you need to do is register your website with the service. First, create an account with Google and then sign-in.
Once you are in Google Search Console, you will see a red button that says “Add Property.” Simply type in the web address (URL) of the site you wish to register and then click the red button.
Now that your website has been added, you will need to go to the option that says “Manage Property.” From here, you will need to “Verify this Property.” There are going to be several options at your disposal, including:
- HTML tag
- HTML file upload
- Domain name provider
- Google Analytics
- Google Tag Manager
Each of these are relatively easy methods to verify your website with Google. If you are using Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress website, then you will probably want to use the first option, HTML tag. When you select it, you will be given a code to copy. Then go to your Yoast SEO plugin and access the Webmaster Tools.
You will see a box for the Google verification code. Simply paste the code into this box and save it. You should then be able to go back to the Google Search Console and click on the verify button. You will receive a confirmation message and you are ready to go with GSC.
Add a Sitemap
One more thing that will make your life a lot easier is adding a sitemap. If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, then you don’t have to worry about this—the plugin takes care of it. But if not, go to your console and find the tab designated as “Crawl.” Under this, you will see the option for Sitemaps. Then, you will select “Add/Test Sitemap.” You will then need to type “system/feeds/sitemap” into the box that pops up.
Once you do this, your sitemap has been submitted. This will make it easier for Google to analyze it. It’s not mandatory, but it definitely helps.
If you want to get a competitive edge over other websites, then you need every bit of help that you can get. Google Search Console is a free service, so it just makes sense to take advantage of it. All of the data that you get from this will definitely help you make your website the best it can be.