Would you like to know what Google thinks of your website?
You should. Search engines are one of the best ways to get new people to your website, and Google has more than 75% of the search engine market.
The Zeus of Search?
Google is often perceived as a mystical, volatile ruler of the Internet – the Zeus of Search – ready to rain down lightning bolts of destruction on unsuspecting websites on a whim. Poor site structure – zap! Broken links – zap! Animal named updates Penguin, Panda, Pigeon – zap, zap, zap!
While there’s no doubt Google is rather secretive when it comes to its search algorithms and algorithm updates, it has a tremendous amount of highly valuable information about how it perceives and interacts with each individual website and it wants to share the information it has about your website with you in the Google Search Console.
What highly valuable information?
I’m glad you asked. Like I said, Google provides a tremendous amount of information, so let me just highlight 7 items that are among the most useful:
- Crawl errors – lists any problems Google is having viewing your website
- HTML Improvements – lists any problems with title and description tags
- Mobile usability – lists issues mobile devices might have using your web pages
- Manual actions – lists any penalties Google has assessed against your website
- Security issues – lists malware, phishing pages and other security issues
- Links to your website – which websites link to yours and which of your pages is linked to most.
- Search analytics – shows you how many times your website has come up in the search results and how many times your search listing has been clicked for each keyword.
Step 1: Address Search Engine Problems
The first step towards improving any website’s search rankings is to address problems that may be hurting search rankings. Five of the items listed above – crawl errors, HTML improvements, mobile usability, manual actions and security issues – deal directly with problems. Therefore, a critical first step towards better search rankings is to see if your website has any of these problems and eliminate them.
Step 2: Take Advantage of Opportunities
Two of the items listed above – links to your website and search analytics – can help you identify SEO opportunities, whether it be church SEO, small business SEO, or SEO for any other type of organization. Links to your website help to improve search rankings. When you know what sites are linking to yours, it can help you identify similar websites which may link to yours if asked.
Search Analytics shows you how many views and clicks your search listings have gotten for each keyword. It also shows you where your website ranks for each of these keywords. This provides tremendous insight into what keywords to target with your SEO.
How to Get Access to Google Search Console
Gaining access to all this wonderful data in Google Search Console is easy and can be done in less than 5 minutes.
- Go to https://www.google.com/
- Login with your Google/gmail email and password (or create an new Google account)
- Click “Add a Property” and type in the URL of your website
- Verify ownership. Google provides several ways to do this. In my opinion, the easiest way is to use the “HTML file upload.” With this method, you click a link to download a file, then use FTP software or the cPanel file manager to upload the file into your websites main folder (usually “public_html”), then click the “Verify” button on the Google Search Console verification page.
Google has a ton of valuable information about our websites. It wants to share it with us. We just have to access it.
Share your insight
Is your website connected with Google Search Console? If no, why not? If yes, what have you found most useful about it?