What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a popular, powerful and free SEO-tool. GSC enables webmasters, SEO-consultants and online marketeers to gain important SEO insights and improve the visibility and user-friendliness of their websites. Until a year or two ago, it was called Google Webmaster Tools.
How can I use Google Search Console?
In order to use Google Search Console, a user needs a verified Google Account. Verification can be done in various ways:
- Upload a verification HTML-file to the server
- Add a metatag to the website’s index-page
- Use the asynchronous Google Analytics tracking code
- Add a DNS-record to the website’s configuration
Once verified, a user can login using his Google Account and use all of what Google Search Console has to offer.
Using Google Webmaster Search Console
Google Search Console is a handy SEO tool and can be used for many tasks. Here’s an overview of what can be accomplished with Google Search Console:
- Quickly gain an SEO overview from the Dashboard
- View the website’s rankings on keywords
- View impressions and clicks in Google
- See the keywords and traffic on page level
- Add or configure sitemaps
- Add, test or modify crawling access
- View and demote sitelinks
- Migrate a website to a new domain
- Set canonicals
- Modify the crawl speed
- Configure URL parameters
- See the backlinks that refer to the website
- Disavow bad backinks from black hat SEO
- Insight into the backlinks to deeper pages
- See the amount of keywords on the website
- Check the internal links
- See G+-statistics and branding influence
- Check the website for malware and viruses
- Look into the details of crawling errors
- Find out of your website is being crawled
- Fix 402, 302 en 301 errors
- Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
Notes on Google Search Console
Google Search Console is one of many SEO tools, but often used because of the tie-in with Google and the possibility to integrate Google Search Console with Google Analytics. However, it does have some limitations:
- Google Search Console only provides information from Google and not from other search engines. Because of Google’s huge market share and because Google seems to be more critical than other search engines, this hardly poses a problem.
- Other SEO tools provide insight into a wider range of SEO criteria, such as C-blocks, social media, etc. These tools often have other drawbacks. As Google Search Console is free, it can easily be used as a complementary tool.
- The data in Google Search Console is not updated in real time. The amount of clicks and impressions generated is not highly accurate and it is two weeks behind. The amount of backlinks is usually updated weekly, often on a Tuesday.
- The backlinks shown in Google Search Console are not all of the spidered links. Some (not all) of no-followed links are not included.
All in all, we strongly advise to use Google Search Console when running a website or want to use SEO in your marketing mix. Apart from the webmaster tools, the direct tie-in with Google provides valuable data that cannot be retrieved elsewhere. Perhaps Google Search Console is not the most elaborate of SEO tools (and certainly not the best for enterprise-level SEO), it does a very good job at the SEO basics and is the only SEO tool that allows you to disavow bad backlinks.
To visit Google Search Console, click here.