July 8, 2015
Do you want to see an in depth look into how your site is performing in Google? Webmaster Tools, recently renamed Search Console, shows you potential problem areas that need to be fixed so you can improve your rankings quickly and strategically.
Your website is a treasure chest of information that can help you improve your business. A large amount of the analytical data that you can and should be studying is available in Search Console.
You’ll find a detailed list of Search Console’s main features at the end of this post for you to use when you want.
The 2 main areas we will look at today will be:
- Webmaster Tools / Search Console Sign Up
- Preferred Domain
Let’s start by looking at the Search Console sign up process.
How do I sign up for Search Console?
Part 1: Signup/Login
- Visit the Google Webmasters Search Console sign-up page
- Click the “Sign in to Search Console” button. Sign into your existing Google account or create a new account by clicking “Create an account” just below the sign-in box.
- Once you’ve logged in head over to Search Console
Part 2: Add Property
- Once inside webmaster tools you just need to type in the URL for your website and click the red “Add Property” button.
- You’ll then be asked to verify the property, this can be done a number of ways, but Google recommends uploading an HTML file to your server and then visiting a specific URL to verify that the new file has been uploaded properly.
- Alternatively you can use an HTML tag on your homepage, your domain name provider, Google Analytics, or Google Tag Manager.
- Once you’ve completed the verification process you’ll be able to access the Search Console home area.
- Click on the link to view the dashboard and tools area, but keep in mind data will not be populated into the fields right away. You will see results in the coming days for you to reference as your base performance level.
What is your preferred Domain and why does it matter?
We all spend some time carefully selecting the domain we want our website to have with the hopes that one day it will be the foundation of our modern business. You purchase one domain from a provider, but it reality you are getting two domains.
Your 2 domains are:
When people link back to your website they either enter the “www.” or they leave it out. This creates an issue where quality backlinks to your website are getting lost. Google awards you search rankings based on many factors, but especially links. If each link to your website was the rung of a ladder that moved you up in rankings you would only be counting the links to 1 of your domain variations without your preferred domain set.
Setting your preferred domain allows you to make all backlinks to your website use the same formatting and quickly improve your search results!
There are a few ways to set your preferred domain in Search Console and they are thoroughly explained on Google’s website. You’ll need to use the steps described above to verify both your “www.” and non “www.” website links.
Next week we will be taking a detailed look into proper structured data and how it can benefit your search results. We also look at how the knowledge graph is stealing clicks from relevant websites in search. Sign up for our newsletter to receive important Webmaster Tips each week just after the List of Search Console Features.
Search Console List of Features
- Your Preferred Domain – What link you want Google to use for your website
- Structured Data Analysis
- Structured Data Highlighter
- Add basic markup to your pages
- HTML Improvements
- Meta Tags & Non Indexable Content
- Site links
- Links that appear under your site’s search results in Google
- Search Analytics
- Analyzing and comparing search performance based on queries, Impressions, Click Through Rate, and Position in search results.
- Links To Your Site
- Who links to you
- What content they link to
- The words used to describe the links
- Internal Links between your own website content
- Manual Actions
- Google takes manual actions to remove spam or malicious behaviour from search results violations to quality guidelines.
- International targeting
- Targeting Your Audience based on location and language settings.
- Mobile Usability
- Issues that prevent your site from working it’s best on mobile devices.
- Index Status
- Pages Indexed and Pages Blocked
- Content Keywords
- List of the most widely used keyword phrases on your website with variations and where they are being used the most.
- Blocked Resources
- Remove URLs
- Ask Google to remove certain URLs from their search results that may be missing or negatively impact your search results.
- Crawl Errors
- Missing pages, broken redirects, DNS, Server Connectivity, Robot.txt
- Crawl Stats
- Google’s crawling history for your website.
- Fetch As Google
- Code error tests, and render error tests for your webpages.
- robots.txt Tester
- Test if your pages are being blocked from search engine crawls.
- Create, submit, and review sitemaps for google to better index your content.
- URL Parameters
- Advanced ability to exclude URLs from search.
- Google monitors if your site has been hacked, and emails you if they find anything.