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How to make the most of Google Search Console

If you are reading this and have used Google Analytics at any point, you’ll surely know what an invaluable tool it is for finding out statistical data from your website. Whether that is individual pages and the views they get or the most popular age demographic that views your content, there is so much to dive into to learn about the inner workings of the site. An essential tool for anyone doing marketing of their site, but as most people install Google Analytics into their code, another important tool is often forgotten; Google Search Console.

Ben Webster

Creative director at 1PCS. Addicted to design, SEO, pizza and helping companies big and small succeed online.

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What is it and what does it do?

Google Search Console is the newish name for what used to be Webmaster Tools. I’ve you’ve been previously familiar which this instead, you’ll know some of the tools already integrated within Search Console, though more features have been added and some have been lost. Search Console is designed to monitor your website more as a whole rather than getting into the nitty-gritty specifics of each page like Google Analytics does.

There are a number of areas and features within the dashboard that do monitor your sites performance, though in a slightly different way. It still shows the number of clicks received from web searches, but a whole host of other statistics relating further to the more technical side of the website.

key Areas

Some of the areas you’ll likely want to pay the most attention to are:

Coverage

Looks at all the pages on your site and identifies errors, warnings and valid pages. This tool will allow you to easily find and fix broken pages within your site, something that Analytics cannot do. These errors can range from your usual ‘Submitted URL not found (404)’ where a page has possibly been removed and another page still links to it, right the way to ‘Redirect error’ whereby the crawl might get stuck in a loop or the URL exceeded the maximum length. Errors should be fixed as soon as possible, but the next level down, Warnings, are advised to be fixed though not 100% necessary. Some cases of this might include pages that have been Indexed by Google, though been blocked by the robots.txt file if one is in place. If you operate a website with a backend facility like WordPress, the admin pages can show in this warning section. Valid pages are just a list of ones with no issues on – great job!

Sitemaps

Is a section that is fairly self-explanatory. This facility is where you submit your website sitemap or plural if you have more than one. The sitemaps main job is to help Google identify what should be shown on a Search Engine Result Page (SERP) and what to leave alone or not bother crawling. Adding the sitemap here will give Google the heads up on any changes, especially if you are launching a new website. Think of a sitemap like the Contents page in a book, easy to read and understand where everything lies in order of hierarchy. Without it, it would take Google a lot longer to index your website and take into account any changes you might make.

Mobile Usability

Again does what it says on the tin. It helps give you an insight into any potential errors in a similar way to the Coverage report, but more tailored specifically to Mobile Devices. Some examples of errors that could be found here are ‘Clickable Elements too close together’, which on a small screen could pose quick difficult and risk mis-clicking, or ‘Content wider than screen’ whereby the user might have to scroll sideways to be able to view the content. In a world that is moving far more towards being on the go and using mobile devices, these errors are important to solve to make sure the user experience is optimal.

Core Web Vitals

is the newest of all of these tools in Search Console. Coming in around the middle of 2020, this feature shows how the pages perform based on actual data from your website. Split between Mobile and Desktop reports, it breaks down URLs by three metrics: LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), FID (First Input Delay) and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). These each pertain to how the page loads for a user and naturally, as covered in one of our other blog posts which you can read here, a pages’ loading speed is very important for the user. Broken down further, URLs within each metric also get a status from Poor to Need Improvement and up to Good if it meets Google’s targets.

In conclusion

Naturally, everyone wants their website to perform as well as possible, and Google Search Console is a very informative tool that should be used along other tools like Google Analytics. It makes breaking down where improvement is needed or errors that require fixing much easier and saves you time trying to find them individually. If you need any assistance with Google Search Console errors or would like us to take a look at your site’s current performance as an audit, here at 1PCS we can help. Give us a call today on 0800 652 0168 to speak to our team or fill out one of the forms on this website and someone will get back to you to discuss your project.

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Article By

Ben Webster

Creative director at 1PCS. Addicted to design, SEO, pizza and helping companies big and small succeed online

Need some help? Pop me an email [email protected]

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