Hi everyone! If you aren’t familiar with Google Search Console or you don’t use it much, this is the blog post for you.
I will explain why it’s important to use Google Search Console and show you how. It just may be your key to improving your website traffic.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a blog, a website or an eCommerce site, you should be using Google Search Console weekly if not daily. First, let me explain what Google Search Console is.
Google created a no-charge console for webmasters to monitor and maintain their site’s presence and performance. It previously was called Google Webmaster Tools, but as of May 2015 it was re-branded as the Google Search Console. These are all the things you can do with it:
- Upload a Sitemap and make sure Google can access your content. This is really a big deal. You could have your site down and sitting forever without realizing that Google can’t see it because of an error in your sitemap.
- Submit new pages, posts or content for crawling. Why wait for Google to crawl you to find your new content, instead give it the URL so it gets indexed faster.
- Monitor and fix malware issue. Google Search Console will notify you if you have a malware problem and once you have fixed it you can request for Google to check your site again.
- Monitor your queries. Google provides you with queries, so you know what content is appealing to users. You can also see what queries performed better than others.
- Google lets you know which sites are linking to you. Good SEO requires backlinking from external websites, in the Google Search Console you can see what sites are linking back to you and how many.
- You will also be able to see how your mobile site performance is.
So the first thing you need to do is go to the Console and create an account: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en
Add your Website by typing in the URL and clicking on the “Add A Property” red button.
You will notice that you have a menu board on the left side of the page. It looks like this:
The first thing you need to do is submit a Sitemap.
HOW DO I SUBMIT A SITEMAP?
Well first you have to see if you have one already. If you are using Yoast for SEO, I suggest you install the plug-in “Google XML Sitemaps“. Yoast is a great SEO tool but I’ve had some problems with their Sitemap functionality. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If you don’t use anything for SEO, then you should install the Yoast Plug-in, it’s free and the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
Once the plug-in is installed you need to go to your “Settings” menu and then “XML Sitemap”.
In the first top box, 4th line down it will start by saying “Notify Search Engines about your sitemap or your main sitemap and all sub-sitemaps now. Click the link “sitemap” in that sentence. By doing that you just submitted your sitemap to Google!
Next you need to manually test your sitemap in the Google Search Console.
Go back to the Console, go to “Crawl” and then “Sitemaps” from the left side menu.
Click on the red button “Add/Test Sitemap”. You will type in sitemap.xml
Click on Test and then it will tell you if the test worked. If it worked, then you need to submit your sitemap. Click on the red button “Add/Test Sitemap”. You will type in sitemap.xml and then click on the blue “Submit” button. Check back later on this page to make sure your sitemap went through and is showing. It normally will say “pending” for a while.
NOTE: It is a good idea to check at least once a week that your site map is working and doesn’t have any errors. You can go to the sitemap page and it will say. If it has errors, you won’t get crawled and your ranking will drop right away.
SUBMIT YOUR PAGES FOR INDEXING
This is one of the greatest tools that the Google Search Console offers. You can submit your pages regularly so that Google indexes your pages timely.
From the Console menu go to “Crawl” and “Fetch as Google”.
Initially you will want to submit all of your pages, so leave the box blank and click “Fetch”.
Then you can request indexing, by clicking “Request Indexing” and a submit method box will pop up like this:
Make sure to click in the “I’m not a robot” box, then choose “Crawl this URL and it’s direct links” and then click “Go”. This will crawl all of pages and index them. When you need to add a new page you just corrected, instead of leaving that box blank, you put in the new URL and then choose “Crawl only this URL”.
Things to know…
- You only get “Crawl this URL and it’s direct links” 10 times a month, use it sparingly.
- You can add up to 500 URLs monthly by choosing “Crawl only this URL”. So go crazy with this one!
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M GETTING INDEXED?
You can check your indexing by going to the Index Status menu. Click on “Google Index” and then “Index Status”.
This page will show you how many pages have been indexed. If you just requested indexing, it could take up to a week to show or it may show the next day. You just never know.
Google Search Console does a lot more so take a look around and if you need more direction, click on the Help button on the top right corner of the console for detailed information and a help forum. I hope this post has given you some basic knowledge, so that you can maintain your website through the console efficiently! I hope that I have shown you why it’s important to use Google Search Console.
My whole purpose of creating It’s the Journey Blog was to help others like me move along in creating an online business of their own. If this has helped you please comment below and if there is anything you would like for me to cover in another post, please feel free to comment or contact me by email. Happy Blogging!
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