If you own a website or manage one, you must know full well how important it is to arm yourself with website analytics tools to help you stay on top of your website’s performance. And if you’re looking to rank well on search engine results, you need to be able to understand how to work the Google Webmaster Console or Search Console.
Google webmasters tools are designed to help you understand how Google sees your website and the factors that might be affecting your site’s traffic. It also provides an insight into what you can do to improve your stats so you can improve your search engine ranks.
The best thing about the Google Search Console is that it is completely free. If you’re a little low on budget and you want to improve conversions from organic searches, this tool is your best friend.
Getting Started with Google Webmaster Console
To start, you need to set up an account with Google Search Console if you have not done so yet. Then you will need to verify your ownership of your website in order to extract traffic data about your site. This is just a simple exercise of adding a property on Search Console and entering your website URL. From there you can proceed to verify the domain. For your Strikingly website, select other verification methods and then select HTML tag. Copy the meta tag provided and proceed to paste this code to your website through the website editor and going to Settings > Advanced > Services. There will be a space provided in that window where the meta tag should go.
Understanding the Dashboard
Once verification is completed, you should start seeing data about your website on the webmaster tools search console. It may take a few hours for you to get this information but Google starts collecting data the moment you add your website to your Search Console. The Overview page gives you a general overview of everything that Search Console extracts from your site - the keywords your content is ranking for as well as your traffic stats, how many sites are linking to yours and how many pages Google has indexed among others. You might also see any errors from this page if Google bot ran into issues crawling your site. Move on to Performance and you will see a more detailed data on your site’s performance as far as Google Search is concerned.
There may be areas of your site that you don’t want Google to crawl - such as pages locked by a username and password (as in the case of member-only pages). You will need to tell Google about these pages to enable the search engine to index your pages and rank them properly. With these tweaks on your website, you should check out the following areas on the Search Console:
This pulls up a report on the pages of your website. It indicates the areas that you don’t want Google to index and lists down pages that have an error, valid with warnings, valid and excluded. The last two will list all pages you want Google to index and those that should be kept private, respectively. Ideally, you want to aim for zero warnings and errors because they are sometimes indicators that you are doing something wrong or that you are getting penalized for anything from duplicate content to incorrect meta tags on your pages. These errors can affect how your pages will rank on relevant searches, and in turn, may bring down your website traffic.
Another important area you should check out every so often is the Manual Actions page. This is where you might find any spam reports made by a human against your website. You should only see a message that says “No issues detected” on this page but if you do find any other thing that comes up, you must make sure that you fix it as soon as possible.
The Links page provides a report on all internal and external links that your website is receiving, where they are linking to and what the links say. Internal links are those that are linking from within your website while External links are those coming from another website or page. Links are like votes of confidence on your website. It is important to ensure that you’re receiving links from reputable domains and websites. One of the best ways to improve your website rank is by getting a lot of other websites to link to your site.