Use Google Search Console to refine your SEO

You’ve worked hard to optimize your content for search engines. You’ve used headings properly in your content and added meta tags to images, you’ve added excerpts to your content, you’ve set up permalinks to help your SEO rank, and you’ve gleaned information from our SEO tips to help you along the way. But how do you know if your hard work is paying off? Sure, you can see a plugin like Jetpack to see how many people are finding your website from Google, but that only tells you part of the story. Thankfully, Google Search Console can help you fill in the gaps, as it provides valuable information about how people are finding your site.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a tool Google provides website developers. If you have a Google account, you can connect it to Google Search Console to find out detailed information about how people find your website through Google searches.

Google Search Console provides three main services:

  1. Check your top pages on Google Search: This shows you which pages on your site Google is directing its visitors to visit.
  2. See which queries trigger your site: See what search queries people are using to find your website. Results are listed in the number of clicks on your site.
  3. Monitor errors on your site: See what URLs on your site produce errors when visited. For example, if you have deleted a page that Google had indexed, you’ll see it listed here.

How do I get Google Search Console for my site?

Visit google.com/webmasters to register for Google Search Console. You’ll need a Google account to sign up. After you register, you’ll be required to add a file to your website to verify it’s yours. Use FTP to upload the file. Once you’ve linked your site to Google Search Console, Google will take a couple of days to index your site and then you’ll be able to view the services mentioned above.

Is there anything else I need to know?

To get the most out of Google Search Console, consider the following:

Multiple “properties”

Google considers each protocol and subdomain on your site to be a separate “property” and each must be registered. This means that, for example, you’ll need to register the www subdomain and also register the HTTPS protocol if you have a secure site. In fact, MPWR Design has 4 “properties” registered, https://mpwrdesign.com, https://mpwrdesign.com, https://www.mpwrdesign.com, and https://www.mpwrdesign.com, even though traffic from the other three redirects to https://mpwrdesign.com. You’ll want to consider every combination for your own site as well.

Sitemaps

One tool you can use to help Google index your site is a sitemap. An RSS feed works well as a sitemap, and many plugins can also create a sitemap for your site. Yoast SEO can build a sitemap, and specialized plugins like Google XML Sitemaps can as well. Don’t use more than one XML plugin as they can conflict with each other, but using one is a good idea to help Google find your content.

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