We love the data. Has the change you made on your website worked? Do more visitors arrive after talking about a specific topic on your blog? Is the promotion working on social networks? We always want to know more.
One of the great enigmas of the present time in Internet is to know how to position better our web page in Google, the search engine par excellence. Well, today we are going to study an essential tool: Google Webmaster Tools (now known as Search Console).
What is Webmaster Tools? What is Search Console for?
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a set of free tools that Google offers us to optimize, analyze and check the status of our website in its search results.
When Google analyzes the content and structure of your website and detects something strange, Google Search Console have more details about it so you can fix it and make the search engine happy.
To know more in detail the operation of this tool for webmasters is key to be able to optimize your web page. That’s why we are going to see some highlights of Google Search Console so that you can get loose with the tool and it costs you less to start.
How to register your web in Google Webmaster Tools/Search Console
To start seeing your website data in Google Search Console, the first thing you have to do is register your website. For this you need a Google account. Go to the Google Search Console website with your account and you will see the following welcome screen:
At this time you must enter the full web address (URL) of your web page in the text box that appears. Then you click on the add property button and then a view to validate the web will appear:
This step is important, because if you do not validate that you are an owner (or have sufficient permissions) of your website, you can not go ahead and you will not have access to the Google Search Console data (something completely understandable, on the other hand) .
There are several ways to validate your web in Google Search Console, but the most recommended is the one that Google shows you by default, which consists of uploading an HTML file to the root of your WordPress installation (or the system you use on your website). To do this, download the file from Google Search Console (you can see the link in the previous screenshot), upload it to your website via FTP and then click on Verify .
If you have followed the steps correctly, you are finished. You will go directly to the Google Search Console control panel, which we will see below.
The Control Panel of Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console)
The Google Search Console control panel contains a lot of different views with different information about the performance of your website on Google. Let’s see some of the main views in this section so you can learn to move with confidence through the interface.
When you enter the first thing you find is a summary view with information on the current status of your website. Specifically you will see the tracking errors, which shows if the Google bot has found failures when indexing your pages. In addition, you also see search analytics with the number of clicks your website has had on Google results, as well as information about the sitemaps (we will see this later) that you have added in Google Search Console (if you have done so) .
The structured data enrich the information that the search engine finds on your website and thus it is easier to catalog it. To do this you should include structured data on your website , either through your theme or through a WordPress plugin .
Google Search Console has a specific section for structured data that Google detects on your page. Also, in case there are errors in your data, usually because you have left something on a page, from here you can find and solve them. This way in the historical graph you will see the detected errors and, when the solutions and Google correctly index your structured data again, you will see that these disappear.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMP is a project of Google and other organizations to accelerate the loading of web pages on mobile devices. You have an article in more depth in this web about AMP and how to configure it in your web in WordPress .
Google Search Console has a specific section for AMP where it shows the total of pages that you have indexed with support for AMP on your website. Also, if you find compatibility errors with AMP in some you will be able to see it. You even have access to a compatibility test and notify Google when you have fixed the errors so that you can really verify that you have done so.
One of the most important sections of Google Search Console is that of search analytics. From here you can see what are the questions that people ask in Google more frequently and how many clicks your website brings each one. This is perfect to see if you are indexing correctly for the right keywords.
If you see that the keywords that come out do not have much to do with what you want, you already have work to create content that can attract visitors with the desired keywords.
A sitemap is nothing more than an XML file with the list of pages you want Google to index on your web page. There are several plugins in WordPress that can create a sitemap on your website, but if you have installed Yoast SEO, you should know that this plugin already creates the sitemap you want.
Grab the sitemap URL and add it to the Sitemaps section of the Google Search Console so that Google can index those pages more easily. Also, as in the previous cases, if Google has problems to index any of the pages that are listed in the sitemap, it will tell you to fix it.
The future of Google Search Console
Google is updating the interface of Google Search Console and today you can enter to try it. But if you do, keep in mind that it is not yet complete and that there are reports and views that you will only find in the old interface.
The new interface of Google Search Console includes information on the structure of links on your website, where you will find the most linked pages of your website both on your own website and on other websites. You can even know which external websites are the ones that link you the most.
Do you need Webmaster Tools if you use Google Analytics?
The answer is a resounding yes. While Google Analytics focuses on your visitors and their behavior, Google Search Console gives you a point of view more on the side of the search engine itself. With this tool you will know what Google knows about your pages and how they “see” them.
What you should do is combine both tools to get more out of all the analytics and improvement suggestions you will get from this data. If you stay with only one your website will be “lame”. As we always say, the more data you have, the better decisions you can make. So I encourage you to start now with Google Search Console if you have not done it before.
There are thousands of web analytics tools out there. But it is clear that if a tool is given to you by the search engine that will later position you, ignoring it can be fatal. After having read this article on Google Search Console / Webmaster Tools you will no longer have an excuse to get information and improve your website.
With the different views and reports that Google Search Console provides, you have work for a while in terms of optimization. Take a look and I’m sure you’ll find things to make your website better. Leave us your experience in the comments; It sure is very interesting.