One of the biggest problems facing many companies is growing their organic traffic. They contact agencies like ours to find out what we can do to increase the number of visitors they have on a monthly basis. One of the first questions we ask them is, can we see your Google Search Console (GSC) or Webmaster Tools? ((WMT), which is what I call it most of the time)
So often they respond with the fact that they don’t use it or it was never set up. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons. First, we lose a lot of historical data, second there are a number of SEO related items that we can’t do without it. So let’s take a look at how we use the Search Console to create better SEO.
There are a number of paid tools that you can use to see your link profile. But there are none that are as accurate to the search engines than getting it straight from Google. Google will tell you who’s linking and how many links they’re giving you.
If you’re looking for link opportunities, finding similar places that you’ve already gotten links from certainly won’t hurt your chances.
Search Volume Metrics
How many times did your website show up for a search that you want it to come up for? Do you know what your click through rate or rankings are for that? Google will tell you that information. If you’re showing up for important searches but you’re not getting clicks, you can optimize your pages around those searches to improve that CTR.
Google doesn’t give a ton of information away for free, but they will tell you where you’re having errors, or where they see errors. Finding those 404 errors, or server errors and fixing them will help your website perform better for users, and the search engines.
Once they’re fixed you can have those pages checked and re-indexed for Google.
Updating Your Sitemaps
While Google crawls your website on a regular basis, finding all of the pages that you’ve created and corresponding internal links can take it time. One way to make sure that it’s happening is to update your sitemaps on a regular basis. The search console has a tool to resubmit site maps that makes this easy.
If you add a sitemap for any reason you can pull that information easily (extra easy if you use Yoast) and get that put into the crawled sitemaps for the future.
It’s true, there are lots of paid applications that help you with much of this data, but why pay for something when you have a tool like GSC that you can utilize to learn a lot about your website, and conversely, for Google to learn a lot about it. These four aspects will help your SEO by giving you and Google as much information as possible to make site changes that will impact your rankings.