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Optimise Your Blog with Google Search Console: A Treasure Trove of Traffic

Posted By Guest Blogger 2nd of August 2016 Search Engine Optimization 0 Comments

eDLHCtzRR0yfFtU0BQar_sylwiabartyzel_themapBy ProBlogger SEO Expert Jim Stewart of BloggersSEO.com.

Google Webmaster Tools had outgrown its moniker and become such an invaluable tool for more than just webmasters – SEO professionals, business owners, app developers, web marketers, for example – that Google thought it apt to rename it to suit a more diverse user base. Hence in 2015 it was renamed Google Search Console.

So for those new to Google Search Console, what is it?

Google Search Console is a free service that allows you to monitor and maintain your website when analysing search results. I cannot stress how important it is to implement the use of Google Search Console on your blog, as I see far too many bloggers ambling along without it when it can add invaluable insight into how you should be optimising your blog’s performance.

Google Search Console offers in-depth knowledge about your website. Whereas Google Analytics tells you how your users reached your site, the Google Search Console tells you how the Googlebot sees your site. This includes all errors it encounters, how quickly pages load, who else is linking to your site as well the ability to submit sitemaps and what users type into Google to find your site.

So now you understand how imperative it is that you implement Google Search Console on your blog. It will help you understand how Google views your website so you can optimise its performance for better search results.

Adding Your Site in Google Search Console

If you’ve never used Google Search Console before, the first step is to add your site and verify it. Google needs to know that you are the site’s owner, webmaster, or authorised user. Once established, Google Search Console will give you all the insights into the inner workings of your site, and that’s not something you want an unauthorised user to have access to.

It’s a simple process to add your site to Search Console. Firstly, log in to your Search Console account with your Google account here and enter the URL of your selected site in the box next to “Add Property.” Once you’ve typed in the URL, simply click on the “Add Property” button and voila! Your site has now been added to your Search Console account.

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You will then have to verify your site. If you are on WordPress, this is straightforward.

Verifying Via WordPress

If you are on WordPress using the Yoast plugin, verification is straightforward via the Webmaster Tools tab.

Go to your Search Console account; enter your site URL into the “Add a Site” box and click continue. You will then need the verification code. Use the HTML tag under the Alternative Method. Only copy the code that is in the parenthesis after “content.”

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Then log into your WordPress site. On the left side of the dashboard is a menu. Click on “SEO.” On the drop-down, click on “General.”

Click on the “Webmaster Tools” tab and copy the code into the “Google Search Console” section. Click “Save Changes.”

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Go back to your Google Search Console account and click on “Verify.” All things being equal you should now have connected and verified your site. You are now ready to submit a sitemap.

How to Submit a Sitemap

Sitemaps are files that give search engines and web crawlers important information about your site regarding how it is organised and the type of content your site contains. Other information is included, such as how often your site is updated, metadata, and information about videos and images.

Submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console ensures Google is more efficient when crawling your site. You won’t be penalised for not submitting a sitemap, so don’t think it’s compulsory. It is beneficial to submit a sitemap, especially if your site is new, or you have a large site with many pages that aren’t well linked.

Go to your Search Console dashboard and select the site you wish to submit a map for. (You may have more than one in your account.) Select “Crawl” from the menu and “Sitemaps” under that. There is a button in the top right hand corner marked “Add/Test Sitemap.” Clicking on it will bring up a text box into which you can type the location of your sitemap. If you used Yoast to generate your sitemap it can be found at /sitemap_index.xml or /sitemap.xml.

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Once you press “Submit Sitemap,” you have successfully submitted a sitemap!

Finding Site Errors

At some time or another, regardless of how fastidious you are, chances are high that your website will experience errors. Before you are notified of errors through your readership, you can use Google Search Console to notify you of problems. If you wish to check a site for errors, click on “Crawl” on the dashboard and then select “Crawl Errors.”

This will take you to the crawl errors page, which displays any site or URL errors found by Google’s bots whilst indexing the page. They are displayed in a graph with the errors listed at the foot of the page. Clicking on them will reveal a description and further details. You should make a habit of recording any site errors you’ve discovered. Capture screenshots if possible. Notify the person who is responsible for fixing said errors (if that isn’t you!) so the problems can be rectified.

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There are so many more features in Google Search Console that I hope to cover in future articles, for now I hope you can now see how important it is to set up Google Search Console for your site. It truly is the command centre of your website, offering valuable visitor statistics, error identification and location, alongside the ability to use this information to optimise your site to streamline performance and increase your readership. This guide should make it easy to set up and verify Google Search Console, making it work for you.

Jim Stewart, CEO of BloggersSEO, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques.What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  • Google search console is a must especially since Google analytics provides such minimal information nowadays. I use search console to get an idea of what keywords are performing the best. With this knowledge in hand I can create blog post that rank well in the search engines.

  • I’m having a concern with site errors. How do you fix this? I tried to fix some of the errors myself but when I get back to the console the error is showing again? Does it take days to update?

    Thanks!

    • Yes, I was also facing the same problem. Yes, some time it takes time to update.

    • I’m agree with #AndrewWise. This is happening with my website also. Ranking’s are also fluctuating.

      Thank You!!!

    • Vi

      Andrew,
      did you mark that error as fixed in your search console?

    • If you have fixed the error, mark it as fixed in Google search console. If it is not fixed Google will display it again

    • Hi Jim, It takes a couple of days for the errors to disappear from Search Console.

  • How much time does it take to complete a sitemap submission? I had submitted sitemap of my new site and it still shows pending. Your article is informative, explains about how to sign up into Google Webmaster tools. Thank You.

    • It really depends on the size of your site but I would hope by now Google has found it?

  • @Jim Stewart, it was a nightmare of my life when I got 1200+ 404 errors on search console. Is there any tip to fix it without wasting time.

    • I usually sort by date so you can see if they all occurred around the same time. This will help to pin point if there was a change to the website. If they are really old errors and they no longer exist mark as fixed. Also have a look at the “linked from” tab if the links have.

      • Thank You @Jim for your kind reply. Yes, they are old ones and I’ll try your tip. :D

  • Hi Jim,

    Excellent breakdown of something I feel allergic too. I have despised stats for much of my blogging career because they weren’t at where I wished them to be. Then, by taking my head out of the sand, I learned from these numbers versus fearing them.

    I need to sign up my blog for Google Search Console once it goes live again. Maintenance mode for a big design overhaul.

    It’s simple to set it from what I see and the benefits are numerous.

    I just feel so many bloggers ignore metrics – as I did for most of my online career – as a self-sabotaging method. Something that’ll guarantee their blogging failure. Because deep down most folks are tied heavily to outcomes and if growth does not satisfy them, the attachment lead to desperation and failure versus a careful, detached analysis of how things are, so you can learn from them.

    I’m mentioning this because I guarantee many bloggers who read these comments are nodding heads in agreement with the old, loathing metrics me, so maybe my insight can give them a reality check leading to a more intelligent, successful, studious, analytical approach to blogging.

    Blog from your heart. First and foremost. But be open to learning continually about your metrics without becoming obsessed with them. Delicate act for sure but if you dive in with both feet, embrace your fears and most of all, if you’re open to learning, you’ll take your head out of the sand too. For your benefit and for your reader’s benefit.

    Thanks for the helpful share Jim. I definitely learned a bunch today.

    Ryan

    • This is why I’m so excited about helping bloggers with their SEO. You’re already doing the hard part. Publishing from the heart. The easy bit is the configuration side of things.

  • Thank you for your article. I know that you prefer bloggers use wordpress but I did so for 2 years till I lost all my blog posts and I couldn’t get help from any support service and then moved to squarespace.com.

    Do you have a similar workflow for squarespace customers?

  • Plus don’t forget to add both your “www” and “non-www” of your site.
    Connect your Google Search Console with Google Analytics to make better understanding of your content.

    • Yep good point Kevin, Google will send you a reminder email to this once you setup your first one.

  • Ben

    Thanks for the reminder about the Google Search Console. I hadn’t visited mine in a while. It’s great for reporting crawl errors and other things that affect how you appear on Google. I recently switch to Yoast’s SEO plugin, so I need to change my site map. I also moved a handful of pages and had forgotten to put up a 301 redirect to tell Google where they went, so I had some missing page errors.

    The real power, at least for me, is in the Search Traffic section. The keywords that people are using can give you ideas for future blog posts. Comparing impressions with clicks will let you know what pages could use better meta titles and descriptions. Seeing what other websites are linking to you is interesting too.

    • Yeah the info inside Search Analytics is gold! Very under utilised.

  • Its amazing how many SEO consultants I have spoke to knew nothing about the tools from Google until it would come up in a conversation.

    I am constantly logged into webmaster tools, checking on things for clients or our own wevbsites.

  • Google Search Console is must if someone wants to rank high on Google search results..Nicely Written Post

  • This is why I’m so excited about helping bloggers with their SEO. You’re already doing the hard part. Publishing from the heart. The easy bit is the configuration side of things.

  • Hi, thanks for the informative post. Yes, Google search console is a must-have for every blog owner. However, I’m facing problems in verifying multiple versions of my blog on search console.

    How to verify different versions of my blog with Yoast SEO plugin? If you’ve any idea, please help me.

    Thanks in advance