- Let's take a look at how do you use the very basics of Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools to learn what information Google has about your website, how it views your website's overall performance in search and how we can use it to provide Google with instructions around how to best crawl and index your pages. The first step is to go to search.google.com/searchconsole and sign into your account. This requires a Google account and if you don't already have one you can head over to google.com/accounts to create one. Once you're logged in, you'll want to start by adding a property. In this case, we'll use www.explorecalifornia.org. And you'll see that the first choice we have is domain. With this option, you can verify all your URLs in one account, and you'll need to be able to verify domain ownership using a DNS record. This option is handy if you have a lot of sub domains or sites under your main domain. The most common method though is by URL prefix. So let's go ahead and choose this option to get started. Remember there's a difference between the HTTPS and HTTP protocols, and here we'll use the secure HTTPS version. When you first sign up, Google will need to verify that you actually own this domain and that you're authorized to see some critical details of this website. So there are a few different verification methods that you can choose from. You or your webmaster can upload a specific HTML file to your site. You could add a specific meta tag to your source code or make a small change to your site's DNS record to prove that this site is yours. Another helpful option is the Google Analytics or tag manager access method, which you can use if you're using these services and have administrative access to the account. Once you've verified a website, you'll see it in your top left navigation, and clicking on it will bring up a dashboard and menu of all the different areas of the search console. Let's go ahead and walk through some of the most important items using the menu as our guide. And we're also going to switch into one of the views of my own site, as it has more interesting things to look at than the Explore California demo site that we've been using. First, you'll want to notice the site messages area. This is where warnings, alerts or information that pertains to your site will surface. And it's important to check in here from time to time. Next, you'll notice where we entered is a condensed view of some of your key reports and clicking on the overview in the navigation will always bring you back here. If you want to quickly look up a page to inspect it maybe you want to see if Google has indexed it for example, you can always use the URL inspection box at the top of the page. Okay, let's start with performance. In this section, you can use the search results reports to see some interesting details about your organic search visibility. You can basically come at this data from two directions. First, the queries that your website is showing up for and being clicked on in search results and second, the pages that are showing up. You can see impressions as well as how many clicks you've received, for different keywords or pages. And you can also see the average positions your site was ranking in for different keywords over a given period of time. There are also some filters to help you drill into performance on different countries, different devices and more. Some sites will also notice a discover report. This is a report that will show you what and how often your content appeared in Google's Discover. Let's move on to the index section. The coverage report takes a deep dive into any issues or problems Google may have when trying to index your content. And this report can be a big help. It includes common errors, but also reports on potential duplicate content, block content, and even crawl anomalies. Crawl errors can hurt you in the Google search results. So it's important to identify the type of error that's affecting your different URLs, and take the appropriate steps to resolve those errors. This may include things like implementing 301 redirects removing references to pages that are no longer a part of your site, or fixing some web server configurations. But finding out about them is the first step to addressing them. Site maps allows you to submit your XML site maps to Google. And remember you can have many different types. For example, in addition to a site map outlining the content pages across your site, we've also seen video site maps, and there are also image and mobile site map formats. Search Console will report any issues with your submitted URLs in the coverage report. Last, if you have any content you don't want the search engines to index like pages for your logged in users or development areas of your website, you can submit them here using the remove URLs functionality. Be careful though, you can remove an entire site by putting in the root domain URL. You'll want to make sure you're specifying the correct pages or sections of your site. It's also important to note that any URLs blocked using this method are only removed for six months. So you'll need to set up a reminder to resubmit URLs for ongoing blocking. And remember to block content longterm you should really be using one of the other methods we've talked about earlier in this course. Let's look at the enhancement section, starting with the core web vitals report. This report gives you insights into page performance on both mobile and desktop, and you'll be able to view how your site performs when examining three key metrics, LCP, a measure of how much time it takes to render the largest content element visible in the viewport. FID which measures any user interaction delays, and CLS which measures how much a page layout shifts during the loading. These metrics are ranking signals. So you'll want to check this report regularly, and address any issues you might find. The mobile usability report tells you about any issues your content may be having on mobile devices, and the accelerated mobile pages section will return errors or warnings about your amp pages. Assuming you're using amp. You'll also want to check the security and manual actions reports often. These areas are good places to find information about any malware, or evidence of hacking taking place on your site. Or if Google has applied a manual action to the site that may stop it from showing up in the search. In the link section, you'll find reports that give you an idea of which of your pages are being linked to from external sources and who is linking to you. These can be extremely important in your off page optimization efforts. And you'll also see information about your internal linking which can help your on-page optimization efforts. There are of course, more tools and reports to explore. And while we'll dive into many of them in other videos in this course, you should continue to explore on your own and be on the lookout for new features. Through its Search Console, Google has done a pretty good job of letting you know, how it views your pages and allowing you to provide input into what it knows about you. Staying on top of Google Search Console month after month is an endeavor that will keep you informed and aware of any issues as well as just how well your strategies are paying off.
- Define search engine optimization.
- Explore the fundamentals of reading search engine results pages.
- Examine the essentials of understanding keyword attributes.
- Break down the steps for optimizing the non-text components of a webpage.
- Recognize how search engines index context.
- Explore an overview of long-term content planning strategies and how they can help keep content on your site fresh.
- Define your website’s audience, topics, angle, and style when mapping out your long-term content.
- Identify the steps to take when building internal links within your website.
- Recognize how to analyze links in order to measure SEO effectiveness.
- Break down the necessary components for understanding local SEO.