In 2015, Google’s Webmaster Tools changed their name to Search Console. This particular site is extremely useful for the website owners but is somewhat overwhelming for those who are unsure how to use. Below is a guide on the available free tools and how website owners can use Search Console for their sites. Webmaster Tools is an important part in link building strategies.
To begin with, the user will need to sign up for an account on Google Search Console. Once the account has been created, and the user has signed in, the user is given a choice to add in their new site. Once the website URL has been entered the message “Next Step: Verify your Site” will come up. Once the site has been verified the user can access crawl errors and comprehensive statistics about all the pages featured on the site.
Once the “Verify your site” tab has been chosen, there are two options available to the user. The first would be to use the meta tag which Google will provide for the website. The second choice would be to add a page or file to the site with the specified name which Google will provide. With either of these options, the user can verify their website within a short few minutes. Once the user has conducted the required changes, a confirmation message will be displayed that the site is verified. Once this happens, the user is offered with full access to each of the tools.
In Search Console, four main tabs include Diagnostics, Statistics, Links, and Sitemaps
In this tab, the user will first be able to view the summary screen that shows the date that the homepage was crawled last and the index status. If pages on the site have not been indexed the user can submit their site to Google. Also featured on this summary page will be valuable information related to issues that the Googlebot has experienced previously in crawling the site. This shows the amount of pages that feature some of the following: unreachable URLs, URLs restricted by robots.txt, URL’s which have timed out and HTTP errors.
The user will want these amounts to below and preferably zero. If the Googlebot cannot access pages they won’t feature in search results and in addition the other pages on the site can be penalized in association to search rankings. There are a couple of ways to amend this issue, the user can create a page or file with a URL that Google will not be able to find and use the 301 redirect to a page that the user wants this link to direct to.
The 1st page in this tab will show the crawl stats. This features a chart that shows the distribution related to Google’s PageRank for the pages. The information is somewhat limited as it only shows a category of low, medium or high or “not yet assigned.” This tool is mainly used to ensure that there haven’t been any significant changes that have happened to the users PageRank.
This tab shows the users some links each page is receiving internally and externally. Also, the user can see the pages that link to them.
When accessing the Link tab, external links data is displayed. Every page on the site which has external pages that link to the page is listed. This tool is helpful as it helps the user to see the pages that are receiving inbound links as well as the ones that are not.
When clicking on the tab “Internal links,” the data is similar to the external links. These internal links are described as pages on the site which link to the other pages on the site. This structure has an impact associated with the pages on the site that search engines view as the more important ones. For this reason, the user should ensure that these “most important pages” feature various links from the other pages that are featured on the site.
The last tab known as Sitemaps is extremely useful for getting all the pages on the site indexed by Google. The XML sitemap shows Google that each page forms a part of this website. If the user has submitted their sitemap to Google it will be listed on this screen as “Sitemap status, ” and it should be saying “Ok.”
If the user has not yet submitted their sitemap, they can create one by visiting www.xml-sitemaps.com whereby one will be set up for the user. Once created it needs to be uploaded to the website. Now the user should go back to their Sitemaps tab and use the link to “Add a Sitemap.” When clicking on this link, the user is asked to enter information that will tell Google where they can find the sitemap. Familiarizing webmaster tools could help you improve your local seo.