How To Check Google Search Console (Formerly Google Webmaster Tools) For Potential SEO Issues
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Google Search Console is a free service that Google provides webmasters. It gives us all sorts of insight into the health of our website and what Google would like us to improve in order to rank better in Google search results.
The first thing you need to do is sign up for Google Search Console and verify your site ownership. Here’s a tutorial to help you with that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68rCOBCuDtM
Then, you’ll need to create and add your site maps to Search Console. Here’s a tutorial for that if you need it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GVaJbeoQlw
Once the sitemaps are in, Google will tell you how many of your pages, posts and images are in the search index. This is the first place you’ll want to look to determine the health of your site.
If less that 50% of the pages in your site map are in the search index then you have problems on your site that need attention.
It is very rare to have 100% of your pages in the search index, but you should have at least 80% to 90% in there.
Next, you’ll want to check for crawl errors. These include pages that Google can’t find or redirects that may not be working properly.
Google will give you a list of the URLs at it thinks have problems so that you can investigate further.
Next, check the Robots.txt tester to make sure that your Robots file is not blocking search engines from accessing your site.
If there is a block in the Robots.txt, it is up to the search engines to honor it, but they usually do. It’s a fool-proof way to destroy your search rankings.
I have a video over here where I did an experiment to kill my search traffic by blocking search engines from accessing the site. It works and here’s the proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz-7iSG2CeY
Next up is Security Issues. Google Search Console has a security issues section where it will highlight any problems that it has found on your site.
Address them quickly so that Google has confidence in showing your site to its billions of users.
The last thing to check is the mobile compatibility section. Mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic, so Google puts emphasis on mobile optimized pages. Especially in the mobile rankings.
Yes, Google has a separate ranking index for people on mobile phones.
Make sure your site is mobile responsive.
If there are problems with any of the above you are limiting how well Google is willing to rank your website for any given search term.
All else being equal between you and your competitors, Google will give higher rankings to the site that has no problems identified in the Google search console.
I hope this information helps you! If you have any questions leave a comment below or ping me @WPLearningLab on Twitter.
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