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SEO101: Beginners’ Guide to Google Search Console or GWT

Are you a blogger, digital marketer, blogger or you are aspiring to be an SEO manager? If it’s a ‘YES’ to any of these categories of internet workers, then you will gladly agree with me that there’s no true love on the internet than the one gotten from Google! This world largest search engine can help you in getting unique visitors or traffic to your website or business in order to boost your sales (and income) through these organic traffic as a result of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If .you have not being getting this type of ‘Love’ from Google, then you need to start optimizing your Website for them by getting started with Google Search Console or Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).

What is Google Search Console or GWT?

Google Search Console is previously known as Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). This is a very special and great tools by Google that helps a webmaster or blogger know about his website’s performances on the web including the good sides and how to fix any error that arises. It’s one of the best tools on the internet for successive digital marketing or website behavior’s tracking.

It will help you understand what your audience have been looking for and how you can meet up with their expectations. GWT is a great tools that will aid your Search Engine Optimization, gets you more organic traffic, boost your visibility and sales.

But, this precious tool is crude if it has not been set up. If you are a beginner or you think of revamping your GWT settings, this blog post will help you on how you can optimize your website for search engines through Google Search Console or GWT.

READ: Complete Blogspot SEO Tutorial With SEO Plugin for Blogger

So let start:

How to Optimize Your Website for SEO Using Google Search Console or GWT

Here is the complete steps to setting up GWT:

  1. Adding your website
  2. Submitting your sitemap
  3. Submitting your Robots.txt file
  4. settings

Adding Property (Website URL)

This is the first thing you must do after you might have created an account with Google Search Console (which is free). After login in to your account you will have to add a property which is your website URL. To add and verify your ownership, click on ‘SETTINGS’ at the right side on the homepage and after adding, you will have to verify the ownership through any of these four methods below:

  1. Adding a DNS record to your domain’s configuration
  2. Adding a Meta tag to your website or blog
  3. Uploading a given HTML file to your server
  4. Linking your google analytics account to Google Search Console.

These four methods of proving your website ownership with GWT are all working fine but some are technical especially for newbies. So, I’ll advice that you choose the second method, ‘Adding a Meta tag to your website or blog‘.

If you choose 2nd method, you will be given a code that look like this: < meta content=’DHFYFHgnfgfgmfpAqg_jffjgfjflkfgkfdlg;dlgkf;dkdl: name=’google-site-verification’’ />… Copy the code to and paste it in your after <head> in your theme or template.

If you are on WP, you can use a Free WordPress Plugin such as ‘Insert Header and Footer’ plugin by Wpbeginner. Simply paste this plugin in the <header> section and save.

After pasting the code given to you, wait for at least two minutes. Then go back to your GWT account and click on ‘VERIFY’ which is right below the method of verification you chose earlier. Remember not to make a mistake of clicking anywhere else than the one under the method you chose.

After clicking on VERIFY, you should get a congratulation message. If you didn’t get such message, you need to read the step all over again and try doing it again.

Submitting Your Sitemap

After you have successfully add your website to GWT, the next thing is to submit your sitemap to Google through your GWT account.

Submitting your Sitemap is a way of telling Google that you are ready to accept love from them. This will help google discover the pages on your website and index them for ranking which will in return brings organic traffic to your website (true love indeed)!

Failure to submit your sitemap to Google won’t get your site penalized but don’t expect much traffic. A sitemap is in XML format and any format other than this is no more a sitemap again.

A sitemap can contain 50,000 URLs and I’m this is enough for you.

How do I get Sitemap for my website?

If you are using WordPress, then Plugin like Yoast, All-in-One SEO pack will automatically generate a sitemap for your website. But if you are not okay with it, you can create your own sitemap or generate it here and submit it to google through the Google Search Console.

If you just create or generate your sitemap, it should end with www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml or something similar. Go to your dashboard and click on ‘Sitemap’ which is at the right side of your Google Search Console homepage (below ‘Coverage’), just add sitemap.xml in the box provided and submit again.

After submitting your sitemap, Google will start indexing your pages and tell you how much more your pages are indexed. All your web pages may not indexed and this shouldn’t call for alarm, rather work more on those pages to rank it with unique contents, good H1-H6 use, interlinking and backlinking.

Submitting Your Robots.txt File

You have successfully add your website and submitted it to GWT, the next thing is to tell Google what to crawl for indexing and what you don’t want google to crawl. To set this, you need a Robots.txt file.

Note that ‘Sitemap.xml’ file is different from ‘Robots.txt’ file. Sitemap will tell google about the existence of your website and its pages while Robots.txt will tell google bots (and other search engines’ bots) about what to crawl in your website for ranking. Also through this file, you can block all search engines’ bot from crawling some area or pages in your website such as admin area, theme, plugins etc.

If you are not a tech savvy, you may need to hire an SEO expert like us (contact us here) to do the dirty work for you because if you ignorantly mishandle everything in your robots.txt file, Google and other search engines won’t rank your website. It is better you choose not to do anything than to do something that will ruin your website SEO.

If you cannot write your own Robots.txt file, use an online generator to freely generate a good one. Before you finally submit a robots.txt file, make sure you test it.

NOTE: As soon as you finished with these three settings, ‘Adding of property, Submitting Sitemap & Robots.txt’, you should rest assured about 20% of your Onpage SEO setup as google will start crawling and indexing your website. After few hours, your website stats will start showing on your dashboard and different matter that arises on your website pertaining to its performance will be sent to you on regular basis.

To submit a Robots.txt file, you will have to switch back to the previous Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) and do anything you like with your Robots.txt file.

GWT is a golden tools that will help you keep track your website performances and tell you what you need to do in order to make any rectification.

After doing those three basic and most important steps above, the next thing is to get more familiar with Google Search Console or GWT so that you will be able to do the needful when any matter arises. So, let start the orientation on GWT:

Getting Familiar with Google Search Console or GWT settings

At the right side in this dashboard page, there are some tools you should know about and I’m going to tell you how you can use these precious tools to boost your website performances and keep your eyes opened on your SEO. They are:

  • The dashboard or Overview: This is the first page (homepage) of Google Search Console, it will show you ‘rough’ or summarized estimation of your website performances ranging from your searched keywords, impressions, traffic, average time spent by visitors and viewed pages. It will also tell you how your website is interlinked to other pages within your website and links you gained from other websites.
  • Performance: This is another page right below the ‘Overview’ in the Google Search Console, it shows how your website behaves on the web. This particular page should be a must for you to visit at least every week in order to monitor your site performance. Below are what you can get from this page:
  1. Total Clicks: Amount of traffic you gained.
  2. Total Impression: How often your website appeared on google when a keywords is searched
  3. Average CTR: This is the ratio of total clicks on a specific link to the number of total impression of the page.
  4. Average Position: This is your website average position on the web with respect to how it appears on SERPs
  5. Search Appearance: This gives you items on how you site appears on google. This is cool for SEO
  6. Keywords: What people find on google to reach your website
  7. Pages: Pages indexed on google
  8. Countries: Countries where your site or a particular page on your website is viewed
  9. Device: Type of smartphone or PC that are used to viewed your site
  • URL Inspection: This is where you gets quick overview of your website which is retrieved from Google Index.
  • Coverage: This will give you Overview of how your submitted sitemap(s) behaves. It shows record for both submitted and indexed sitemaps alongside with their impressions, errors and pages who won’t appeared on search engines. Remember that in your Robots.txt file, you tell google bot and other search engines’ bot not to index some pages in your website. Indexed pages are shown as table under ‘Valid’ while ‘Excluded’ holds the pages that are not indexed.
  • Sitemaps: This is where you submits your website sitemaps for indexing.
  • Mobile Usability: This is how your website behaves on mobile phone either it’s okay or not. If there is any problem visitors are facing while accessing your website or there is internal problem, after Google Search Console team might have informed you, you will still see these as ‘Error(s)’ in this page and how you can fix these errors.
  • AMP: This particular page will display data unless you have installed and set up AMP WordPress Plugin in your website. If you have done AMP setup for your website, related data such as how much more your AMP version of your website are viewed or appears on SERPs.
  • Links: This section includes the total number of your internal and external links.
  1. Internal Links is the total amount or how many time you have linked your website pages with one another. E.g if you have an article about ‘Stephen Webmaster’ Guide’ on your website and you are now linked this particular article to other of your articles in the same website.
  2. External Links is the total amount or how many time your website URL or any of its pages are linked to another website which is not yours or the same particular domain. For instance, if your URL is https://blooogi.com and it is link to another website link https://smooghin.com, it’s referred to as External link.

This stats will teach you how you are seriously building both internal and external link on your website.

  • Settings: This is where you will have to verify your website ownership by adding a property and using any of the provided four methods to verify your website.

NOTE: You can hire us for complete Google Search Console set up for your website or shoot us a message for complete SEO management for your website and we assured you of getting your website ranked high on search engines through our effective digital marketing and SEO techniques.

  • Other thing you can do using your Google Search console account is disavowing bad links or resolving error 404. This will soon be added very soon as this tools is currently in ‘Beta Mode’. To do more advance settings, please kindly switch to GWT by clicking on ‘Go to Old Version’ in your right side of your homepage.

If you facing any issue beyond your control, contact us immediately or contact GWT team by clicking on ‘Submit Feedback’ at the right side of your homepage.

Conclusion

Google Search Console is a very useful tool for tracking website performance. Although, I personally preferred the old Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) to this new Search Console.

Anyways, this new tools also have its advance because you don’t need to beat round the bush before getting to where you are going and it also have a page where you can inspect the performances of your verified property.

If you have not being using this tools, then you need to start today because it will help you understand your website SEO and other activities happening or pertaining to your website.

Are you facing any difficulties or will like to ask a question? Kindly shoot me a message using the comment box below and don’t forget to share this article with your friends if you found it helpful and worthy to shared.

 

About the author

I'm Stephen Oluwatomisin Gbolagade (Stephen Olgade) - A blogging surgeon, creative website developer, SEO manager and Digital Marketer. I learnt most of the services i know through the 'Internet' and it's my pleasure to give what i know back to beginners and advance readers on the Internet. You are free to hook up with me or HIRE me for your project. Au Revoir!
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