What is Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools)?
Google Webmaster Tools is a free service from Google that is designed to give you as the Website owner more control over how Google interact with your website.
The service allows you to both communicate with Google Search Console about your website, and for Google to communicate with you.
How do I get it?
If you Google the term “Google Search Console”, the first result you’ll see if a page where you can login and install it. Simply log in with your Google Account and you’ll be able to register your website. You will need to add some verification code to your website to prove ownership, but we can help you with that.
What sort of things does it tell you?
Here are a few examples of what Google will tell you:
- If there are any broken links or poor performance
- The sort of words it’s finding on your website
- If it can’t access your website
- If a WordPress upgrade is available
- If any infected files or Malware is found on your website
- How often it’s visiting your website
- What sort of search queries are being used to find your website
What else can it be used for?
Google Search Console is at it’s best for telling Google about changes in your website, for example, here are some of the most useful features:
- You can remove redundant links from Google’s index
- Change your domain name cleanly
- Remove sitelinks from your listing that you don’t want
- Request a review should your website be found to be infected
- Add a Sitemap to push new changes and content changes in to Google’s index
What’s a Google Sitemap?
A Google Sitemap (XML Sitemap) is a standardised listing of all pages on your website that can be read by Google. This type of site map is a great way to explicitly tell Google about the pages on your website, and to tell Google that they’ve changed and what priority you’d like to give them. A priority is important if you want to tell Google some pages are more important than others, for example, your product and services will have a high priority, and your terms of business may be given a low priority.
Sitemaps can be generated automatically with websites built on WordPress and other Content Management Systems, or created manually.
Google Search Console, is free and an essential tool for trouble shooting and keeping an eye on changes to your website. It comes in to its own when making regular changes to your website, by pushing changes directly in to Google’s index with the Sitemap, but most importantly is essential when you have a new website or different domain name to ensure you don’t end up with broken links and a penalised ranking.