The 5 Most Important Search Console Reports to Check Regularly

5 Important Search Console Reports

So, for today's topic, I'm gonna talk about something I've mentioned before briefly on the podcast, and it's also something that was talked about quite a bit today at PubCon, and that is Google search console known as Google Webmaster tools, and I still like to call it that. And for those who don't know what Google search console is, it's a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google's search results. So, that's the definition from Google, but what it really is, is it's a service and it allows google to communicate with website owners. So, if you have a website or blog, you need to sign up for an account, and once you sign up, you'll just have access to all of these reports.

In this episode, I'm gonna go over the five most important things to check for in Google search console. If you don't do anything else, you need to at least check these things.

And there are a lot of different things that you can look at. There are lots of things that can go wrong with your website basically.

In this episode, I'm gonna go over the five most important things to check for in Google search console. If you don't do anything else, you need to at least check these things.

  1. Check Your Messages!

    Okay, one of the first things you're gonna see when you log into Google search console, is the messages. And this is probably I'd say one of the most important things, you're not always gonna see anything there but if you do see something there, that means that there was a problem or problems with your website that Google thought was important enough to actually send you a message about.

    There are lots of problems that you can find in Google search console all throughout the different reports but you're not gonna get notifications or messages about those. It's only the ones that … like I said that are important or significant enough that Google thinks that should warn you. So, if they think they should warn you, you should probably take that pretty seriously and fix the problem.

  2. HTML Improvements

    Okay, after I've checked messages, the next thing I like to look at in search console, is the HTML Improvements section. And what this tells you is, if you've got any problems with your HTML, but for specifically it will tell if you've got things like duplicate tittles or duplicate descriptions. And those are things that can actually cause one of your pages or more of your pages to not be indexed and show up in Google.

    So, you got one page with the tittle, and another page with that exact same tittle, Google's probably gonna go, “Well, this is probably a mistake, maybe he doesn't want,” or maybe they don't want this other page to show up, and they'll pick one of them. So, you want all of your tittles and descriptions and content for that matter to be unique. You don't want pages where one looks like the other one or has the exact same content as the other.

  3. Crawl Errors

    Okay, after HTML Improvements, the next thing I like to check is the crawl errors. And what the crawl errors section is, is any sorts of errors or problems that Google runs into while crawling your site. And these are gonna be things like 404s or broken links, soft 404s or pages that are broken, that don't show a 404 status code. You'll also get access denied and 500 error pages, which are basically server errors. So, these are things that are pretty bad problems, and if you have these on your site, you really need to fix them.

    One thing to note is that crawl errors can kind of stick in Google search console for a while, even after you've fixed them, so, if you fixed something, just make a note that you fixed it. And I believe there's actually a way that you can mark a problem as fixed or should say tell Google to not show this anymore unless it pops up again. In that case, then the problem probably isn't fixed yet.

  4. Sitemaps

    The next section we're gonna look at is called site maps, and this is going to be a section that will tell you how much of your website is indexed in Google. So if you got a website that has 15 pages, Google may be indexing all 15 or they may only be indexing one or two of them. The way you'll know this is that when you submit a site map to Google, that site map contains all of your pages. So if you've got 10 pages on your site, it's going to have a link to each of the 10 pages.

    And this site map is there specifically to let Google and other crawlers know that “Hey these are all of the pages on my website.” So if you go into the site map session on Google search console and you click on your main site map, and you see that there are only one or two pages indexed, then you know you've got a problem, because they will actually show one or two out of the 10 links that are listed in the site map. So, that's a really good one to look at if your site is not being fully indexed, you really need to look at all those pages and see what the problem is. There's gonna be problems, something that might be blocking Google or maybe something wrong with the content.

    You'll be able to find a lot of those answers in other sections of Google search console, so that is a really important one. And just FYI, there's another section of a Google search console that tells you how many pages of your site are indexed as well, and that's called the index status section. It tells you kind of a number, basically how may pages Google has indexed, but I like the site maps section because it gives you a number indexed out of the total pages that you've submitted to them. I feel like that's a lot more useful. And it could be much more useful if you actually break your site map down into a multiple site maps.

    And if you use a plugin like Yoast SEO, that will actually do it for you. I think It breaks your site map down by type of page, whether it's a post or a page, or may even categories too, I haven't looked at it a while. But having multiple site maps is really useful for when you've got a large website, let's say thousands of pages. And if Google says, “Hey, 2000 of the 10,000 pages you submitted are not indexed.” It's kinda hard to know, out of all those 10,000 pages, which ones are the problem ones. But if you break your site maps down into small sections, where say, each section only has like 100 pages, then you'll know a lot better where to look for the problems.

  5. Mobile Usability

    The last thing I wanna talk about is the mobile usability section. And mobile is something that's becoming more and more important as time goes on. Google and other sources have reported that more than 60% of traffic on the web is coming from mobile devices, so really important to focus on this. But what this report will tell you is, things like if you're buttons or links are too small for people to touch. So, people's fingers and thumbs are kind of big, a lot bigger than a little mouse clicker.

    So if you've got links that are too close together, or maybe say text that's too small to read or maybe even your website's not mobile friendly at all. So people are having to scroll all around over the page to get to the different sections. So if you've got problems like this, you're definitely gonna wanna fix them. And for WordPress users specifically, this can mean either modifying your theme or a much easier solution is just to install a new theme that's mobile friendly and that will actually fix all these problems for you.

So, like I said there are a lot more sections in Google search console that are worth checking out. It's definitely worth doing some exploring. And also just FYI, you should be checking Google search console at least once a month, I mean that's the very least, you should check it weekly if possible.

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