We’ve been receiving a lot of requests from clients lately to help with search engine optimization (SEO). Not surprisingly, nearly all companies want their site(s) to rank organically as high as possible. So, I thought this was a good opportunity to share one of my favorite tools of the trade that helps us in evaluating search engine performance: Google Search Console.
Google Search Console is a fantastic way to determine where your site is ranking for various keywords. And what better place to get this information than straight from the search giant themselves? When researching a client’s position in the search rankings, Google Search Console is always my first stop.
Within GSC’s Performance report, you can view search queries where your site has appeared in the results, view the average ranking position of pages within your site, and view the site’s ranking position on desktop and mobile devices. With all of these views, you can filter down the data you’re seeing by date, location, and keyword. This becomes incredibly useful when you want to view the ranking position of a particular keyword over time. Or view which pages of your site are ranking well versus which aren’t.
The Experience report is a great way to identify and troubleshoot usability issues that your site’s visitors may be facing. This report is a great place to see if there are any pages of your site that have speed, security (HTTPS), or mobile usability issues.
You can also view your site’s Core Web Vitals report, which will tell you whether your site is in compliance with this increasingly important metric. This report even breaks down the results to you specifically which pages have issues so that you (or your web developer) can address them.
The Links report will show you which external sites are linking to pages on your site. This can be incredibly useful in determining where your site’s backlinks are coming from, and which pages of your site have the most backlinks.
In addition, Google Search Console is the place where you can submit your site’s XML sitemap file – a roadmap of sorts so that Google can efficiently index your site’s content. If you’re launching a brand new site – or re-launching a new version of your site – submitting a sitemap file can help your site get indexed more quickly and efficiently.
Lastly, Google Search Console is a great way to find out if Google is taking any manual actions against your site. In other words, if Google is down-ranking your site due to content, security, or other issues, this is how you’ll know it for sure.
Google Search Console is probably the most obvious, but also the most generally-useful, tool for a site owner (or marketing agency) to diagnose search engine performance. Sure, there are plenty of other tools out there that provide similar (or more extensive) information, but we prefer Google’s approach and breadth of data visualization.
If your site is experiencing search engine problems, contact us and we can help diagnose and improve performance.
About the author:
Partner, Director of Technology
Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.