Successful website owners know that the difference between profit and failure is by improving their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to attract more business and get ranked higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). If you are not an SEO professional, the mountains of information you would have to consume to understand and enhance your ranking effectively can be overwhelming (which is why many businesses hire professional SEO companies, like Netsville, to manage their websites). One way to get started is to take advantage of Google Search Console (GSC).

Formally known as Google Webmaster Tools, GSC provides a whole bevy of tools and reporting metrics to improve SEO for websites. These tools provide webmasters with information on how well their website pages are performing for search results.

GSC benefits your website by helping to improve how Google views your site with tools designed to ramp up its functionality, rectify errors, and strategize content towards a more compelling search engine ranking. It checks on site indexing, broken pages, and gives Google more information about the structured data on your site and how it should be served to search engines. Furthermore, there are tools to help markup rich content so that Google can categorize and index it properly and an Accelerated Mobile Pages tool to calibrate HTML for mobile devices.

While there are many aspects of GSC than can be used to improve your website, the best starting point would be by exploring the tools in the Search Appearance section. Used to illustrate how your site may appear in a search, the Search Appearance section includes tools such as Structured Data, Rich Cards, Data Highlighter, HTML Improvements, Site Links, and Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Structured Data

The Structured Data (or rich snippets) tool markups your HTML content so it can be understood, organized, and displayed by SERPs. The report lets you visualize what your SERP would look like because it describes your webpage to the search engine in a language it can understand.

Rich Cards

Rich Cards are immensely useful for mobile because they have a Pinterest look to them allowing the results to be more visually appealing when compared to text based rich content. They have minimal text and are mostly images because users are more likely to click on an image than text. Rich Cards are especially useful if you have a media heavy website.

Data Highlighter

The Data Highlighter tool teaches “Google about the pattern of structured data on your website” to be used in searches. It tags data when you highlight it on your website without the need for a developer to code it. You can use it to markup articles, events, products, restaurants, and movies. You might notice that these types of tags are for items on your website that change periodically. Using the Data Highlighter allows you to bring them to the forefront in searches.

HTML Improvements

If you have a CMS website like WordPress, you might be using a plugin called Yoast SEO which makes optimization for SEO easier if you are consistently applying it to each post and page. The HTML improvements tool provides feedback on how well you’ve followed the SEO rules such as proper post titles and meta descriptions.

Site Links

The Site Links tool works to optimize addendum links, such as About and Contact Us, that appear below your main website page link in search results (as seen in the example below).

Since Google decides how and when the links are displayed, making your content more relevant and helpful to searches will encourage Google to add site links. This alone is one of the biggest reasons to ensure your content is relevant and meaningful to Google’s search engines because you gain more real estate on the SERP.

Search Console Sitelinks

For instance, there are 6 extra links below the Netsville main link to other pages on our site. Once you have what Google determines to be enough content on your site, it will display the site link categories automatically below your main page link.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) tool provides template code for web developers to write fast-loading HTML and JavaScript. The number of people using mobile devices to access the web has increased exponentially and mobile pages need to load as fast as possible or risk the user losing interest. AMP provides developers with open source specifications to build mobile pages that are more efficient and eliminate any pages that load too slowly for mobile devices.

By applying AMP, your website will become more mobile-friendly and therefore more SEO dynamic (which, in the aftermath of Google’s Mobilegeddon, is a vital component to good SEO).

Overall, the Google Search Console provides direct insight on what needs to be done to optimize your website for better search engine results and cleans up any hidden errors that might be hindering your site from attracting a larger audience. For more information, we recommend checking out Quick Sprout’s ultimate guide by Neil Patel for a comprehensive breakdown of each section of GSC including Search Traffic, Google Index, Crawl, Security, and Other Resources.

Based in Rochester, New York, Netsville is an Internet Property Management company specializing in managing the Digital Marketing, Technical, and Business Solutions for our customers since 1994. For more information, please click here.