If you are looking to increase your online presence, you have to be able to measure your results and keep looking for opportunities. Small businesses need to take advantage of tools that can help them gather information at reasonable prices or even free. One analytical tool that every business should connect to their website is Google Search Console (GSC).
When every click can lead to a customer and every search result can define our business’s success, overlooking such a powerful asset is akin to leaving money on the table. And yet, as a digital marketing and website development agency, we’ve noticed this essential step is frequently missed by many.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. It provides invaluable insights into how Google views your site, which pages are being indexed, what search terms lead people to your site, and much more.
Here are some ways Google Search Console can help your online presence:
Optimize Your Content for Search
By analyzing the search queries that bring users to your site, you can better understand your audience’s needs and how they are finding you. This information is gold for optimizing your content and improving your search engine rankings.
Monitor Your Site’s Health
Google Search Console alerts you to issues such as crawling errors, security issues, and manual actions applied by Google. Early detection and resolution of these issues can prevent your site from disappearing from search results or losing rank.
Enhance User Experience
GSC provides data on how your site appears and performs on mobile devices, along with loading times. Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is important for keeping your audience engaged and satisfied.
View Google Search Console data with your goals in mind
Not all high-ranking pages on your site will lead directly to sales or conversions. Many of these pages might be drawing a lot of visitors because they provide helpful information or answer common questions. These are what we call top-of-the-funnel content. They’re great for getting people to your site and building awareness, but they might not lead directly to a sale or a sign-up.
Informational pages tend to gain a lot of traffic because people try to self-educate before they contact a business or if they are looking to do something themselves. If your page title begins with who, what, when, why, or how, then your page is likely a top-of-the-funnel page.
When you’re looking at your website’s data in Google Search Console, it’s important to think about your goals. Are you trying to get more people to know about your brand, or are you focusing on getting more sales? Depending on your answer, some data will be more important than others. High-traffic pages are good, but if your goal is to increase sales, you should also look for pages that convince visitors to take action, like making a purchase or signing up for more information.
So, while it’s good to have a lot of visitors to your site, it’s also important to look closely at what those visitors do when they get there. If a page gets a lot of traffic but doesn’t lead to actions that benefit your business, you might need to adjust your strategy. This could mean adding calls-to-action on those high-traffic pages to guide visitors towards making a purchase or signing up for something.
Use Google Search Console with other tools
Using Google Search Console alongside other analytics tools like Google Analytics or Microsoft Clarity can significantly enhance your website’s data analysis and optimization efforts. While Google Search Console provides deep insights into how your website performs in search results, including visibility, search queries, and indexing issues, Google Analytics offers a broader view of your site’s overall traffic, including user behavior, demographics, and conversion rates. This combination allows you to not only understand how users find your site but also what they do once they arrive.
For instance, by identifying which search queries bring the most traffic to your site through Google Search Console, you can then use Google Analytics to see how those visitors interact with your site, such as which pages they visit, how long they stay, and what actions they take.
Adding Microsoft Clarity to the mix brings another layer of insight, especially with its focus on user experience. Microsoft Clarity offers features like heatmaps and session recordings, which show you exactly how users interact with your site, including what they click on, how far they scroll, and where they might encounter issues.
Connect Google Search Console
There are various ways to connect Google Search Console. Our favorite way to connect a WordPress Website to GSC is by using a plugin called Google Site Kit – created by Google.
There are 6 methods of installing Google Search Console according to the settings tab when I am logged in to my GSC account:
- Using Affiliated Products. If you use a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace, they have their own integrations available.
- Upload an HTML file to your website.
- Add a meta tag to your site’s home page.
- Use your Google Analytics account.
- Use your Google Tag Manager account.
- Through your domain name provider, associate a DNS record with Google.
If you are using a CMS plugin/addon to integrate GSC, then you can start by following their installation instructions. Otherwise, you can start the process by going to the Google Search Console website.
You will be asked to select your property type. If you want to use DNS verification that includes all your subdomains, choose the “Domain” option and enter your domain name. From there you are given a code to enter into DNS records with your domain name registrar
The other option is to choose “URL prefix”. I recommend opening your website on a separate browser tab and copying your URL so you can paste it into the URL field. From there you are given options for verification. Google recommends verifying via an HTML file, but you can choose any of the other options.
Our Preferred Method of adding Google Search Console.
We mostly work on WordPress, so our preferred method is using the Site Kit by Google plugin (as the name implies, it is created by Google). It simplifies the process for us and allows us to see results in the dashboard of the website.
If you need help with this process, please contact us.
An Essential Tool for Small Business Websites
Despite its clear benefits, many small businesses either aren’t aware of Google Search Console or underestimate its value. This oversight is a missed opportunity for growth and optimization. Setting up GSC is straightforward: verify your website ownership through Google, and you’re ready to start harnessing the insights it offers.
At Emphasis LA, we’ve seen firsthand the benefits for small businesses undergo once they integrate Google Search Console into their digital strategy. It’s not just about being present online; it’s about being proactive, informed, and ahead of the curve.
Don’t let Google Search Console be the missing piece in your digital puzzle. It’s a foundational tool that supports your website’s health, visibility, and growth. Leveraging every available resource isn’t just smart; it’s essential. Embrace Google Search Console and position your business for success.
Need help connecting Google Search Console? Or do you need help with your online presence? We’d love to have a discussion with you on how to optimize your website to show up in the search results.