Google Search Console - Basics

Overview of Google's webmaster tools, and what you can do using them.

January 4, 2017 - 3 minute read -
#web #tools

Add and verify your website on the Search Console.
Now open the console for your added property (In my case - http://rahulja.in)

  • First thing you need to to is add sitemap of your website. It is generally an xml file named sitemap.xml in your website root folder.
    1. Go to Crawl > Sitemaps
    2. Click on Add/Test Sitemap button
    3. Add url to your sitemap.
    4. Submit.
    Now you will see an entry on how many links were submitted and how many have been indexed from that sitemap. It is the easiest way to submit all the links in your website automatically. You can use a sitemap generator, or in my case, jekyll gives me the sitemap.xml file every time I build my website.

  • Next check and edit your robots.txt file. This is a file at the root of your site that indicates those parts of your site you don’t want accessed by search engine crawlers.
    1. Go to Crawl > robots.txt Tester
    2. Edit your robots.txt and check for errors.
    3. Sample-
      # Allow crawling of all content
      User-agent: *
      Disallow: /tag/*
      Disallow allows us to ignore certain urls and url types that we'd rather not be indexed and appear in search results.

  • Crawl > Fetch as Google to see how google renders pages from your website. Check different types of URLs for both mobile and desktop googlebot types.

  • Add google analytics property to your website if you've added analytics on your website. Do this by clicking on Settings gear on the top right and selecting Google Analytics Property.

  • If your website has some structured data like articles or products, you can highlight them to google for better search results.
    1. Go to Search Appearance > Data Highlighter. Click on the red Start Highlighting Button.
    2. Enter the URL of a typical page that you want to highlight. Like link to an article, product etc.
    3. Start following the instructions and highlight as much data as you can find on the page. Make google learn pattern in your posts, so that it can auto highlight new pages that gets added to the index.


References

Learn about sitemaps - Search Console Help
Learn about robots.txt files - Search Console Help
Use Fetch as Google for websites - Search Console Help