Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is an essential tool for managing websites.
If you want to be a webmaster, here’s a list of essential routine checks. You might consider doing these monthly, or at whatever interval suits your current stage of website development.
If you don’t want to be a webmaster, don’t worry. I include these checks in my managed website hosting plans. Just click on the orange Internet Help button for a quote. You can also contact me via my Internet Helpdesk. I’ll write more about the benefits of these essential Google Search Console checks in my forthcoming website hosting price list. If you want to be informed when that is available, please subscribe to Shrewdies.com Updates Service.
Essential Google Search Console Checks
These checks affect security, website configuration, and Visitor Experience Optimization (VEO*). You can perform these checks yourself, include them in a Shrewdies Managed Hosting Plan, or ask me to perform them for you on your website.
The essential Google Search Console checks are:
- Security Issues
- A crucial check. Don’t panic if your security is breached. Contact me straight away and I will secure your website. It is very rare to have warnings here. But, if you do, they are very serious.
- I use Yoast SEO plugin for my sitemaps. You can forget about most of the SEO stuff in that plugin. But, the sitemap is the best available. If you have warnings or errors, fix them as soon as you can. Then, resubmit your sitemap. Note: are you confused about the difference between the numbers shown here, and your Effective Website Page Count? If so, just ask me for an explanation.
- Crawl-Crawl Errors
- Google has recently redesigned the Crawl Errors section of Search Console. It is now split into “Site Errors” and “URL Errors”. If you’ve been managing your site well, both headings will display “No errors detected in the last 90 days. Nice!”
I have to admit: my sites usually display a chart of various errors. Dealing with crawl errors is beyond the scope of this article. My explanation of managing Google Crawl Errors is coming soon.
- Google Index-Blocked Resources
- As the Google note advises: “Rendering without certain resources can impair the indexing of your web pages.” If there are many pages with Blocked Resources, correcting them can seem daunting. However, in most cases, it is a small number of resources that affect many pages. Fixing Blocked Resources is usually very easy. Unfortunately, it can be tedious telling Google bots that you’ve unblocked them. You can just wait, but I prefer to get my indexing quality score back up as soon as possible. My article about Unblocking Google’s Blocked Resources is coming soon.
- Google Index-Index Status
- As this is last year’s data, it’s not really essential to check this. I include it in my checks to give a feeling of completeness about how current indexing relates to historic Index Status.
- Search Traffic-Mobile Usability
- Google reminds us that “Websites with mobile usability issues will be demoted in mobile search results.” We want to see “No mobile usability errors detected.” Some mobile usability issues are easy to solve. Others can be a nightmare – especially with old WordPress themes. My explanation of Solving Google Mobile Usability Problems is coming soon.
- Search Traffic-Manual Actions
- You should see “No manual webspam actions found.” If not, don’t panic. As with the first check above, contact me immediately. If you’ve been hacked, there’s a good chance I can “unhack” you without too much traffic loss. I can also prevent your website ever suffering Google Manual Actions.
- Search Appearance-HTML Improvements
- In a perfect world, you want to see:
We didn’t detect any content issues with your site. As we crawl your site, we check it to detect any potential issues with content on your pages, including duplicate, missing, or problematic title tags or meta descriptions. These issues won’t prevent your site from appearing in Google search results, but paying attention to them can provide Google with more information and even help drive traffic to your site. For example, title and meta description text can appear in search results, and useful, descriptive text is more likely to be clicked on by users.
In practice, I rarely see this. I often write my meta descriptions organically. This is especially true for attachment pages. My explanation of Organic Meta Description Writing is coming soon. It will cover HTML Improvements for duplicate, long, and short meta descriptions. In a separate article I look at title tag problems. This includes: missing; duplicate; long; short; and non-informative title tags. The final HTML Improvements article features non-indexable content.
- Search Appearance-Structured Data
- Structured Data is very important to some websites. Less important to others. If your website deals with events or products, Structured Data is very important to you. If you need help with Structured Data and Rich Snippets, please ask in my Web Hosting Forum.
- Additional checks
- When I complete essential Google Search Console checks, I find it convenient to do some additional checks. My article about Organic SEO Seeds is coming soon.
So, there you have an overview of my essential Google Search Console checks. Most are straightforward. Some can be challenging, especially on established websites that haven’t been checked recently. As ever, you have the choice of paying me to run them, or running the checks yourself. I’ve already indicated that these checks are included in my managed hosting plans. You can also pay me to manage and perform these checks as a one-off or regular project. If you choose to run them yourself, I’m happy to support you free of charge in my Web Hosting Forum. If you have any difficulty posting in my forum, please use the orange Internet Help button, or my Internet Helpdesk.
You will notice many of my detailed explanations are “coming soon.” Make sure you don’t miss them, by subscribing to Shrewdies.com Updates Service.
* VEO is the shrewd version of Search Engine Optimization. VEO = SEO the Shrewdies way.