Search Console - 3 Quick Wins to Identify Website Improvements

by Ben Walker on Wednesday 8 February 2017
A handy blog post running through three quick Search Console checks to improve your websites performance.

The majority of SEOs and webmasters may view checking Google's Search Console as part of their morning routine, but lots of us will only have a quick glance at the dashboard to check total clicks are not dropping and see if there are any new messages before moving on to other daily tasks. For a free tool, there is a huge pool of site data at your fingertips that could well be easily overlooked. Here are three tips to quickly identify areas of potential improvement for your sites.

 

1. HTML Improvements

 If you haven’t checked it in a while go to the ‘Search Appearance’ section in Search Console and click on the ‘HTML Improvements’ sub-section. Here you can see if your site has any duplicate or missing meta data, such as title tags and meta descriptions. Any data that needs to be addressed can be easily downloaded into excel and within two minutes you have a sheet to work through eradicating duplication and adding optimised meta data where needed.

 

2. International Targeting

If you have websites in multiple international territories then it will be beneficial to have localised targeting in place. For example if you have a UK, French and German site you will want the French site to be respected as the authority site in French search engine listings. This is commonly achieved through adding hreflang tags. These tags mark up the language and the territory the site is targeting. In Search Console there is a sub-section called ‘International Targeting’ under the ‘Search Traffic’ section. Here you can see a quick analysis of how your hreflang tags are performing.

Any errors identified can be easily downloaded into an excel file. Its also important to make sure you are double checking how your hreflang tags appear in your live site page source. There are lots of free tools available to check that your hreflang tags are working correctly including flang and the hreflang tag checker Google plugin which allows you to double check any errors. You can then either implement changes needed yourself or advise your development team to action the required work.

 

3. Mobile Usability

Getting your site mobile-friendly is pretty much essential in today’s digital world. With so many users accessing their daily content through their smart phones, if you’re site is not up to scratch mobile-wise then you will be losing lots of sessions. In the ‘Search Traffic’ section of Search Console you will find a sub-section called ‘Mobile Usability’. Here you can see a quick overview of your mobile performance in the eyes of Google. Any pages with issues will be identified with recommendations such as: ‘clickable elements too close together’ or 'content wider than screen’ etc. This list of errors can be downloaded and then implemented give your users a greater mobile experience of your site.

These three quick wins should take you no more than ten minutes to discover and to put into a detailed excel sheet to start resolving any issues. The best way to see if the changes you implement are having a positive effect is to take the rankings of certain pages with issues and monitor these ranking in the following weeks and months. These are just three simple changes that could improve the overall organic visibility of your site without having to analyse detailed data.