Businesses these days pay crazy amounts of money for SEO with the sole aim to appear on first page of Google. What if I told you you can achieve that for free by simply doing one thing - connecting your website to Google Search Console? Those of you who don't have much SEO knowledge probably feel more confused than before, but that's why I'm here. So let's walk you through the whole process and get your pages right where they belong - on Google's first page!
What is Google Search Console?
Ok, so what's this Console thing? It's part of Google Webmasters Tools, fully accessible to everyone who has a website and completely free. No monthly subscription fees, no license charges, sin dinero extra at all! The best way to find it is to... go on Google and type Google Search Console (or follow the link). You will then be redirected to a page that doesn't look fancy at all but, oh boy, the value it will bring to your website!
How to Connect your Website to the Search Console?
To connect your website to the Search Console, you will have to verify that you own it. This is the part where many entrepreneurs, especially those who are not very techy, experience the most difficulties. But, before you get too scared to try, let me tell you, there are several options you can take. More importantly, they aren't really that complex if you go through the process step by step. Let's look at what methods can you use.
Use your domain provider - this is the Console's recommended option. You will need to sign into your domain provider's (GoDaddy, 123reg, Bluehost, etc.) account and follow the instructions from there.
Upload an HTML file to your server - this option is suitable for people with advanced tech knowledge and skills. Alternatively, if you have a web developer and want to use this method, just ask them to do it for you.
Upload an HTML tag - essentially, this means adding a meta tag to your Home page's code. Again, this wouldn't be the best option for those who have minimal tech knowledge and don't have a developer on their side.
Use your Google Tag Manager - not everyone has a Google Tag Manager account, but if you do, this could be one of the easiest approaches to connecting your website to the Search Console. You will just have to insert a small bit of code into the code of your website, but generally, this isn't as complicated as it sounds.
Use your Google Analytics account - well, that's my preferred method of verifying any website. If you are operating online, reaching customers using the web, selling products and services virtually and you don't have a Google Analytics account, you seriously need to go back to school. Here's a really good video to get started with.
After you've had your Google Analytics sorted, things get super easy. Just select that verifying option (which you will find in the Alternate Methods tab) and click on the Verify button. Within seconds your website will be connected to the Google Search Console.
So What's Next?
Glad you asked! Your work surely isn't done here. When you go to the Search Traffic tab, you can get a pretty good picture of how well optimised your pages and content are. You can see the search queries people used to find your website or specific page, the amount of backlinks and who linked your website in their content, as well as many other valuable insights. Just spend some time studying the data revealed to you.
If you want to target a specific country, go to International Targeting (under Search Traffic) and select that country. For those who have a .co.uk domain, this step would be irrelevant, because by default Google prioritises your website for searches happening in the UK.
Something to never miss doing - submit your Sitemap! It will have a great positive impact on your SEO and search rankings, because it gives structure to the crawl bots and makes it easier for them to identify your pages and content.
The really important part comes now. The section that is most relevant to you appearing on the first page of Google is Crawl. More specifically, Fetch as Google. Here you will provide a link to each and every page of your website. Start with the home page and don't forget that you will need to do it for both desktop and mobile. Click on the Fetch and Render button and wait until the status is confirmed and you are given the option to index your page. You can index the page itself or the page and its direct links. I choose the latter whenever possible. Bear in mind that you are limited to 2 per day for that option, which makes it 60/62 per month.
Remember to repeat this indexing process every time you publish a new blog post on your website. Do it as soon as possible after it goes live. Then search your title or keyword phrase and your post will appear on first page of Google.
Sounds Too Good to Be True - Where's the Catch?
I wish I could tell you there's no catch, but that means I'd lie to you and I wouldn't like to do such a thing. Remember how I always say that SEO isn't magic or a one-off job? Here's more proof to it. Indexing your pages on Google Search Console will get you on the front page and it is completely free. No doubt. It works, because you are forcing Google bots to crawl your page and include it in the search results for specific keywords and phrases immediately. If you didn't do that it would take them days and sometimes weeks to index your website or blog post and you can lose momentum.
However, your stay on the first page won't be long and that's the only catch. New content constantly pushes down old one. To stay on the front position you will have to secure lots of social engagement, mainly shares, followed by comments and likes. This can be done with producing engaging and value content. In addition, to keep your position you will need to update your website's content as frequently as possible. News websites do so well because they are always publishing new articles. In most cases, that happens several times per day and it's how they stay relevant in search results. The majority of businesses, especially small ones, can't afford to spend the time and the money to update their content as often, but adding a new post once or twice per week is perfectly reasonable and indexing pages on the Console is absolutely essential.
Are you going to try this now? I'd be thrilled to find out the outcome, so please share your success with me in the comments below! Also, if something isn't quite clear yet and you have a question, just ask!