SEO WTF? Google Search Console's Emails Explained

SEO WTF? Google Search Console’s Emails Explained

By: Paul Hickey, Founder and Lead Strategist

Congratulations! You’re part of history. Welcome to the first ever “SEO WTF?” blog post. After 12 years of SEO work, I’m finally realizing that SEO is actually simple now.

SEO Rule 1: Google is Confusing.

SEO Rule 2: The DATA in Google Search Console is the only thing that matters.

The result: My new blog series “SEO WTF?”

Don’t feel stupid asking questions, this blog series will attempt to answer them before you even ask. But it will also be taking your questions and answering them.

So, the first lesson from SEO WTF? is for those of you already familiar with Google Search Console (also referred to as Google Webmaster Tools).

You likely received a couple emails from Google lately that you probably ignored (I don’t blame you), that looked like this…

Or this…

Let me break this down for you.

Email #1 is referring to the fact that Google will start to index your mobile site first, but if you just have one site (i.e., a responsive website), then you’re already covered. It hasn’t been a secret that Google has prioritized mobile performance over desktop performance for quite some time now, and this is simply further validation.

Punchline: No action necessary, but know that in Google Analytics, you’ll start seeing “Googlebot Smartphone” listed as a referral source. This is why.

Email #2 is referring to something that you should look into (or have your webmaster / agency – hopefully us) look into. It’s basically catching URLs on your site that aren’t indexed properly.

Now, before you freak out, you’ve gotta see which URLs they’re talking about. Like, for our site, for example, the two URLs are /my-account and /cart. A third, /checkout is also blocked.

That’s perfect actually. I don’t want Google indexing those URLs anyway, and neither do you. You don’t want them showing up in your sitelinks.

Punchline: Dig into Email 2 by clicking through to Search Console.

Biggest SEO takeaways of the Day

The new Google Search Console is baller. All that matters is the data (and the tools available).

The Data

1. When you click into the new Search Console, you’ll see data on “Clicks” from SEO and “Index Coverage.” This shows you how much web traffic you’re actually getting from Organic Search. This data is really all that matters in terms of an ROI on SEO. It’s the best indicator of SEO site health you’re doing to get.

2. You’ll also see how many URLs are blocked and how many are indexed.

3. Then, there’s the data everyone actually cares about, WHERE YOU RANK. That can be seen within Google Search Console also – here’s a post that explains how to find Search Engine Results Data.

The Tools

4. If any are blocked, or you’re curious if various URLs on your site (say new content, landing pages or blogs) are indexed yet, you can submit a new request through a new tool called the URL inspection Tool. Check out the screenshots below for how to find it and submit a URL. These actions will help you get more pages indexed, and improve search engine results in the long term.

Hopefully what we’ve done here is eliminate a bunch of extra SH!T provided by Google, and broken it down into a few key points that matter:

Check Google Search Console for Blocked URLs, Index Coverage Stats, Clicks from SEO and where you rank for various keywords.

Use the new URL inspection tool to ensure various pages on your site are properly indexed.

KEEP ON MARKETING. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

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