What is the Google Search Console and How Does It Affect Your Website’s Performance?
Last week, Google reported that the Google Search Console lost data in the month of August. As a result, real estate investors may notice a sudden drop in their website or paid ads performance reports. More specifically, the report reflects a decline in performance on August 23rd and 24th. Google’s data loss report is as follows:
“An internal problem caused a data loss in Search and Discover performance during this period. Users might see a significant data drop in their performance reports during this period. This does not reflect any drop in clicks or impressions for your site, only missing data in Search Console.”
While a Google Search Console ‘crash’ is never good, investors should not be too alarmed. First, most data losses are short-lived and rarely affect site performance over a longer period. Second, the data loss only affects Search Console reports. It does not impact how an investor’s website actually performs in the month of August.
What is the Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your website’s performance in organic and paid Google search results. The console plays a central role in helping marketing teams get a clear picture of how to improve your site’s visibility.
There are several actions the Google Search Console performs.
- Confirms that Google finds and crawls your website
- Corrects indexing issues
- Provides measurable data for site traffic
- Sends notifications when Google encounters issues on your site
- Provides backlink information
- Troubleshoots site feature issues
The Console provides valuable data such as how often your website shows up in Google searches, which search terms match your site, and how often users click through the search terms. It also provides information about the type of traffic on your site. It is possible to operate your site without the Google Search Console. However, doing so puts you at a great disadvantage against competing real estate investors in your area.
Who Uses the Google Search Console?
If you have a website, you use (or should use) the Google Search Console. More specifically, the person or team in charge of running your website is who accesses the Console the most. Users may include web developers, site administrators, a marketing team, or an SEO specialist. The person designated to manage your website will often be the person who uses the Google Search Console.
Keep in mind that you want to limit access to the Google Search Console to qualified specialists who know how to use it. Only experts can use the information in Search Console to influence technical decisions for the website and do sophisticated marketing analysis in conjunction with other Google tools like Analytics, Google Trends, and Google Ads.
Common Google Search Console Issues On Websites
If you have little to no experience with Google Search Console, you will have difficulty identifying or fixing issues. In fact, even when an evident problem arises, you may have no idea that it is associated with the Search Console. Therefore, it’s a good idea to become familiar with common Google Search Console reports or alerts.
There are three main reasons why Google may not be able to index your website page. First, robots.txt files may be blocking the page. Second, there may be conflicting directives on what Google should do with a page. Last, there are crawl issues with the Google spiders. Any of these issues can prevent Google from indexing the page.
You’ve probably seen the ‘404 Error’ notification when clicking on a website. Generally speaking, it means that Google cannot find a page. One of the leading causes for this is that your website server is returning a blank or nearly empty page when you click on the link. Another possible cause is that the page doesn’t actually exist (at least to Google). You may have removed it, but the link appears on another web page.
If Google Search Console reports a server error, it means that Google could not access your URL, the request timed out, or your site was busy. As a result, Google abandoned the request. There are a variety of possible causes for this type of error, and you may need to address this issue with your development team or server host in some cases.
When you move (or remove) a page on your site, the web developer needs to set up a 301 redirect to tell the web browser that the page has moved and directed it to the new page. However, if pages move multiple times or get sent back to the original location, errors can occur.
What Should I Do If I Notice a Google Console Search Issue?
If Google has a problem finding or indexing your website, you will typically receive some type of notification. For instance, you may get a 404 alert if Google can’t find the page. Or, your web developer may get a notification from Google stating the issue. If you experience these issues, let your web team know right away. Do not ignore the problem or let it linger.
Here’s why: if you are having a problem accessing a page on your website, there’s a good chance that your clients or other people are having the same problem. If someone cannot access your website, they will not hesitate to go to your competitor’s website. As a result, you have missed out on a potentially lucrative real estate deal due to a technical issue that the developer or could easily fix.
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