As a digital marketer in the pet realm, there’s one tool I always require for clients: Google’s Search Engine Console.
Just because we’re talking Google and search doesn’t mean this has to be big and technical. I promise, if you stick around, you’ll get a major edge on most of your pet-business competitors.
What is a search engine console, anyway?
Google’s SEC is a fantastic tool that anyone with a website can sign up for. It’s free, easy to install and gives you personalized advice about how to make your website rank better on search engine results pages. (What you see when you search on Google.)
I Have It. Now What?
Google is currently in the process of updating the look and feel of its SEC platform to be easier to understand. But fear not, here are three simple reports anyone can pull and what to do with them:
Find out what people are searching for when they find your business. SEC can tell you the exact terms people put into Google when they find you. To see this, click on “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics” in the older design or “Status” and then “Performance” in the new. Scroll down and look for “queries.” These are the terms that people asked Google for when it showed your website as a result.
Ask yourself: Are these terms relevant to me? If so, great! If not, it may be time to reach out to a search engine marketer to help Google “get” what your site is about.
See who is promoting you, and how. My second-favorite report in SEC can be found in the older version of the platform by clicking on “Search Traffic” and then “Links to Your Site.” (As of writing this, it’s not yet available in the new display.) The report that comes up contains a list of other websites that link to you and what page on your website they’re linking to.
This is an awareness-building treasure. Any online cross-promotional work you do with other businesses can be measured through this report as long as they’re linking to your website. Likewise, it gives you a glimpse of whether any “bad” sites are linking to you. (Something you don’t want.)
Ask yourself: Are these websites relevant to me and to what I do? Are they linking to the most relevant pages on my site? If not, creating an inbound linking and cross-promotional strategy is probably low-hanging fruit on your marketing tree — one that can pay off big time with short-term awareness and long-term search-engine optimization benefits.
Find broken and bad links. Everybody hates a broken link, including Google. But as your pet business grows and ages, it becomes easier to have broken links pile up on your site. This is where Search Engine Console can save you hours of detective work and save your users a lot of frustration.
Available under “Crawl”and then “Crawl Errors” (older) or “Status” and “Index Coverage” (new), each time Google gets a bad link to your site it stores it here, providing you a simple report of links that need to be fixed or redirected on your website.
Ask yourself: Is something in my website management causing the number of bad links to grow? If not, fixing these links is a quick and easy job, and great for a contractor or junior team member.
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 edition of PETS+.