5 Underrated Google Search Console Features

By Heidi Smith | Mar 7, 2016
More Articles by Heidi

Google Search Console logo - tablet with error report and wrenchIn the past, I’ve covered my five favorite Google Search Console features and why they are important to us as marketers. Over the last few months, I’ve come to realize that I have some other favorites that could use some love and attention – not only from this blog post, but from marketers and webmasters as well.

1. HTML Improvements

It may be time-consuming to audit and compare your meta descriptions and title tags if you have a large site or simply don’t have the time to devote to looking at every single webpage. The HTML Improvements Google Search Console feature helps you by providing:

  • Google Search Console feature - HTML Improvements report detailsDuplicate meta descriptions
  • Short / long meta descriptions
  • Missing or duplicate title tags
  • Short / long title tags
  • Non-informative title tags and meta descriptions
  • Content that is non-indexable to search engines

Each meta description and title tag should be unique to each page, per SEO best practices and for an ideal user experience, but you also want to meet the recommended character limits for search engine result pages. This is an informational section that can help you pinpoint issues quickly without having to compare every page on your site manually.

2. Accelerated Mobile Pages

With error reports for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) now rolled out to most Search Console users, it is a report you should keep in mind when you decide to move forward with AMPs. Essentially the report gives you insight and error details on your AMPs, which are simplified HTML mobile pages that load very fast on a user’s mobile device. Scott did a phenomenal job of outlining what, how and why AMPs are important.

With the number of mobile users surpassing desktop users this past year, this report will be essential to use going forward to make sure your website and AMPs are working correctly together for users on mobile devices.

3. Links to Your Site

Although many of them are not free, there are a lot of third-party tools that will give you insight into external and internal links on your website. The “Links to Your Site” Google Search Console feature is free and gives you details on which domains link to your website the most, the most-linked content and the anchor text (i.e. “how your data is linked”).

The information included in these reports is easy to analyze, and actually goes pretty in-depth considering you don’t have to pay to get the information. You can click into a specific page and see the number of times a specific domain links to the page, and can also dive in further to see the list of URLs from the external domain itself.

Google Search Console Feature - Content Keywords list of keywords and significance rating4. Content Keywords

What do you and your company stand for? What is your mission and main focus? Are those themes reflected in your content? You may be surprised by what you find when going into Content Keywords – hopefully, you are right on target, but use the report to see a list of the most significant keywords (and variants) that were found when Google crawled your site so you can be sure your website content reflects your main message.

  • Extra Tip: Go more in-depth by clicking on a specific keyword to see the specific variants, top URLs that include the keyword and how many occurrences of the keyword Google found on your site.

5. Search Analytics

This is still my favorite Google Search Console feature — it just offers such interesting data! (Nerd alert, I know.) The Search Analytics section “analyzes your [website’s] performance on Google Search. Filter and compare your results to better understand your user’s search patterns.”

Essentially this feature lets you play around with a variety of filters to learn more about your site’s performance in SERPs. Filter by query (not as good as keyword reports we used to get in Analytics, but I’ll take it), specific pages, devices, countries, and more. Add in different metrics to get details on total clicks, total impressions, average CTR and average position. In the past few months, the date range has been updated from offering 28 days as the maximum to past 90 days and “custom” – a crucial update for long-term analysis.

Google Search Console feature - Search Analytics graph and list showing clicks and average positionYou can use a variety of different report combinations to do many things, including:

  • Measure trends over time
  • See what queries your pages are showing for
  • View CTR for queries
  • See page position for specific queries

I really appreciate the data given in Search Analytics because it can give you powerful insight into user patterns and SERPs, and the information is in an area not easily or typically given by Google these days.

What else do you use Search Console for? Tweet me @heidinksmith and let me know how other Search Console tools have helped you better understand your website.

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