One of the best investments one can make for their business is to optimize their website for conversions and leads. When you have a website that runs as smooth as butter and generates conversions well, it may as well be a business lifesaver!
However, it isnât as easy as it sounds. Unfortunately, conversions donât happen on its own. You have to work for it!
Donât fret! Google offers free tools for you to know about what your website is struggling with so you can make the right improvements. One of the most helpful tools is the Google Search Console, an excellent tool that helps one diagnose everything about their website based on Googleâs perspective.
If you just began using this tool though, Iâm sure you feel overwhelmed by the different features and options there are. Furthermore, the tool doesnât offer as much advice on how it can fix your website, so itâs almost like youâre going in blind.
This guide to fix google search console securit issues with a complete set of data and information, as well as the steps to improve your website based on the data you get from Google Search Console. So, read on!
Before anything else, what is Google Search Console?
This is a free tool Google offers so you can monitor and maintain your websiteâs organic search presence. This is the ultimate search engine optimizerâs friend when youâre trying to maintain good standing with the search engine.
When you use Google Search Console, you will understand the reasons why your website is performing well (or not!) in organic search results. The tool also ensures that Google has access to your site content, helping you monitor any spam issues to clean your site, help submit new content for crawling, as well as removing old content.
Just about anyone who runs a website can take advantage of this tool and find great insight from it! Experts like Joel House SEO Coffs Harbour use this tool to help diagnose and fix any website issues, as you can find a ton of detailed and valuable data on your site traffic, current rank, search results, website errors, redirect issues, and a lot more.
For those who donât have Google Search Console yet, you can set up your own account within a few minutes, getting your website in their system.
There are two main types of security issues that Google Search Console reports on, which is either hacking or social engineering.
Under hacking are many types of hacks, with the most common one being URL injection. This happens through stolen credentials or if you use outdated software, which allows hackers to have unauthorized access to websites. This allows them to add, remove, or modify the content, as well as steal user data or exploit website reputation for commercial purposes.
There are three types of URL injection hacking, which are:
- Injection of URLs
- Injection of content
- Injection of code
Hackers gain control of websites by getting access to insecure directories on servers, taking advantage of, for instance, open permissions, to gain access to websites.
There are many ways hackers can gain control of websites, may it be from third-party applications or software. This all boils down to how secure you make your website; which Google Search Console can advise you about.
As for social engineering, these tricks users do for doing something suspicious online, like revealing confidential information or to download malicious software. A common example is phishing.
Fortunately, there is such a thing as Google Safe Browsing, which protects users by warning them before visiting suspicious sites or downloading any harmful files.
Google Search Console alerts website owners via email if there are any social engineering content types detected in their system.
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Now that you know what Google Search Console is and the common security issues experienced by website owners, how can you use the tool?
Here is a step-by-step procedure for beginners:
Once you have created an account, click on Add Property in the top bar, so you can your domain name. This will track everything connected to the domain you put in.
Afterward, verify that youâre the owner of the domain or website. The Domain option will only work via DNS verification, while URL prefixes support various methods.
Google considers URLs with www and without www as two different pages.
For now consider you use the https://www.example.com as your URL and somebody connects to your site as https://example.com, at that point Google will consider the connection heading off to an alternate URL (not yours).
Since you can’t control how individuals connect to your site, this could affect your siteâs performance in search results. The simplest method to fix this is by utilizing the preferred domain setting in Google Search Console.
If you donât want to add your domain, you can add your website instead. Itâs similar to the earlier method.
In your Google Webmaster Tools and click Add a Property.
Enter your website URL, ensuring that you use the exact URL appearing in the browser bar. If your website supports both HTTP and HTTPS, add both as separate websites, as well as adding each domain.
Click Continue and verify the website using your preferred method:
- HTML file upload
- Domain name provider
- HTML tags
- GA tracking code
- GTM container snippet
Under Legacy Tools and Reports, choose International Targeting. When youâre there, choose a country to target, based on your preference and what works best for your website.
This is a simple and necessary step to ensure that your website isnât penalized for an incorrect or irrelevant target country.
Choosing a country doesnât mean that your website will not appear in search results for other countries. If a page is relevant to audiences in other countries, then Google will still show it in the search results.
However, setting the target country helps Google understand your target audience and can potentially give you a slight SEO bump in local search results.
If you arenât familiar with this yet, an XML sitemap is basically the roadmap to all your important webpages and posts from your site. All websites can benefit from this, which is why itâs important to create one to submit.
You can locate this from the XML sitemap tab from the Google Search Console, so you can tell the search engine where your XML sitemap is from when crawling your website.
Enter the URL of your XML sitemap to Google Search Console to make it easier for Google to see. You will also be able to check if your XML sitemap has any errors or if pages arenât indexed, for search engines to find and read your XML sitemap properly. This will help with your search engine ranking!
Besides this, make sure that you regularly check your XML sitemap section to manage it well.
When linking out Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you combine valuable data from both tools do you have additional reports to use. This can help further improve your website for a great user experience and better search engine rankings.
Log into your Google Analytics account and click on Admin. Direct it to the property you want to facilitate data from Google Search Console, clicking on Property Settings.
Scroll down to the Google Search Console Settings, then select Adjust Search Console. When you verified your website in Google Search Console with the same email address, it will appear automatically.
Select the Reporting view on where to see the Google Search Console data, then Save.
Do you have any crawling issues youâd like to fix? Here are the extra tips to follow:
Index all new blog posts, or re-index old posts after updating it to add new content. Do this by going to your Google Search Console and submit a new request from your homepage, then enter the new or updated URL. Hit Submit Request so Google will crawl or re-crawl your webpage.
This is a useful feature the tool offers, which helps test the way Google crawls and scans your site. Fetch and Render will simulate a crawl of your website so it provides information on what you need to do to improve your site for better crawling.
Access this report by going to Fetch as Google report, then enter a URL youâd like to test. Click on Fetch and Render for it to simulate a sample crawl or run a report, which will only take a few minutes. Now get the report and check the factors on your webpage Google wonât scan, fixing it for a smooth crawl.
Fix server errors by using the Fetch as Google option, checking if the Googlebot can crawl your website. If the tool returns without problems, then Google can access your website properly. If not, youâll be given recommendations to fix any issues identified during the crawl.
Server Errors in Google Search Console are caused by a number of reasons. Most common of them is when your server times out during a crawl, throws an unexpected error or does not appear to be online.
Depending on the issue, you can use Google Search Console to identify, diagnose, and fix the server error. There are various server errors your website may incur, such as:
- Connection reset or refused
- Connect failed or timeout
- No response
However, if you can confirm the error by visiting the URL, then there are a number of things you can do to fix it.
When you face your HTML and site errors, check out the website’s indexed page. You can navigate to Index section and choose Coverage. Youâll be able to see a graph to understand how many links are indexed and blocked by robots.
Using this feature can help give an estimate on the total pages indexed and showing up on organic search engine results and what pages Google crawlers block. You can remove pages you donât want to be indexed and find the reason why certain pages are blocked.
Under Security and Manual Actions section choose Manual Action. You will notice an error if your website was penalized by Google.
If you were affected by a manual action, youâll be notified via email. There are different reasons why you have been penalized, such as unnatural or bought links, a hacked site, spam, or you are hiding something from search engines.
Once you have looked through the report and fixed all issues, click on Request Review, where youâll be prompted to submit what you did to correct any security issues when submitting the request for a review. It may take a few days or two weeks to complete, but it will be worth it.
Google will provide the exact issue your website had, the steps are taken to fix your issue, then document the outcome of what you have done to remedy the issue.
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I hope that this article gave insight on how Google Search Console can help you! Follow these steps and tips to make sure that you use this tool efficiently and remove all; security and crawling issues ASAP! I wish you the best of luck!
Note: This guide to fix Google Search Console Security Issues was contributed by Joel House. If you have an interesting article to contribute to, then check our Guest Blogging Guidelines.
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