Why You Should Be Using Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools and How to Get Started
If you want to boost the performance of your online marketing campaigns and SEO strategies, you need to use data analysis tools such as Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. The first two of those free online tools essentially let you study the way in which search engines interact with your site while Google Analytics is more concerned with user interaction.
Because of Google’s dominant position in the search engine industry, using its online tools is a necessity for any business that’s serious about driving traffic to their website. However, because Bing is used by millions of people worldwide and offers tools that some industry experts argue are more powerful than its rivals, you should use Bing Webmaster Tools to your advantage.
At Smart Traffic, we’ve been helping businesses drive paying customers to their websites for years, partly by using tools such as those mentioned above. Of course, there’s much more to developing successful SEO strategies than just using Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, but the analysis of traffic and user data can’t be overlooked.
If you’d rather let experienced SEO specialists develop and execute a long-term SEO strategy for your business, then we hope to speak with you over the phone or by email. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics and what they can do for you before explaining how to set up and start using them.
Google Search Console vs. Bing Webmaster Tools
Google Search Console, which was previously called Google Webmaster Tools, is a free online tool that offers various insights into the performance of your website on Google’s search engine. It lets you analyse data such as crawl errors, site impressions (how many times your website appears on a results page), click-through rates and technical errors, and you can also upload an XML sitemap to improve Google’s ability to crawl your website. These features can help you increase search visibility as well as develop digital marketing and keyword strategies.
Bing Webmaster Tools essentially offers the same functionality as Google Search Console, but the data it provides relates to the performance of your website on the Bing and Yahoo search engines. Which tool is the most powerful and intuitive is up for debate, but Bing’s tool offers more data from the initial dashboard as well as features that many SEO specialists say Google’s counterpart lacks. Regardless of which is better, they’re both essential for developing effective marketing strategies.
In short, the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tool can:
Notify you of any penalties on your website
Display any links to your domain from other websites
Give you an insight into the search terms that people use to find you
Track 404 and other technical errors that the crawlers detect
Show you how much of your website has been indexed
Tell you if your website suffers from mobile usability problems
If you have any questions about Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tool or want to find out how we can utilise them in addition to our industry expertise to create SEO strategies that work, don’t hesitate to contact one of our specialists.
An Introduction to Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful and easy-to-use digital marketing tool that allows you to find out how people find your site, where they come from, how long they remain on a page, which links they click, the number of conversions and much more. With all this information, you can tweak your marketing strategies to capture visitors that you can transform into leads or paying customers. If you have an AdWords account, you can integrate it with Google Analytics to measure and analyse the performance of your PPC campaigns.
Some of the most useful data offered by this powerful tool relates to where your traffic comes from, which may include:
You can also find out where your visitors are located thanks to geographic data analysis. With this information, you can learn which advertising channels are most successful, where improvements could be made and how to utilise your budget to maximise the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns.
In addition to providing traffic data, Google Analytics offers:
Conversion tracking – how many visitors become customers, leads or subscribers
Bounce rates – the number of visitors that leave your website without interacting with it
Average session duration – how long a visitor engages with your website
Pages viewed – the average number of pages on your website that each visitor views
Device overview – how well your website performs on mobile, tablet and desktop devices
Measuring your SEO strategy’s ROI is crucial to helping you to protect your bottom line and achieve the best results, and using Google Analytics is one of the best ways to do it. If you want to find out how our experts can help, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Getting Set Up with Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
As you can see from the above sections, all businesses need to use these powerful digital marketing tools by Google and Bing to measure and improve the performance of their online marketing campaigns. Plus, you’ll be glad to know that you can use many of the features of all the tools in question for free, though there are premium features available. Below, we’ll give you an overview of what you need to do to set up and get started with each of these handy online tools.
Create a Google Account
First, if you don’t already have a Google account, you’ll need to create one by visiting google.com/analytics. However, if you use Gmail, YouTube or any other of Google’s services, you have an account already. If you sign up using the given URL, you’ll be offered a free or premium account, but there’s no need to pay for a premium account at this stage (or ever, depending on your requirements).
Obtain Your Google Tracking ID
Make Sure Everything’s in Order
Now that your Tracking ID has been inserted between the <head> tags of your webpages, you need to test that everything works. To do this, simply log into your Google Analytics account, go to the tracking code page and make sure that you’re receiving data. If you’re still not receiving data after 24 hours, there’s probably an issue. You can visit Google’s troubleshooting page or contact our friendly professionals for help.
Start Using Google Analytics
By creating a Google Analytics account, you can see how many people visit your site, where they come from, whether they like your content and so much more. Getting to grips with the basics shouldn’t take too long, but if you want to take advantage of features such as goal, ecommerce and campaign tracking, you might want to get help from our trained and experienced specialists.
Google Search Console
Getting setup with Google Search Console is relatively straightforward, especially if you already have a Google Analytics account (which you can create by following the steps above). Here’s how you do it:
Log in to Google Search Console using the same details as your Google Analytics account
Click on the button near the top of the page that says “Add A Property,” then enter your website’s URL before clicking “Continue.”
Next, you’ll need to verify your account, which you can do in one of the following ways:
Enter your Google Analytics Tracking ID
Use Google Tag Manager to verify via Google Tags
Contact your hosting provider
Upload a HMTL file that proves you have access to the root of your website
By following the steps above, you can create a Google Search Console account within a matter of minutes, but you won’t have access to much data for up to a week. While you’re waiting, it’s a good idea to upload an XML sitemap to Google Search Console, which allows crawlers to index your site as quickly as possible.
If you need help creating a sitemap, you can use WordPress plugins, such as Yoast SEO, or contact one of our SEO specialists for more information. We’re more than happy to create and submit sitemaps as part of our service offering.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Fortunately, setting up a Bing Webmaster Tools account is just as straightforward as creating a Google account. Follow these steps to get started:
Create a Bing Webmaster Tools Account
Visit the Bing Webmaster Tools sign-up page to create your free account. If you have a Microsoft account, then you can simply use those details to sign in rather than create a new account, which means if you use Hotmail or Outlook, you probably already have the required details to log in to Bing Webmaster Tools.
Verify Your Website
Just like with Google Search Console, you need to prove that your website actually belongs to you before you can start using Bing Webmaster Tools. You can do this either by accessing your hosting account to add a CNAME record to the DNS or via XML authentication or meta tag authentication. Once your site is verified, you’ll be taken to a page that displays a confirmation message and a green checkmark.
Submit Your Sitemaps
Now that you’re verified, all you need to do is upload your sitemaps to start taking advantage of the many features offered by Bing Webmaster Tools. Take a look at the previous section on how to set up Google Search Console for more information on creating sitemaps.
Let Smart Traffic Be Your SEO Partner
Sometimes, experienced web developers and SEO specialists have a habit of making online tools, such as Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, sound straightforward, but they’re not so easy to wrap you’re head around if you’re unfamiliar with such technical stuff. Plus, it can take months of studying and training to get to grips with the full functionality offered by such powerful online tools, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to get your online marketing campaigns off to a flying start.
Here at Smart Traffic, we’ve helped countless businesses from a broad range of industries expand their online operations by not only using the tools detailed in this article to their full advantage but also utilising years of experience and a variety of complex techniques. From social media marketing to blog campaigns and SEO to mobile optimisation, we can develop a bespoke digital strategy for your business that guarantees results.
If you want to find out how our trained and accomplished SEO specialists can ensure the success of your online marketing campaigns as well as analyse data to make improvements and maximise your return on investment, then we encourage you to give us a call on 02 8205 3133.
About the author
A specialist in Google Ads, and with a wide range of SEO skills and experience, Michael has a particular interest in Local SEO strategies for small to medium sized businesses. When Michael is not working hard increasing conversions for clients Paid Advertising campaigns he enjoys traveling, dining out and watching Formula 1 and football.