As real estate becomes more and more prevalent online, brokerages, agents, and marketing professionals alike should stay up to date on the latest happenings in the digital marketing and SEO landscape. We want to highlight the new and improved Google Search Console. Previously named "Google Webmaster Tools," the Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your web presence in Google search results. Before we dive into the Google Search Console, let's review the Google Small Business Tools as a whole.
Google’s Small Business Tools
Google My Business: This tool is invaluable to small businesses, especially in real estate brick and mortar offices. It is a way for companies to "claim" their businesses online, increasing visibility for customers. This tool is a place to update location information, hours of operation, as well as customer reviews. It's essential for all real estate companies to have this.
Google Analytics: Does Google offer a free website analytics service. It can give you insights into how users find your website, and how they interact with your website. Answer questions such as site visitors, page popularity, website speed, and much more.
Google Search Console: Using this in conjunction with Google analytics is the best way to get the complete picture of what is going on regarding customers finding your website, search results, and much more.
Google AdWords (Soon to be Google Ads): Google's advertising platform, in which you can reach most anybody on the internet. Create search or display ads, create campaign goals, track ROI of advertising spend.
How to Set Up Google Search Console
To get started, verify you are the owner of the website. First, go to the Google Search Console's webpage and sign in using a Gmail account (you must create one if you do not have). Add your website to "add a property," then to verify ownership, webmasters can upload an HTML file or a snippet of code to their site.
Next, add a sitemap after the verification step. This sitemap will be a list of pages on a website which makes it easy for search engine crawlers to index your site, add the current sitemap URL from your website, make sure also to set up your preferred domain. There are some other necessary set up features such as setting up Robot.txt files, greater detail on the setup process can be found here.
About Google Search Console
On the day-to-day, this tool will alert you if any unusual events are happening with your websites, such as hacking, or problems with Google crawling or indexing your site. It is also a great way to monitor traffic on a monthly basis, especially if there is a website change. The Google Search Console provides information on internal links; you can see how many pages are driving to a link and what areas could use a boost. You can also see what sites are linking back to your website and will provide recommendations on how to get additional backlinks to your site. Pages that have many backlinks are valuable to your business and have substantial authority, make sure to use those pages to link to other pages of the site that could use an increased rank.