Surf the Dream A discourse of links and articles from Justin Avery

Google Search Console Updates – Content Keywords & Site Grouping

If you manage a website the chances are that you’ve heard of and use the Google Search Console, the artist formally known as Webmaster Tools.

If you’re sitting there scratching your head and wondering what I’m talking about then go and check out this article from Moz and get yourself started.

The console is always changing and you should be dipping in there once a week to make sure that all your pages are still being indeed and there’s no issues with your website (from Googles point of view at least). If this seems like a lot of effort go and check out your Google Analytics under Acquisition > Overview and see how much of your traffic comes from Organic Search.

For me that number sits at a whopping 86% so it’s a benefit to me to make sure that there’s no unknown issues on the console. Bing also has a Web Master Console that you should take the time to set up, but for me and the majority of everyone I know most of their traffic comes through Google so that’s the best starting point.

Okay, so what are the updates?

Content Keywords go bye bye

I’ve never spent any time checking out this section in the Google Search Console so I have to say that I’m not going to miss it at all. The idea behind this page is that is shows the most commonly used keywords on your site as you can see in the image.

Google Search Console Contnet Keywords list

These are the most common keywords from https://responsivedesign.is… unsurprisingly the terms responsive and design are incredibly high up there. There are also a few terms that are used in the footer which rank highly because they’re on every single page, terms like Justin & Avery. I also do a lot of podcasts and transcriptions and you might be a feeling for my Australian talking style as you can see yeah also ranks highly.

The keywords can be reviewed further taking you to a list of pages that most often use that particular term. As you can see from the image all of the top ranking pages for the term responsive are the podcast pages that have been transcribed. That’s because there’s between 40 minutes and an hour worth of conversation about responsive design.

Google Search Console Content Keywords page uses

Where it does come in handy is if you’ve been hacked.

A common form of hacking is to find a website that has a good page rank and lots of traffic and then incorporate content/pages into that site without the owners knowledge. You then list a whole bunch of targeted keywords that you want to rank highly for and have them directed to your site. You see this in WordPress comments a LOT.

The content keywords would allow you to pick up any anomalies and fix before any damage is done to your reputation, and more importantly your ranking in search results.

Google have asked that anyone that uses this feature for a good reason to speak up now or forever hold their peace, but I can’t see them changing their mind.

Why do I need to group sites?

When you set up a site in Google Search Console you need to be very specific. Each of these sites would be considered a different property in the console:

  • http://responsivedesign.is
  • http://www.responsivedesign.is
  • https://responsivedesign.is
  • https://www.responsivedesign.is

For me I actually redirect all traffic to the https://responsivedesign.is site, but that’s not necessarily true for everyone. Now days you probably won’t have a m. site but equally you might, and while wordpress have approached AMP pages with /amp at the end or the url others will use amp.mydomain.com as the url. Essentially we want to see all the details about these sites in one dashboard — not several.

Google Search Console - Grouping sites

At the moment it seems as though Sets haven’t been rolled out to all Search Consoles or at least mine is missing the option. If you’re keen to do this check out the help article from google.

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Surf the Dream is a blog that has been running since the mid 2000's when it started on BlogSpot. Over the years it's been rebranded as justinavery.me (now my resume) and JaveryDesign.com (which now redirects back to this site).

I offer consultation services through Simple Things, produce a range of educational pocket notebooks, write about the Universe and run a responsive design and a RWD Weekly Newsletter