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What are webmaster tools? Now GSC!

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  • 4 min read

You will hear people who have been in the industry for a while refer to webmaster tools. Webmaster tools are now known as Google Search Console.

Whatever you want to call them, they still stand out as an essential resource for understanding and improving a website’s performance in Google search results.

Google Search Console has undergone significant transformations over the years to provide webmasters with invaluable insights and functionality.

This article explores the evolution of webmaster tools and delves into the inner workings of Google Search Console.

The Birth of Webmaster Tools

Google introduced its Webmaster Tools in 2006 as a set of utilities to assist webmasters in understanding and enhancing their websites’ visibility on Google. Initially, the tool offered features like submitting sitemaps, checking indexing status, and identifying crawl errors. It aimed to bridge the gap between website owners and search engines, fostering better communication and optimisation practices.

Transition to Google Search Console

In 2015, Google rebranded Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console. This rebranding signified a shift in focus from webmasters alone to include a broader range of stakeholders, such as SEO professionals, marketers, and site administrators. The name change aimed to emphasise that the tool was not limited to technical experts but also catered to anyone interested in improving their website’s performance on Google’s search engine.

Core Functionality of Google Search Console

Google Search Console offers a wide array of features and functionalities designed to provide webmasters with valuable insights and optimisation opportunities. Let’s explore some of its key components:

  1. Performance Reports. The Performance section of Google Search Console offers a detailed overview of how a website performs in Google search results. It provides information on the total impressions, clicks, average position, and click-through rate (CTR) for specific queries, pages, countries, and devices. This data allows webmasters to evaluate the effectiveness of their SEO strategies and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Index Coverage. The Index Coverage report helps webmasters understand how Google indexes their website’s pages. It highlights any crawl errors, indexing issues, or pages that are blocked from being indexed. By resolving these issues, webmasters can ensure that their content is discoverable and accessible to search engines.
  3. URL Inspection Tool. This tool enables webmasters to analyse how Google views a specific URL on their website. It provides information on whether a page is indexed, any crawling or indexing errors, and the last time Googlebot visited the page. This tool allows webmasters to diagnose and resolve potential issues that may affect a page’s visibility.
  4. Sitemaps and URL Parameters. Google Search Console allows webmasters to submit XML sitemaps, which provide a structured representation of a website’s content to aid in indexing. Additionally, the tool provides controls to manage URL parameters, enabling webmasters to communicate how certain parameters affect page content and instruct Google’s crawling and indexing behavior.
  5. Mobile Usability and Core Web Vitals. Google Search Console also offers insights into a website’s mobile usability and Core Web Vitals metrics. It highlights any mobile-specific issues that may affect user experience and provides performance data on loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. These metrics are crucial for optimizing websites for mobile devices and enhancing overall user experience.

Google Search Console has evolved into a comprehensive and indispensable tool for webmasters and website owners. From its humble beginnings as Webmaster Tools, it has expanded its functionality to cater to a wider audience. With its performance reports, index coverage analysis, URL inspection tool, and various other features, webmasters can gain deep insights into their website’s visibility and take proactive steps to enhance their online presence. As the digital space continues to evolve, Google Search Console remains a vital companion for anyone striving to achieve optimal performance in Google search results.