What Is Google Webmaster Tools? | Google Search Console

Adam Steele
Oct 25, 2023

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Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), now known as Google Seach Console, is currently relied upon by no less than 13.5 million active websites. Yup—a LOT of webmasters, digital marketers, and hobbyists use GSC to monitor how their websites are performing in Google search results.

And with the platform’s legacy extending to more than 26 million users, it’s clear that the platform long ago cemented itself as an indispensable asset in the search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing world.

But what makes it so popular?

Let’s find out, shall we? In this guide, we

  1. answer the question, “What is Google Webmaster Tools?”
  2. explore the tool’s suite of features,
  3. and clear up common misconceptions and questions that you’ll, no doubt, want answers to.

What Is Google Webmaster Tools?

From a handy URL Inspection Tool, XML Sitemap Reports, and Google’s much-talked-about Core Web Vitals, Google Search Console (GSC), formally our old pal Google Webmaster Tools, is a comprehensive toolkit of features you don’t want to be missing out on. Without the platform’s insights into how Google perceives the performance of your website, you might as well be moving to Schitt’s Creek—unprepared and out of your comfort zone.

So why the change from GSC to GWT?

For close to a decade, Google Webmaster Tools was the go-to platform for optimizing websites for Google Search. However, as the search engine evolved, so did its user base. No longer were the coveted Google SERPs (search engine results pages) top positions being optimized for by “webmasters.” Nope. A groundswell of fresh blood was throwing their hats into the ring, dawning an age beyond SEO gurus and opening the doors to a mix of hobbyists, small business owners, and marketers alike.

Understanding this diverse community’s unified mission—to make their content both accessible and prominent on Google Search—Google unveiled a new identity for Webmaster Tools: Google Search Console.

The rebranding, announced in May 2015, was more than just a name change. It was a declaration of Google’s dedication to a wider audience, emphasizing its commitment to serving a more diverse range of professional backgrounds.

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Why Is Google Webmaster Tools Important?

To underscore the importance of GSC, let’s explore an infamous case study:

Saramin’s SEO Success with Google Search Console

Saramin, no, not Sarumon, Sar-a-min, one of Korea’s largest job platforms, jumped on the opportunity to register its company website with Google Search Console just after the platform was renamed back in 2015. A wise decision—this move marked the start of many SEO successes. Initially, with the guidance of GSC, the Saramin team focused on rectifying several crawling errors they were experiencing on their website. Before long, they saw a 15 percent increase in organic traffic.

Recognizing the potential of SEO, they delved deeper.

Next, the team decluttered meta tags from irrelevant keywords, used canonical URLs, and eliminated duplicate content. They implemented structured data, starting with JobPosting, Breadcrumb, and Estimated Salary. And they utilized tools like the Structured Data Testing Tool, Mobile-Friendly Test, AMP Test, and PageSpeed Insights to optimize, tweak, and optimize.

The results were remarkable.

By September 2019, during the peak hiring season, their traffic had doubled from the previous year. Saramin witnessed a 102 percent Year-Over-Year (YOY) increase in organic traffic from Google Search. Moreover, there was a 93 percent surge in new member sign-ups and a 9 percent YOY rise in conversion rate from organic traffic.

Saramin’s success story underscores the power of Google Search Console in driving SEO performance. Their journey from addressing basic crawling errors to doubling their traffic in a peak season showcases the potential of diligent SEO practices combined with the effective use of tools provided by Google.

Google Search Console’s Key Features

GSC has a suite of features that will prove invaluable to any well-implemented SEO strategy. Let’s quickly explore them:

Performance Reports

Understand how many users saw and clicked on your site in Google Search. Provides data on clicks, impressions, CTR, and position, grouped by page URL, country, or device type.

Suggested Use: Regularly review for spikes or dips in clicks or impressions. Ensure that the queries you target are displayed on your site.

URL Inspection Tool

Offers detailed information about how Google’s index perceives a specific URL on your site. Provides insights into page HTML code, errors, AMP/mobile usability, and more.

Suggested Use: Troubleshoot crawling errors and use the tool to fix and retest a page before resubmitting it for indexing.

XML Sitemaps Report

Displays submitted sitemaps, their statistics, and any errors encountered during processing.

Suggested Use: Check if Google has processed your sitemaps and use it for debugging if new pages aren’t being discovered.

Mobile Usability Report

Assesses the mobile-friendliness of all indexed pages on your site.

Suggested Use: Regularly check and address any mobile usability issues.

Links Report

Provides insights into external sites linking to yours, the link text used, and internal link targets within your site.

Suggested Use: Understand your site’s backlink profile and internal linking structure.

Common Misconceptions and FAQs

If you have any lingering questions we haven’t yet explored, here are some quickfire answers to frequently asked questions about GSC.

Q1: What Is the Difference Between Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools?

Google Analytics (GA) and Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), now known as Google Search Console (GSC), are both tools provided by Google, but they serve different purposes:

  • Google Analytics primarily focuses on website traffic and user behavior. It provides insights into how users find and interact with your site, tracking metrics like page views, bounce rate, session duration, and conversions.
  • Google Webmaster Tools (GSC) concentrates on the technical aspects of a website. It offers insights into how Google’s search engine views your site, highlighting issues like crawl errors, sitemap submissions, and mobile usability. It also provides data on search queries leading to your site.

Q2: Is Google Search Console Necessary?

While using Google Search Console is not mandatory, it’s highly recommended for anyone serious about optimizing their website for search engines. GSC provides invaluable insights into how Google views your site, any technical issues it encounters, and opportunities for optimization. Without it, you’re essentially flying blind in terms of understanding your site’s performance in Google Search.

Q3: What Is the Difference Between Google Search Console and Google My Business?

Google Search Console and Google My Business (GMB) are distinct tools with different objectives:

  • Google Search Console is a tool that helps webmasters understand how Google views their site, offering data on search queries, indexing issues, and more. It’s about the technical and search performance of your website.
  • While Google My Business, now Google Business Profile, is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. GMB lets businesses update their business information, respond to reviews, share posts and photos, and see insights on how and where people are searching for them.

Conclusion and Next Steps

While GSC provides the data, interpreting and acting on it is where the real magic happens—precisely where Loganix steps in.

Our seasoned SEO experts not only understand the nuances of GSC but also know how to integrate its insights into a holistic SEO strategy. So whether it’s optimizing your content based on search queries, enhancing your backlink profile, or addressing potential site issues, Loganix is equipped to elevate your online presence.

🚀 Explore Loganix’s SEO services, and let’s get your website’s performance trending in the right direction—to position numero uno! 🚀

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Adam Steele on October 25, 2023

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.