How do the Google Webmaster Tools work

Google Search Console

The Google Search Console (GSC for short, formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a free analysis and service tool from Google. With the help of the Google Search Console, numerous settings can be made on websites or apps, statistics can be viewed and optimizations can be carried out. In addition, webmasters receive warnings about unnatural backlinks or malware that has been installed on the website. The data from the Google Search Console are not partially public, such as the data from Alexa. The metrics of the Search Console can be linked to Google Analytics for data enrichment.

Background [edit]

Google tries a lot to ensure that websites are solidly programmed and that the number of errors is limited. This intention has a not entirely altruistic background. On the one hand, the company from Mountain View wants to ensure that its search results refer to the highest possible quality targets and, on the other hand, the optimization of websites naturally also serves to improve the quality of landing pages for advertising via Google AdWords or publisher websites for Google AdSense on one to maintain a high level of quality.

At the same time, it can be assumed that Google will receive additional insights into the design and relevant website data through the data maintenance of the webmaster tools.

Requirements for use [edit]

In order to use the Google Search Console, the relevant page must first be registered. A valid Google account is required for this. After logging in, the owner must verify the site. There are four different recommended methods to choose from:

Alternatively, the website can also be verified using a valid Analytics account, the domain name provider, an HTML tag or the Google Tag Manager. After the verification has been carried out, the tool displays relevant data for the corresponding website and the common functions can be used.

Features [edit]

The Google Search Console contains a large number of functions that can be used to analyze and optimize a website. The functions are briefly outlined here:

  • Storage of an XML sitemap: All URLs of a website can be transmitted to Google via the XML sitemap. Although this is not a guarantee for subsequent indexing, it increases the possibility that page elements that are difficult to access are also crawled. In addition, a separate picture sitemap or video sitemap can be stored via the GWT. The tool analyzes every sitemap for errors after the upload.
  • robots.txt tester: If a robots.txt file is stored, it can be analyzed with the Search Console. New instructions for the bot can also be tested there.
  • Website settings: Here you can set the preferred country selection as well as the information on the desired standard domain format (with or without WWW) and the crawl speed of up to two server requests per second. If you don't know the performance of your server, you should let Google do the setting automatically.
  • Declare backlinks as invalid: One of the most discussed tools in the SEO scene in recent years is the GWT's so-called disavow tool. Incoming links can be declared invalid if a webmaster is of the opinion that these links are more harmful than useful. Many SEOs assume that Google uses the data from this tool to uncover link networks. To the tool:
  • Ignore URL parameters: SEOs and webmasters can use the GWT to declare individual parameters of a URL to be invalid. You can determine whether the parameter has an influence on the content or whether it is, for example, a tracking parameter such as "utm".
  • Remove URLs from the index: An important function of Search Console is the temporary removal of URLs from the Google index. This is always useful if individual sub-pages have unintentionally entered the index. This function does not replace exclusive indexing using tags such as Noindex.
  • Data Highlighter: This function makes it possible to highlight relevant positions on a website so that Google can determine structured data such as opening times or prices.
  • Access like by Googlebot: With this function, a website can be viewed like a spider and syntax errors can be uncovered. It is also possible to render the page completely.
  • Sending URLs to the Google index: After a website has been called up with “Access as by Google”, it and the associated URLs can be sent directly to the Google index. Several URLs can be indexed at once.
  • Control of structured data: If a website uses microformats or other structured data, their labeling can be checked with the Google Search Console.
  • Checking Rich Cards: If a website uses Rich Cards, these can be checked with the GSC.
  • Check AMP pages: If a website has been implemented as AMP, the implementation can be checked with the Search Console.
  • Test mobile device friendliness: The GSC indicates whether URLs are suitable for mobile devices.
  • hreflang test: If a website is internationally oriented and has several language and country versions, these can be awarded hreflang. The GSC can control these tags.
  • Blocked resources: The Google Search Console shows users when important resources on a website cannot be loaded or are preventing the Googlebot from indexing.

Statistics tools [edit]

In addition to the "active" functions, the GSC offers a rich database with statistics.

  • Dashboard: This gives webmasters an immediate overview of the DNS status, crawling errors, search queries, the validity of the robots.txt and errors in URLs and the sitemap.
  • Search queries: Similar to Google Analytics, the GSC also offers an overview of search queries, CTR and clicks as well as rankings of individual keywords. These statistics can be downloaded or narrowed down to a specific time period. However, this data is only displayed in the GSC for the last 90 days.
  • Incoming links: The Search Console provides users with an overview of incoming links that Google has registered. In contrast to paid backlink tools, the GWT do not crawl as deeply and the display of the backlinks is usually lower.
  • Internal links: Here, too, Google offers a useful overview and shows how many links originate internally from the respective sub-pages. An important reference point for OnPage optimization.
  • Indexing status: Here you can see how the website was indexed. This metric is well suited for reading possible penalties. The Search Console also shows how many pages of a website have been indexed and which of them have been removed.
  • HTML improvements: Google provides possible optimization potential for meta descriptions and titles.
  • Crawling errors: The Search Console provides information about 404 errors or soft 404 errors, both in the desktop and in the mobile version.

Messages from Google [edit]

If you have registered your website with the Google Search Console, you will receive a message if there are problems with crawling. Google also informs the webmaster of server problems or some software updates (e.g. Wordpress). Google also reports any spam or a hack via the security problems function. If Google detects unnatural links or a violation of copyrights, messages can be sent to webmasters via the item Manual Actions.

Other web tools [edit]

Originally, new analysis tools were introduced as beta versions via the former Google Webmaster Tools and could then be tested by users. Today, Search Console provides links to other tools such as an “Ad Usability Report”, an email markup tester, or the structured data creation and testing tool.

Benefits for SEO [edit]

In times of the keyword status “not provided”, SEOs can use the GSC as a supplement to Google Analytics. The console provides specific data on accesses via keywords. But apart from this topic, the tool has many advantages. The possible applications can basically be divided into two levels:

  • Practical help tool: Google's Search Console makes it easier to manage a website for Google searches. The webmasters themselves do not have to be professionals when it comes to working on the source code or server. A good example is the possibility of storing a preferred version of the website (with or without WWW) via the GSC. The data highlighter can also be used, for example, to set markups without any programming knowledge in order to maintain the option of displaying rich snippets.
  • Comprehensive tool for optimization: By storing the XML sitemap, all subpages of a domain can be transmitted to Google. Notifications about errors in the sitemap or about harmful links as well as analyzes of the meta data are also helpful.

If you always want to get all the latest news and tips about the Google Search Console, you should check Google Webmaster Central regularly. After registering for the webmaster tools, you can also subscribe to all new information as a mailing if you wish. An important function are notifications about "unnatural links" after the Penguin update, which shook the SEO scene more than once in 2012.


Since May 20, 2015, the Google Webmaster Tools are officially called Google Search Console. After Google obtained more detailed information from the users of the Webmaster Tools, they discovered that only a part of the users are “webmasters”. So that the name of the product also appeals to everyone who uses the tool, such as small business owners, hobby users, SEOs, etc., Google decided to rename it.[1]

References Edit]

  1. ↑ Announcement of the Google Search Console Retrieved on August 22, 2017

Web links [edit]