If you’re looking to update your understanding of SEO, or simply make sure that you’re getting the most out of your website, then Google Webmaster Tools, otherwise known as Google Search Console could be the way to do it.

There are countless tools out there designed to help you make the most out of your search engine optimisation strategies. However, if your main goal is to get to the top of the listings on Google, then it’s fair to say that the best advice must come from Google itself.  Not only does Google’s SEO service come with insights into the way the world’s biggest search engine sees your site, but it’s also free! Here are just some important reasons why you should be using Google Search Console, or Webmaster Tools.

1. See Your Website Through Google’s Eyes

The easiest way to earn a better ranking for your website is to look at your site from the perspective of a search engine. Google’s Webmaster Tools provides you with all the information you need to do just that, including data about the search queries that help your customers to find your website, possible stats on traffic, and the tweaks that you can make to improve the ranking factors on your site.

Google’s Search Console also offers you an insight into the number of URLs on your site that are already indexed by Google, and the number of links that are pointing your site. It’s a powerful tool for SEO auditing, and it helps you to avoid common mistakes in your website strategies.

2. Find the Issues Hurting your Visibility

Many elements in Google’s search Console can help you to see where you’re making mistakes that could be harming your website. In the Search Traffic section of your site, you can find out whether you’ve had any penalties taken against you, or whether you’re suffering from problems with mobile responsivity that are keeping your traffic numbers low.

The Crawl segment of your site will give you an insight into any crawl errors like Broken links or 404 pages that are harming your customer experience. More importantly, your Search Console will also help you to see where your site is showing up on the search results.

3. Tell Google Where to Index your Pages

If you want your site to have an impact, and turn up in the Google Search Result pages, then you’re going to need to make sure that your pages are indexed. You can do this by submitting new pages on your site directly to Google Search Console, where the bots will be told to index and crawl it.

On Webmaster Tools, you can also let Google know if there are any pages on your site that you’d prefer they didn’t index, by using a robot.txt file. At the root of your site, this document helps to indicate which of the pages or directories you don’t want crawlers to access when they’re determining where to place your site. Though it might be hard to figure out why you wouldn’t want to get every page indexed right now, there are plenty of good reasons to use the robots.txt file.

Alternatively, your sitemap.xml file can help Google to figure out what it should be indexing, which is great when you want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible results out of your site. If you’re unable to do this yourself, you should speak to your web host. All reputable web hosting firms will have the knowledge and ability in order to assist with this.

4. Track your Ranking Metrics and Performance

Tracking your ranking metrics and performance is a great way to implement better growth into your website pages. With the data you get from Google’s SEO tools, you can easily measure the popularity of your website over time. You’ll typically find plenty of information here, like the number of impressions for the site, and how many times people click through from the search engine onto your page.

The Search Console can also provide you with insights into which keywords you’re ranking for, and whether your rank position is going up or down over time. This is a good way to track whether your SEO strategies are working or not.

5. Get Instant Alerts When Something Goes Wrong

Finally, you can use the search console on Google to make sure that you’re always the first to know when an error occurs on your website. You can arrange for alerts to emerge the moment a problem happens so that you’re never worrying about losing your place on the search results.

Unlike many of the SEO tools available today, Google Webmaster Tools offers one of the quickest and easiest ways to keep track of your performance, without over-spending on your budget.