Do you want to improve the search presence of your website?  Did you know that Google will help you?  Did you know that it is free?  As part of the Google Webmaster Tools, Google provides the Google Search Console.  Boost the visibility of your website by adding all your website versions, selecting your preferred version, identifying your target country, and submitting a sitemap.

Many websites have different versions which normally point to a single website.  For instance, businesses may have domain names that end in .com, .ca, .org, etc.  As well, some websites use both a www and a non-www version.  Ensure that Google knows about each of these versions.  Adding the different versions is made easy with the “Add a site” button.

The “Set a preferred version” button allows you to tell Google which version you prefer as the main domain.  Google will use this domain as the main index for your website’s pages.  Google will also use this domain for all future crawls of your website.  With the preferred version set, Google won’t count all of your versions as different websites (which may reduce your search ranking).

The “Choose country” button permits you to target people from your target country.  For example, businesses that operate in Canada and want to target Canadians can set the target country to Canada.  Google will then use this location when providing search results.  This is especially helpful for non-specific country domains such as .com, .org, and .net.  As well, this helps Google associate your website if you use an international hosting provider.

The “Submit a sitemap” button helps you tell Google which web pages you want crawled.  Use fully-qualified URLs without session IDs following the recommended canonicalization methods (see the help file provided by Google).  A sitemap also helps identify difficult to index items such as video and image descriptions.  The button allows you to test your sitemap before submitting.  Ensure you fix any errors before the final submission.  You can update the sitemap as required if you add/delete/change your web pages.

The Google Search Console provides you with an easy to follow set of steps all aimed at boosting the visibility of your website.  In today’s increasingly competitive web space, it is important to use all available tools (especially the free ones) to give you a leg up on your competition.

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