Preferred Domain setting New Google Search Console

Preferred domain setting was used by almost every webmaster earlier. But since the Google Web Master Tools has been changed, the option is not available in new search console. Today I am going to share some insights on preferred domain setting. It’s because recently Google released an update on this option at their official blog. Let’s refresh our memories and talk about preferred domain setting.

People who are not aware about this option, it’s important for you to understand what this setting was and how webmasters used this option.

Preferred Domain Setting

This option was used to tell search engines about the domain preference. For example every domain has multiple URL’s such as :

  • http: //www.domin .com
  • http: //Domain .com
  • https ://domain .com
  • https ://www. Domain .com

Content on all URL’s are same but the URL’s are different. This option was used to tell search engines to show URL’s according to webmaster’s choice. Most commonly webmasters used to rely on Google and let the Google decide URL format.

domain setting
domain setting

Benefits of using Preferred Domain Setting

This setting doesn’t have much impact on your website performance but it was a great option to improve your website’s appearance. For example, if you are running an organization then having an additional www before your domain creates an impact between users. Not only this but Setting a preferred domain for your websites optimizes its appearance in search results and help in preventing duplicate content on your website. It also consolidates link juice.

How to set up preferred domain in new search console?

Since, the preferred domain settings has been removed from new search console, there’s no direct option to do it but you still have alternate ways to tell Google about your domain preference.  Most commonly used method is implementing canonicalization on your website. You could follow Best Examples of Canonicalization in SEO for more information. But there are other methods too so, you could also use given below methods.

  • You could use rel=”canonical” link tag on HTML pages
  • Also rel=”canonical” HTTP header
  • A sitemap
  • Use 301 redirects for retired URLs

Using 301 redirects might be confusing while defining domain preference so you could follow Google Guidelines on Consolidate Duplicate URL’s

However, if you don’t have any preference, then leave it on Google.

Hope this information would help you to understand the setting and it’s usage. If you have any feedback or suggestions for me then do comment below. And keep exploring TheSEOGuy for more Digital Marketing Tricks.

How to fix 404 errors on your website

Fix 404 errors on your website

Getting any error on website is not good for Search Engine Optimization. In order to get better SERP results, we have to keep on analyzing the website/blog and fix errors on regular basis. The most common and brutal error is 404 page not found. Let’s understand what it is and how can you fix 404 errors on your website.

What are Page Not Found Errors (404 Errors)

404 errors referred to Page Not Found. It means whenever a user has landed on a non-existing URL or page of your website/blog by a search query on search engines. Either the page has been removed or moved to another location. In this situation, the user will get 404 error or page not found error. For example I have a page https ://theseoguy .in /seo-tips/test-blog-post but I find it useful for another category so I moved it to another location such as https ://theseoguy .in /blog/test-blog-post without using redirection then user and search engines will not be able to see the page. For any keyword if this page is ranking and user lands on it then it will give 404 error to visitor.

Steps to Fix 404 errors on your website

In order to fix 404 errors on your website, you need to follow basic steps. First collect the list of all 404 errors and then apply fix. The fixes could be different according to your need or marketing strategy. Follow given below steps to fix 404 errors:

Collect All Errors using Google Search Console

Login to search Console

Choose the property

Click on Coverage from left hand side menu.

Download the list of errors

Search Console step 1 - fix 404 errors on your website

If you scroll down the report as mentioned in above image, you can find out the details of errors such as Status, Error Type, Validation (If applied) Trend and affected pages. Once you have the data with you, you can choose the fixing method according to your marketing strategy. You can get the error pages removed from search engine database, block search engines to crawl or index those pages or put permanent redirection on 404 error pages. It’s totally up to you what method you choose to fix 404 errors on your website.

Step 1: Here is how to get the page removed from search engine database

This is effective method for pages which you have removed from your website completely. To apply this fix, you need to follow given below steps.

Login to search Console

Choose the property

Click on Go to the old version left hand side menu.

After getting onto the old version, click on Google index from left hand side menu and choose “Remove URLs”

Search Console step 2 - fix 404 errors on your website

After opening the remove URL page, you need to click on “Temporary Hide” and paste the URL which is giving 404 errors on your website.

Search Console step 3 - fix 404 errors on your website

Once you submit URL, you will get three options which are given below:

  • Clear URL from Cache and temporarily remove from Search
  • Clear URL from Cache Only
  • Clear Cache and temporarily hide all URLs begin with

Choose between the options according to your need and submit the request. After this request, Google will verify the request and take actions according to your submitted request.

Search Console step 4- fix 404 errors on your website

Let’s move on to step 2 to fix 404 errors on your website. The step 2 refers to the redirection technique. While working on Search Engine optimization, we only prefer 301 redirections. It is also known as permanent redirection. In this method we inform search engines that the 404 error page has been permanently moved to another location and for that we use 301 redirection codes.

Using Permanent Redirection on 404 Pages

301 is hypertext transfer protocol (http) response code status. It shows that the destination page (URL) is moved permanently to another location or destination. This is the best practice when you are moving your site from non-secure server i.e. http to a secure server https. Both search engines Bing and Google recommend using a 301 redirect to change the URL of a page as it is shown in search engine results, providing that URL will permanently change and is not due to be changed again anytime soon.

You can refer “How 301 redirect work – Steps to add 301 redirect” to find complete steps to put permanent redirection on 404 pages and get the problem resolved.

Step 3: Block search engines to crawl or index

It is not a permanent fix for 404 errors. You cannot fix 404 errors from your website by blocking search engine crawlers to avoid visiting error pages. The errors will stay on your website till the time you get the permanent fix. But this method helps in to file a de-index report and get the errors fixed as fast as possible.

In order to implement this fix, you have to either add nofollow, noindex tag on those URL’s or adjust your website robots.txt file. You can follow given below steps to adjust robots file in order to block crawlers to visit particular pages.

Create or open the existing robots file of your website

Add Disallow : and put the url which you want search engines not to visit.

Refer the screenshot below

Robots file step 5 - fix 404 errors on your website

You can add the URL’s in robots file as mentioned in the above example. But make sure to use it wisely and don’t put too many URL’s in it. If you are getting a lot of 404 errors by a particular category then it’s better to add the category instead of entire page.

Robots file step 6 - fix 404 errors on your website

As you can see in the above image, the category is disallowed so that search engine crawlers will not index or follow the pages under that particular category.

These are major steps which you can follow to fix 404 errors on your website. Hope these steps would help you to fix problems on your blog or website. However, If you have more suggestions for this information then do comment below. I am always open for all feedback and suggestions. Let’s make it a better place for everyone who are looking for SEO Answers.

Here is how to find which keywords are performing for your website

performing for your website

Here is how to find which keywords are performing for your website

Digital marketing is not easy and performing while competing with thousands of competitors required a lot of hard work and excellent skills. Search Engine Optimization is a process which can boos t your website performance. And get ranks on search engine result pages. But it’s hard for you to find out the performing keywords for your website. Most of the time people start looking for tools to perform this check. Even there are thousands of tools available which claims that they can find performing keywords for your website. But the question whether you could find performing keywords for your website without any paid tool or not?

The answer is YES, you can find the best performing keywords for your website without using paid tools. Today I am going to share some good steps by which you can find out the keywords which are ranking for your website. For this you don’t need any paid tool. But you can use google webmaster aka Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Both the tools are free and must to have for every SEO Guy.

Step 1 Finding keywords performing for your website by Google Search Console

Login to search Console

Choose the property

Click on “Performance” from the left hand side menu

Step 1 search console

Now scroll down and choose queries

step 2 search console

As you can see in the above image, queries are listed in console which people are using to find out my blog. These queries are basically they keywords performing for my website. If you follow the process, you can find keywords performing for your website.  You can download the data on weekly basis, monthly basis and quarterly basis to conduct a keyword analysis for your website. Download the keywords in excel sheet and analyze which are the best keywords performing for your website.

Step 2 Finding keywords performing for your website by Google Analytics

Login to Google Analytics

Choose the website property & click All website data

Now Click on Acquisition

Select Search Console

Open Queries

step 1 google analytics

Now you can see the keywords which people have used to search your website. You can again export the list of keywords from the console for keyword analysis. While you were collecting the data, you can adjust the dates according to your need. I’ve shown you the data of last 7 days for my blog.

You can adjust the dates according to your choice. All you need to do is go to top right section of the console and select the date range. You can select 7 days, One Month, Today, yesterday and even custom the date for a long date range. It’s totally up to you.

Refer the Screenshot below.

step 2 google analytics

In order to collect more data for performing keywords we can use dates options.

Hope these steps for finding performing keywords for your website would help you to analyze keyword performance in a better way. The best part is, you don’t need any paid tool to do so. You can do it by available Google tools.

Comment below if you could add more options to the list. All the feedback and suggestions are welcome.

How to monitor backlinks in new Google search console

monitor backlinks in new Google search console

Monitor Backlinks in New Google Search Console

Google has introduced new user interface for Google webmaster tool. New search console has few new features in place of old features. The new Google search console has completely different layouts with some cool features. But sometimes it’s hard to understand new features and navigate between the platform. Today I am going to share some insights on that. I will share some steps to monitor backlinks in new search console. Most commonly website owners optimize website and its performance by using webmaster tool because it is one of the most important tool for optimization. It’s not an easy task to navigate between the console when you don’t understand the user interface. let’s move on to the steps and learn how can we monitor backlinks in new google search console.

Steps to follow

Visit https://search.Google.com/search-console/about

Click on Start Now

new google search console login step 1

Login with your webmaster login ID & Password

Choose the property from the top left menu drop-down Menu

new google search console login step 2

Click on “Links” in left hand side menu

Choose “Top Linking Site”

new google search console login step 3

Once you click on the option, you will get a list of websites from where you are getting backlinks. It is same as older search console “Links to your site” option.

new google search console login step 4

Now you can monitor the number of backlinks and their quality. If you find any unusual number then you know you can file “Disavow Report”.

So that’s how you can monitor backlinks in new Google search console. If you still need any clarification then do visit Google support forum and explore about “New Google Search Console”. You will get more answers. It will help you to learn more about new Google search console.

However, if you have any feedback or suggestions for this post then do comment below. You can also write to me directly by using my Contact Page. I will be more than happy to collect your feedback.

Also, if you like the information then do share it with others so that they could know “How to monitor backlinks in new Google search console”. Follow Google Search Console fore more tips and tricks.

Data Highlighter – Search Console Help

Data Highlighter

When we develop a website, we design a blue print and then and we create structure after that we apply skin/color/design/format etc. It is not possible for us to develop a website without having a structure. Today I am going to share more insights about the structure because today’s topic is based on a SEO tool called “Data Highlighter”. We simply can’t avoid website structure if we are discussing this tool. I am going to share some information and some tips and tricks of using Data Highlighter. Let’s learn about this tool first.

Data Highlighter tool

This tool is used to inform search engines about the pattern of structured data on your website. You can use Data Highlighter to highlight the data for search engines and tag the data fields on your. Search engine optimization is all about making things easy for search engine crawlers so that they could understand our website data easily. This tool makes the process easy for us.

If you have structured data on your website, then it would be a lot easier for crawlers to understand. It would give you better SERP results. Let’s take an example from given below image of structured data and unstructured data.

Data Highlighter Structured Data

As you can clearly see the difference between two types of data, you can understand the importance of it. You could understand that if search engine crawlers are able to understand your website data structure easily, they will index, crawl and give you much more positive results.

Apart from getting better results, this tool would help you to design structure data with ease. You can simply add the information without using any codes. All you need is, open the the tool and start tagging your content.

You can easily define information such as “Product Category”, “Author”, “Date Published”, “Logo” , “Date created” and many more.

How to use Data Highlighter Tool

In order to use data highlighter tool, you can open the old search console, (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/)> Go to the top left menu > Click on Search appearance > Choose Data Highlighter.

Edit: If you are facing problem while accessing Old Search Console then  you can also access Data Highlighter by visiting “https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/data-highlighter”.  Login with your existing search console ID and Password and you will be able to use this tool. This is one of the Free SEO Tools which can help you to boost your SEO.

Put the URL which you wanted to highlight. Choose category i.e. type of content and then you will be able to highlight the data. This is important because we use this tool to highlight the specification of particular product or services related to our website (business) category. For example, I am running a blog which shares SEO information, so I would choose the category “Articles” on my blog posts to inform google. This is the suitable category for it. I can’t use movie, restaurants or TV episode. 

data highlighter tag url

Once you are done with the categories, you will get the web page where you can add your tags. Let’s take example of one of my blog post where I’ve tagged post category, Author, Date published, Post Image and post title.

data highlighter page

As you can see in this image, I’ve tagged page and mentioned the relevant information to make it easy for search engines to understand the page. You can easily add the tags by editing the right hand side bar menu.Highlighting data with this tool easy but if face any problem while using this, you can refer the “Data Highlighter” guide here.

Hope this information would help you to tag your website data by using “Data Highlighter” tool. Also now you know the importance of structured and highlighted data. If you have any feedback for this article then do comment below your feedback. All the suggestions and feedback are welcome.

 

How to fix index coverage issues in Google search console

index coverage issues

How to fix index coverage issues in Google search console

It is very common to see index coverage issues on new website or blogs. If you have received a message in your Search Console which says “New Index coverage issue detected for site “yourdomain” then there are couple of things which you need to check.

Check the robots file

As the message says “Indexed, though blocked by robots.txt”. You need to check the robots file and see if your robots file is allowing crawler to crawl and index the website. If you have specified the search engines in robots file then please check if you have disalowed any URL which you are not suppose to disallow. Most commonly people follow the practice to disallow codes to make it clean for crawlers. But this practice might give you issues in website indexing. Take the example of robots file in my blog.

I have disallowed extensions but rest of the url’s are allowed and no extra parameter is added. Try to be more specific with robots file and only use disallow when it is required. Using disallow tag unnecessarily would create problems in website indexing.

Use Fetch as Google

This would be the next step if everything is fine in your robots file. You can use the feature to request indexing for particular URL which crawlers are not able to index. Open the webmaster. From left hand side menu, click on Crawl and choose “Fetch as Google”. Put the URL in the box and click fetch. Once completed, hit on request for indexing.

Redirection

If the problem persists then you can try adding 301 and redirect URL to another location and try for step 2 (Fetch as google). Adding redirection would be the final step in this situation. This would solve your problem of indexing. But make sure to use the code wisely because if you made any changes to .htaccess file, it would affect your entire website/blog. The code for using 301 is “Redirect 301 /sample-blog-post.html to https://example.com”

PS: Here example(dot)com is the home directory. You can use your own location.

Once you are done with redirection, use fetch as google and submit your sitemap and have some patience. Your index coverage issues should be resolved after this.

In order to check the index status, you can use the new search console which has pretty cool feature of checking index status.

Open the new search console and click on “URL inspection” paste the url in the box and you will get whether the URL is on google or not. However, you can also try to old trick.

Open google type Info:your website url and hit enter. You will get the index status and if you check the cached option then you can also see the crawl date for that URL.

Here is how to use Google disavow tool

Google disavow tool

Here is how to use Google disavow tool

Google disavow tool help you to keep your site safe and remove spam backlinks by using Google Search Console. But before actually getting into the process of disavowing backlinks by using Google Disavow tool, website owners should contact the website owners from where the backlinks are generated. Standard process is to connect with them and ask for removal. If it didn’t help or you didn’t get any positive response then you can proceed with this and use Search Console to get rid of those spam backlinks.

You can use disavow Option to remove such links. You can directly ask Google not to take certain links into account when accessing your site.

But you have to be very careful while using this option. This is an advanced feature. You should know the consequences of using Google Disavow Tool. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search engine result page (SERP). Disavow backlinks from your website only if youhave a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site and you are confident enought that the links are causing issues for your website.

Steps to follow

This is a two-step process. First, you’ll need to download a list of links to your site. Next, you’ll create a file containing only the links you want to disavow, and upload this to Google.

Download links to your site

  1. On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
  2. On the Dashboard, click Search Traffic, and then click Links to Your Site.
  3. Under Who links the most, click More.
  4. Click Download more sample links. If you click Download latest links, you’ll see dates as well.

While looking at the links to your site in Search Console, make sure to verify both the www and the non-www version of your domain in your Search Console account because too Google, these are entirely different sites.

Upload a list of links to disavow

  1. Go to the disavow links tool page.
  2. Select your website.
  3. Click Disavow links.
  4. Create a list of website which you wanted to remove in notepad and save the file in a text format (.txt). Given below would be the format of text file.Disavow file format
  5. Click Choose file and upload.
  6. disavow file format step 2

Now you are done with the process. Google will take some time to process the information so have some patience.

Hope this would help you to use google disavow tool. If you face any problem or require further information you can also refer google guide of using Google Disavow Tool Here

How to change URL Parameters of website

URL Parameters

How to change URL Parameters of website by search console

Changing URL parameters of website is a risky task until you don’t know about it completely. Even when you try to adjust URL parameters of website by using search console, you will get a warning. Basically URL parameters are decided by google. Website owners can make the changes according to their marketing strategy. Take the reference of given below sample URL parameters to have better understanding

  1. https://example.com
  2. https://www.example.com
  3. example.com

If you are willing to change URL parameters then you should know it totally depends on your Content Management System or platform. If you are using PHP then you can follow steps mentioned at 410 redirect url with dynamic GET parameters or do a research on “How to change dynamic URL into static URL” it will definitely give you some amazing answers.

You can follow given below steps to make changes in URL parameters.

  1. login to webmasters
  2. Click on Crawl form the left hand side menu
  3. Choose URL parameters
  4. You will get a warning “Use this feature only if you’re sure how parameters work. Incorrectly excluding URLs could result in many pages disappearing from search.” If you are 100% sure about this then you can proceed and adjust the parameters according to your need.

Attached is the screenshot for your reference.

URL Parameters

This is a Critical change to make. So you have to be 100% sure and have good understanding of URL parameters. It is good to refer google guidelines before using this feature. You can find the Google Guidelines on URL parameters at Use URL parameters to send data to your site

However, if you are concerned about google ads url parameters then you should know that you can insert URL parameters into your URLs so that your URLs track information about a click. URL parameters are made of a key and a value separated by an equals sign (=) and joined by an ampersand (&). The first parameter always comes after a question mark in a URL. For example, http://example.com?product=1234&utm_source=google

Do comment below if you find this information useful.

Target country in Google webmaster

Target country

Target country in Google webmaster

Target country is a term to define your business audience and location. If you are running a business within specific location or country, you can use the targeted country audience. Google webmaster tools allow you to set International Targeting to target a specific geographic area for your website. Today I am going to share few steps which will help you to use target country option in google webmaster tool. But before getting into setting up target country, let’s understand what it is and what are major benefits of using targeted country.

What is Target Country?

Target country is an option for webmasters or website owners to target specific countries or users for their business. If you are located in United States of America or any other country then you might generate more business from users who are located within your country. It is good to have users from across the world but when it comes to business or services, users within country always give better results.

Purpose of Targeted Country

The sole purpose of creating “International Targeting report” is to provide website owners information about the traffic type and location. If you are a website owner then it would be good for you to get the results of user location. It will help you to design your strategies towards the content and user behavior.

Also, if you are willing to target the audience for a particular location, then you can also use this feature. For example, if your product/services belong to any specific country then you can target the audience of that particular location by defining hreflang tags.

However, if you want to understand how to use this feature then you can visit International Targeting report it will give you brief understanding of this feature.

Depending on your business or services, you can use this feature. If you have physical services then it is important for you to target local audience. On the other hand if you have online services which can be used all over the world then you can focus on a broad audience and design your content strategies according to your services.

Set up Target Country in Search Console

Setting a country target in new search console is not available. In order to do that, you need to switch to old Google Web Master and follow given below steps.

  • Login to your search console with login ID & Password
  • Go to left hand side menu and scroll till the end.
  • Select “Go to the Old version”.
  • Now Select “Search Traffic” from left hand side menu
  • international targeting
  • Now select Country and make edits.

As you can see in above picture, the targeted country for my platform is selected as India. Because I provide Digital Marketing Services in India and have physical office available here.