So you’ve set up Google Analytics, and you’re now tracking basic metrics to ensure your website’s success. The next step is to add another layer of tools to better understand how your site is performing in search results.

Google’s Webmaster Tools can be summarized by this: “You want to be found on the web. We want to help.” If you’re looking to boost your ranking in Google’s search results—whether you’re a small business owner, SEO expert, marketer, or simply a hobbyist—signing up for this free toolset from Google will help you understand exactly what’s going on with your website so you make decisions based on concrete data, rather than on what you think is working.

What Is Google Search Console?

Google rebranded its Webmaster Tools to Search Console to capture more users beyond webmasters and programmers and to make it more inclusive. Other than the name, nothing else has changed—all functionality remains the same.

What Does Google Search Console Track?

By setting up Search Console for your business’ website, you can make sure that Google can access your content. This is a straightforward way to submit content to Google’s crawlers and remove content you don’t want shown in search results. It also helps you monitor important site information, such as any malware or spam issues, what queries result in your site appearing in Google’s search results, what information is highlighted in search results (products, contact info, etc.) and what other sites are linking to your website.

How Do I Set up Google Search Console?

The easiest way to is to link it to your site’s Google Analytics. Once you’re logged in, go to the admin tab and click “All Products” under “Product Linking” to find Search Console. From there, you can associate the two properties. Once they’re synched up, you can see Search Console data right in Google Analytics, though it may take a few hours before you see any data. Monitor this data regularly to keep on top of the keywords you’re ranking for, how many pages of your site Google has indexed, and whether or not the Google bot is experiencing any errors as it crawls your site. You may be working hard on search engine optimization, but these basics are key to ensuring your site is set up effectively to maximize on your SEO efforts.

Within Settings on Search Console, you can create even more specific parameters for the data you collect. For example, you can set a geographic target (particularly good for local brick and mortar businesses) to ensure Search Console is tracking your specific target audience. Here, you can also set the crawl rate, depending on how often you update your site. We recommend just letting Google decide this for you, but if you’d prefer it to be more frequent, you can set this up here.

By setting up Google’s Search Console, you’ll be better understand how both Google and users are finding and using your site, which provides valuable insights on both your marketing efforts and site development.

Don’t have a website for your business yet? Use Google’s Get Your Business Online tool to help those in your community find and support you.

Check back throughout the month of October for more stories on Google’s tools for local businesses.

Katelyn Massey is an SEO Specialist at Volume Nine.