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10 Top Affiliate Marketing Software Platforms To Maximize Sales In 2022

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10 Top Affiliate Marketing Software Platforms To Maximize Sales In 2022

Affiliate marketing has been experiencing explosive growth in recent years, so it’s essential now more than ever for brands to run affiliate programs of their own.

It involves brands hiring affiliates to promote their products and services and rewarding them with a commission from every sale.

As such, affiliate marketing is an excellent low-cost and low-risk way for brands to drive sales and brand awareness without hiring an in-house advertising and marketing team of their own.

Affiliate marketing spending is projected to reach $8.2 billion in the U.S. alone, up from $5.4 billion in 2017.

Affiliate Marketing And SEO

Affiliate marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) both share a common goal of attracting relevant and high-quality traffic to a site with the goal of increasing sales.

As such, both of these marketing activities shouldn’t be perceived as two separate, competing entities.

Instead, you should look at them as one and the same that work together in perfect harmony to increase website traffic and generate more revenue.

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The most successful publishers in the affiliate marketing space combine the two to get the best of both worlds.

SEO affiliate marketing involves choosing the right products and affiliate programs that attract the most search traffic and offer the best commissions.

Publishers often make the most of affiliate marketing by creating content that adds real value for their readers and prioritizes their experience.

Publishers often do this by creating “Best of” or “Top X” oriented posts that address their audience’s needs and pain points, while, at the same time, allowing them to monetize their content by using affiliate links throughout the posts.

By adding relevant and contextual affiliate links in such posts, publishers foster an authentic user experience that puts their readers first.

This is one of the most significant advantages of affiliate marketing compared to alternative marketing methods such as sponsored posts.

Today’s consumers are increasingly distancing themselves from heavily business-oriented content, as it’s increasingly being perceived as inauthentic and disingenuous.

By focusing on high-quality content that adds value to readers and combining it with relevant and contextual affiliate links, everyone wins!

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Additionally, Google rewards publishers who create original content and add real value for their readers.

They reward such publishers by placing them higher in search results and driving more traffic to them.

But, in today’s highly competitive and increasingly dynamic market, how can brands find the time to manage and grow their affiliate marketing program?

The answer is with the help of the right affiliate marketing software that streamlines the entire process.

In the early days of affiliate marketing, brands didn’t have the luxury of using affiliate software that gave them all the tools needed to run an affiliate marketing program.

As a result, to run successful affiliate marketing programs in the past, brands often needed to be a one-man show and manage every aspect of affiliate marketing on their own.

Naturally, this approach took a considerable amount of time, and brands did not have the bandwidth necessary to undertake such an endeavor. Thankfully, this is no longer the case today.

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Therefore, brands need to utilize the right affiliate marketing software to stay competitive and maximize ROI in today’s highly competitive affiliate marketing space.

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This article will go over what affiliate marketing software is and what makes a great affiliate software platform.

We’ll also review the top 10 affiliate marketing software platforms that brands can use to take their affiliate program to the next level.

What Is An Affiliate Marketing Software?

In a nutshell, affiliate marketing software is a comprehensive tool that facilitates all aspects of affiliate marketing program management.

It allows brands to track, manage, and grow their affiliate marketing campaigns.

Most affiliate marketing software platforms share standard features such as affiliate onboarding, collaboration with affiliate partners, affiliate tracking and reporting, and referral, cost, and commission payment management.

What Makes A Good Affiliate Marketing Software Platform?

Though most affiliate marketing software platforms share many of the same features, what sets apart the good platforms from the bad is what’s important.

For starters, the actual platform must have an intuitive and user-friendly interface.

An affiliate marketing platform can boast all of the best affiliate tools and features available.

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Still, it’s a moot effort if the dashboard is complicated for most people.

Additionally, since brands usually utilize a variety of Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms for ecommerce and affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing software platforms need to offer tons of third-party SaaS integrations.

The best affiliate marketing software platforms offer robust tracking and reporting capabilities.

Brands need to be able to precisely track their affiliate sales and access real-time granular data to measure the ROI of their affiliate campaigns effectively.

Additionally, a good affiliate marketing platform will provide brands with all the affiliate tools they need to launch, manage, promote, and scale their affiliate programs, such as flexible commissions management and customizable real-time affiliate tracking and reporting capabilities.

At the same time, they should offer their clients peace of mind by providing the highest level of fraud detection and other security features.

Lastly, the best affiliate marketing software platforms mean nothing if there isn’t quality customer service available 24/7 to back it up. Readily available customer assistance is equally important for brands as it is for affiliates.

Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Software

1. Refersion

With over seven years in the affiliate marketing industry and over 20,000 clients, Refersion is one of the leading affiliate marketing software platforms on the market.

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Its robust and highly personalized dashboard allows brands to manage all aspects of their affiliate program, such as monitoring all aspects of their affiliate activity with extensive real-time reporting capability.

Refersion offers brands all the tools they need to scale and promote their affiliate programs, such as managing commissions, payouts, and providing simplified tax automation.

Refersion integrates with all the major ecommerce SaaS platforms and features one of the largest marketplaces full of affiliates for brands to discover.

It provides brands with peace of mind by offering some of the best fraud detection and security features available.

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Finding any significant cons to such an established affiliate platform is more complicated than it looks.

If we had to choose something, perhaps its pricing isn’t the cheapest compared to a few other platforms on this list.

But then again, it’s hard to find any affiliate marketing software that offers the top-notch affiliate tools, marketplace, and customer service for $89 a month like Refersion does.

2. Impact

Impact is one of the biggest affiliate marketing software platforms for cloud automation.

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Its signature Impact Partnership Cloud allows brands to develop automated affiliate or influencer marketing campaigns.

It offers a decent marketplace, marketing tools, and analytics for brands to track and manage their affiliate programs.

However, pricing is not readily available and requires a custom quote.

3. Tapfiliate

For businesses primarily operating and generating their revenue on ecommerce SaaS platforms, Tapfiliate may be a great choice.

It features an autopilot mode that can automate things such as onboarding new affiliates, sharing via social media, or even drip campaigns.

Tapfiliate offers advanced tracking and reporting capabilities, but most of the features are accessible only through the Pro plan, which starts at $149 a month (not the cheapest on the list).

The Essential plan starts at $69 a month.

4. Affise

Affise features an intuitive and highly customizable dashboard and is a great choice for agencies that manage multiple affiliate networks on an Enterprise level.

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It can be accessed via web, cloud, or SaaS, and offers good third-party SaaS integration.

One standout feature of Affise is its smart targeting function that allows audience targeting via criteria such as geolocation, device, language, or device connection speed.

Affise also offers robust tracking and reporting capabilities.

Still, its monthly starting price of $499 doesn’t make it so readily accessible for most brands running affiliate programs.

It is better suited for Enterprise-level agencies and brands.

5. Awin

Awin, previously known as Zanox, merged with Affilinet in 2017 to become one of the largest affiliate marketing platforms with more than 200,000 marketers and over 15,000 advertisers.

It features a handful of marketing and reporting features you’d expect from such an extensive network.

Though, it doesn’t feature some essential affiliate features you’d expect, such as affiliate tracking or fraud detection security.

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Registration is free on Awin, but its performance-based pricing model means that there isn’t a fixed monthly cost to join the platform.

Instead, brands pay a predetermined cost-per-acquisition.

6. Cake

Cake is another affiliate marketing platform available via web, cloud, or SaaS.

Cake partners with over a dozen partners to offer a variety of streamlined and automated features, most notably its live reporting and tracking capabilities that allow brands to optimize their affiliate campaigns in real-time.

Cake doesn’t provide pricing on its website and requires a custom quote.

It also doesn’t feature any pre-made promotional tools for marketers, which doesn’t make it quite suitable for novice users just starting out with their affiliate programs.

7. ClickBank

ClickBank was one of the first affiliate platforms, launching all the way back in 1998. Since then, it’s grown to one of the largest affiliate marketplaces with over 200 million customers.

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ClickBank offers native support for brands that offer ongoing subscription services.

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It makes it easy for brands to create one-click repeatable purchases, allowing them to provide monthly products without requiring manual monthly payments.

It also offers some of the standard affiliate features commonly found on most affiliate platforms, such as affiliate reporting, payments, commissions management, and third-party integrations.

However, compared to most of the other affiliate platforms on this list, it doesn’t offer a demo, free trial, or monthly pricing.

Instead, ClickBank charges a one-time activation cost and a non-negotiable fee of 7.5% + $1 per sale.

8. CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate offers access to hundreds of markets and brands on one platform. It provides a customizable dashboard and a variety of reports and specialized tools.

Most notably, CJ Affiliates offers specialized tools, such as Deep Link Automation and Product Widgets, that enable brands to improve their affiliate program ROI.

CJ Affiliate also allows brands to boost lead generation by maximizing their partner’s content.

However, it also doesn’t provide a demo or free trial, and pricing is only available via a custom quote.

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9. TUNE

TUNE allows brands to build, manage, and grow their affiliate partner networks through its proprietary marketing technology.

TUNE offers customizable tools, reporting, commissions, payments, and real-time affiliate tracking and reporting like most other platforms on this list.

However, it doesn’t provide affiliate promotional tools like most other platforms, and pricing is on the steeper side at $279 a month for the Professional plan and $799 a month for the Enterprise plan.

10. LeadDyno

LeadDyno specializes in affiliate program promotion and perhaps offers the most amount of promotional tools available in an affiliate marketing software platform.

LeadDyno allows brands to create various promotional campaigns like email and newsletter campaigns and share them on social media.

It offers extensive tracking and reporting features that allow brands to monitor and optimize their promotional campaigns.

Because LeadDyno specializes in affiliate promotional tools, it lacks some of the more robust affiliate tools that enable brands to manage and optimize their affiliate campaigns in real-time, like most of the other platforms on this list.

Also, there are no fraud detection features available.

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Still, pricing is on the affordable side, starting at $49 a month for the Starter Plan, $59 a month for the Biz Builder Plan, and $79 a month for the Accelerator Plan.

Wrapping Up

Great affiliate software solutions enable brands to easily launch affiliate programs and track referrals and sales made by their affiliate partners.

Excellent affiliate marketing software should provide brands with all the tools needed to launch, promote, and grow their affiliate program.

At the same time, they should provide customizable and easy-to-use reporting capabilities that allow brands to track affiliate program performance in real-time.

Because, after all, without reliable tracking and reporting tools, brands cannot effectively assess the success and profitability of their affiliate campaigns and partnerships.

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Featured Image: Visual Generation/Shutterstock

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A Complete Google Search Console Guide For SEO Pros

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A Complete Google Search Console Guide For SEO Pros

Google search console provides data necessary to monitor website performance in search and improve search rankings, information that is exclusively available through Search Console.

This makes it indispensable for online business and publishers that are keen to maximize success.

Taking control of your search presence is easier to do when using the free tools and reports.

What Is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free web service hosted by Google that provides a way for publishers and search marketing professionals to monitor their overall site health and performance relative to Google search.

It offers an overview of metrics related to search performance and user experience to help publishers improve their sites and generate more traffic.

Search Console also provides a way for Google to communicate when it discovers security issues (like hacking vulnerabilities) and if the search quality team has imposed a manual action penalty.

Important features:

  • Monitor indexing and crawling.
  • Identify and fix errors.
  • Overview of search performance.
  • Request indexing of updated pages.
  • Review internal and external links.

It’s not necessary to use Search Console to rank better nor is it a ranking factor.

However, the usefulness of the Search Console makes it indispensable for helping improve search performance and bringing more traffic to a website.

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How To Get Started

The first step to using Search Console is to verify site ownership.

Google provides several different ways to accomplish site verification, depending on if you’re verifying a website, a domain, a Google site, or a Blogger-hosted site.

Domains registered with Google domains are automatically verified by adding them to Search Console.

The majority of users will verify their sites using one of four methods:

  1. HTML file upload.
  2. Meta tag
  3. Google Analytics tracking code.
  4. Google Tag Manager.

Some site hosting platforms limit what can be uploaded and require a specific way to verify site owners.

But, that’s becoming less of an issue as many hosted site services have an easy-to-follow verification process, which will be covered below.

How To Verify Site Ownership

There are two standard ways to verify site ownership with a regular website, like a standard WordPress site.

  1. HTML file upload.
  2. Meta tag.

When verifying a site using either of these two methods, you’ll be choosing the URL-prefix properties process.

Let’s stop here and acknowledge that the phrase “URL-prefix properties” means absolutely nothing to anyone but the Googler who came up with that phrase.

Don’t let that make you feel like you’re about to enter a labyrinth blindfolded. Verifying a site with Google is easy.

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HTML File Upload Method

Step 1: Go to the Search Console and open the Property Selector dropdown that’s visible in the top left-hand corner on any Search Console page.

Screenshot by author, May 2022

Step 2: In the pop-up labeled Select Property Type, enter the URL of the site then click the Continue button.

Step 2Screenshot by author, May 2022

Step 3: Select the HTML file upload method and download the HTML file.

Step 4: Upload the HTML file to the root of your website.

Root means https://example.com/. So, if the downloaded file is called verification.html, then the uploaded file should be located at https://example.com/verification.html.

Step 5: Finish the verification process by clicking Verify back in the Search Console.

Verification of a standard website with its own domain in website platforms like Wix and Weebly is similar to the above steps, except that you’ll be adding a meta description tag to your Wix site.

Duda has a simple approach that uses a Search Console App that easily verifies the site and gets its users started.

Troubleshooting With GSC

Ranking in search results depends on Google’s ability to crawl and index webpages.

The Search Console URL Inspection Tool warns of any issues with crawling and indexing before it becomes a major problem and pages start dropping from the search results.

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URL Inspection Tool

The URL inspection tool shows whether a URL is indexed and is eligible to be shown in a search result.

For each submitted URL a user can:

  • Request indexing for a recently updated webpage.
  • View how Google discovered the webpage (sitemaps and referring internal pages).
  • View the last crawl date for a URL.
  • Check if Google is using a declared canonical URL or is using another one.
  • Check mobile usability status.
  • Check enhancements like breadcrumbs.
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Coverage

The coverage section shows Discovery (how Google discovered the URL), Crawl (shows whether Google successfully crawled the URL and if not, provides a reason why), and Enhancements (provides the status of structured data).

The coverage section can be reached from the left-hand menu:

CoverageScreenshot by author, May 2022

Coverage Error Reports

While these reports are labeled as errors, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. Sometimes it just means that indexing can be improved.

For example, in the following screenshot, Google is showing a 403 Forbidden server response to nearly 6,000 URLs.

The 403 error response means that the server is telling Googlebot that it is forbidden from crawling these URLs.

Coverage report showing 403 server error responsesScreenshot by author, May 2022

The above errors are happening because Googlebot is blocked from crawling the member pages of a web forum.

Every member of the forum has a member page that has a list of their latest posts and other statistics.

The report provides a list of URLs that are generating the error.

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Clicking on one of the listed URLs reveals a menu on the right that provides the option to inspect the affected URL.

There’s also a contextual menu to the right of the URL itself in the form of a magnifying glass icon that also provides the option to Inspect URL.

Inspect URLScreenshot by author, May 2022

Clicking on the Inspect URL reveals how the page was discovered.

It also shows the following data points:

  • Last crawl.
  • Crawled as.
  • Crawl allowed?
  • Page fetch (if failed, provides the server error code).
  • Indexing allowed?

There is also information about the canonical used by Google:

  • User-declared canonical.
  • Google-selected canonical.

For the forum website in the above example, the important diagnostic information is located in the Discovery section.

This section tells us which pages are the ones that are showing links to member profiles to Googlebot.

With this information, the publisher can now code a PHP statement that will make the links to the member pages disappear when a search engine bot comes crawling.

Another way to fix the problem is to write a new entry to the robots.txt to stop Google from attempting to crawl these pages.

By making this 403 error go away, we free up crawling resources for Googlebot to index the rest of the website.

Google Search Console’s coverage report makes it possible to diagnose Googlebot crawling issues and fix them.

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Fixing 404 Errors

The coverage report can also alert a publisher to 404 and 500 series error responses, as well as communicate that everything is just fine.

A 404 server response is called an error only because the browser or crawler’s request for a webpage was made in error because the page does not exist.

It doesn’t mean that your site is in error.

If another site (or an internal link) links to a page that doesn’t exist, the coverage report will show a 404 response.

Clicking on one of the affected URLs and selecting the Inspect URL tool will reveal what pages (or sitemaps) are referring to the non-existent page.

From there you can decide if the link is broken and needs to be fixed (in the case of an internal link) or redirected to the correct page (in the case of an external link from another website).

Or, it could be that the webpage never existed and whoever is linking to that page made a mistake.

If the page doesn’t exist anymore or it never existed at all, then it’s fine to show a 404 response.

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Taking Advantage Of GSC Features

The Performance Report

The top part of the Search Console Performance Report provides multiple insights on how a site performs in search, including in search features like featured snippets.

There are four search types that can be explored in the Performance Report:

  1. Web.
  2. Image.
  3. Video.
  4. News.

Search Console shows the web search type by default.

Change which search type is displayed by clicking the Search Type button:

Default search typeScreenshot by author, May 2022

A menu pop-up will display allowing you to change which kind of search type to view:

Search Types MenuScreenshot by author, May 2022

A useful feature is the ability to compare the performance of two search types within the graph.

Four metrics are prominently displayed at the top of the Performance Report:

  1. Total Clicks.
  2. Total Impressions.
  3. Average CTR (click-through rate).
  4. Average position.
Screenshot of Top Section of the Performance PageScreenshot by author, May 2022

By default, the Total Clicks and Total Impressions metrics are selected.

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By clicking within the tabs dedicated to each metric, one can choose to see those metrics displayed on the bar chart.

Impressions

Impressions are the number of times a website appeared in the search results. As long as a user doesn’t have to click a link to see the URL, it counts as an impression.

Additionally, if a URL is ranked at the bottom of the page and the user doesn’t scroll to that section of the search results, it still counts as an impression.

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High impressions are great because it means that Google is showing the site in the search results.

But, the meaning of the impressions metric is made meaningful by the Clicks and the Average Position metrics.

Clicks

The clicks metric shows how often users clicked from the search results to the website. A high number of clicks in addition to a high number of impressions is good.

A low number of clicks and a high number of impressions is less good but not bad. It means that the site may need improvements to gain more traffic.

The clicks metric is more meaningful when considered with the Average CTR and Average Position metrics.

Average CTR

The average CTR is a percentage representing how often users clicked from the search results to the website.

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A low CTR means that something needs improvement in order to increase visits from the search results.

A higher CTR means the site is performing well.

This metric gains more meaning when considered together with the Average Position metric.

Average Position

Average Position shows the average position in search results the website tends to appear in.

An average in positions one to 10 is great.

An average position in the twenties (20 – 29) means that the site is appearing on page two or three of the search results. This isn’t too bad. It simply means that the site needs additional work to give it that extra boost into the top 10.

Average positions lower than 30 could (in general) mean that the site may benefit from significant improvements.

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Or, it could be that the site ranks for a large number of keyword phrases that rank low and a few very good keywords that rank exceptionally high.

In either case, it may mean taking a closer look at the content. It may be an indication of a content gap on the website, where the content that ranks for certain keywords isn’t strong enough and may need a dedicated page devoted to that keyword phrase to rank better.

All four metrics (Impressions, Clicks, Average CTR, and Average Position), when viewed together, present a meaningful overview of how the website is performing.

The big takeaway about the Performance Report is that it is a starting point for quickly understanding website performance in search.

It’s like a mirror that reflects back how well or poorly the site is doing.

Performance Report Dimensions

Scrolling down to the second part of the Performance page reveals several of what’s called Dimensions of a website’s performance data.

There are six dimensions:

1. Queries: Shows the top search queries and the number of clicks and impressions associated with each keyword phrase.

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2. Pages: Shows the top-performing web pages (plus clicks and impressions).

3. Countries: Top countries (plus clicks and impressions).

4. Devices: Shows the top devices, segmented into mobile, desktop, and tablet.

5. Search Appearance: This shows the different kinds of rich results that the site was displayed in. It also tells if Google displayed the site using Web Light results and video results, plus the associated clicks and impressions data. Web Light results are results that are optimized for very slow devices.

6. Dates: The dates tab organizes the clicks and impressions by date. The clicks and impressions can be sorted in descending or ascending order.

Keywords

The keywords are displayed in the Queries as one of the dimensions of the Performance Report (as noted above). The queries report shows the top 1,000 search queries that resulted in traffic.

Of particular interest are the low-performing queries.

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Some of those queries display low quantities of traffic because they are rare, what is known as long-tail traffic.

But, others are search queries that result from webpages that could need improvement, perhaps it could be in need of more internal links, or it could be a sign that the keyword phrase deserves its own webpage.

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It’s always a good idea to review the low-performing keywords because some of them may be quick wins that, when the issue is addressed, can result in significantly increased traffic.

Links

Search Console offers a list of all links pointing to the website.

However, it’s important to point out that the links report does not represent links that are helping the site rank.

It simply reports all links pointing to the website.

This means that the list includes links that are not helping the site rank. That explains why the report may show links that have a nofollow link attribute on them.

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The Links report is accessible  from the bottom of the left-hand menu:

Links reportScreenshot by author, May 2022

The Links report has two columns: External Links and Internal Links.

External Links are the links from outside the website that points to the website.

Internal Links are links that originate within the website and link to somewhere else within the website.

The External links column has three reports:

  1. Top linked pages.
  2. Top linking sites.
  3. Top linking text.

The Internal Links report lists the Top Linked Pages.

Each report (top linked pages, top linking sites, etc.) has a link to more results that can be clicked to view and expand the report for each type.

For example, the expanded report for Top Linked Pages shows Top Target pages, which are the pages from the site that are linked to the most.

Clicking a URL will change the report to display all the external domains that link to that one page.

The report shows the domain of the external site but not the exact page that links to the site.

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Sitemaps

A sitemap is generally an XML file that is a list of URLs that helps search engines discover the webpages and other forms of content on a website.

Sitemaps are especially helpful for large sites, sites that are difficult to crawl if the site has new content added on a frequent basis.

Crawling and indexing are not guaranteed. Things like page quality, overall site quality, and links can have an impact on whether a site is crawled and pages indexed.

Sitemaps simply make it easy for search engines to discover those pages and that’s all.

Creating a sitemap is easy because more are automatically generated by the CMS, plugins, or the website platform where the site is hosted.

Some hosted website platforms generate a sitemap for every site hosted on its service and automatically update the sitemap when the website changes.

Search Console offers a sitemap report and provides a way for publishers to upload a sitemap.

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To access this function click on the link located on the left-side menu.

sitemaps

The sitemap section will report on any errors with the sitemap.

Search Console can be used to remove a sitemap from the reports. It’s important to actually remove the sitemap however from the website itself otherwise Google may remember it and visit it again.

Once submitted and processed, the Coverage report will populate a sitemap section that will help troubleshoot any problems associated with URLs submitted through the sitemaps.

Search Console Page Experience Report

The page experience report offers data related to the user experience on the website relative to site speed.

Search Console displays information on Core Web Vitals and Mobile Usability.

This is a good starting place for getting an overall summary of site speed performance.

Rich Result Status Reports

Search Console offers feedback on rich results through the Performance Report. It’s one of the six dimensions listed below the graph that’s displayed at the top of the page, listed as Search Appearance.

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Selecting the Search Appearance tabs reveals clicks and impressions data for the different kinds of rich results shown in the search results.

This report communicates how important rich results traffic is to the website and can help pinpoint the reason for specific website traffic trends.

The Search Appearance report can help diagnose issues related to structured data.

For example, a downturn in rich results traffic could be a signal that Google changed structured data requirements and that the structured data needs to be updated.

It’s a starting point for diagnosing a change in rich results traffic patterns.

Search Console Is Good For SEO

In addition to the above benefits of Search Console, publishers and SEOs can also upload link disavow reports, resolve penalties (manual actions), and security events like site hackings, all of which contribute to a better search presence.

It is a valuable service that every web publisher concerned about search visibility should take advantage of.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: bunny pixar/Shutterstock



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