Google Search Console : SEO Guide For Beginners
Monitoring the performance of your website will provide you with data on what’s essential for your customers, how they’re locating your site’s content, and if your content is appearing in the results. To help SEO experts and website owners accomplish that, Google Search Console is a collection of tools and reports.
How Google Search Console can help you manage your site?
Google Search Console (GSC) provides a wealth of data for all types of websites. However, it is beneficial for websites that represent brands and companies. It will allow you to determine people’s search terms to discover your site and look at essential metrics such as your position within Google search results, clicks, and impressions.
It is also possible to utilize GSC to identify technical issues to ensure your web pages are indexed and are available to people searching. GSC can notify you via email when it finds problems with your site and notify Google once you’ve addressed the issue.
The above features are only the basic ones. They are all vital to maintaining your website to ensure it continues to help grow your brand or business. There’s more than GSC can assist you with, but first, you’ll need to set up GSC for your website.
Set up the Google Search Console for your website.
To begin, visit this GSC website to go to the landing page and click “Start today.” Once you’ve done that, you’ll be required to log in with the Google account you’d like to connect with your website’s Search Console account. If you are utilizing Search Console for the first time, you will be given the option of either generating a domain property or a URL prefix.
A domain-level property offers you complete information about your site’s performance, which includes the URLs of all subdomains and on the same HTTP or HTTPS.
However, a URL prefix property is limited to URLs with a specified prefix. If you want to track particular subfolders, such as http://m.example.com for your mobile site, this would be a suitable alternative.
Verification. A website’s GSC could contain many settings and data you don’t want unauthorized users to access. This is why Google requires verification in the initial setup procedure. Adding a domain property requires you to verify your site’s ownership by registering the DNS record with your domain name service provider, which is the only way to verify the domain property.
Once you’ve added your domain, verify that the domain registrar is listed on the menu dropdown (shown in the above screenshot). If it does, choose it to initiate the automatic authorization process. If the domain registrar you’re looking for isn’t listed on the list, it’s necessary to duplicate the TEXT file (the line of characters adjacent to the “copy”) and “copy” option) as well as follow instructions to verify your particular domain name provider. If verification doesn’t work at first, Google recommends that you attempt it again within several hours since the changes may take a while to become effective.
Suppose you use a URL prefix property instead of a domain property. In that case, you could determine the ownership of your site by using HTML uploads, HTML tags, Google Analytics The Google Tag Manager container fragment, the previously mentioned domain name provider method, and many more.
The Most Significant Features
Once you’ve verified ownership of the site, you can begin using GSC for your website. It’ll look similar to that image. The most important sections are coverage, performance experience, enhancement, and performance. It is essential to be familiar with these sections and reports to use GSC’s features and data for your website.
The tab for performance (located at the bottom of the side of the navigation panel) gives you the information you can use to guide the digital strategies you employ. Because performance reports and GSC as a whole are such versatile tools, we have asked the Search Engine Land newsletter subscribers about their experiences using the device — and we’ll be sharing their experiences in this article:
The comprehensive keywords, clicks, and impression data allow me to show more specific users’ searches in fields that are typically difficult to conduct keyword research on. While industry-leading SEO tools can only provide data on keywords that are used for high volume keyword phrases, Search Console lets you be more specific and discover what searches actually bring traffic to a site. This feature particularly aids in helping me with my keyword assignment work and helps me quickly discern trends and then create additional data-driven content concepts.
Every account will contain information from Google results for searches in the Performance tab. However, sites that have gotten significant traffic from Discover, as well as Google News, can also receive reports that are specifically targeted to these channels, too. Because traditional search results are the most frequent scenario, we’ll concentrate on this part of the performance report. The data available in this report includes (but doesn’t limit itself to):
- The top search terms that are used to find your content.
- Impressions (how often people can see your website in Google’s search results).
- Clicks (how often they visit your site in the Google results for inquiries)
- Average CTR (the percent of impressions that lead to a click).
- The position that your website occupies in the search results.
The report can be altered to present you with the information that you’re interested in by using filters (circled by yellow), the metrics tabs (indicated by yellow arrows) and the dimensions tabs (indicated by the blue hashed box).
- The filter bar allows users to filter their data by type of search (web or image, video or news) or dates (up to 16 months) (query, page or device, country, and the appearance of your search (the features or type of search results).
- You can alter your chart to display the desired information within a given time window by checking or unchecking the total number of clicks, impressions, average CTR, or average positioning.
- This table (indicated by orange) gives you an overview of impressions and clicks according to your chosen dimensions (queries pages, pages, countries, and devices such as search appearance and dates).
It’s recommended to familiarize yourself with this bar of filters. Try it out by clicking the “+ New” button. It will display a menu which allows the user to select data based on query pages, countries, or devices, as well as search results.
It is also possible to use these filters to evaluate two numbers. You can try a different filter and modify or eliminate filters whenever you wish to look at something in another way. The current user interface allows you to analyze the importance of keywords, entire sections of your website, traffic sources by country, what kind of devices searchers are using, and how Google serves your webpages.
I am a fan of my Performance Report and the included filters to spot cross-channel opportunities. Mainly, I use the filters for position to determine keywords that are ranked just outside the first page or within the pack local to them (we use GMB particular UTMs to distinguish the two). Based on the look of the destination’s URL, I then decide if on-site optimizations, internal linking techniques, SEO, or link building are appropriate to boost rankings. I also utilize my Performance Report to define search network terms that I can bid on and identify new opportunities for content (which will help with current and new keywords with ranking potential). I’m a firm advocate of integrated marketing. The Search Console, and especially its Performance Report, makes that significantly more accessible.
Index Coverage reports.
This report provides the status of your website’s URLs in the Google index and can be used to diagnose problems with SEO that may hinder your site from appearing in search results.
“My favorite feature of the search console is called the coverage feature. It reveals any mistakes that could keep your site’s pages from appearing in search results , and then explains how to correct the issue. Being unaware of any mistakes on your website could cause you to lose visitors and converts. Make use of the information it gives you to address problems like content that’s too tiny for a reader or content that is larger than the screen size on the mobile version of a site. Resolving problems like these can help to improve the experience of your viewers.”
Google will contact you when it discovers the existence of a new index coverage issue on your website. However, it will not notify you if an existing problem gets more severe. It’s recommended to review the report regularly to ensure it is in good time to ensure there are no issues in control.
There is an Index Coverage report in the Google Search Console.
Toggling those “error,” “valid with warnings,” “valid,” as well as “excluded” choices will make the chart refresh to show the required data. Let’s examine what each of those choices signifies.
- Error: The website isn’t indexed and will not appear on Google result pages. When you click on a specific kind of error (in the list below), it will reveal the URLs to which the error applies, putting you on the right path to resolving these issues.
- Valid with cautions This page is being indexed and might or may not appear within Google searches. GSC utilizes this designation due to the belief that there is something you need to take note of.
- Valid: The page has been indexed and appears in Google search results. There’s no need to take any more actions (unless you don’t wish for your page to be indexable).
- Excluded The excluded pages are not listed in the index and aren’t marked as being in error because Google considers it your intention to exclude these pages. This is often the case when the page is marked with no index directives or an alternative carrier with canonical tags, for instance.
If you’re consistently producing new content, your page index should increase. There’s a possibility that they are trending downwards when you merge or eliminate content that is no longer useful. Suppose you notice a sudden drop in indexed pages (that isn’t due to any action you took, such as merging content). In that case, it could mean that something is preventing Google from indexing the content you’ve created. Its Index Coverage report help page provides a complete list of mistakes you can utilize to address issues hindering Google in indexing URLs.
Page’s experience report Google added this report to GSC before updating the page experience. The piece blends the fundamental Web Vitals Report and other metrics that form part of the update to the page experience. The core web vitals data originates directly from the user experience report for Chrome (CrUX) document that collects anonymous performance metrics from actual users of your website.
At a glance, The Report on Page Experience will show you.
- According to the mobile usability study, the percentage of mobile URLs that are “Good URLs” — the percentage of mobile URLs with a “goodCore Web Vitals status and having no mobile usability issues.
- The number of impressions you’re receiving from quality URLs.
- The number of “failing URLs” in Core Web Vitals (URLs designated as “Poor” or “Need Improvement”).
- Any security issues that may hinder your website from being regarded as providing the best user experience.
- Also, if a large percentage of your sites use HTTP rather than HTTPS.
Google has said that great content will always be more important than page experience. This means the best content that has a poor user experience can still rank well. However, if the caliber of your material is on par with that of your rivals, providing a pleasurable user experience on the page can help you stand out in search results, and taking note of this report can help you do so.
Enhancements reports. Similar to the Index Coverage report, these reports provide trends on mistakes, pages that are valid but that have errors, and legitimate pages. Pages that have errors aren’t displayed in Google results. Pages with warnings are listed in the results, but the error could be hindering the pages from appearing in locations where they could be allowed to appear, such as in the Top Stories carousel in the case of AMP pages, for example.
Suppose your site is using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), Google’s framework created to speed up pages for users on mobile devices by serving them from its own cache. In that case, you’ll find the status of AMP in the section Enhancements of your GSC. A side note: One of AMP’s key advantages was its ability to be featured on its Top Stories carousel; as the update for page experience is deployed, Google will also remove this restriction and enable pages that are performing well in on-page expertise to appear in the much-desired search feature.
The unparsable report on structured data summarizes syntax errors in structured data. They are addressed in this report rather than the report on the particular attribute (like events or rich job results, for instance) because the error could prevent Google from being able to identify the type of feature.
Additional reports are available in the Enhancements tab, based on the markup for structured data you’ve implemented. They can include messages on breadcrumbs, videos, logos, and site links in search box markup. Zooming in on an error in any report will also provide you with the “validate repair” button. This could indicate to the search engine Google that you’ve solved the issue that prevented Google from accessing a particular part of your website.
Troubleshooting Google Search Console
These Index Coverage and Enhancements reports already give you the information you’ll require to fix issues with indexing. In addition to these reports, GSC also offers the URL inspection tool and the manual action report to help resolve issues that may prevent your website from appearing in Google search results.
A tool for checking URLs This feature lets you find out information about the Google indexed version of a specific page. It’s beneficial because it gathers all the issues associated with a web page in one location.
URL Inspector is an excellent tool. We have around 12 websites that generate the majority of our revenue, and being able to focus on these is wonderful. Being able to see any problems that remain unsolved and evaluate the performance of the particular pages is crucial for us.”
It is possible to view the current index status of a webpage as well as AMP or structured data errors and more. A “test live URL” button in the upper-right part of the page allows you to to to determine whether Google finds the page. This is particularly helpful for determining if issues remain after you’ve implemented an update.
Using this query indexing tool, it is possible to ask Google to index your site (although indexing isn’t a guarantee). It’s also useful when you’ve made corrections or significant modifications to the page.
“I enjoy being able to determine if a web page is indexed and request that it be indexed when it’s not. This allows me to have new pages or updates easily indexed and quick.”
Manual actions are a document. Manual action reports are given to Google if one of Google’s human reviewers decides that a page(s) of a site isn’t in compliance with the guidelines of the company’s standards for web administration quality. This could include hiding text, participating in link schemes, and utilizing structured data. The results of an action taken by a person could range from lower rankings for specific pages to the whole site being removed from search results for certain searches.
You’ll be notified by email if Google initiates a manual action for your website. The central section that shows an overview of your GSC will also highlight any manual steps. In addition, they can be found under the Manual Actions section (within the left-hand navigational screen) in Your GSC. Click on the issue you have identified to read the full description and read an example of those affected web pages. The report also has an informational link to aid you in learning what you can do to fix that specific problem manually. Once you’ve resolved all the issues, you’ll be able to make an appointment to have Google examine your website by clicking the “request review” button. The procedure can take a few days to a week, and Google will email you to let you know how the evaluation is going.
Find out more about Google Search Console.
After you’ve mastered your familiarity with the GSC Interface and essential functions, it’s time to investigate what’s available and the features and data crucial to your business or brand. When you’re prepared to begin, you can start learning about the more advanced features. You can stay up-to-date with the most recent news through Google Search Console’s Google Search Console library page.
Contact D’Marketing Agency
If you need help with SEO and SEM, the D’Marketing Agency crew can help. We have years of expertise helping companies like yours increase website traffic and conversions through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC).
Our Google Search Console guide is a great place to start if you’re new to SEO or even an experienced practitioner. Get in touch with D’Marketing Agency as soon as possible to learn more about how we can use digital marketing to raise your business’s online visibility and sales. Thank you for reading!