What is Google Search Console and why is it necessary?
Google Search Console is a free service that enables users to monitor their site’s traffic, analyze keyword performance, resolve problems, and get notifications from Google about their site. It gives insight into how a website performs in organic search and suggests strategies to improve the site’s position in the Google index. (However, unlike Google Analytics, Google Search Console only reports on online search traffic — not on other categories such as direct traffic, traffic from advertisements, or traffic from site referrals.)
Google introduced Search Console over 15 years ago when it was still officially known as “Webmaster Tools.” Since then, the name has changed and the functionality has evolved significantly, but the objective has remained consistent.
While Google Search Console cannot be used to make direct modifications to your site, it may be used to submit pages to the Google index, validate the health of your site’s URLs, and check for issues throughout your domain property.
In particular, for SEO, Google Search Console is an excellent tool for fine-tuning approach. The data that you may get from Search Console can assist organisations in identifying new ranking chances, optimising current performance, and determining how precisely visitors arrive at their website. This means it’s critical for any company that depends on its website to provide a positive user experience or create leads through organic traffic.
Learn how to create an account and how utilising Search Console in conjunction with a professional search optimization strategy may help your company expand over time. Once you’ve created an account, you can begin investigating how Google Search Console is utilised in search engine optimization.
What Is the Purpose of Google Search Console?
We’ve covered the basics of what a Google Search Console is. We’ve also discussed briefly how Search Console may assist companies in better monitoring their website’s online performance, but not in-depth. The reality is that Search Console is a really strong platform with a plethora of various tools for a variety of different reasons – you may not be familiar with all of them until you learn about them separately. However, we may discuss its finest aspects here.
Thus, what use does Google Search Console serve since Google already has an analytics tool? What does Google Search Console perform that isn’t currently visible in Analytics?
The fact is that Google Search Console and Google Analytics are similar in that they both enable you to track site traffic and segment it by URL and mobile vs. desktop. However, the parallels cease there.
Establishing An Account
You’ll need to register an account with Google Search Console before you can begin utilising it. You may add a new property in the new Google Search Console by clicking on ‘create a new property in the top bar:
To Begin, Create a New Property — or a site
You may add a website by clicking the ‘Add a property’ button. If you choose the new Domain option, you will be required to provide simply the domain name — no www or subdomains. This option keeps track of anything associated with a domain. With the ‘old’ URL prefix option, you must provide the correct URL, including ‘https’ if your website is secure, and with or without ‘www’. It is critical to include the correct version while collecting data:
Choose a Domain to Monitor All of Your URLs or a URL prefix to Track Particular URLs
After adding a website, you must verify that you are the owner. There are various ways to establish ownership. The Domain option requires DNS verification, while the URL prefix may be verified in a variety of ways. More information on the distinctions may be found in Google’s documentation: creating a new property and validating site ownership.
Google Search Console Features
After you’ve created your account, what’s the next step? Now is the time to conduct an examination of some of your data! In the remainder of this post, we’ll look at some of the reports and data accessible.
The Performance tab displays the pages and keywords for which your website ranks in Google. In the previous version of GSC, data could be seen for a maximum of 90 days, however, in the current edition, data may be viewed for up to 16 months. Bear in mind that the data is accessible from the time your account is created.
If you constantly examine the performance tab, you can easily determine which keywords or pages need more attention and improvement. Therefore, where to begin? The performance tab displays a list of ‘queries,’ ‘pages,’ ‘countries,’ and ‘devices.’ With’search appearance,’ you may monitor the performance of your rich results in search. Each of those parts may be sorted by the amount of ‘clicks’, ‘impressions’, ‘average click-through rate’, or ‘average position’.Each of these points will be discussed in further depth below:
The Overview of Performance contains a wealth of information:
The number of clicks indicates how often visitors clicked on your website in Google’s search results. This value indicates the effectiveness of your page titles and meta descriptions: if just a few people click on your result, it may not stand out in the search results. It might be beneficial to observe what other results are showing nearby to see how your snippet can be optimised.
Naturally, the position of the search result affects the amount of clicks. If your website appears in the top three positions on Google’s first result page, it will automatically get more hits than a page that appears on the second page of search results.
2. Initial Impressions
The impressions metric indicates how often your website or a certain page is shown in the search results. For instance, in our own website’s GSC account, Yoast SEO is one of the terms for which our website ranks. The number of impressions after this term indicates how often our website appears in Google’s search results for that phrase. You are unaware of the website that currently ranks for that term.
To discover which sites could rank for a certain term, click on the keyword’s line. By doing this action on [Yoast SEO], the keyword is added as a filter.
Following that, you may click the ‘Sites’ tab to discover which pages specifically rank for this phrase. Are they the sites you’d want to rank for that phrase? If not, you may need to optimise the page for which you’re attempting to rank. Consider improving the page’s content to include the term, including internal links from related pages or posts, and optimising the page’s load time, among other things.
3. CTR Average
The CTR – click-through rate – indicates the proportion of individuals who saw your website in the search results who also visited it. You’re surely aware that better ranks often result in increased click-through rates.
However, there are several things you can do to improve the CTR on your own. For instance, you may improve the attractiveness of your meta description and page title by rewriting them. When your site’s title and description stand out from the other results, more people are likely to click on it, increasing your CTR. Bear in mind that this will have little effect if you are not yet on the first page. You may need to experiment with different methods first to enhance your rating.
4. Positional average
The ‘Average position is the last one on this list. This displays the average ranking for a certain term or page during the specified period. Of course, this stance is not always dependable, since an increasing number of individuals seem to get inconsistent search results. Google seems to be getting better at determining which results are most relevant to a particular visitor. However, this metric still provides insight into the explainability of clicks, impressions, and average CTR.
Using Google Search Console to Check the Technical Health of Your Website
There is another beneficial aspect of Google Search Console that digital firms should be aware of. Along with providing statistical data that can be used to improve your marketing plans, Google Search Console is meant to ensure that your site’s visibility in Google is not impacted and that there are no faults that might hurt your rankings.
Google provides a few reports that may assist websites in ensuring they are not penalised for breaching Google’s standards, are error-free, are suitably mobile-friendly, and are not too sluggish, among other things.
So how is Google Search Console used to determine the technical health of a website?
Let’s look at a couple of the more helpful reports that are accessible.
The Index Coverage Report
The coverage report enables website owners to determine the extent to which their site is indexed by Google. Obviously, this allows them to check how much of their site has been indexed, ensuring that they are as visible as possible for SEO purposes.
According to Google, you should observe your site’s number of “valid” pages progressively growing over time as Googlebot crawls more pages. Indeed, you may see four different status messages for your site here:
This indicates that pages have not been indexed. By clicking into this report, you can get a detailed explanation of the exact faults and utilise it to assist in diagnosing difficulties with your site. You should prioritise resolving these concerns.
Warning: Google has indexed this page, but it may have a problem that needs to be rectified.
Excluded: The page is not indexed, although generally for a valid reason or because Google believes the website owner does not want the site indexed. This covers pages that are not canonical, pages that have “no-index” tags, or pages that seem to be duplicates of other indexed pages and Google has chosen its own canonical.
Valid: These are healthy, indexed pages!
This implies that Google Search Consoled is used to identify mistakes and indexing difficulties on a site that may be escalated to the webmaster or developer for resolution. Additionally, it provides firms with a “bird’s eye view” of their visibility in Google search results.
What does Google Search Console do to assist companies with coverage report issues?
To be honest, Google Search Console does not interface with websites in a manner that enables them to resolve these problems directly. However, it enables websites to monitor their health and offers methods for obtaining verification after a problem has been resolved or if website owners think that platform faults are not correct.
One thing it does directly enables users to contribute pages to the index one by one—or through a sitemap.
The Sitemap area of Google Search Console is used to submit a site’s total number of pages so that Googlebot can crawl them more simply and rapidly. This is a measure that Google enthusiastically promotes!
You may use the Sitemaps report to notify Google about new sitemaps for your domain, monitor their scan frequency, and see any mistakes that Google detected when processing your submitted sitemaps.
Additionally, it informs you of the number of new URLs identified by Google straight from your sitemap.
URL Inspection Tool
Additionally, you may verify the status and functionality of specific URLs on your site by using Google Search Console’s URL inspection tool.
Specifically, the tool enables users to verify if their page is indexed by Google (or to determine if it is not); they may even request indexing here. Additionally, they may examine a rendered version of the sites, test them to ensure Googlebot can read them, inspect loaded resources, and determine if the page is canonicalized by Google or redirects to another website.
For SEO purposes, this is ideal for reviewing individual pages to troubleshoot faults or requesting indexing to ensure that recent changes are picked up more quickly.
The Enhancement tab is located under the ‘Index coverage.’ You’ll find everything you need to optimise your site’s performance right here. It provides statistics on site performance, mobile usability, AMP adoption, and structured data upgrades that might result in more rich SERP results.
Although the new speed report is still in its trial phase, it has already proven to be a beneficial addition. This analysis provides insight into the speed with which your site loads on mobile and desktop. Additionally, it indicates which pages have performance concerns that prevent them from loading rapidly. The data is derived from the Chrome UX report, which means it is based on genuine user data. Because site performance is a complicated subject with several moving parts, it’s beneficial to understand how you should approach it. You may learn how to check a website’s speed here: how to check a website’s speed.
Determine which pages take the longest to load
One of the tabs is for ‘AMP’-related information. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an acronym for lightning-fast mobile pages. If you’ve enabled AMP for your website, you may monitor it in Google Search Console for issues. This section contains legitimate AMP pages, as well as valid AMP pages with warnings and errors:
The difficulties are noted under the chart. You may see the impacted URLs by clicking on one of the problems. As with the index part of GSC, you may check that an issue has been resolved.
Rich Results Enhancement Tab
If you have structured data on your site, like that given by Yoast SEO, it’s a good idea to review the Google Search Console Enhancements reports. The Enhancements tab collects all the insights and enhancements that might result in rich outcomes. There is an ever-growing collection of findings that are support-rich. As of this writing, the list includes the following:
- search boxes for site links
Each of these tabs indicates the number of legitimate improvements you have or the number of enhancements that include problems or warnings. You get information regarding the kind of faults and warnings seen, as well as the URLs on which they occur. Additionally, there is a trend line that indicates if the number of problems is rising or decreasing. And that is just the beginning.
This is an example of a how-to upgrade. You may overlay Impressions on top of the statistics to provide context for them.
The Enhancements reports assist you in identifying and resolving problems that impede your search performance. By examining bugs, reviewing support documentation, and verifying remedies, you may improve your chances of receiving rich search results. We offer a more comprehensive tutorial on Google Search Console’s structured data enhancement reports.
This tool enables website owners to remove their pages from Search Results temporarily. The removal tool will not prevent Google from indexing your pages; rather, it will prevent them from showing in search results (for approximately 6 months).
This tool is not good for permanently deleting a page from search; a more effective method would be to remove the page, restrict access to it with a password, or add a meta no-index tag to prevent Googlebot from indexing it.
Core Web Vitals Report
This was formerly known as the “Performance Report,” and it provided webmasters with information on their site’s loading speed, including rankings for “Slow,” “Moderate,” and “Fast.” However, Google has recently upgraded this section of the Google Search Console to provide more granular data on a few critical user experience metrics.
The report calculates the LCP, FID, and CLS values for all pages inside the domain property. These metrics are intended to tell website owners and marketers about their site’s performance in critical areas of user experience. In recent years, Google has emphasised the importance of user experience in site design and has integrated ranking variables to reflect this. Now they’re announcing that LCP, FID, and CLS will be included in the ranking system as well.
Here’s what these figures imply:
- LCP is an acronym for “Largest Content Paint.” It is mostly used to determine the time required for relevant information to show on a page.
- FID stands for “First Input Delay,” which refers to the time required before a user may interact with a website.
- CLS stands for “Cumulative Layout Shift,” and it indicates how much the page layout changes while loading.
This enables organisations to evaluate analytics about the loading speed of their website’s pages. The performance data is derived from Google’s collection of real-world use data.
What use does Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report serve in search engine optimization? Google has recently increased the importance of page speed as a ranking criterion for desktop and mobile search results. Pages with an excessively slow load time may suffer a minor drop in Google rankings. They’re now highlighting the importance of user experience even more by including additional UX metrics in their primary ranking algorithm.
Increased website load times may also indicate a poor user experience, which might result in a higher bounce rate. According to Think with Google data:
- When the page load time is increased from one to three seconds, the bounce rate rises by 32%.
- When the time it takes for a page to load rises from one second to six seconds, the bounce rate climbs by 106%.
Mobile Usability Report
The Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console gives detailed information about your site’s mobile usability and any mobile concerns. It displays a list of sites that have issues when accessed on a mobile device.
Any pages mentioned under the “Error” tab may have flaws that prohibit them from being mobile-friendly; the other pages may be classified as “Valid.” This enables marketers and businesses to conduct an audit of their website’s design and mobile setups to ensure that their site provides the greatest mobile experience possible.
Additionally, mobile-friendly sites have a greater chance of ranking higher in mobile Google search results.
These are only a few of the primary resources accessible in Google Search Console. Depending on the kind of company you run and the configuration of your website, you may have access to additional reports. For instance, Google Search Console is used to provide information to company owners about their structured data, goods, breadcrumbs, and review snippets, among other things! These reports will appear only if your site has specified features.
You don’t want to see anything on the manual actions tab. If Google penalises your site, you’ll find further information here. If a manual action has an effect on your site, you will also get an email notification.
Many circumstances might result in these types of sanctions, including the following:
- You have unnatural/bought links
Ascertain that the links from and to your site are important, not only for SEO purposes. Ideally, your links will originate from and point to excellent material for your audience.
- Your site has been hacked
A notice informing you that your website has most likely been hacked by a third party. Google may flag your site as hacked or penalise you for it.
- You’re hiding something from Google
If you are ‘cloaking’ (deliberately providing different content to users in order to deceive either of them), or using sneaky redirects (e.g., concealing affiliate URLs), you are in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
- Plain Spam
Automated content generation, scraped material, and active cloaking may result in Google blacklisting your site.
- Structured markup that is spammy
If you utilise rich snippets for an excessive number of irrelevant items on a website or mark up material that is not visible to the user, this may be regarded as spammy. Mark just what is absolutely required, and not everything is absolutely necessary.
Finally, but certainly not least, the security problems page will notify you if your website seems to have a security issue.
The Google Search Console is an Exceptionally Useful Tool.
After reading this essay, you should have a clear concept of what Google Search Console is capable of and how to utilise it, so allow me to pose the following question: Do you already use Google Search Console to manage your website’s search engine optimization efforts? If you haven’t already, we strongly advise you to create an account so you can begin gathering data on your website. Do you believe anything is missing? Kindly leave a remark!