Do you have problems maintaining your website's presence in Google Search results? If your answer is a resounding YES, then this article is for you. In this article, I will talk about the Google Search Console basics (GSC) you need to know.
There are 3.5 billion searches done on Google per day.
That’s 3.5 billion chances of your website getting found by clients who need your product or service.
Okay, my analogy might be a little far fetched but think about it - having a website that is “Google Friendly” only increases your chances of getting found.
And this is why you need to start using Google Search Console if you aren't already.
So let's get into it...
What is Google Search Console?
Think of Google Search Console as a doctor who offers FREE services on "website health."
GSC offers a wide range of tools to help you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot the presence of your website in Google Search results. If you're a business owner, an SEO specialist, or a web developer, then you need to use GSC.
Here is a quick introductory video about Google Search Console:
Believe me when I say, GSC offer heaps of benefits that you don't want to miss out on!
But, what exactly will you get from using GSC? How do you add and verify your website in Google Search Console? How do you link Google analytics with GSC? What are simple ways to use GSC to benefit your business?
Well, we're going to answer all of these Google Search Console basics for you.
Ready? Let's jump to it!
Benefits of Using Google Search Console
With access to GSC, you can now accomplish several different SEO tasks. Here are some of the benefits of using Google Search Console:
GSC lets you submit a sitemap to give Google's web crawlers extra info about your website and its individual pages.
It lets you identify the most popular keywords that people use to find your website.
If you are looking for a tool that will help determine which of your web pages is bringing the most web traffic, then Google Search Console is perfect for you.
GSC provides data about the location of your visitors so you can target the best people.
It shows the number of visitors interacting with your website on each different type of device.
Google prefers mobile-friendly websites. Why? Because 60 % of internet searches are performed via mobile devices, so it only makes sense for Google to focus on mobile usability.
With that said, Google Search Console confirms if your website passes Google’s mobile usability standards.
Google Search Console confirms whether your schema markup is set up right to work in the SERPs or not.
Use this feature to communicate more information to Google’s crawlers about how to display your web pages in the search results.
GSC gives you access to backlinks, which is a piece of vital information for your SEO.
What's in it for you? Authority. Backlinks boost your website’s authority in the eyes of Google’s algorithm.
Google hates broken links!
Broken links provide a terrible user experience and lead people away from the functioning pages you want them to be on.
This is where GSC comes to the rescue. It lets you manage broken links like a pro.
A lot of websites hold confidential customer information like social security and credit card details, and as a webmaster, security is a top priority.
Google Search Console quickly alerts users if their website has security issues they should be aware of.
How to Add & Verify a Site in Google Search Console
Now that you know some of the excellent benefits of using Google Search Console, it’s time to talk about how to add and verify your website in GSC.
It's actually very easy!
Here are the steps:
Create an Account With GSC
Go to Google Search Console and then click Start Now.
- You can log in directly to GSC if you already have a Google account. Otherwise, the first step is to create an account and then login.
- You can also login to GSC using your Google analytics account.
Add Your Website
First, select a Property Type:
Google is now recommending using the domain property type because it's easier to use and will give you a much clearer picture of how your website is performing.
The domain property type shows data for all URLs under the domain name, including all protocols, subdomains, and paths.
Verify Your Website
This one might seem complicated, but it’s not. Verifying your site ownership in Google Search Console is as easy as 1...2...3!
For a domain property type, Google requires DNS verification. Here's exactly how Google says to set it up.
To verify using a DNS record:
- Get your TXT record: When asked to verify your property, choose the Domain verification method (or create a Domain property), and you will be given a string value to use in the next step.
- Add the TXT record to your domain provider: Add your TXT record from step 1 to your domain provider's records:
- Find the G Suite documentation for your provider.
- Ignore G Suite's step 1 (Get your unique verification record): you already got your TXT record in step 1 above.
- Follow Step 2 (Sign in to your domain host)
- Follow Step 3 (Add the verification record to your provider's DNS records)
- Ignore G Suite's step 4 (the verification step): that will come next.
- Verify your property in Search Console: Open your unverified property in Search Console (or switch to your unverified property using the property selector). When prompted, click Verify. Successful attempts should be verified immediately. Note: DNS changes may take some time to verify; if we don't find your record immediately, wait a day and try step 3 again
Data will begin to appear in the property section in GSC in a few days. Data collection for a property starts immediately even before verification.
If your property has no data or results a few days after the verification process, it is possible that the site hasn't been seen in Google Search, or that you have specified an incorrect URL.
How to Link Google Analytics with Google Search Console
Integrating Google Search Console with Google Analytics makes it effortless to view and analyze organic ranking data.
It only takes a few minutes to do it.
Here are the steps:
Sign in to your Google Analytics account.
Click Admin, and navigate to the property in which you want to enable Search Console data sharing.
In the PROPERTY column, click Property Settings.
Scroll down to Search Console Settings.
You should see your website URL, which confirms that the website verification in GSC and that you have the authority to change anything. You need to add your site to Search Console if you do not see the URL
Select the reporting view(s) in which you want to see Search Console data under Search Console.
Simple Ways to Use GSC to Benefit Your Business
As small business owners, we want tools that will help grow our website or business in general.
In this section, I will share a few simple ways on how to use Google Search Console to benefit your business.
Repairing Indexing Issues
I think this is the most useful GSC feature.
You can quickly locate indexing errors by clicking the Index Report under the Coverage tab.
Index coverage report shows you the pages from your website which Google indexed and which pages resulted in an error or a warning.
Here are a few common indexing errors you may see in the Index report section:
- 404 error
- Soft 404 error
- Server error
- Not followed error
Fixing Website Security Issues
Security issues stop Google from crawling a website and may cause a sudden drop in search traffic.
The most common security issue is malware and trojans. When Google detects them on your site, affected pages may be removed.
Click Crawl and then Security Issues to fix any website security issues.
Finding Manual Actions and Requesting for Review
Manual Actions are penalties that the Google Search console team imposes after a careful review. Having one can take away all your search traffic, so you better fix it.
Click on the Manual Actions link to see the actions in your search console report. This section will provide you detailed information about the action and steps on how to fix it.
When you’re done fixing the manual action, click the Request Review button for Google to review and reconsider removing the penalty.
Use GSC To Boost Web Traffic
Here is the fun part!
You can use GSC to boost your web traffic.
Searchers use keywords to find information on Google.
To mine keyword data in Google Search Console, click the Performance tab. You will see the keywords data below the graph. You can filter the data by position, impression, and CTR.
To find low-ranking keywords, click on the filter icon, and then select Position. Click Done to apply the filter.
Use all this information to:
- Improve your content by adding useful information.
- Evaluate on-page SEO.
- Increase time users spend on your site or page.
Use Link Reports in GSC
Google uses links as a metric to determine how valuable a page is and where it should rank.
To see your website’s performance in terms of links, go to the Links Report in Google Search Console.
The Links Report shows:
- external links
- internal links
- top linking sites
- top linking text
To expand any of the link reports, click on More. Click on any item to get more detailed results for a specific item.
Benefits of using these reports are:
- to get more backlinks
- to improve internal links
- to boost your rankings
Take Advantage of the ‘Fetch as Google’ Tool
This tool allows users to instantly retrieve any page from their website and see it as a Google bot does.
With the Fetch as Google Tool, users can inform Google bots to fetch a copy of a page and show the HTML code it sees on that page.
To use the Fetch as Google Tool:
- Select Index
- Click Coverage
- Click on a URL
- Select Fetch as Google
What should you keep an eye on? The response code. If it is 200 OK, then the Google bot was able to download the page successfully.
Remove URLs Using Google Search Console
If you want to remove content from Google search for whatever reason, then the Remove URL tool is for you.
Google Search Console’s Remove URL tool lets users request a URL removal from the search results.
To do this, you have to switch to the old GSC version.
After switching to the old GSC version:
- Click Google Index
- Click Remove URLs
- Click on the ‘Temporary hide’ button
- Enter the URL you want to remove
Add More Users
Google Search Console lets you add users who may need access to data. This feature is perfect if you have a team or you have hired someone to help you with SEO.
To add a new user:
- Click the Settings
- Select Users and Permissions
- Click on the ‘Add User’ button
- Enter the user’s Google account email address
- Select a Role
- Select Permission
Full permission - this gives new users full access, including the ability to add new users.
Restricted permissions - this allows new users to view the data only but not add new users.
- Click the Add Button to save
Set Your Target Country
If you want to target an audience in a specific country, then set International Targeting in Google Search Console.
First, you need to switch to the old version. Then follow the steps below:
- Select Search Traffic
- Click International Targeting
- Switch to the ‘Country’ tab
- Select the Country you want to target
That was a lengthy article, wasn't it?
Well, I wanted to make sure that I discussed all the Google Search Console Basics that you need to know.
If you want to know more about GSC, check out the Recommended Resources Section below for more helpful articles or just TALK TO US!
A Complete Guide to Google Search Console
15 Tips for Using Google Search Console to Effectively Grow Your Web Traffic
How to Use Google Search Console Effectively
So what do you think about this article? Are you ready to use these Google Search Console basics to get started?
Do you have any other GSC tips you’d like to share? I want to hear your thoughts, so please post in the comments section below.
We’d be honored if you feel this article is worth sharing too!
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