Google never sleeps. Each day, this search engine giant is renowned for conducting over 5 billion searches. These searches cover different search tags and you can expect that your website would not feature in all. However, there is a need to track the ranking of your website and its performance in the search results that are relevant to your brand.
The webmaster tools made available by Google to owners of websites for free are resources that everyone should make good use of. As a blogger, website owner, SEO specialist or any other creative cutting it out on the digital sphere, you are most likely familiar with Google Analytics. Google Search Console is also a must-have to your armory chest to remain relevant in the game. As earlier inferred, this is the right tool to detect why your site is not found on Google's organic search result. It spots every issue that prevents the indexing of your website. Still, there is more to it. Here you will find all there is to know about Google search console with the frequently asked questions about it.
What Google Search Console Is
Google Search Console, which is designed by Google is a web service that assists in the monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting of the presence of websites on Google's organic search results. This free service was previously known as Google's Webmaster Tools. Google Search Console is great for statistics and will ease the optimization of websites. But it does more than that. The functions of Google Search Console include:
1.) Being a Control Center
Google Search Console functions as a control center. It is common knowledge that SEO is a never-ending process and you are required to optimize your website consistently. This requires improving the quality of the contents on the website, minimizing errors and refining the settings of the site. The continual optimization of your website is made even easier with Google Search Console. It is a great resource to actualize the daily management of the site. The controls handed to you by GSC (Google Search Console) are:
Google web crawlers work independently in learning about a website and crawling it. However, you can offer extra assistance to the system by giving Google a sitemap. A sitemap is often generated automatically by many websites. Still, it is not always the case. You need to create one if you do not automatically get one. Afterward, you must upload the sitemap to your server.
The process of loading your sitemap to Google Search Console is very easy. On the dashboard of the Search Console, look out for the Sitemaps section usually found on the right of the screen. On navigating to the “Sitemaps bar”, you have to get into “Add/Test Sitemaps” by clicking on the button. Insert your website’s Sitemap URL. Open a new dashboard; here you also have to insert the sitemap's URL of your website on the sitemap section found on the left of the screen.
Learning relevant keywords to your brand
Keywords are integral to finding you or your brand through organic search. Certain keywords are used by your audience to reach you. Google Search Console helps you identify these keywords that bring people to your websites. You can access this information through the Search Analytics bar found in the middle of the main dashboard. Down that same page, the keywords used in finding you are listed alongside the number of times your link is clicked when it appears on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) of each keyword.
Clicking on certain keywords on the list will give further insight into the keyword. You can combine this with the filter button found on the main page. This filter button will help you group keywords via location, time, and the mobile device type used in accessing your site. You can obtain insights on clicks, impressions, as well as CTR (click-through-rate).
The new Google Search Console gives you this information via the performance tab found in the main dashboard’s top box or the menu on the left side of the page. Google reveals what you earn from the number of clicks on each keyword as well as the total number of times that your websites come up for the keyword. With this information, you can measure your success rate in attracting people to your website based on the target keywords.
Detect broken links
Broken links contribute to bad user experience on websites and this can get you penalized by Google. Also, when this happens, users are forced to move to more responsive pages and eventually leave your site. This can be bad for your business. However, you can limit this problem with the aid of Google Search Console. Move into the crawl section and check details of any crawl error on your website, including 404 errors associated with URLs. On clicking on any entry, information on the issue associated with that link will be provided as well as the location of the link. This will go a long way in improving the on-site experience and eliminate any errors that shut visitors out.
Schema markup confirmation
Google Search Console can help you confirm if your schema markup is correctly set up to work with Google's Search Engine Result Pages. This includes confirming any structured data. To do this, move to Search Appearance on the Search Console. Here you can access the Structured Data, Data Highlighter, and Rich Cards feature to improve your site's communication with Google Crawlers.
Generally, Google Search Console helps you monitor how URLs and certain pages are processed by Google, as well as implore the Search Engine to evaluate the errors made on the site. It also lets you review the security issues arising on the site, discover connected websites, and analyze the search results responsible for driving traffic to your website.
2.) Performance dashboard
Google Search Console uses different metrics to evaluate your website. It reveals a whole of information that is useful to your SEO endeavors. This includes reports of mobile usability, clickthrough tracking, visibility as well as website performance in search results. To be on top of the management and optimization of your website, your Google Search Console’s account must be core to your SEO efforts. It is the tool to understand how, where and when your website appears on Google.
3.) Data Source
The data made available to users of Google Search Console can be used in other systems including Yoast SEO as well as Google Analytics. What this simply means is that you can extract and integrate the data on Google Search Console and integrate it into Google Analytics. Or, you can integrate them to Yoast SEO if you are making use of the plugin. This will improve your use of Yoast SEO by limiting errors, managing redirects and the analysis of your site.
4.) Channel of Communication
The official and major channel used by Google in communicating with website owners are through their accounts on Google Search Console. Google sends information about the issues encountered on the website, errors, and penalties to webmasters through their registered accounts. In turn, webmasters are also provided with tools to contact Google about the issues encountered on their sites and requests of certain issues. These tools are often limited.
What is Google Search Console designed for
The great thing about this tool by the Search Engine giants (Google) is that everyone can make use of it. Using any feature of Google Search Engine will depend largely on the role of the user. For instance, brand owners will be more concerned with how their brand is seen on Google and will likely use Google Search Console to confirm the existence of their websites and its performance in search results. A different approach is likely to be taken by SEO specialists, who are more interested in backlinking as well as how their website is being crawled and indexed. Regardless of its use, it is worth knowing that Google Search Console is easy to use and designed for individuals of every skill set level and experience. Hence, brand owners, web developers, SEO strategists as well as creatives can have a good grip on this tool and obtain value.
Setting up Google Search Console
Getting started with Google Search Console is very easy. These 4 easy steps will set you up to get the most of this tool by Google. They are:
This is the first step in making use of Google Search Console. You will be logged in automatically using a Google account. You can add team members to your account if you have to give access to different individuals depending on your business structure. All you need to do is to add them as users or owners of your website. You can designate certain control levels to each member added to operate the account depending on the needs and experience levels of these persons.
2.) Property type selection
The next step to take is to select your property type. You are given the option to pick either Domain property type or URL prefix.
This option is most convenient as it recognizes different versions of your site. This property type covers both the HTTP as well as HTTPS protocol on your website. It also covers subdomains including “www” on the site.
ii. URL prefix
This property type ensures the inclusion of specified URLs and protocols. The URL prefix allows for the monitoring and tracking of different segments on the website. If you are using this property type, your ownership can be verified by:
Making use of your Google Tag Manager snippet or tracking code of Google Analytics
Including HTML tag to specific pages on your site
Uploading an HTML file to your website.
Deciding on what property type to select largely depends on the digital marketing strategy of your company.
iii. Property verification
Now that you have selected your property type and inputted the URL of your website, the next step is to verify your website. The method of verification depends on the type of property selected in the previous step. You can refer to the troubleshooting guide provided by Google in case you encounter errors on troubleshooting. It is noteworthy that your verification method must be active and valid even after verifying. This means that the record, tag or file used to verify must not be deleted or removed after verifying your property.
iv. View Property and Access reports
You can commence using Google Search Console immediately after verifying your property ownership. You might have some data made available to you by Google and this depends on how long your verification took place. If no data is made available to you at this point, you can further explore the Search Console and get a good grip on it. Now that you are good to go, you can obtain different reports about your site from the Search Console. These include overview, performance, URL inspection, Mobile Usability, coverage reports, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
How regular should my visit to Google Search Console be?
This depends on a whole lot of factors including your role and your schedule. Although you can log in daily, Google does not recommend that you do so. Rather, Google advises you to check monthly at least. However, your role may require that you check weekly.
How soon do I get to see my website’s data on Google Search Console?
You will start seeing your site data immediately and verify your site ownership. However, Google Search Console starts collecting data once you submit your property type. The collected data ranges from clicks to the confirmation of the indexing of your site.
How long will Google Search Console index my website?
It will take Google between days and weeks to crawl and index your site once you request Google Search Console.
Will the use of Google Search Console hasten the crawling of my site?
Google will crawl and index your website between days to weeks. However, the use of Google Search Console will bring your website to Google’s attention faster if your website is brand new.
Is Google Search Console the same thing as Google Analytics?
No. Although they both give insight to valuable data and Google Analytics gives access to Google Search Console, they differ in how they view data. Google Search Console monitors your site before a visitor arrives, while what happens after a visitor leaves is what Google Analytics analyzes. You can observe the impact of search engines on your website with Google Search Console while Google Analytics reveals the interaction of users with your site.
Getting noticed by search engines weighs heavily on the mind of webmasters, SEO strategists as well as digital marketers alike. With Google Search Console, you can influence how your website is seen. You can do a whole lot with this free tool by Google. It will not only increase the relevance of your site but will raise its value. There is hardly any doubt that you putting Google Search Console to great use is to your benefit as well as your business effort.