Why should we use Google Search Console?
As per Google- Google Search Console is the "tools and reports to help you measure your site's Search traffic & performance, fix issues and make your site shine in Google Search results." It does this through the following ways:
- Optimize website content with Search Analytics
- Get website content on Google
- Get alerts on issues & fix your site
- Understand how Google Search sees your pages
How To Set Up Search Console
To Sign Up and log in, Click here.
It includes dashboards & links to the 'Performance,' 'Coverage,' 'Experience,' & 'Enhancement' tabs. A recent addition – shown at the top of the screen – is the Search Console Insights tab, which provides insights into content performance.
This provides insights into the website's organic performance, including clicks, impressions, CTR, & average position. With this, one can measure the performance of keywords and URLs – to show you how well your content creation efforts are performing – or examine a website's performance across nations or particular devices. The Performance tab lets you filter by search type – web, image, video, & news, as well as look at data from any time within the last 16 months. Data from these various reports show on a page-by-page & keyword-by-keyword basis what is doing well & what is not doing so well.
The URL inspection tab is a shortcut to the search bar at the top of the page. Enter a URL from your domain, & you will be displayed the status of the URL within Google, including any enhancements. This option also allows you to perform a live test on pages & submit a request for indexing if you wish to notify Google about a change or update the page.
The Coverage tab highlights all known URLs & their status within Google SERPs, including the following positions: Valid, Valid With Warnings, Errors, Excluded This report is beneficial for understanding the issues that Google has with pages, how to go about fixing them, and ensuring URLs are showing in search results as expected.
This Sitemap tool allows you to submit your website's sitemap to ensure that Google knows of all URLs that you want it to find. If you have a large website, it is possible to add multiple sitemaps here. It will look like something below: If you click on the grey bar chart icon on – the right-hand side – this will also let you investigate the discovered URLs using the Coverage tab that we've just covered.
The Removals tool is a relatively new addition to Search Console, which gives webmasters the ability to temporarily block URLs from appearing in the SERPs or you wish to inform Google that you have removed sensitive content from a URL. You should be aware of what the tool can and cannot do and the circumstances of using it. You can find out more about the Removals tool here
The Page Experience tab is the overview page showing how many pages have 'good page experience.' This is linked to the following two Page Experience tabs listed below – Core Web Vitals and Mobile Usability – linked to the Page Experience overview page.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are the set of usability metrics introduced by Google to measure the page experience of your website users. They consist of three metrics – LCP (largest contentful paint), CLS (cumulative layout shift), and FID (first input delay), which are all scored on a three-point scale on both desktop and mobile. Similar to the Coverage tab we've already covered, URLs are ranked as 'Good,' 'Needs Improvement,' or 'Poor,' with specific details of issue(s) detailed when clicking on the 'open report' button in the top right of the respective graph.
The Mobile Usability report provides an overview of how your website ranks purely on mobile devices. URLs will be classified as 'Valid' unless the is an issue, where they are ranked in red as 'Error.' The details for each error are listed in the details below.
The following section – Enhancements – refers to URLs that have Rich Results. Rich Results are markup that makes your URLs appear with additional features within the SERPs. Examples of Rich Results can include the following: FAQs, Sitelink Searchbox, Jobs, Products, Logo, Article, Video
As you implement the structured data necessary for Rich Results, you will see different sub-tabs appear underneath the Enhancements section of Google Search Console. But, just because they appear in the menu doesn't mean that they are valid and implemented correctly. Click on any of the enhancements, and you will see how you are doing – as demonstrated below:
Security & Manual Actions
This refers to any issues you have associated with security or a manual action where a human reviewer at Google has concluded that one of your pages does not follow Google's webmaster quality guidelines. A simple 'No Issues Detected' message will appear when you click on either for most websites. However, if you have a penalty or a security issue, you should act on this as a matter of urgency if you don't want your SEO to suffer!
Legacy Tools & Reports This section refers to four additional tools that were part of the previous Google Search Console tool and that SEOs and webmasters still used. When you click on any of these options, they open up in a new tab with the old Search Console appearance.
The links sections provide a wealth of information about internal and external links.
External links – often referred to as backlinks – are links where other sites link to your website, whereas internal links tell you what pages receive the most links from different URLs on your domain. Using the external links list, it is possible to spot who links to you and what page. This can be useful for finding online partners and measuring any link building you are performing. But it can be used to find any unwanted or spammy backlinks – that might be harming your SEO. The list of internal links helps understand how your website URLs are linked to one another. Generally speaking, extensive internal linking benefits search engine crawlers, resulting in 'better' SEO. Use this list to find opportunities for pages you wish to improve and add internal links!
The settings section provides general ownership, permissions, & user associations. But in addition to that, there is some valuable information once you're open the 'Crawl Stats' report. Here you can find a wealth of technical information, such as how many crawls requests Google has made of your website, the response times, the file types it has crawled, and information concerning URL response codes. This information offers plenty of opportunities for optimizing your website from a technical SEO perspective. How Can I Learn More About Google Search Console? The best way to learn about Google Search Console is to spend time learning & observing the data. There is little you can do 'wrong' as you cannot delete or alter data. However, you should be careful about submitting or making any requests if you do not know what you are doing! Google has good documentation & videos to support any training with Google Search Console. Check out the documentation here & the YouTube playlist here.