If you are someone from the digital marketing or SEO industry, you must be familiar with the term “Google Search Console.” But, do you really know “What is Google Search Console and how does it work?” Well, this Google Search Console guide for beginners by HSDM will answer all your questions about the concerned topic.
Google Search Console is one of the most important SEO tools you need to learn. You can use tools and reports by search console to improve the performance of your website on Google search.
Make sure to stick to this blog till the end to learn everything you need to know about Google Search Console. In this guide, you will learn what it is, what it does, and how to use it to optimize your website as per SEO for Google.
Know What is Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool by Google that gives webmasters access to various tools and reports to optimize their websites for Google search. Previously, it was known as Google Webmaster tools.
Know What You Can Do With GSC – Google Search Console Guide For Beginners
The best use of Google Search Console is that you can optimize your website for technical SEO with its help and understand what Google knows about your website and track your website’s performance on Google.
In this section of the Google Search Console guide for beginners, we have listed the Google Search Console functions by area:
Use Search Analytics to Optimise Your Content
Google Search Console shows several reports to analyze the performance of your website in Google search.
With the help of this free tool, you can see the exact keywords that drive organic traffic to your website and your rankings in Google searches.
The reports show 16 months of historical performance data and offer you various filters that allow you to compare your performance between different periods, view data by device, country, and even search result types such as rich snippets, AMP results, etc.
Search Analytics in Google search console helps you to:
- View the keyword phrases or search terms that triggered your web pages to appear in SERPs
- View for which keywords you gained traffic from Google
- Compare your website performance on Google between different periods
- Analyze the ranking positions of pages from your website that appeared in Google Search for specific queries
- View how many impressions and clicks your pages received from Google
- Analyse results by type
- Analyse results by country or device
Submit Your Content to Google and Troubleshoot Indexing Errors
Another significant feature Google Search Console offers you is the index coverage report. This report will help you to find and fix any crawling and indexing-related errors.
You will be able to view how many pages of your website are indexed on Google and why some pages are excluded from indexing.
In case of indexing errors, Google Search Console offers you a URL inspection tool to troubleshoot and find the actual error, solve it and ask Google to validate the fix.
- Submit a sitemap to Google and view reports on how many pages are crawled and indexed.
- Find and fix errors related to Google indexing.
Get Notified When There Is An Issue With Your Website
When you register your website with Google Search Console, you can get notified of security issues or Google manual penalties on your website.
For example, if your website is affected by malware, you will get a message with details about the problem and recommendations for fixing it.
Once you make the changes and apply them, you can use the security issues report informing Google that corrective measures have been taken.
- Get notifications about security issues related to your website
- Find out if Google has penalized your website under manual penalty action and submit a reconsideration request.
Analyse Your Web Pages Using the URL Inspection Tool
URL inspection tool is one of the most popular functions of Google Search Console. You can use this tool to analyze a URL on your website and troubleshoot any errors.
This tool is very easy to use. You need to type in your URL, and Google Search Console will show you everything that Google knows about that specific page.
- Identify and fix problems related to structured data and schema markup
- Examine and improve your rich snippets performance
- View which pages of your website are indexed on Google
Analyse Your Link Profile
Another useful feature Google Search Console offers you are the links report. This report shows you a list of all links related to your website that Google knows about. These can be internal and incoming links.
You will find both followed and no-follow links in this list.
- View how Google recognizes your internal links
- View all backlinks pointing to your website that Google knows about
- Remove the poor and bad backlinks from Google with the help of the disavow tool
Troubleshoot Issues Related To Mobile-Friendliness and AMP
Having a mobile-friendly website should be your top priority as it is not only good for SEO but also offers a great user experience.
The mobile usability tools in Google Search Console will help you to troubleshoot errors related to your mobile website and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) if you have implemented this feature in your website.
- Analyze the mobile-friendliness of a page
- View and troubleshoot AMP-related issues
Notify Google About Significant Changes Made to Your Website
Sometimes, there are cases when you need to notify Google of changes that you made to your website. For example, when migrating to a new domain, adding an SSL, or making significant changes to your website.
Instead of waiting for Google to discover the changes, you can use Google Search Console to notify them and request indexing of your website or particular pages.
- Notify Google of a change in the domain name
- Force Google to recrawl your website or individual pages
View Statistics on How Your Website is Performing on Google Discover
Google discover or “Google News” is the service available through the Google app on Android and iPhone devices. With the use of AI, users can get articles recommendations they can read related to topics they might be interested in.
When articles from your website appear on Google Discover, Google Search Console offers you a section for Google Discover report where you can get more details about their performance.
- View which web pages were displayed in Google Discover and how many clicks they received
Know If You Can Use Google Search Console to Contact Google for a Problem With Your Website
This section of the Google Search Console guide for beginners will let you know if you can contact Google for a problem with your website through Google Search Console. The answer is no because Google Search Console does not offer direct communication with Google. You can contact Google either with the help of support forums or by posting a query to one of the Google Webmaster Tools meetings.
Know How Fresh Data Google Search Console Offers You And How Long the History
Google offers fresh data in Google Search Console so that you will get reports with a delay of just one or two days.
Presently, Google Search Console keeps data for 16 months. It also offers you the compare function to analyze the performance of your website between different periods.
Google Search Console Vs. Google Analytics
Google Search Console tells you about your website’s crawling and indexing activity and how your website performs in Google search, whereas Google Analytics shows the users’ activity on your website when they visit not only Google but from any online source.
Google Search Console lets you know which keywords generated organic traffic to your website, whereas Google Analytics shows which pages users visit first, how many pages they visited before leaving and many other analytics related to traffic.
Step-By-Step-Guide To How To Use GSC for Google SEO – Google Search Console Guide For Beginners
As mentioned above, the primary aim of the Google Search Console is to help users analyze and optimize the performance of their website in Google search results.
Now, in this section of the Google Search Console guide for beginners, here are the 7 steps to follow in order to get started with Google Search Console.
Step 1: Add and Verify Your Website
While getting started with Google Search Console, the first step to be followed is registering for a free account and then adding your website, followed by the verification.
After that, you will get access to all Google Search Console tools and reports.
Step 2: Create and Submit XML Sitemap
Once you verify your website in Google Search Console, the next step is to create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google.
A sitemap is an XML format file that lists all pages of a website that Google needs to know about and examine for changes. A sitemap consists of the URL of a page and details on when the page was created and last updated.
Even if your website doesn’t have a sitemap, it can still discover and index your website. But, if you have a website, a sitemap makes it easier for crawlers, and you can send them more information about your URLs.
Step 3: Find And Fix Any Crawling and Indexing Errors
The next step in the Google Search Console guide for beginners is to check if there are any indexing errors. If a URL or a group of URLs have problems and are nowhere in the Google index, those pages won’t appear for any searches.
As a registered user, Google Search Console will notify you of any errors but since you are a beginner, you must go through all the reports to find and fix any errors.
Step 4: Check for Any Security Issues or Manual Actions
The next step in the guide recommends you perform a quick check to ensure that your website has no security issues reported or is not under a Google penalty.
You can go through both reports under SECURITY & MANUAL ACTIONS.
If you find any issues, Google will give you more details on how to address them issues.
Step 5: Compare Your Google Search Performance Before and After a Google Update
Google constantly changes its ranking algorithm; normally, these changes will affect your website at some point, positively or negatively.
One of the ways to check which pages on your website were affected and for which search queries is to use the compare function of the “Search Results” report.
When you discover a major Google Update, you can compare your search performance 7 days before and after the update.
The filters are available in Google Search Console to find out changes in ranking position by a page or even by the keyword.
Step 6: Find and Optimise Pages With a Low CTR
One of the reports Google Search Console offers you is “Search Results Report” using which you can improve the ranking position of your pages and increase the traffic to your website simultaneously.
Specifically, you can use Average Position and Average CTR filters to analyze the pages on your website having a low CTR.
CTR stands for Click Through Rate. It refers to the number of clicks your website receives and the number of impressions your website receives on SERP. CTR = clicks ÷ impressions.
A low click-through rate is considered anything below 3%.
To optimize the pages with low CTR, you can enhance their page title and meta description into something more catchy and attractive for users to click.
It will instantly help you generate more traffic to your website, and it will also improve your ranking positions over time.
When you make these changes, keep a log of when the change was made so that you can compare the performance before and after the change.
Also, make sure you don’t rush into making conclusions, make the changes and give it some time before analyzing the results.
Step 7: Rank For More Keywords and Increase Visibility on Google
Another way you can use Google Search Console to enhance your Search Engine Optimisation is by analyzing which keywords a page ranks and enhancing your content to rank higher for those keywords.
A page does not only rank for a single keyword but is likely to rank for many different keywords and not for the keyword optimized in the first place.
You can find all the keywords that a particular page ranks using the “Search Results” report with the page filter.
Your page can also rank for keywords not included in the content. It happens because the ranking algorithm uses AI and other factors, such as synonyms and LSI keywords, to rank a page for different search queries.
And when you play it smart and intelligently, optimize your content by adding missing keywords, which will ultimately help your rankings to improve for those keywords and increase your visibility on Google.
As mentioned above, keep track of changes made and do not run into making conclusions.
As we conclude, the Google Search Console guide for beginners is a must-use tool for everyone who owns a website. Google Search Console is an excellent way to discover what Google knows about your website, analyze the performance of your website in Google search and use it to enhance your SEO.
The first step is to create an account, followed by verification, and then learn how the different reports and tools work.
Generally, it is very easy to use, and once you learn how to use different options and filters, it can become your daily SEO tool.
We hope that the article has been helpful to you. If you have any queries or reviews about the article, feel free to leave a comment below. We will be more than happy to respond.