Semalt Speaks On SEO Benefits You'll Get When Using Search Console
You have certainly heard about the popular Google Search Console tool more than once. It enables many practical functions that are useful for the website owners. Do you want to know its possibilities? You're in the right place! Introducing our GSC Beginner's Guide!
In this post, you will learn the most important information about Google Search Console, that is:
- What is it actually?
- What are its greatest advantages and why should you use it?
- What can it be useful for?
- How to connect your website with it?
- What can you learn about your website?
What is Google Search Console?
This post is a guide for the novice users, so let's first explain what the Google Search Console tool really is.
GSC is a free tool created by Google for the website administrators. It is especially useful for people dealing with website positioning or internet marketing. It has many functions that enable the ongoing monitoring of the page indexing status or the organic traffic.
Why should you use the Search Console? The most important advantages
Google Search Console helps in increasing the visibility of your website in Google search engines. You don't need to know HTML or programming. All you have to do is to analyze the structure, the general structure of the website and you will not be afraid of making changes. This little effort will help a lot in improving your website's position in the search results.
The GSC tool allows you to control the website:
- Organic traffic (impressions and clicks).
- Page indexing status, including the errors on the page, also in the mobile version.
- The number and the quality of the internal and external links.
In addition, in the SC we can find information about the penalties imposed by Google, the viruses or the hackers' attacks. This tool enables communication between the search engines' moderator, the algorithms and the webmaster.
Every administrator of the website, immediately after its implementation, should implement the Google Search Console. SC, like Google Analytics, monitors the website's traffic from the moment the tracking code is added to the website, so it's best to do it as early as possible. In the current version, we can analyze data up to 16 months back. Even if you don't think about SEO for your site right now and you think you don't need GSC, it's worth adding it to your website as it is a completely free tool. In the future, when you decide on SEO activities, the data collected by Search Console during this time will be of a great help in optimization of the website.
Google Search Console guide - how to get started?
Now you know that it's worth connecting your site to GSC and it is better to do it as soon as possible. The implementation of the Search Console on your website requires just a few simple steps!
You need a Gmail account to do this.
Go to https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome and log in to your email. Then in the upper left corner you will find the option to add a new service.
After clicking "Add a Service", you will be able to choose the type of service as pictured below.
Google Search Console supports 2 types of website services: domain service and URL prefix service. The domain-level service covers all the subdomains as well as the multiple protocols (http, https or ftp). By contrast, a service with a URL prefix only covers URLs with a specific prefix, including the protocol (http / https). The choice is yours, but you have to remember that for SC the http and https website are two different domains. Additionally, after implementing the SSL certificate, you need to add the website as a new service. You can read more about the differences between the different types of services in the Google Search Console Help Center.
After entering the site name and clicking "Next", you will get a message with several possibilities of verification:
- using an HTML file;
- using the HTML tag;
- by Google Analytics;
- by Google Tag Manager;
- as a domain name provider.
Verification is required to link your website to GSC. Google needs to make sure that you are the owner of the property because you will be able to access its data in the search engines. Each service must have at least one verified owner.
After clicking on a given verification method, you will receive the detailed instructions on how to verify your site. Typically, this involves adding a code snippet to the page that will track the organic traffic and monitor the other elements within the site.
After adding the meta tag on the page, you can complete the verification. Data about the service should start appearing after a few days. And ready! As you can see, adding a website to Google Search Console is easy. Detailed information on the individual verification methods can be found in the SC Help Center.
Basic functions of Google Search Console
Search Console is a multi-functional tool that offers the tons of possibilities. You can get the detailed information about your website from it that will help you to optimize and to improve your position in the Google search engines.
After entering the service of your website, on the left side you will see the menu and the results of the individual sections.
From the top, we have: Overview, Effectiveness, Improvements, Safety and Manual Actions, Older Tools and Reports.
In the Overview section, you get a summary of your site, that is, the total number of the clicks related to the web searches, site's status and the possible improvements. From each chart, you can go to a more detailed analysis by clicking "Open report". This will allow you to accurately track the individual elements relevant to the positioning of the page on Google.
Efficiency is one of the most interesting sections available in Google Search Console. Based on the graph, we can check the organic traffic and the number of the viewed pages in the search engines, as well as the average CTR and the average position of the phrases.
Of course, all data can be filtered and compared with each other. The maximum period for which SC collects data about the site is 16 months. A very interesting feature that Search Console allows is comparing data over time.
In this way, you can check how the visibility of the page in the search engines was shaped, whether the organic traffic and the views are falling or increasing, etc.
You can filter the results by queries, individual subpages, countries, devices, appearance in the search engines and dates. The list of all keywords can also be downloaded to a Google sheet, as an Excel sheet or CSV. To do this, click the "Export" button in the upper right corner. Key phrase analysis is essential, especially at the beginning of the on-page SEO activities. The GSC tool is therefore invaluable in carrying out such an analysis.
Another essential feature of the Search Console is the ability to monitor the health of your website. In this section you will find information about the errors on your site.
You can check exactly when the error appeared on the page, what exactly it concerns and at what stage of solving it is. After clicking on a given error, you will get more detailed information about it.
Error monitoring is very important because a page with errors is not only treated badly by Google robots, but also unfriendly to the users. It is worth remembering about it and checking the condition of the website on an ongoing basis, and in case of the errors, solve it immediately.
Google Search Console also allows you to enter and check the status of your sitemap.
This allows you to easily control whether all the URLs are included in the sitemap. The sitemap also makes it easier for your site to be indexed by Google.
Another feature worth knowing about is Deletions. It allows you to temporarily block specific URLs from being displayed in the search engines for about 6 months. When to use this feature and why do we temporarily need to remove the URLs in the Search Console?
Another very important section in SC is the Upgrades. This is where new "add-ons" appear from time to time, such as the recent Web Core Metrics that show the quality of the URLs within a given site. It shows the number of good and poor quality addresses, as well as those requiring improvement, both on the mobile devices and computers.
It looks similar to the version for the desktop devices. After clicking on a given error, you will get more detailed information about it.
Next, we can check whether our website has a filter imposed by Google. Information on the manual penalties (i.e. imposed by a Google employee) can be found in the Safety and the manual actions section.
If a message about a penalty imposed on the website appears here, check what the penalty applies to and correct these elements. Then you can ask to remove the filter from the website. Read more about the website filters.
You will analyze here the most frequently linked pages within the website and the external links leading to individual subpages. You will also check the sites with the most inbound links. You can also export this data, through which you can perform its full analysis.
The last very important function of Google Search Console is indexing of the subpages. At the top of the SC panel, you can enter any URL from your website and check its indexing status.
After pasting the address, click Enter and you will receive information on whether the given subpage is in the Google index and when it was last indexed.
You can ask Google to crawl this page, that means, to visit it again and to record the changes that have occurred on it since the last visit.
GSC is an extremely simple and intuitive tool from which you can learn a lot of important information about your website. Even if you don't intend to make any changes to the website or deal with the positioning, you should add your website to Search Console. It is worth monitoring what is happening on the website and making improvements on a regular basis. This way you will increase the visibility of your website in the search engines. If you have any questions about SC, please leave a comment under the post!
1. What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a completely free tool from Google created for website administrators. It is especially useful for people dealing with SEO and internet marketing. It allows you to monitor, among other organic traffic on the site, the site indexing status, and the number and the quality of the internal and external links.
2. What data can I read from Google Search Console?
Google Search Console has many practical functions. The tool allows you to analyze data such as the viewed pages in the search engines, organic traffic, average CTR and the average position of the phrases. In addition, you can check which key phrases the website is displayed to and which subpages generate traffic. SC also allows you to check the page indexing status and the errors that occur both in the mobile version and on the computers. The tool will also tell you if your website has been fined by a Google penalty.
3. How to add a site sitemap to Google Search Console?
To add a site sitemap to Google Search Console, go to "Sitemaps", enter the sitemap address and click "Submit". The submitted sitemap will appear in the table below. It can take up to several days for all the URLs contained in the sitemap to be uploaded.
Interested in SEO? Check out our other articles on the Semalt blog.