Google Search Console: what it is and how to work with it. A complete guide for beginners
If you want to know everything about the operation of your site and its effectiveness, then Google Search Console will help you with this. In this article, we will tell you what kind of service it is, how to work with it, and why it is really so necessary when working with SEO. Spoiler alert: all aspects that affect a site’s ranking can be checked with this tool. This includes the relevance of the site user’s request, how long the resource takes to load, possible technical errors, and many other nuances.
The article is primarily useful for entrepreneurs who want to understand for themselves how well their site works.
Why do you need Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free service with which you can get information about how your site is presented in Google search results, optimize content, and eliminate possible problems. It is not necessary to register for this service in order for your site to be included in the Google index. However, it will allow you to learn how your resource is scanned by our systems and improve its interaction with them (this is what the help says, and we strongly advise you to read it).
Thanks to GSC you can:
- see what resources link to your site;
- analyze how the resource works on different devices;
- find out which pages are not indexed;
- find inefficient pages and their loading speed;
- View the ranking of the site for various key queries;
- identify the keywords thanks to which users of the site found it in the search engine.
This list is far from complete, so in the article, we will reveal the possibilities of SC.
Installing and configuring Google Search Console
It will not be difficult to enter a site in SC. After going to the service site and registering in the Google “account”, you need to choose an option from two types of resources. The first is a domain resource, the second is a resource in the URL prefix.
It is worth noting that for the first option, URLs with any subdomains (m, www) and protocol prefix (HTTP or HTTPS) will work, while in the second option, the URL must be specified or have a specific protocol prefix. An important point is the method of confirmation: in the version with a domain resource, only DNS can be used to confirm, while in the remaining version, various confirmation methods are possible.
Then you should confirm your rights. To do this, you need to enter the domain name, copy the text entry, enter the entry in the DNS configuration of your domain, and click confirmation.
If you want confirmation of rights with a prefix, you need to enter the site address and choose one confirmation method from several.
The program itself recommends confirming rights using an HTML file. You just need to download it and add it to your site.
How to use Google Search Console
So, the first question you will ask yourself, for sure, will relate to the capabilities of this console. What can she do?
Pretty much anything to do with tracking your site’s performance on Google.
Once you have verified ownership of the site, you can explore it using GSC services and tools.
On the left you will see a number of tools designed to test the performance of the site:
Let’s consider each of them separately.
By default, the main screen in the Google console will be “Overview” (Overview). Here you will see general information about the performance of your site, a coverage report (which will be discussed a little later), and information about problems that have arisen with the site.
This is the most suitable panel for daily monitoring, looking at which you can easily and quickly check if everything is in order.
As the name suggests, this GSC feature will provide you with data on the overall performance of your site on Google. In other words, in this section, you can find out how well you are doing with the volume of incoming traffic and the number of views.
You can track relevant search queries, see what share of visits are on mobile devices and what share is on desktop, what country your visitors live in, and track the CTR level of Google search results.
Just like the “Overview”, you need to visit this section regularly. This will allow you to understand how many people visit your site every day.
3. URL Inspection (URL Inspection tool)
With this tool, you can thoroughly immerse yourself in the search engine optimization of your site, and understand the SEO of each individual page to the smallest detail. This is a great tool for finding and investigating indexing errors if you suddenly notice a change or decrease in page performance. Just enter a specific page URL:
After that, you will receive a small report on whether the page appears in Google search results, whether it is crawled and whether it is mobile-friendly, that is, whether it is viewed well on different devices.
You’ll likely use this section less than the previous two, but it’s perfect for browsing the web that you suspect is detrimental to your SEO efforts.
In the next block called “Index”, you will see the “Coverage” tab. Here you can find any problems with the indexing of pages on your site with recommendations on how to fix them:
Tip from Google: If your site has less than 500 pages, you don’t need to use this feature.
5. Sitemap files (Sitemap)
The next section is where you can get started with submitting your site’s XML sitemap. Although there are a lot of people who claim that a sitemap does not help and even harms SEO strategy, you still need to send one sitemap. A sitemap exposes your site’s structure and layout and helps Google crawl your site more intelligently and thoroughly. Since Google bots have a “crawl limit”, a sitemap can help you prioritize the pages you’d like to see indexed and organize more efficient crawls.
Luckily, using the Google Console, you can easily submit a sitemap for review:
You can update your Sitemaps as needed by resubmitting them to Google.
6. Mobile Usability
This feature will let you know which pages of your website are not displaying correctly on mobile screens. This is a great tool to make sure that your visitors accessing the site from their smartphones get the best possible user experience
7. Security issues
As the name suggests, this is where you can generate a report of any security issues that you have with your site. As a rule, all kinds of viruses and hacker actions (hacking) represent a security problem.
With GSC, you can see which sites link to your site and which pages they link to. Considering that link building is one of the main success factors in SEO, this is an incredibly useful section.
GSC is an essential tool for SEO specialists or site owners
With the help of GSC, you can independently analyze the actions of an Internet resource. This is a very convenient and understandable tool for the development and improvement of the site.
With its help, you can view:
- the behavior of the semantic core;
- which affects site traffic;
- what is the position of the resource in the Google search results;
- there are errors in the data.
This is a free service from Google, it will be able to quickly answer the questions that interest you. We advise you to check the resource once every 7-10 days for deficiencies and corrections in all GSC headings. It is especially important to check the e-mail linked to the program, because the search engine sends important information there, analytics about the effectiveness of the site.
Again, if you’re serious about SEO and content marketing, you should definitely connect your site to the Google Console. This will give you a huge advantage over those competitors who rely on the notorious “maybe” in the optimization process.
Thanks to all the tools described above, you will have at your disposal all the metrics necessary to optimize the resource, increase its rating, and increase traffic.
However, you need to understand that attracting visitors to the site is only half the battle. It is also necessary to organize a competent process of converting visitors into regular (paying) customers. To do this, you also need to do optimization, not SEO, but conversion optimization.