What Is Google Search Console and How Is It Valuable To You
Google Search Console (previously known as google webmaster tool) is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google search results. You don’t need to sign up in order for your website to be included in Google search results but the Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.
Search console offers tools and reports that help with the following actions:
- Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site
- Fix indexing problems and requests re-indexing of new or updated content
- View Google Search traffic data
- Show you which sites link to your website
- Receive alerts when google encounters indexing, spam or other issues on your site and more.
Reports That’s Google Search Console Has to Offer
We’ll go through some reports that Google Webmaster has to offer.
The query tracking reports show the keywords that users are typing in the search bar that results in your pages being shown. It also tells you which pages are actually ranking high in Google Search engines by giving you the amount of clicks, impressions, and ranking each page receives. Below you can see an example.
In this example, the page with the most amount of clicks is “health insurance comparison chart Canada”
The coverage reports tells you if all the pages are working as they should. It will also tell you if Google has identified any errors. Below is a picture of Tactyc’s report. As you can see we are error free! In the event there is an error, Google Search console will identify what the errors is, you are then able fix it, come back to this report and ‘validate’ the fix. This will tell Google that you have fixed the issue.
Requesting Indexation from Google
Near the beginning of this blog we mentioned that one of the things that Google Search Console can do is index pages. But you may ask yourself what does indexing mean? This is the process of Google ranking and delivering your pages and posts to potential customers. So for example, if one of the Tactycs’ website pages is indexed and a potential customer is looking for content marketing software our website page will be shown to them.
The two most common ways to index a page are:
1. Inputting sitemaps
A site map is a list of pages of a website within a domain. This method is commonly used for major site updates where you don’t want to put in each URL to be indexed. You use a sitemap to do it all at once.
Below is an example of Tactyc’s sitmap being indexed.
2. Requesting indexation of a specific URL
The second method is specifically requesting an index of a URL. This is most commonly used when you’ve recently published a blog. You can index that specific page because you recently posted it and it’s most likely that Google hasn’t seen it yet.
We have done this method for our recently published blog How to Effectively Analyze Your Target Market Demographics. As you can see the URL is on Google and meets the criteria that Google has set out.
Having a mobile-friendly site is critical, that’s why Google uses mobile first indexing to ensure your site still runs smoothly while your customers are using their phones. Again, Google shows if there are any errors. Taking the report from Tactycs we can see that our website has an error. We’ll make sure to look into it and fix it.
The links report, in our opinion, is one of the most interesting areas of information. This report tracks all the inbound and outbound links. Inbound and outbound links are one of the most difficult areas of SEO and one of the most important in order to rank in Google search results. You can use this report to help analyze which internal links you are using the most and which pages on your websites are being linked to from outside sources. You can also see the specific websites that link to your website.
Additional Search Console Functions
There are many other reports that you can see in Google Search Console such as:
- Page Experience
- Core Web Vitals
- Custom URL Removals
- Product Identifiers
- FAQ Identifiers
- Map Identifiers
Take the time to look through them all and see where you can improve your website’s performance!
Get Set up With Google Search Console
Now that you know which reports you need to look at it’s time to set up your account!
- Go to Google Search Console
- If you have a google Analytics account you can log in using the same credentials or you can use your Google account. If you don’t have a google account you will need to create one before you can continue
- Once you have successfully logged in, write your domain name under “domain”
If you do not see this page go to the top left corner and click on the 3 parallel lines. Then click “add property”. This will make the screen appear where you can add your domain name.
- You’ll be asked to verify that you own the website one of the four ways. Choose whichever one is most convenient for you.
- If you have access to the backend of your website you can upload a html file
- If you manage your hosting, you can verify via your hosting provider
- Or using Google Tag Manager, you can very via Google Tags
- Or verify ownership via your Google Analytics Tracking ID
- You’re done! You have to wait about a week before any useful data shows up