Google Search Console: A Guide To Everything You Need To Know

Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a free web service created by Google that allows website administrators to access important insights that allows them to optimize their website’ visibility on Google searches.

Google Search Console offers useful tools and reports that can help you measure search traffic and website performance, as well as identify problems that Google indicates may impact your site.

Google Search console is perhaps the most revealing tool ever created by Google in telling webmasters exactly what they expect in a website and how to make it shine in Google search results.

If you own a business or manage a website, Google Search Console is a must-have tool in your suite of marketing and analytics resources. In today’s post, we will discuss the features available in Google Search Console and how you can use them to improve your search results.

Google Search Console Features

Adding your website to Google Search Console takes several steps that may require assistance by a web developer. Once you’ve set up your account you will login to your dashboard where you will be given access to all the features available in Google Search Console. Let’s review these features now, which are listed on the left column:

Overview

The default for the dashboard is the overview. This landing page will give you a quick snap shot of your website’s performance, coverage and enhancements that we will discuss below.

URL Inspection

This tab allows you to enter any specific page on your website to see if it has been indexed by Google.

Performance tab

google search console

Click on the Performance tab to see where your website ranks in Google. This will include both pages and keywords. You can go back as far as 16 months to see data on your website.

The Performance tab has two sub-categories:

Search Results

This category provides the following data regarding your website:

  1. Clicks
    This tells you the actual number of people that visited your website from Google’s search engine result pages (SERP)
  2. Impressions
    Impressions are the total times that your website link was visible on Google SERPs.
  3. Average CTR
    CTR – Click-through rate – tells you the percentage of people that have seen your link in the SERP and actually clicked to your website. The higher the CTR the better as it indicates that your SEO title and meta-description are effective.
  4. Average position
    Average position tells you what the average ranking of a specific keyword or page was for your website during a set period of time.
Discover

Discover is a feature within Google Search that recommends topics and articles relevant to the website without needing a search query.

Index

index coverage

The next tab gets a bit more technical, but digs deeper into the heart of your website.

Coverage

This section shows you all the pages on your website that have been indexed by Google, which pages are not indexed and any errors or warnings that may be making it difficult for Google to index your page correctly.

You should check this tab regularly to see if any new warnings or errors have appeared on your site. If you tend to be on the lazy side, Goggle will email you when it discovers new errors.

Sitemaps

An XML sitemap provides Google with a blueprint of your website, guiding bots through its web of pages and posts. On the Sitemaps tab of Google Search Console you can tell Google where your XML sitemap is located on your site:

xml sitemaps

Removals

google search consoleThe Removals tab temporarily block URLs from showing in Google, it shows outdated content and content filtered by SafeSearch. This tool does three things:

  1. Allows you to temporarily hide URLs from showing in Google search
  2. Shows you outdated content that is no longer indexed by Google because
  3. Shows you if any of your pages have been filtered by Google’s SafeSearch adult filter.

This tab is extremely useful as it allows webmasters to quickly remove content from Google as well as see if content was removed due to third-party requests.

Enhancements

google search console

The Enhancements tab allows you to  view structured data on your site. This section is where all the insights and improvements are recommended by Google to improve your search ranking.

The number of sub-categories in this tab will depend on how many existing enhancements you have. Enhancements reports help you fix issues that can be hurting you with Google. By reading these reports, taking recommended actions and validating fixes, you can increase your chance of getting better search results.

Speed

The new speed report is still in its experimental stages, but already an invaluable addition. This report gives a good idea of how fast your site loads on mobile and desktop. In addition, it also shows which pages have issues that keep them from loading quickly. The data is based on the Chrome UX report, so real data of real users. Site speed is a difficult topic containing many moving part, so it’s good to learn how you should think about site speed. You can find the answer here: how to check site speed.

Core Web Vitals

The Core Web Vitals tab will show you overall issues with your website and which pages and URL’s could use improvement.

Mobile Usability

google search console

The Mobile Usability tab within this section will show you any issues with mobile pages and makes recommendations for fixing them.

AMP

accelerated mobile pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open source HTML framework developed by Google with the intent of loading mobile pages almost instantaneously. To accomplish this, AMP places significant restrictions on both code and design. Accelerated Mobile Pages delivers a stripped down user experience with the focus on function over form. The team at Google aims to make AMP a universal framework for “user-first” websites.

The AMP tab in Google Search Console allows you to check how many AMP pages on your website are verified by Google, as well as pages that may have warnings or errors.

Read more: What is AMP & Why Should I Care?

Manual Actions

The Manual Actions tab will let you know if your website is being penalized by Google. You will also receive an email from Google regarding any penalties.

Links

The Links tab will show you how many other websites are pointing to your site, as well as top linking sites and top anchor texts. It’s important to note here that backlinks are a significant factor for Google when assigning a website’s quality score, so this is a good section to keep track of.

Security issues

The Security issues tab is where you will find notifications when your website has a security issue.

Google Search Console: Conclusion

By now, you should have a better understanding of Google Search Console and how it can be a useful tool in establishing a strong online presence with Google. The best takeaway from this free service is that Google is literally sharing its highly guarded secrets of how it ranks websites. There are many “Black Hat” SEO tactics out there that may give you short-lived improvements, but ultimately they are discovered and your website will be penalized or even banned from Google search results. Google is simply too big, too smart and too powerful to go rogue on. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

DEEPBLUE Knows the Market

website redesign

DEEPBLUE is a Bay Area web design company that delivers measurable results. Learn more about our web design services and make sure to check out our work portfolio by industry.

If you are interested in learning more about Google Search Console for your website we would love to speak with you. Call us today at +1.888.938.8289 or contact us online.

Antje Knott

Antje Knott is the Social Media Manager for DEEPBLUE. She has over 10 years of industry experience as a wordsmith, social media manager, SEO/SEM specialist and digital advertising executive.

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