When users search on Google, 50% of them click on a search result within 9 seconds. 25% of people take less than 5 seconds to decide which link to explore. This is how much time websites have to make their mark on the viewer. But this is too little time for the viewer to go beyond the first page or even, at times, scroll down to the end of the first page. It means that to stand a real chance of earning a visit, a website needs to be listed among the top few search results.
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps users assess their websites in terms of how they will be ranked and displayed by Google. With this tool, webmasters and SEO professionals can identify the key areas to focus on in order to improve their websites enough to be ranked desirably. Beyond this, Google Search Console packs a powerful set of features that can provide comprehensive reports and engaging assessments.
In this guide, you will find what Google Search Console is, in-depth information about the purpose of this web service, its proper usage, and how to add a user to Google Search Console.
What Is Google Search Console?
Google Console Search is a web service allowing webmasters to check the indexing status and visibility of their websites. However, to fully grasp what this means, let’s explore some background.
Google is the world’s #1 search engine with over 92% share of the search engine market. It is being accessed all the time for every kind of purpose and query - from health to politics to economics to shopping. There is virtually nothing that Google does not have information on. However, when most people perform a search using Google, they will only view the first page of results and open the first few links. So how do you ensure that your website or web page is ranking among these results? This is where Google Search Console comes in.
The numerical order in which Google displays the URL of your website as a result of a relevant search query is termed its Google Search Console average position. Search engine experts and professionals use Google Search Console to assess this average position to ensure that their website ranks high enough to be listed among the top few.
To facilitate the process of gauging the average position of a website or web page, Google introduced Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), a free tool aiding site managers and webmasters in analyzing the views on their websites and identifying the areas requiring improvement. This helped them achieve higher traffic to their website. In 2015, Google rebranded this service as Google Search Console.
What Is Google Search Console Used For?
Google Search Console allows the user to do far more than just gauge their website’s Google Search Console average position. There is a vast array of functionalities available in this tool, a few of which are highlighted as follows.
This tool helps in the analysis of how poorly or well a particular site is performing in Google search results. This is done by employing multiple metrics such as the number of clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR) (for instance, by country, by URL, or by query, etc.), and an average position. This way, the user can pinpoint the exact cause of a problem and troubleshoot efficiently. Besides these, there is:
- an overview report,
- a URL extension tool,
- a search results report,
- a sitemap report,
- a discover report,
- a crawl stats report,
- SafeSearch filtering,
- an index coverage report,
- removal tools, etc.
Essentially, this brilliant service allows webmasters to focus on improving their SEO metrics.
Google Search Console is often confused with another significant tool, and hence the Google Search Console vs. Google Analytics debate arises. The former focuses on search engine optimization and website average positions, whereas Google Analytics is more about user experience.
With Google Search Console, you can learn how best to bring traffic to your website, but Google Analytics explains insights such as what users are doing on a particular website or which pages they are most or least interested in. Thus, it is easy to see why the two tools can mistakenly be considered the same, but what Google Search Console offers is highly unique.
How to Use Google Search Console
As mentioned earlier, this is not a novel technology at all. Webmasters were using it back when it was Google Webmaster Tool. However, today, the interface is much more user-friendly, and the navigation is far simpler. Although you can consult SEO auditing services in case you are uncertain about its proper usage, this tool is very easy to learn and get started with.
Follow these steps to learn how to use Google Search Console, register an account and begin using the service.
To begin with, sign in to Google Search Console with your existing Google account or create a free account in case you do not have one. You can use your Gmail, Adwords, or Google Analytics account for this purpose. Use the same login credentials as you use for the aforementioned platform(s) to create your Google Search Console account.
Add a Property Type
You can either do this with your website’s domain or a URL prefix. Here’s what these two options mean:
- Your domain is the name of your website (without the http(s):// or www). For example, our domain is develux.com. Using this option, you will be able to connect Google Search Console to every aspect of your website because it includes all subdomains and protocol prefixes that are related to your website. Our recommendation is to choose this option.
- The URL prefix is the part of the URL that comes before the domain name. This can be https:// or http://. With this option, you will connect Google Search Console to only one version of your site. This may or may not return inaccurate data at times.
Verification of Your Domain Property
Once you have entered your property or domain, you need to verify that it belongs to you. This is exclusively done using a Domain Name System (DNS) Provider.
- From the dropdown menu given, select your DNS provider. If you are unable to find your DNS provider in the list, select any option and press enter.
- You will now be able to view a TXT record.
- Copy this record and open your DNS provider site in a new tab.
- Sign in and navigate to the domain you have bought. C
- lick on ‘manage the desired domain’ and select ‘Add’.
- Paste the TXT recorded you copied. This will not alter your ownership or domain and simply provide necessary information to Google Search Console.
- Go back to Google Search Console and choose ‘Verify’. It might take some time since the records can take up to 72 hours to update.
Now that you know how to use Google Search Console, you should also pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO) as well as the organization of your website. It is not necessary at all to learn to code or understand HTML very well. However, a basic understanding of how different elements of your website come together and interact with each other can help you with meaningful changes.
Google Search Console: Key Features
Google Search Console is known for the following features:
- The Performance tab allows you to view the pages and keywords for which your website is ranking in Google. This data is available for up to 16 months, and regular perusal of this tab can reveal the categories or keywords your website is most popular for.
- The URL Inspection tool helps you analyze different URLs and see how Google crawled a certain URL and how it looked when it was crawled.
- The Enhancement tab is among the strongest features of Google Search Console. It has options catering to speed, accelerated mobile pages usage, and mobile usability, etc. Understanding these options and improving them can lead to better results on the search engine results page.
- A highly useful feature is the mail notification for errors. This notifies the user, via an email, any time Google Search Console identifies an error on your website, for example, a security issue. This helps the user immediately tend to it before it can cause bigger problems or, worse, is noticed by visitors.
Tips and Tricks to Get the Best Results
Even if you have fully grasped how to use Google Search Console, you may not be efficiently using it to obtain the kind of results you would ideally want. Here are a few simple tips and tricks which can guide you to expertly navigate this web service and its associated functionalities.
- Check the number of pages of your website that are in Google’s index
- Notice what other websites have linked to your site
- Analyze the particular search queries that drive traffic to your website
- Submit a sitemap to make crawling easier for Google
- Ensure that all of your pages are mobile-friendly since most users prefer browsing the internet on their phones
- Identify the most important SEO metrics for your website
- Check the countries (from the Countries tab) from where your website gets the most traffic
- Identify web pages that are simply wasting your crawl budget
That being said, for best results, it is recommended to consult professional digital marketing services that can help you focus on the most relevant and rewarding of features that Google Search Console has to offer.
No matter how unique, revolutionizing, and powerful your website content is, users will not be able to view it unless it ranks high on search engines. This is why, in times like today, focus on SEO metrics and the use of insightful tools such as Google Search Console are as imperative as is the creation of valuable content on websites.
Google Search Console’s highly useful features can help you identify the parts of your website requiring the most attention. Once optimized, you will be able to generate the right kind of traffic to your website, increasing your odds of being among those few search results links that roughly half of the internet users decide to click on within 9 seconds.
And even if you cannot get the hang of this professional tool yourself despite our Google Search Console tutorial, do not worry. There are experts available to walk you through the process or even conduct the entire analysis for you. Contact us today to get a quote for your project.