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Jun 22, 2020
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Google Search Console Overview– Complete Beginner’s Guide

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Today in this tutorial, I am going to share a complete guide on the Google Search Console tool. How to use Google Search Console Tools and how to increase website traffic.

You can use Google Search Console to track your website performance (how your site is performing in Google). You can get valuable insights into your websites such as Crawl errors, Ranking Keywords, impressions, and more from your Google Search Console account.

Apart from this, if there are any errors in your site, then you will be mailed by Google Search Console. Because of which you will quickly get to know about the errors that you need to fix.

Google Search Console – Complete Beginner’s Guide

To use the Google Search Console tool, you must first create an account. After creating an account, click on ‘Add Property’ in the top bar of Google Search Console.


Then enter the correct version of your website, saying that Google considers HTTP and HTTPS as two different protocols. It, therefore, considers https://www.example.com and https://example.com as two separate websites.

So make sure that you have entered the correct URL of your website. To collect the right data, it is very important to add the correct version of the website.

Google Search Console
After clicking the Continue button, you will have to verify your website that you own. You will see 5 methods to verify ownership.


If you are a WordPress user and use the Yoast SEO plugin, the HTML tag is the easiest method. Just go to the Webmaster tools (SEO >> General >> Webmaster Tools) section of Yoast SEO and paste the HTML tag.


After saving it, you can return to Google Search Console and click on the ‘Verify’ button. If you have used the correct HTML tag, you will get a success message and Google Search Console will start collecting data for your website.

But if you do not use Yoast SEO on your site, then you can paste the HTML tag in the head section of your site. Now you can use the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. Click Settings >> Insert Headers and Footers and paste your HTML tag into the ‘Scripts in Header’ box.


If you want to verify Site Ownership without a plugin, you can use the method HTML file first. Simply download the HTML file and upload it to your website’s root folder and return to Google Search Console and click on the ‘Verify’ button.

Once you have done this, you can proceed to the next step.

Set A “Preferred Domain”

It is very important to set up a Preferred Domain for your site. It tells Google to use your site with the “WWW” or non-www version. However, I do not like ‘WWW’ myself and I do not use WWW on any of my websites. It does not have any matter for your website SEO. If you use the ‘WWW’ version, your site will appear in the search results with ‘WWW’.

Google says -Now If you can specify a preferred domain, we may serve the (www) and without (non-www) versions of the domain as separate references to separate pages.

Set Your Target Country

If your website is ranking in a specific country or targeting users, then you can ask Google to target the users of that particular country.

Go to the old version of Google Search Console, and click Search Traffic >> International Targeting.

Google Search Console
Click on the Country tab and select the country which you want to target.

If you are thinking that by choosing a country, your website will not appear in the search results for other countries, then you are thinking completely wrong. If any of your pages are useful and relevant to other country’s audiences, Google will show it in search results.

Setting a target country helps Google understand your target audience and boosts your site ranking in local search results.

Add a Sitemap (Google Search Console)

The sitemap is filled with your website URLs. If you add a sitemap to your website, the search engine will crawl your website better. Although it does not boost your search rankings, it can help to index your content faster and crawl better.

Submitting Sitemaps is not required for small sites. But for large sites (eg e-commerce sites) a Sitemap is very important.

If you are using the Yoast plugin on your WordPress site, then you already have a Sitemap. All you need to do is submit to Google Search Console.

For the sitemap, click on Yoast SEO >> General >> Features and ‘On’ the XML sitemaps then click on ‘See the XML Sitemap’ link,

Google Search Console
This will take you to the XML sitemap page. As you can see in the screenshot.

Google Search Console wordpress

Copy the URL from your browser’s address bar. This will be your Sitemap and look something like this,

https://example.com/sitemap_index.xml

Now we have a Sitemap. Let us now submit it to Google Search Console.

On the Google Search Console dashboard, click on the Sitemaps option in the left column then paste the last part of the URL (sitemap_index.xml) and click on the Submit button.

Index coverage (Google Search Console)

It is a little technical but very important. The Index Coverage report tells you which pages of your site are indexed in Google. It also tells you about errors and warnings that prevent the page from being indexed.
Check this tab regularly to see what errors and warnings are coming up on your website. However, Google sends you a notification when new errors are found. When you get such a notification, you can come here and check the error in more detail.

  • How to Fix Index Coverage Issue

When you click on Error status, you will see a list of error page which you can analyze in more depth. After fixing the error, Now you can click on the Validate fix option. Google will test the URLs again.

There are some things you should always check when checking Coverage reports.

  • If you are writing new content, then the number of your indexed pages should continue to increase. This shows that Google is properly indexing your site.
  • sudden drop! This may mean that Google is having trouble accessing your website. The main reason for this may be a change in Robots.txt or your server is down. You need to pay attention to it!
  • A sudden increase in the graph! The reason for this may be – Duplicate content or your site has been hacked etc.
    You should monitor it closely and resolve the errors quickly.

Performance (Google Search Console)

Through the Performance tab, you can see which page and Keywords of your website are ranking in Google.

In the new Google Search Console, you can view data for up to 16 months. But the data will be visible in your account since you created your account.

If you check the Performance tab regularly, you can see which keywords and pages need optimization. In the Performance tab, you will see a list of ‘queries’, ‘pages’, ‘countries’ or ‘devices’. Apart from this, you can also see clicks, impressions, average CTR, or average position.

Total Clicks – This tells you how many times people clicked on your website in Google search results. But clicking on any link within the search results is not counted as a click.
Total Impressions –Impressions tell you how often users see a URL in the search results. It is calculated differently for image and other search results.
Average CTR – Average CTR is the percentage of impressions and it shows how many percent of people clicked on your website in search results.
Average position – This shows the average position of your website in the search result. It also tells you the average position of a specific keyword or page.

Links

Links play an important role in SEO. Google uses this as a ranking factor.

In the Google Search Console tool, the Links report shows you external links, internal links, top linking sites, and top linking text. you can click on the More button to see detailed results for any link reports.

Mobile usability

In today’s time, more than half of the searches are done by mobile. That’s why Google gives mobile-friendly websites a better rank in search results.

This tab describes the mobile usability issue for your website or specific page, meaning that your site or page is not mobile-friendly. We recommend checking it daily. If your site is not mobile-friendly, then your site rankings in mobile search will be affected.

You can see the affected pages by clicking on the error.

Most mobile usability issues are caused by poorly coded WordPress themes or plugins. Always use a better responsive WordPress theme and Well rated plugin.

Manual Actions

The manual actions tab is the section when your site is penalized by Google, then you can see detailed information here. If your website is affected by manual action, you will also be notified via email.

These manual actions usually occur when a site is involved in illegal activities, spamming, and other fraudulent or fishy activities.

Due to Manual Actions

  • Causes of unnatural or purchased links
  • When your site is hacked
  • You are hiding something from Google
  • Spammy structured markup
  • and many more

After fixing Manual Actions, then you can click on the Request review button. The Google Search team will check your website again.

AMP

If you use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages – lightning-fast mobile pages) on your website, then you can check the error coming to the AMP page through Google Search Console. In this section, as you can see valid AMP pages, valid ones with warnings, and Errors.

If you click on one of the errors, you can see the affected URLs below.

URL Inspection

The URL inspection tool allows you to check a specific URL on your website to see how Google search looks at that URL. This tool provides information about detailed crawl, index, AMP error, last crawl date, etc.

Enter a URL(Link) for which you want to see the last crawl date and status, crawling or indexing errors.

What’s not in the new version of Google Search Console?

There are some of the features that are not available in the new Google Search Console yet, here we are going to cover them all,

1. Search appearance

The search appearance feature is missing in the new Google Search Console, due to which we cannot use Structured data, Rich cards, Data highlighter ‘and HTML improvements feature in the new version.

If you have added Structured data to your website, then you have to use the old version to check it. Also for HTML improvements, you will also need to visit Older Google Search Console.

2. International targeting

For websites whose pages are in different languages, international targeting is very important and those who target people from different countries or regions. When you implement hreflang on your website, you can check the error in this section of the Older Google Search Console.

3. Crawl stats

In the Crawl tab, the following options such as Crawl errors, Crawl stats, Fetch as Google, Robots.txt tester, Sitemaps, and URL parameters were present. Which is not available in the new version.

However, you can fix Crawl errors by index coverage of the new Google Search Console. But all other options have been removed.

4. Security Issues

The Security issues tab used to notify when there was a security issue on your website. This feature is missing in Google Search Console Beta.

If this article has proved helpful for you, then don’t forget to share it!

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