How to Use Google Search Console [Step-by-Step Checklist]

How to Google search console

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Wondering what is Google Search Console? And how can it help in fixing website’s errors?

Google Search Console (GSC) gives valuable insights into your website and its visitors through data that your competitors may not access.

It can be used to know the period traffic to your site, landing pages, device used to visit the website, the medium through which the viewer is getting to know about your site, etc. 

It helps you to understand how Google search views your site and enables you to optimize the site’s organic presence.

GSC provides reports, tools, and learning resources to make an easy way to get your content on Google Search. You can know the details affecting your website’s various parts, including the technical part that helps you deal with the website’s rankings or impressions.

If you want to ace your SEO game, and improve your site’s ranking on Google, read the blog further to learn more about Google Search Console.

Getting started with Google Search Console:

  • Create an account on Google Search Console. 
  • Click on ‘Add property’ and paste your site’s URL in the ‘Domain’ field. 
  • Verify your site by selecting a convenient option (HTML is usually recommended).
  • Integrate your Google Analytics account with the Search Console to get more optimized results.
  • Check for any security issues proving to be an obstacle for SEO.
  • Submit a sitemap to Search Console (Essential if you have a website with multiple pages).
  • Select the ownership option and, if needed, add a user(s) to GSC, for people who will have access to full or partial data of the site.
  • Access the available reports to get information (e.g., see the Index Coverage Status report to fix the errors on-site).

How to Use Google Search Console

Overview

When you want to check-in daily on the GSC to ensure that everything on the site is going well, the overview section is your primary display.

This section illustrates your site’s overall performance, presents a coverage report, and mentions any significant errors or enhancements required on the site. 

Overview

Performance

This is where you come to see your site’s overall performance, mostly in terms of traffic or impressions. Checking this section daily is recommended to ensure that your site is doing well to attract traffic.

Here you can view details of people who are visiting your site or know the relevant search queries. The main findings in this feature include:

  • How often people clicked on your site in the search results of Google. 
  • How often your website or a page from your website is shown in the search results.
  • What percentage of people have seen the website and clicked on it.
  • What is the average ranking of a specific keyword or a page depending on your selected time period? 
performance

URL Inspection 

This section is about the performance of specific pages on the site from a technical perspective.  The error could often be that Google was unable to crawl your page. If you have witnessed any change or decrease in the page’s performance, this can be used to identify the indexing errors.

A brief report reveals whether your URL appears on Google Search with all needed enhancements. You can also figure out if any suspected web pages are creating a barrier for your SEO. It also reveals details regarding structured data on your URL.

URL inspection

Index Coverage

Know how well Google is indexing your website! You will get to know how many of your pages from the site are in Google’s index. The coverage report reveals problems with your pages being indexed and also offers relevant solutions to fix them. 

If you have a small website with a few pages, you do not necessarily have to look into the coverage report. But if you have numerous pages, check this report regularly to be aware of the errors and warnings.

Google Search Console even sends you notifications for these. Once you know about the error in-depth and fix it, make sure to mark it as fixed so that Google can test it again.

Index coverage

Enhancement Tabs

GSC presents the following tabs that you can use to improve your site’s performance:

  • Speed: Speed of loading your page on mobile as well as desktop. Informs you of specific issues regarding loading the page faster. If the page takes too long to load, the users might simply leave it.
  • Mobile Usability: Points out which of your pages on the website face problems in their mobile version. We need to focus on this to ensure the best UX to the viewer.
  • Rich results tab: If you have structured data on the site, know how many valid enhancements, errors, or warnings you have. Under this tab, several options are available like breadcrumbs, events, FAQs, how-tos, jobs, logos, products, reviews, site links, search boxes, and videos.
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages: Has all of the mobile search results benefits, including reducing the loading time of the page, improving server performance, boosting mobile ranking, etc.
Enhancement

Sitemaps

Entering your XML sitemap into GSC can ensure that Google finds your site and can locate the vital posts and pages. The sitemap illustrates your website’s layout to Google, thus helping it crawl more efficiently. Google bots have a crawl limit. 

With your sitemap, you can select the pages you prefer to be indexed and guide the crawlers to optimize your site’s page. 

Sitemaps

Manual Actions

Upon violating Google’s guidelines, you receive a notification under this report, and you will have to submit a reconsideration request of the same.

The notification can come under circumstances where you manipulate a search index, do keyword stuffing, purchase links on site, hide redirects, plain spam, etc. Engaging in any black-hat SEO strategies can leave you in a problematic situation.

The “No issues detected” is a sigh of relief.

Manual actions

Security

In case of any security issues with your site regarding malware or hacking, it will be notified in this report. Along with the warning, Google Search Console also provides details on how to fix these issues. 

Once you or your technical team works on the suggestions provided, you can request the GSC to review the site again.  

Security

Links 

Talks about your external and internal links. You can check on how many other websites link to your site and to which specific pages. You can also see how many of those websites contain your link and the text used for linking.

This helps you to evaluate your internal linking structure and the anchor text you use.

Links

Conclusion

Google Search Console is a comprehensive tool. It is a considerable addition to your list of analytics tools for more significant insights. GSC helps you identify problems and provides you with actionable data. This is your go-to tool if you are looking to build an SEO optimized site.

Start tracking your website’s performance and make strategic decisions based on the valuable information gained through the tool. 

Do you have any queries or suggestions? Please drop your thoughts in the comments section.

Ashutosh works as a Product Manager at Refrens.com - India's most powerful platform for freelancer's finances and growth. He has helped some renowned technology companies with their products. In this blog, Ashutosh shares some tips and tactics to generate blog ideas from Social Media.

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