Google Search Console: A Beginner’s Guide
Tracking website performance is essential to making insightful decisions that improve SEO. The data tracked in Google Search Console includes everything from crawl errors to keyword rankings. Google Search Console is just one of the tools to use that improve your SEO, there are a range of steps you can take to improve SEO in addition to Google Search Console.
How to Set Up an Account in Google Search Console
- Click “Get Started” and then add a property. The Domain property type is for tracking all your URLs, whereas the URL prefix property type is for tracking particular URLs. If you select “Domain” as your property type, enter the domain name, learningcomputer.com for example, without the www. If you select “URL prefix,” enter the URL with the https://www.
- Verify Ownership. For Domain property users, DNS verification is the only option. Add the DNS to your host server. For URL prefix users, you have a range of options for verification including uploading an HTML file to your website or using your Google Analytics account.
Now that Google Search Console is set up, you can explore your data immediately.
This is where you view the pages and keywords your site ranks for in the past 16 months or less. The performance tab lists queries, pages, countries, and devices for search results. You can see your total clicks, total impressions, average click-through-rate, and average position. By studying all this data, you can then take action to improve performance. For example, rewriting meta descriptions and titles may improve your click-through-rate.
We recommend checking the coverage section under the performance tab regularly, as this is where page errors and warnings show up. When Google has trouble indexing a page, it shows up here with instructions to help you resolve the error. Since these errors influence your SEO, it’s important they are addressed ASAP. Select “validate fix” after fixing the error so that Google can crawl the page again.
Use this tool to study specific URLs as well as performance insights like speed and mobile usability.
XML sitemaps ensure Google can find your site’s most important posts and pages. Plugins like Yoast generate an XML sitemap automatically. Make sure to create and submit an XML sitemap if you don’t already have one.
Explore your top linked pages internally and externally here. You can also see the sites that link to you the most and the anchor text commonly used.
Manual actions are issued by Google when a reviewer finds that pages on a website don’t follow the Google webmaster quality guidelines. You never want to get a manual action as it will affect rankings negatively or even omit the page from search results completely.
Check this tab periodically and address any issues immediately.
Why do you need to utilize Google Search Console?
The information tracked by Google Search Console should be used to improve your rankings online, as well as to mitigate any issues Google has when it crawls your website. By using Google Search Console you can fix problems you weren’t aware of, as well as use the data to optimize your site. While you can’t control every single thing Google uses to determine your rankings, Google Search Console is the best way to optimize the factors within your control. Want to know additional ways to improve your search engine optimization? Find out how to optimize your WordPress site for SEO here.
About the author: Sheri Holshouser is a marketing manager based in Dallas, Texas. In her free time, she likes to read science fiction novels and play with her pug Chloe. Learn more about her professional qualifications on LinkedIn.