Today in this tutorial, I am going to share a complete guide on the Google Search Console tool that will help increase your website traffic.
Google Search Console can be used to track your website performance (how your site is performing in Google). You can get Valuable Insights of your website from your Google Search Console account like Crawl errors, Ranking Keyword, impressions and more.
In addition, Google Search Console will notify you if there are any Errors in your site. That’s why you will soon find out the errors that you need to fix.
Google Search Console – Complete Beginner’s Guide
If you want to use the Google Search Console tool, you need to create an account. After creating, click on ‘Add Property‘. You can see screenshot below.
Next, enter the correct version of your website. Google treats HTTP and HTTPS as two separate sites. To get the correct data, adding the correct version of the website is very important. So first of all, make sure you enter the correct URL of your website.
After clicking on the Continue button, you will need to verify your website that you own it. You will see 5 methods to verify ownership.
If you are a WordPress user and use the Yoast SEO plugin, then 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, return to Google Search Console and click on the ‘Verify‘ button. If you have used the correct HTML tag, you will receive 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, you can paste the HTML tag into the <head> section of your site. For this, you can use the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. Click on Settings >> Insert Headers and Footers and paste your HTML tags in the ‘Scripts in Header‘ box.
If you want to verify Site Ownership without a plugin, you can use the first method HTML file. 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 do this, you can move on to the next step.
Set A “Preferred Domain”
Setting a Preferred Domain is very important for the site. This tells Google to use your site with “WWW” or non-www version.
However, I do not like ‘WWW’ and I do not use WWW on any of my websites. This does not keep any matter for your website SEO. If you use the ‘WWW’ version, your site will appear in the search result with ‘WWW’.
Google says – “If you don’t specify a preferred domain, we may treat the www and 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, you can tell Google to target those Particular country users.
Go to the old version of Google Search Console, and click on Search Traffic >> International Targeting. Then click on the ‘Country‘ tab and select the country you want to target. Below is a screenshot.
If you are thinking that choosing a country, your website will not appear in 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.
If you set a target country, Google easily understands your target audience and boosts your site ranking in Local search results.
Add a Sitemap
Sitemaps contain URLs for your website. If you submit a sitemap for your website, then the search engine will crawl your website better. However, it does not boost your search ranking, it can help to fast index and better crawl your content.
If you are using Yoast plugin on your WordPress site, then you already have a Sitemap. Just need to submit to Google Search Console.
Click on Yoast SEO >> General >> Features and turn on ‘XML Sitemaps‘ feature then click on the ‘See the XML Sitemap‘ link.
This will take you to the XML sitemap page. As you can see in the screenshot.
Copy the URL from the address bar of your browser. This will be your Sitemap and will look like this,
Now, we have a Sitemap. Let’s submit it to Google Search Console.
On the Google Search Console dashboard, in the left column, click on the ‘Sitemaps’ option, then paste the last part of the URL (sitemap_index.xml) and click on the Submit button.
Note: Submitting a Sitemap is not necessary for small sites But for large sites (like e-commerce sites) a Sitemap is very important.
This 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 pages from being indexed.
Check this tab regularly to see what errors and warnings are on your website. However, if new errors are found, Google sends you a notification. When you receive such a notification, you can check the error here and get more details. Here is a guide – How to fix New Index Coverage Issue Detected in Google search console tool
When you click on the error status, you will see a list of error pages which you can analyze in more depth. After fixing the error, you can click on the Validate fix option. Google will test URLs again.
You should always look at some things while checking the coverage report.
- If you are writing new content regularly, then the number of indexed pages should continue to grow. This shows that Google is indexing your site correctly.
- sudden drop! Perhaps Google is having trouble accessing your website. The reason for this may be a change in Robots.txt or your server down. You need to pay attention to this!
- Sudden increase! The reason for this – Duplicate content or your site has been hacked etc.
Monitor this closely and resolve the errors quickly.
Through the Performance tab, you can see which page of your website and Keyword is ranking in Google. In the new Google Search Console, you can see your website data for up to 16 months. But the data will appear in your account since you created your account.
If you regularly check the Performance tab, you can see which keywords and pages need optimization. Here, you will see a list of ‘queries’, ‘pages’, ‘countries’ or ‘devices’. In addition, you can also check ‘clicks’, ‘impressions’, ‘average CTR’ or ‘average position’.
- Total Clicks – This tells you how many times people clicked on your website in Google search results. How this is counted can depend on the type of search result type.
- Total Impressions – Impressions tell you how often a user sees the 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 tells you what percentage of people clicked on your website in search results.
- Average position – This shows the average position of your site in the search result. It also tells you the average position of a particular keyword or page.
Links play an important role in SEO. Google uses this as a ranking factor. The Links report in Google Search Console tool shows external links, internal links, top linking sites, and top linking text. Click the more button to see detailed results for any link reports.
Mobile search is dominating on desktop search. That’s why Google offers better rank in search results for mobile-friendly websites.
This tab tells you about mobile usability issue for your website or specific page – Your site or page is not mobile-friendly. I recommend checking it every day. If your site is not mobile-friendly, then your site ranking will decrease in mobile search.
You can see affected pages by clicking Error.
Most mobile usability issues are due to poorly coded WordPress themes or plugins. Always use a better responsive WordPress theme and well-rated plugin.
When your site is penalized by Google, here you can view detailed information. If your site is affected by manual action, you will also be notified via email.
These manual actions usually occur when a website is involved in illegal activities, spamming and other fraudulent or fishy activities.
Reasons for Manual Actions
- Unnatural or purchased links
- When your site is hacked
- You’re hiding something from Google
- Spammy structured markup and many more
After fixing manual Actions, you can click on the Request Review button. Google Search team will check your website again.
If you use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages – lightning fast mobile pages) on your website, you can check the error for AMP page. In this section, you can see valid AMP pages, valid ones with warnings and Errors.
If you click on a single error, you can see the affected URLs below.
The URL inspection tool allows you to check the specific URL of your website that how Google search sees that URL. This tool provides information about the detailed crawl, index, AMP error, last crawl date, etc.
Enter a URL for which you want to see the last crawl date and status, crawling or indexing errors.
What’s not in the new Google Search Console?
There are some features that are not yet available in the new Google Search Console. Here I’m going to cover them.
1. Search appearance
The Search appearance feature is missing in the new Google Search Console. As a result, we can not use the Structured data, Rich cards, Data highlighter, and HTML improvements feature in the new version.
If you’ve 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 go to the Older Google Search Console.
2. International targeting
International targeting is very important for websites whose pages are in different languages and who target different countries or regions. When you implement hreflang on your website, you will need to check the error in the old Google Search Console.
3. Crawl stats
In the Crawl tab, following options like Crawl errors, Crawl stats, Fetch as Google, Robots.txt tester, Sitemaps and URL parameters were available. Which is not available in the new version.
However, you can use the index coverage feature of the new Google Search Console for Crawl errors. But all other options have been removed.
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