Google Search Console Tutorial for Beginners
Search Engine Optimization

Google Search Console (GSC) Tutorial 2020 – Exclusive Report

Optimization of your website is a top priority if you’re looking for organic traffic. Knowing about your traffic behavior and your web page performance is also important, isn’t it?

So, today as a responsible SEO Expert in India, I will be talking about Google Search Console, from very basic to advance and step by step. 

Many of you already know about Google webmaster tools and Webmaster Central, right?

Google webmaster tools are now Google Search Console!

So,

             Why do we need Google Search Console (GSC)? 

Well, this console helps webmasters to understand his/her website performance in organic search.

You can add multiple websites in Search Console to track their performance and activities, simultaneously if you’re using Google Analytics, you don’t need to create a separate Gmail for Search console account or even have to verify the websites already added in Google Analytics (GA).

Let’s learn what are the other processes to verify your websites in GSC?

Alright!

 Once you logged in here> https://search.google.com/search-console/about    Go to > Setting (In the downright side of the page) 

 

GSC- Setting

Here you have different methods to verify your website for the console.

 NOTE: You can use multiple methods for verification. 

Google Analytics (GA): If you’re already using the GA account, you just need to sign-in via the same account for search console. That’s it!

HTML File: This method is super simple. You just need to download the file given by Google from here and upload it to the main directory/path of your hosting. (Mostly in Public_HTML).

HTML Tag: This method is as simple as the previous one, you need to copy the HTML code and use it on your website, as per Google’s instruction,

Copy the Meta tag below, and paste it into your site’s home page. It should go in the <head> section, before the first <body> section.

Google Tag Manager: If you’re not aware of GTM, it’s time to learn about Google Tag Manager

To use GTM to verify your website, you should use a container snippet.

You can learn how to verify your website via GTM, from here

Domain Name Provider: In this process, you will need to verify your domain by adding a DNS record in your domain name provider. Check the image below

GSC- Verification

Once you verified your website with any of the given methods, you’re done. Now it’s Google’s turn to crawl your website and check the performance.

It takes 48 to 72 hours in most cases to see some performance reports like traffic stats etc. For other reports, it can take more time so don’t bother.

Now, let’s start learning about other options and reporting to check your website performance. You can take a look at the right side of your page of the Search console. You will find options like:

Overview: Performance: URL Inspection

Performance

 

It shows the overall performance of your website in terms of Number of Total clicks, Total Impression, Average CTR (Click through Rate) & average position of your keywords

  1. A) Total Clicks: The total number of clicks a website got in the given time frame. You can click on the Date above the 4 Tabs (as you can see in the picture) and check or compare your stats within the time frame.
  2. B) Total Impression: Impression is directly related to your website discovery, i.e it is the number of times your website appeared in SERP (Search engine result page).
  3. C) Average CTR: Stands for Click-through rate. Total Number of Impression is divided by the total number of clicks is called CTR.
  4. D) Average Position: It is the average number of positions of your discovered keywords. Discovered keywords mean the terms that Google found your website is appearing when someone searches them.

Now check out the image below,

I’m going to define all the terms written below in the image.

1) QUERIES – Queries are the terms your website discovered (appeared) in SERP when someone searches a related query. It can be your keywords directly that you’re targeting.

2) PAGES – Pages are the actual Page URLs of your website that were found by search engines associated with discovered keywords in search console.

3) COUNTRIES – Country options show your clicks and performance on the basis of countries worldwide.

4) DEVICES – This shows the device’s information that is used by users to find your website.

5) SEARCH APPEARANCE – This option shows how your website content is discoverable in SERP such as Web Light results, AMP non-rich results, AMP article.

6) DATES – This shows the discovered date.

 

URL INSPECTION

URL inspection allows you to inspect your website’s URLs (olden or new) if they’re ready to get indexed. Check out the image below.

URL Inspection

If you have a new URL of your website, you can set an INDEX request. If the link is crawlable, it will be picked by Google. It can take from a few minutes to several hours to see your URL in SERP after doing Index Request.

 You can check your URL by going to> Google Search (Google.com) and then Type 

site:yourwebsite.com/urlofthepage.php

This means you just need to type your URL after “site” (without double quotes) like above.

Now Come to,

INDEX

COVERAGE

What is Indexing?

If you want to understand this in simple words when some sort of thing/object is taken into a group or register is commonly understood as Indexing, isn’t it?

Same with Google, if any web URL is crawlable that means Google’s BOT can check that URL and its entities then Google may want to include that URL in its SERP index depending on the information given in the page.

In the image given below, We’ve got 1 Error (Coverage Issue – The Google Bot or crawlers were having a hard time reaching one of my pages.)

COVERAGE Issues

Now check out, what was the reason?

 

Google Search Console (GSC) Tutorial 2020 - Exclusive Report 1

So, once We got the information, We fixed it and processed the page to Google to recheck the page.

In the above image, you can have multiple issues in your website, try out checking each of them and rectify with the help of web developers (If you don’t understand these Tech Terms)

Once you fixed your page, try to validate with Google as you can see, I did the same and it shows one validation is already passed and another has been started.

Google search can take a few hours to weeks to check and mark them fixed so make sure you check your Coverage Issues time by time.

 

SITEMAP

A sitemap is your website’s map, kind of architecture of your website which specifies the content path, depth, etc. to help understanding Google’s crawlers (BOT) more easily about your site.

You need to create an.XML file with the help of developers (mostly for bigger sites) but if you just have a couple of hundred pages on your website, you can use any “SITEMAP generator online”.

Once you have your file ready, upload it to the main directory of your hosting, where you uploaded HTML file for Google Search Console, right?

Once done, add the path here in the search console’s sitemap option.

In our case, we added something like, sitemap.xml and submitted.

Add a Sitemap

 

In the case of the WordPress website, if you’re using any SEO plug-ins like RankMath & Yoast SEO, they have an in-built sitemap section. The plugin automatically creates a sitemap and updates it time by time once you added a new page on your website.

Isn’t that great about WordPress?

REMOVALS

Google Removal Tool

 

GSC just added the REMOVAL tool, which means now you can request a URL removal from your console.

Which URL?

Well, the Website URL you think is previously indexed in Google and you don’t want them to have appeared in SERP.

It can be your outdated content! Or an Offer page URL which is already expired!

 WARNING: Please read the complete details before you submit your removal request as it can impact your SERP appearance if not done properly. 

ENHANCEMENTS

This allows you to add more enhancement to your website to increase engagement, ranking and most important, user experience.

There are large things that can be done as your enhancement activity such as

SPEED (EXPERIMENTAL)

Here GSC embedded a separate tool (which was already available out of the GSC) named as Page Speed Insights Checker, means

You can now check your website’s speed for Mobile and desktop devices, so that you check, analyses and optimize your web page resources to make it faster.

Mobile Usability

As we discussed GSC keeps adding major and minor tools in its GSC dashboard for the webmaster to understand and optimize.

Here Mobile Usability tool shows the valid URL (Pages) of your website which are mobile device optimized. When you get something that appeared in error, you can fix it by telling your web developer.

Now, let’s talk about a few structure data markups that help us to enhance our web pages.

BREADCRUMBS

According to Google,

Google Search uses breadcrumb markup in the body of a web page to categorize the information from the page in search results, read it here

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Question is a FAQ structure data markup type that helps your FAQ page to have appeared in SERP with personalized business-related questions and answers.

Some others such as Review Snippets, Sitelinks Search Box are good examples of Enhancement.

SECURITY & MANUAL ACTIONS

As the name indicates, Google is much more cautious when comes to user experience. If you have any dangerous codes somehow managed to be placed by hackers in your website to trick users in any way, google identifies it and show a report.

Google also can act by demoting or removing website pages or even the complete website from SERPs. These are Google manually way to punish websites for spammy behavior.

You can check the Security & Manual action report time by time and make sure to prevent your website from web spamming including a hack attempt.

LEGACY TOOLS & REPORT

INTERNATIONAL TARGETING

International Targeting

You can use this to target your audience more accurately and specifically based on location and language.

You can set “hreflang” tags to specify the language of your website, you can check this post by Moz

Also, you can set your target country if the domain doesn’t specify it.

What does it mean?

Well, see if you have the country-specific domain extension such as website.com.au or website.co.in, etc. you don’t need to set your country in Google Search Console.

CRAWL STATS REPORT

As previously discussed crawling is the process to discover entities such as CSS, Flash, PDF files, Javascript codes, etc on your website.

Now,

this report gives you information about Googlebot’s crawl activities on your website in the last 90 days. You can check how crawl stats report works for more information.

MESSAGE

issues MESSAGE from Webmaster console

This is a message panel where you receive messages & updates related to issues, bugs, fixes, etc.

For each individual domain, you get a separate message panel.

You can also get information updates and issues for all the domains that are associated with your GSC account in your GSC email (the email you use to log in Google search console account).

URL PARAMETERS

If you’re using any parameters in your website URLs, you must indicate the handling process so that GoogleBot crawl your site properly and efficiently.

You can read about URL Parameters information given by Google.

WEB TOOLS

GSC Web Tools

 

These are the additional tools available for webmasters such as

a) Ad Experience Report:

This applies to Google Ads,

As per Google,

The Ad Experience Report is designed to identify ad experiences that violate the Better Ads Standards, a set of ad experiences the industry has identified as being highly annoying to users. Check the “Desktop” and “Mobile” links to the left to see if your site violates the Better Ads Standards. If violations have been identified, you can request a review of your site after you’ve fixed the issues.

That’s a very clear overview of the report given by GSC.

b) Abusive Experiences:

You can select a property to check the abusive experience status of your websites (here selecting a property means selecting a website).

So,

When a property status can be an abusive experience? Check out the information right here.

c) Testing Tools:

Now you have some great tools to literally structures and decorate your search results. such as

Structured Data Testing tools: Once you added the markup code in your website, you can test the code and check out if you have done it correctly

Structured Data Markup Helper: You can use this tool to adding structure data markup by tagging entities and add the code to the HTML code of your website. We will create a separate post for the whole Structure Data Markup Helper

Email Markup Tester: You can also validate your structure data content of an HTML using this markup tester.

d) Other Resources:

You can check out other resources such as Google my business, webmaster academy, etc. for more information or log in directly from here.

LINKS

This is the link report section and can be used to check External, Internal links along with Top linking site & text.

a) External Links: The links coming from websites to your website is called external links, it is commonly known as Backlinks as well.

b) Internal Links: The links (URLs) linked to other URLs within your website can be counted as internal links.

For example, a service page content has a link to the home page.

c) Top Linking Sites: The topmost external sites which are linked to your website.

d) Top Linking Text: The text is also known as “Anchor Text” in general. So, the top text used as hyperlink to link back your webpage or website is called top linking text.

These are commonly used tools and terms in the Google search console.

  I tried to collect one of the most appropriate information about GSC available online but if you have any doubts or any suggestions, please let me know in the comment section. Also, share this tutorial if you loved the information and want to appreciate. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION

How can I create an account in GSC?
Its very simple, use any of your Gmail ids to create a Google search console account. If you’re already using that Gmail for Google analytics then you don’t need to create another, just use the same to login to your GSC account.

Is GSC & GA a different thing?
Yes, absolutely Search Console & Google Analytics are different and used for different purposes.

Is this tutorial for advanced users?
This tutorial is for everyone who is using GSC however this is focused to give basic to moderate level of information.

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