Google Search Console

Image - Google Search Console
Image – Google Search Console

Set up Google Search Console and get all valuable information related to your website. To start you must have a website and a Gmail account. Google Search Console helps you review your website. Know how your site performs, what sites link back to you and view your websites’ indexing. It provides insights and allows you to see how Google views your site. See crawlers at work and make improvements by fixing errors as per the guidelines. Identify security – spam or malware issues for your site. Remove from search engine results that content which is not worth for display. Use tools to monitor and enhance website rankings. It also drives and increases traffic to your site. Boost UX and enhance your SEO efforts. Read more about SEO by clicking on SEO Fundamentals.

Google Search Console: Get started

1-Google Search Console - Verification
1-Google Search Console – Verification

Verification

Verify your website using any of the following methods – Google Analytics [tracking code must be attached in the head section of your website’s homepage]. –HTML file [Download the HTML file and upload it on your website]. –HTML Tag [Copy the HTML tag and paste it in your home page in the head section]. –Google Tag Manager [ You must have ‘view’, ‘edit’, and ‘manage’ permission for your Google Tag Manager account. Attach the code in the body tag section]. –Domain Name Provider [Go to your domain provider account such as GoDaddy, Hostgator, etc. Copy the txt record provided into the DNS configuration of your website) fig 1. To start go to Google Support and select your property – website. This will take you to the page display of the above methods for verification of your site. Click the down arrow at the side of the box display of any verification method you choose and follow the prompt. After you have finished, click the ‘Verify’ button.

2-Google Search Console: Settings
2-Google Search Console: Settings

Settings

Click on the settings tab fig 2 after you have successfully verified your website ownership. Find a green check mark display stating ‘You are a verified owner’.

3-Google Search Console - Overview
3-Google Search Console – Overview

Overview

Click the overview tab fig 3 and the page towards the right show the display boxes – Performance, Coverage, and Enhancements. When you click Open Report tab in the Performance display box the Performance report page can be viewed.

4-Performance
4-Performance

Google Search Console:Performance

Search Analytics features provide you a category wise break down fig 4 for Queries, Pages, Countries, Device, Search type, Data being searched by people visiting the website.

Clicks

The number of clicks indicates the frequency with which people click on your website in search results. The page performance is enhanced with optimized title and meta description that attract people to click. Obviously, pages ranked on the first page of search results will draw more clicks than that which ranks on second, third… pages of search results.

5-Search Results link - UTM parameters
5-Search Results link – UTM parameters

Impressions

Impressions is the number of times your website or other URL is visible in the organic search results and seen by the users. The title above is Google Analytics – UTM parameters. The URL pointed to by this link registers an impression when people open the page containing this result.

Average CTR

CTR for other than generic keywords will be high. From the below fig note that for the query ‘UTM canvas’ the total clicks is 1, Total impression is 77, Average CTR is 1.3% and Average position is 16.4. To improve the CTR the steps taken should be to re-write e a good meta description and a title tag. Also include some structured data.

Average position

Average position of 16 in above result means the page URL https://sapcanvas.com/google-analytics-utm-parameters/ appears in the 2nd page in the 6th row (one search page displays 10 results) of the search results when searched by typing the query ‘UTM canvas’.

6-Google Search Console: Performance - Queries - utm canvas
6-Google Search Console: Performance – Queries – utm canvas

Queries

People reach your site by typing a query in the browser.

7-Performance: Queries (keywords)
7-Performance: Queries (keywords)

Google Search Console provides these queries (called keywords) eg UTM canvas fig 7 that brings people to your site. By clicking the keyword eg UTM canvas from the list, you can find out more details of that particular keyword. Details like people from which country chose that keyword, what devices they use, clicks, impressions, CTRs, etc are found.

8-Performance | Search type - date - query - page - country - device
8-Performance | Search type – date – query – page – country – device

Search Type: Web | Image | Video
Date range: Filter the time period such as last 28 days | last 3 months | last 12 months, etc and make comparisons with the previous period
Query: Enter the query or keyword(s) UTM canvas and compare between other keywords.
Page: Enter the URLs – containing/ not containing/ is exactly the keyword. https://sapcanvas.com/google-analytics-utm-parameters/ (fig 8)
Country: check the country eg South Korea and compare between countries
Device: check whether the device is Desktop|Mobile|Tablet and compare between devices

9-Performance - Pages
9-Performance – Pages

Pages

View details of web pages fig 9 that bring the most traffic to your website. In the dashboard see the popular pages ranked in descending order in terms of clicks, impressions, CTR, and position.

10-Performance - Countries
10-Performance – Countries

Countries

Target the right audience with geographical details by selecting ‘Country’ fig 10 that will provide the number of clicks for that particular location.

11-Performance - Devices
11-Performance – Devices

Devices

Most of the people visit websites from their smartphones. Mobile-friendly websites ensure the website to appear the same for both desktop and mobile applications. View the clicks, impression, CTR, and position for Desktop, Mobile and Tablet fig 11.

12-Performance - Search Appearance
12-Performance – Search Appearance

Search Appearance

Click on comparison of tools and reports and go through the new and old search console as many of the old features fig 12 have started appearing in the new Google Search Console.

Structured Data

Structured data is the additional information provided to search engines for understanding what a page is all about. eg If you sell services, you can improve your search listings with customer reviews & testimonials, solution provider, and availability. The information can all become visible in the search results. Use schema.org to embed structured data on web pages for use by search engines in any form eg: JSON-LD, RDFa or Microdata.

Individual Enhancement reports

Rich Cards is a feature in the old Google Search Console. It is replaced by Individual Enhancement reports that improve the overall architecture of websites. It uses schema data to display the website’s content in an engaging format. Further, it fixes the structural error and moves websites to make a place in SERP.

13-Old Dashboard - Google Search Console
13-Old Dashboard – Google Search Console

International targeting under search traffic in the old search console can be used to target audiences related to location and language.

Data Highlighter

Data Highlighter features fig 13 improve SEO & CTR and is Googles’ tool to implement structured data with Schema.org. eCommerce websites or blogs with content, reviews, events, product data, etc should use this feature. Use Data highlighter by clicking on the old version (as the same is not supported in the new Googe Search Console) from the sidebar. This will take you to Search Appearance (old dashboard). Select the structured data option and click ‘Data Highlighter’ and next click ‘Start Highlighting’ and follow the prompt. With data highlighter tag data about future events such as a sales promotion scheme. Google will display this event in an appealing manner in search results.

HTML Improvements

Meta Description HTML Improvements is no more seen in the New Google Search Console. Eventually, this feature of the old Search Console may altogether disappear.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Go to AMP and click on Open AMP Report to view data. To make any changes use the AMP Test Tool.

14-Mobile Usability
14-Mobile Usability

Mobile Usability

In this section see the usability issues fig 14 you have for your mobile website or mobile pages. Ensure your mobile site is user friendly so that users can engage with your content on the go.

15-Sitelinks searchbox
15-Sitelinks searchbox

Sitelinks Searchbox

Google is not clear about how websites qualify for sitelinks search box in search results fig 15. If you do not qualify it would be of no use to add the schema code. Read more by clicking on the sitelinks search box.

16-Google Search Console: URL Inspection
16-Google Search Console: URL Inspection

URL Inspection

Add your URL eg: ‘7-steps-to-getting-started-with-google-analytics’ fig 16 in the search bar. Google Search Console will display a report as seen above.

Google Search Console: Index

The Google Index reports supplies data on how your content performs in Google search results.

17-Google Search Console: Index Coverage
17-Google Search Console: Index Coverage

Index: Coverage

The coverage display page shows all the indexed pages. The pages excluded in your sitemap are also shown fig 17. It provides a summary of all page URL of your website that Google bots crawl and index together with the issues they encounter. URLs marked as ‘no index’ have issues. Other issues are crawl issues, server error, redirects, blocking by robots.txt, 404, etc. It was referred to as Index Status in the old Google Search Console.

Blocked Resources

The Blocked Resources report show what Google has blocked on your website based on the directives in your robots.txt file. Use the ‘URL Inspection Tool’ that has replaced ‘Fetch as Google Tool’. Check the page URLs whether they have been rendered correctly.

18-Remove URL Tool in the Old Google Search Console
18-Remove URL Tool in the Old Google Search Console

Remove URLs

The removal of URLs that represent thin and duplicate content can be temporarily removed for 90 days fig 18. Add the URLs to the ‘Remove URL Tool’ in Google Search Console which processes it in about a days time.

19-Google Search Console: Sitemaps
19-Google Search Console: Sitemaps

Sitemaps

Submit the two sitemaps fig 19 & 20 generated by Yoast SEO of WordPress website enable search engine spiders crawl the websites’ individual page.

20-Yoast SEO Sitemaps
20-Yoast SEO Sitemaps

Yoast SEO plugin generates the sitemap code for WordPress websites fig 20. The site map code URL path can be submitted on Google Search Console.

21-Site Map: https://sapcanvas.com/post-sitemap.xml
21-Site Map: https://sapcanvas.com/post-sitemap.xml

Read more by clicking on Yoast SEO.

22-Security Issues
22-Security Issues

Google Search Console: Security & Manual Actions

Hacking is a nuisance in the digital world for those websites with a poor firewall security setup. It poses a threat to eCommerce websites where credentials and other personal / credit card details get exposed. View security checks in your search console by clicking on security issues. A green checkmark gets displayed for no issues detected.

23-Google Search Console: Manual Action
23-Google Search Console: Manual Action

Click on Manual Actions that Google can apply and how you can fix it fig23.

24-Google Search Console: Links
24-Google Search Console: Links

Links

View the list of websites fig 24 that includes links on their websites back to yours. Note the list of pages your website has links from other websites.

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