How to Setup Google Search Console for your Website
Most SEO experts use the Google Search Console as the most popular tool for analysing website metrics.
It is a collection of different tools that makes sure your website is Google-friendly and ranks higher in SERP.
Apart from analysing all the technical issues, it lets you know about the most popular pages.
Using the Google Search Console, you will understand your web page ranking and its focus on organic traffic.
The best part is; it is completely free regardless of using it on any platform. If you are not aware of the basics of the Google Search Console, dive into the guide below.
Google Search Console – Overview
Google Search Console is a set of tools that allows a website owner to manage, monitor, and improve their website ranks.
It helps businesses optimise their websites for search.
It gives you critical information for SEO – like your website’s position and keywords ranks and how people click on results after typing in the specific queries and sites that link to your content.
It lets you know about site issues – crawl errors and manual actions. It lets you know whether your website is responsive and mobile-friendly. By using the tool, you can easily optimise your website for SEO.
1 – Getting Started – Things You Should Know
How to Setup Google Search Console for your Website
Sign in to your Google account and go to the option of Google Search Console. You will find the ‘Start now option’; click on it to get started.
Add a new website to the search console feature, after which you will see a welcome message on the page.
Click on the start button and in the drop-down add property. Here, add the domain name and URL of your website. Make sure that you use the exact URL. Once you do that, click on the continue option.
Verify your account and copy the DNS TXT record of the console. You can add this to the domain name provider to show domain ownership.
Verifying your website
If you can’t add the domain name, head back to the select property and choose the URL prefix. You can add the site in this option if you are trying to register for a new domain on the old console.
Domain properties work in the new setup. For ownership verification, upload the HTML file to your website.
Add the Meta tag to the home page of your website. Use the Google Analytics account, or you can use the Google tag manager account. The setup and verification may take time.
Linking Google Search Console with Google Analytics
When you link the Google Search Console with Google Analytics, it lets you use the data right inside the analytics.
Firstly, you need to make sure that Google Analytics is set up correctly on your site.
Secondly, follow the correct steps to link it with the Google Search Console.
- Go to Google Analytics, and set up the property for links at the bottom of the left menu.
- Now, click on the admin button on the left side and choose the property settings link.
- Once you scroll down, you will see the adjust search console option.
- Click the add option and select the website, and make sure you check the box and hit save; when you see a notification, press ok.
Your Search Console and Google Analytics are successfully linked.
2 – How to Add a Sitemap
Most search engines use sitemaps for crawling a website. Sitemaps need to be in XML file format and should have no issue. With errors, crawlers may not crawl your pages, and that will affect the ranking.
The search console will let you know about sitemap errors.
On the left panel, click on the sitemaps option, where you will see a list of all the submitted sitemaps.
Create an XML sitemap using a WordPress plugin to speed up the process.
You can go to the sitemaps tool from the left bar and paste the XML page, now click on submit option to complete the process.
3 – Different Permission Types
There are different permission levels with two roles – Users and Owners. An owner can have complete control over the Google Search Console property.
They can change the settings, see all the data of the website, access every tool of the website, and remove or add other users.
Delegated owners of the console have the authority to add other delegated owners.
Users can see and access search console data, but they can’t add new users to the console. Also, full users can see all data, but restricted users can see only selected data on the console.
4 – How to Add and Remove Users
Go to settings in the left panel and click users & permissions. The account you are using must have the permissions, and you will be able to add a user by clicking the option add user.
You can add the professional email (business email) and choose the permission level. It can be full, or it can be restricted. Now, finally, click the add option.
To remove the user from the search console, click the three dots next to the user’s profile and click on remote access. But you can do this only if you have permission. With restricted permissions, it may not be possible.
Once your setup is complete, you can begin by examining your data for SEO. You will get to examine metrics and data in the report.
Here are some main features of the Google Search Console:
- Overview report lets you know about the overall performance of your website.
- Index report tells you how well Google is indexing your website.
- URL inspection lets you know how the specific pages are performing; it also explains the technical aspects of your website.
- Performance report lets you know how well your pages are performing.
- Links report lets you know about all the external and internal links.
5 – How to use Google Search Console
Find out keyword ranking
The performance report contains many pieces of data that you will need to rely on SEO. Tons of those are essential keywords your site may rank for.
To see your keywords in the Google Search Console, log in to the tool and click the performance option. When you scroll down the page, you will get see the queries tab.
By default, you will get to see a complete list of every keyword that shows up in search results for your website.
For individual keywords, click on the pages tab, select the page that you need to review. Click on queries again and find keywords for specific pages.
For different groups, choose the pages tab and select the next page you want to view.
User interaction with results
There are four different performance reports: Total impressions, Total clicks, Average position, and Average CTR.
Total impressions let you know the total number of times a user saw your results in the selected time frame.
Total clicks let you know the total number of times a user clicked on your search results during a specific time frame.
You can see how many people saw your results in the queries tab and how often they clicked the results.
You will get to see the overall click-through rate on the same page. The average CTR is the total number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.
Find out where your pages are ranking for keywords
The position refers to a place where you are ranked in search results for specific keywords in the performance report.
If you are in the top results, your rank will be 1. On the top page-two results, your position might be 11. The average position is the average sum of positions divided by total keywords.
The report lets you know your position for every keyword your site ranks for. However, an average position may not be a helpful piece of data.
If you scroll down to the table, it will show you the position you rank in. Using this data, you can monitor how your rankings change after you make optimisations and adjustments.
See the indexed pages
Once you submit the page for indexing, You can see the indexed pages using the coverage report in the Google console. Click on the coverage option and select a valid report.
You can compare the number of pages you have submitted via XML sitemap with the number of pages that Google has indexed.
It may be handy for larger websites. This step lets you know whether your website is crawling or indexing. It also lets you know if there is any duplication issue.
An indexed page helps formulate new SEO policies for your web page.
Identify the crawl errors
You delete a page or forget to redirect to a new page, or developers add no-index tags to prevent Google from crawling.
Google Search Console lists reports for these problems, so you don’t need to separately inspect the HTML of web pages.
You can find these errors in the coverage report by clicking on coverage and selecting errors and valid warnings.
The updated search console coverage tool shows that pages are not indexed, but it also explains why the pages weren’t indexed.
Most pages are no-indexed by mistake, and once you know the reasons, the crawling feature will become easier.
Submit a sitemap to Search Console
A sitemap helps search engines crawl, so it is vital to have a sitemap for your website.
If you have an updated one, you can submit the sitemap in the Google Search Console as it makes it easier for robots to crawl your website and Google to help know about all the pages you have newly published.
You can submit the sitemap by clicking on the sitemap link. Then enter the URL for your website and click the submit button.
The best part about the feature is; you can submit multiple sitemaps to it. However, it is essential to submit the correct URL for the sitemap.
Check for mobile-friendliness
Google has announced that mobile indexing is now a part of the ranking system.
With the rolling of mobile indexing, it now becomes crucial for all the pages to become mobile-friendly.
If the web pages are not responsive, it will affect your search engine rankings and traffic.
Google Search Console has fantastic features that help you find all the mobile-related issues.
Go to the mobile usability page and see any errors on the website related to mobile-friendly.
Google makes sure all your pages are responsive and quick to load. The report provides you with a specified list of unfriendly pages with possible solutions.
It ensures that your web pages are providing a better mobile experience for visitors.
See the links of other sites
Google Search Console links report shows what sites have linked with your website.
It shows what pages other websites link to most often. It also lets you know which web pages have the most links.
To see a complete list of backlinks on your website, you need to click the links tab in Search Console and click more.
Under the section top linking websites, you can find a list of inbound links. Once you know the link parts, it will become easier for you to remove the ones causing speed issues on your website.
Check for penalties
If Google determines your website is not following the quality guidelines, it can remove your website from getting indexed.
Manual actions of penalty are – publishing low-quality content, buying backlinks, overstuffing keywords, or redirects.
Google Search Console lets you see if you’ve been issued a manual penalty due to these reasons.
If your traffic is affected, it is essential to check for all the manual actions or penalties by Google through the console feature.
The reports will let you know about issues and instructions to fix those issues. You can get your site reindexed once you take action against the penalties.
Tips on using Google Search Console
Once you complete the setup and start using Google Search Console for SEO insights, follow these tips:
- Don’t fall into the data trap and search for only relevant data metrics.
- Track local keyword performance, and dive into the mobile vs desktop traffic.
- Look for webpage sections in detail, and prevent keyword cannibalisation.
- Compare all the keyword predictions, ranking, and website coverage issues.
- Submit URLs to Search Console for inspections, change Meta tags, and monitor CTR impact.
- Look how your data compares to competitors, and look for backlinks.
- Track your SEO performance, and find internal linking opportunities.
- Generate new content ideas, know when to publish content on your blog, and identify negative keywords.
You can track your website’s performance weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on your website traffic.
Regular monitoring of the website ensures there are no issues.
Google Search Console and Google Analytics help you to optimise your website and enhance its performance in SERP.
So use Google Search Console as it is the most powerful tool for analysing a website’s performance.