Google Search Console is a holy grail of technical insights of your website and it gives a lot of useful information to boost the overall SEO performance. When beginners start doing search optimization, they find it overwhelming as this platform offers a lot of features and reports to explore.
So, to give you an overview of the Search Console in the most straightforward manner, we have listed down all the important aspects of this tool that you need to know. So, whether you plan to begin optimization of your site or have already started, this guide will help you for sure.
Why you need to use Google Search Console
The first obvious question that comes to many people’s minds is that if they already have Google Analytics, then why they need GSC — the answer is quite straightforward. Google Analytics gives you an overview of your website’s performance on the search engines. It tells you how your website is doing in the real world. On the other side, Google Search Console lets you track the performance of your website and improve the overall visibility of your site by making technical improvements.
Right from indexing status, managing sitemaps, or resolving manual action or penalty, for taking care of all these factors, you will need a Search Console. Without this platform, you can’t find out where your website is lacking and what aspect you need to improve for better visibility.
Basic features you need to know:
Once you successfully add and verify your website on Google Search Console, you will get to see a lot of tabs, reports, and statistics under your GSC dashboard. On this note, let’s have a look at some of the most important aspects that you need to check regularly
The first tab is the performance tab where you will see all the live activities of your site. In this tab, you can see the overall performance of your website on Google for the past seven days to 16 months. You can even set a custom date range to analyze the data. You can check the total clicks, impressions, click through rate, and average position of your website on Google.
Along with this, you can also check out the search queries for which your website is ranking and this option is not available on Google Analytics. You can also check the top pages, countries, and devices for your site and plan your future SEO plan accordingly.
URL inspection is a handy option that lets you check whether a particular URL is indexed on Google or not. You only need to paste the complete URL and hit enter, within 2-5 seconds, you can check whether your page is crawled by Google’s bot or not. In this tab, you will also check the mobile-friendliness of that particular page.
This feature offers you a lot of information including last crawl data which tells when was the last time Google’s bot crawled your website. Other than this, you can also check if there is an error associated with this page or not.
Index coverage section
This is among the most important aspects of Google Search Console that unveils a lot of insights. This feature of GSC tells you the number of pages indexed on Google since the last update. Along with this, it also tells how many errors the bots encountered while indexing the pages. You will also observe the number of pages that are excluded by Google due to some technical reasons.
It’s highly recommended that you keep checking this section of GSC on a regular basis and fix if there are any errors or warnings. If there are many errors associated with the website, then the SEO practices will be less effective.
The sitemap is a vital aspect of technical SEO and it helps the search engines to know about the total number of pages and blog posts of your website. In this tab, you can submit the latest sitemap to Google and it will show you the message of success once it’s accepted. If there is an error in the file, it will indicate you for the same. You can check how many URLs are actually indexed by Google from the sitemap.
If you have revamped the website or added new pages, then you can generate a new sitemap and submit it here for verification. Many website owners don’t create this file but it’s an important part of SEO services and you should not ignore it for better performance.
Core Web Vitals
This is the latest feature addition from Google and it’s a major part of the search ranking algorithm. On a broader term, this is a key metric to gauge the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of your website. The better and faster the website, the higher the rankings will be. Once you click on this tab, you notice two options — Mobile and Desktop. Click on any of the options, and you can check how well the website is performing on either the mobile version or the desktop version.
Once you scan your website for any option, you can check if there are any improvement suggestions for the site. If Google is suggesting you some optimization changes, it’s worth doing them for better performance.
Security and manual actions
Under this tab, you can check if Google has imposed any manual action or penalty on your website for violating any guidelines. It happens many times that unknowingly website owners violate Google guidelines and then the search engine slaps a manual action or penalty.
If you see any message from Google under this tab, you need to consider it on priority and fix it as quickly as possible. Once you fix that, you can click on the resubmission button and ask Google to review the changes and remove the penalty.
These were some of the most important aspects of Google Search Console that every website owner should check. Regardless of website type, it’s important to keep a regular performance track using this powerful tool.
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