If you want a powerful and free SEO tool, Google Search Console (GSC) should be at the top of your shortlist.
Search Console helps you understand how your website is performing on Google Search. It includes tools to improve your search appearance and bring more relevant traffic to your website.
When optimising your website, it’s important to know the basics of how Search works. Web crawlers look for pages that are new or updated and stores those in an index, to serve users when they perform a search. Search results are based on factors like language, device (desktop or mobile) and previous queries.
Another advantage to using GSC is automatic notifications. You’ll receive an email alert so you can resolve any issues with minimum fuss. Once updated, request validation and Google will check and confirm the changes.
To get started with Google Search Console, follow these steps:
- Verify ownership of your website
- Confirm web crawlers can find and read your pages
- Review mobile usability errors found on your site
- Submit a sitemap
- Monitor your website’s performance
Step 1: Verify ownership of your website.
This will give you access to all GSC features. Learn more about how to verify your website ownership. When accessing GSC you will see two options. Select the Domain option and add your domain or subdomain without the http(s):// prefix.
For a comprehensive view of your site, Google displays domain-wide data in the console. If you want to restrict data to a specific URL path such as domain.co.uk/blog for example, select the URL prefix option.
Step 2: Confirm Google can find and read your pages.
The GSC Index coverage report provides an overview of the pages Google has indexed or tried to index in your website. If any errors are flagged, fix those first.
Step 3: Review mobile usability errors found on your site.
The Mobile usability report shows issues that might affect a user’s experience while browsing your site on a mobile device.
‘Test the Live Page’ after making changes to your site. A “Page is mobile friendly” preview is displayed if the issue is resolved so you can ask Google to validate the fix. You will also receive a notification that Google is validating your Mobile Usability issue fixes for the website.
Step 4: Submit a sitemap to Search Console.
If you submit a sitemap in GSC it speeds up your site’s discovery. You can monitor information related to your sitemap/s in the Sitemaps report.
Step 5: Monitor the performance of your website.
The Google Search performance report shows how much traffic you’re getting from Google Search. It includes breakdowns by queries, pages, and countries. For each of those breakdowns, you can see trends for Total clicks, Total impressions, Average Click Through Rate (CTR) and Average Position for Search queries.
With this overview of how to set up GSC, give it a try yourself. If you need a hand, get in touch with our SEO experts and improve your website search performance.