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Getting Started with Google Search Console

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:

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.

Google Search Console setup option for a website domain
Google Search Console setup option for a website domain

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.

Google Search Console setup option for a URL prefix
Google Search Console setup option for a URL prefix

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.

Google Search Console Coverage report
Website coverage report

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.

Google Search Console Mobile Usability report with no errors
Mobile Usability report with no errors
Google Search Console Mobile Usability report with an error
Mobile Usability report with errors that needs fixing
Google Search Console Mobile Usability report text too small to read error
Mobile Usability report text too small to read error
Google Search Console mobile friendly page result
Mobile friendly page result after fixes have been made

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.

Google Search Console submitted sitemaps
Submitted sitemaps

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.

Google Search Console Performance report
Performance report

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.

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