Solve SEO issues using Google Search Console
Do you ever wish you had an expert assistant to help you with SEO? Well, you already do! It’s called Google Search Console, and it’s 100% free!
Google Search Console Tools provide valuable insights into how your website is performing on Google and can help you to identify technical SEO issues.
Despite the huge amount of value that Google Search Console can add, it often gets overlooked by businesses. We’re here to change that!
This Google Search Console guide will introduce you to the console and explain how it can be used to help improve your website’s visibility in Google’s search results.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free tool created by Google to help webmasters discover invaluable information and data about their website’s performance in Google search results, and provide advice for improving its visibility.
Google Search Console uses real-time data from Google’s search engine, including information about website visitors, user behaviour, and user interactions.
The only requirement for using Google Search Console is signing up for a Google account. This means that anyone with a Google account can use it! It’s an indispensable tool widely used by business owners, SEO specialists, and web developers to optimise websites for search.
Setting up Google Search Console
The Google Search Console setup process is pretty straightforward, so we strongly recommend getting it if you haven’t already.
To start, sign into your Google account and open Google Search Console. If you haven’t used it before, it will ask you to add your website property and verify site ownership before using the tool.
To add your website, select either domain or URL prefix, enter your URL and click continue.
Next, you need to choose how you wish to verify website ownership. There are various options, including performing an HTML file upload, adding an HTML tag, adding a Google Analytics tracking code, and adding a Google Tag Manager snippet. Whichever option you choose, follow the steps displayed to complete verification.
Once verification is complete, your website’s data should appear in the Google Search Console within a few days.
If you need it, Google Support provides more detailed information about adding your website to the Search Console and verifying ownership.
Google Search Console Features
Once you’re all set up, it’s time to tour the Search Console’s main features.
Performance – The performance section of the GSC reports on how your website performs in Google Search using four key metrics, which we’ll explore later in this article.
URL inspection – This tool allows you to check the index status of individual web pages and discover any issues preventing them from being indexed and appearing in search results.
Page indexing – This report shows the number of pages from your website that have been crawled and indexed by Google and those that have not. It can also help you identify any issues preventing pages from being indexed.
Sitemaps – A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages within your domain and the relationships between them; it essentially acts as a map of your website to help Google crawl it. This area displays your sitemap submission history and alerts you of any problems.
Page experience – Here, you can learn more about how your web pages are performing regarding user experience. Google ranks their performance using the following user experience metrics: core web vitals, mobile usability, and HTTPS.
Enhancements – Structured data allows you to describe the content on your site to make it easier for search engines like Google to understand. The enhancements report details any structured data that it detects and any issues with it.
Manual actions – Google issues penalties called manual actions when a website does not meet its webmaster quality guidelines. If you receive a manual action from Google, it will appear in this tab within GSC.
Links – This useful report tracks external links that point to your website. You can discover insightful information here about which websites link to your website and the most common anchor text people use when linking to your website.
Shopping – This section is only relevant to online stores implementing product markup on their website. If you have done so, you can view useful reports about your product snippets, merchant listings, and shopping tab listings here.
What are the key metrics provided by Google Search Console?
The Google Search Console Performance report provides useful information about how your website is performing in Google Search results.
To gain value from this report, you’ll need to know the four key metrics it measures and what they mean.
Impressions – An impression is every instance where a URL from your website appears on a search engine results page (SERP). The user searching doesn’t have to see your URL for it to be counted as an impression; it just has to appear on the page.
Clicks – Clicks are pretty straightforward; they are counted every time a user clicks on one of your website’s URLs in a SERP.
Average position – This is your URL’s average position in the SERPs, with the page at the top of the search results in position 1. So, if one of your URLs is in position 1 for one search query and position 5 for another, its average position may be position 3.
CTR – CTR stands for click-through rate. The CTR tells you how often people click on your URL when it appears in SERPs. The CTR is calculated by dividing the number of page clicks by the number of impressions and multiplying by 100.
Improving SEO with Google Search Console
Google Search Console monitors SEO performance, identifies issues, and provides tips for improving SEO.
Key ways that Google Search Console can be used to help improve SEO include:
Monitor key SEO metrics
Google Search Console provides real-time data directly from Google Search about your website’s SEO metrics, including impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position. You can use these metrics to identify useful information about your highest-traffic pages, highest-CTR queries, highest-ranking pages, and much more. These invaluable insights can then inform your SEO strategy and improve its performance.
Control which web pages are being crawled and indexed
Submitting your sitemap on Google Search Console helps Google to crawl and index your website. You can also use the Search Console to request that Google crawl and index particular pages, and learn which pages haven’t been indexed and why.
Receive notifications about manual actions
If your website receives a manual action from Google, it can seriously affect its visibility in SERPs. You will be notified immediately about any manual actions imposed on your website through Google Search Console. It’s important that you rectify the issues immediately.
The quality and quantity of links pointing to your website is an important SEO ranking factor. Google Search Console comprehensively analyses your website’s backlinks and internal links. This information can play a key part in guiding your link-building strategy.
Receive alerts about issues on your website.
Issues with your website, like broken links and server errors, can cause a poor user experience (UX) and negatively impact your website’s SEO. Google Search Console will promptly send you an alert if it identifies any of these issues, allowing you to fix them before they start causing bigger problems.
Identify mobile usability issues
Over half of global website traffic comes from mobile devices, so ensuring your website displays and functions correctly on mobile is extremely important to both UX and SEO. Google Search Console’s mobile usability report shows the number of web pages usable and not usable on mobile devices and identifies any errors. The information provided can be used to fix the problems and improve your website’s mobile friendliness.
You can also use the performance report to inform your keyword research. There are several different ways to do this, which we’ll explore in more detail next.
Using Google Search Console to perform keyword research
Google Search Console’s performance report can be used in many different ways to identify new keywords for your SEO strategy and monitor the performance of existing keywords. We’ll explain a few of the most effective methods.
Identify high-performing keywords
Within the performance report, navigate to the queries tab; this shows the search terms that your website has shown up for in Google’s search results. Look for search terms that you already rank for on pages 1 or 2 (positions 1-20); these search terms are already driving traffic to your website. Identify any relevant terms from this list that aren’t already on your radar. These can then be woven into your keyword strategy to boost traffic to your website.
Identify keywords with high impressions and low CTRs
Filter the performance report to show keywords with a high number of impressions but a low click-through rate. These are terms that your website frequently appears in search results for, but for some reason, people aren’t clicking through to your website. Try optimising your page titles and meta descriptions to match the searcher’s intent or to sound more compelling to encourage clicks.
Analyse individual pages
As well as analysing search queries across your site, don’t forget to drill down into data for specific pages. You can do this by visiting the Pages section within the Performance report. Here you can see which pages get the most clicks and impressions. Choose a page and analyse the search queries driving traffic to it. Look for high-performing, relevant queries that haven’t yet been incorporated into your keyword strategy.
Remember, when searching for new keyword opportunities in Google Search Console, you can also use the same data to discover new content and blogging opportunities. Use the search queries people are typing in to discover your website to inspire and inform your content strategy.
Choose Create8 for SEO services
Need help fixing website errors using Google Search Console or boosting your business’s visibility in Google’s search results?
At Create8, we offer a range of SEO services designed to drive more organic traffic to your website. Contact us to discuss your SEO requirements and start elevating your business’s online presence today!