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How To Use Google Search Console

You put in a lot of time and effort to research the perfect keywords and write valuable content. Don’t you want to know how well your posts are ranking and which keywords are performing the best? Having that knowledge gives you the ability to circumvent any potential issues and make sure your blogs are indexing smoothly without any issues.

Google search console is a free tool that lets you track your sites posts, links and traffic.It used to be called Google Webmaster Tools not too long ago. It’s an excellent tool that will keep you up to date on how well your efforts to build your site and drive traffic to it are working. Without it, you’re flying blind.

The Search console lets you monitor your sites performance in the following ways:

  • Search Analytics – Analyzes your performance on GSC by clicks, impression, CTR, and ranking position.
  • External Site Links – Shows other sites that are linking to your website.
  • Internal Site Links – Displays how many internal links, from one page to another, inside of your website there are.
  • Mobile Usability – Lets you know if there are any issues affecting the way your website appears on mobile devices.

WATCH: Introduction To Google Search Console (VIDEO)

Setting Up Search Console For Your Site

Before you do anything with Search Console, it’s imperative that you first set up Google Analytics. When you have Google Analytics already set up, then Google can quickly and easily verify your site in the Search Console.

This is something that commonly trips people up. Therefore, make sure you’ve got Google Analytics set up first before you use Google Search Console. 

  • Set up Google Analytics – Get your analytics ID# and paste into your website’s SEO page (WordPress sites). Do not skip this step!
  • Next, go to Search Console
  • Click “Add Property” (top left)
  • Select URL prefix

If you already use Google Analytics (GA) make sure the GA tracking iD number is placed within the <HEAD> at the top of the homepage code and not in the <BODY> section.

Checking this first will save you a whole lot of time as it makes it so much easier for GSC to quickly find and verify your site when you set up the account.

Setting up Google Search Console on Your Site

If you choose Domain you will have to do a DNS verification, which is a hole big process to say the least. But, because you’ve already set up your Google Analytics and pasted the ID number into your site’s SEO or <HEADER> on the Homepage, you can skip the hassle.

The DOMAIN selection looks for URLs with “https” and “http” and across all subdomains. But, you really only need the main “https” and then the domain name. So do yourself a big favor and select the URL prefix option.

Related: How To Build A Successful Online Business

Google refers to your website as a property. Simply paste the site’s URL and click enter. That’s it! Easy, right? Never remove the GA ID number from your site or your site will essentially disapper as far as Google is concerned.

E-Course: Building Your Own Traffic Producing Website

You can have an unlimited number of properties (website) all within your Google Search Console (GSC) account. Once you’ve verified two or more sites in GSC, there will appear a drop-down menu at the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Be careful to pay close attention to which website you are in before you make any updates! I’ve been caught out more than once before. Always check that GSC is showing data for the specific site you want right from the start. If you only have one website, then there’s no need to worry about it.

Google Analytics vs Google Search Console

So what’s the difference between these two? Why do you need them both? Well, although they both show you data about your site, there are some key differences:

Google Analytics

GA focuses on who visited your site. Essentially, how many people came to your site, how much time did they spend there and from what geographic location did they come from.

Google Search Console (GSC)

GSA concentrates on who is linking to your site, crawl errors, malware or any other problems your site may be having. It also helps you keep track of which keywords each of your site’s blogs are ranking for. As well as, how well they rank, how many clicks your getting and how many times that keyword has shown up in search engines (called “Impressions”).

Linking Your GA & GSC Accounts

To get the most out of both Analytics data and GSC data, you can link them together and get them talking to each other. Linking them together essentially shares data from both sources which provides you with additional reports you wouldn’t otherwise see. Here’s how:

From the GSC dashboard, click on the little gear icon on the top right, then choose Google Analytics Property. Remember, Google refers to your website as “property”.

Google Search Console settings dropdown menu
From GSC dashboard, click the icon and select Google Analytics Property

The next page will display a list of domain name(s) in your Google Analytics account. All you need to do is choose which one you want to link to from GSC. That’s it!

Adding Your Sitemap

Think of site maps like a table of contents or a road map into your site. Sitemaps show search engines what’s in your site and how it’s organized so it can easily crawl and index your content.

By adding your sitemap, you’re basically telling Google how to find every page, link, keywords, images, videos, etc. It also notifies Google each time you update your site with more content. So it’s always a good idea that you provide this information. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to do.

Before you can submit a sitemap, make sure your website is verified in Search Console. So, if you haven’t yet done that, stop here and take care of it now.

Find your website’s site map URL and copy it. You’ll need to paste this into GSC shortly.

From the GSC dashboard, make sure the dashboard is displaying the site you want to submit a sitemap for. You’ll see it on the top of the dashboard menu.

Click on Sitemaps, then simply paste it where indicated. As shown below

Adding sitemap on Google Search Console

Search Console Features

  • You can have many sites inside your search console. 
  • Shows you what position each keyword is ranking in search results.
  • How many clicks from Google search page each of your keywords is generating
  • Shows you who is linking to your site
  • Shows what keywords your site is ranking for
  • How many times your site comes up in Google for that keyword
  • How many clicks from within Google search each keyword has
  • Lets you announce a new post/page to Google (Fetch As Google is now called URL inspection)
  • Notifies you of any issues Google is having with your site.

Now let’s take a closer look at dashboard. First, here’s a list of main GSC features you may want to take note of.

The Dashboard

Most folks are not programmers or heavy into data. So, I’m going to keeps things real simple here. Yes, there’s tons of data that could drive you wild but in the beginning, you really only need to focus on the top three as shown below:

Google Search Console dashboard overview

Overview gives you the big picture. It displays your site’s performance, coverage and enhancements. Performance shows you how many people visited your site and when. Coverage displays how well Google is able to find all your site’s pages and if there are any errors encountered along the way.

Enhancements are focused on how many of your website pages are displaying on other devices, such as mobile phone.

Performance

So the performance page shows you data related to your website. It will show you how many times your keywords show up on search engine results (called impressions), how many people click on your keyword and visited your site and where you are ranking on Google search engines.

Google search console data
Click these two boxes each time to get all data.

Before you read any of the data, you need to activate those two things simply by clicking on each as shown above. Once you have those buttons on, then you’ll be able to see your average ranking position. Remember to do this each time you visit GSC.

Related: Get Targeted Website Traffic With Keywords

Also displayed is a list of the keywords your site is ranking for and how well they are performing. Your main goal is to get to the lowest number possible on the POSITION column. Position 2.9 as seen below, means your site’s keyword is showing up as #2 on the first page. First page rankings 9 or less, that’s what you want to strive for, a position of 9 or less.

Google search console queries list

Online Demonstration

Earlier in the blog, I placed a link to a video demonstration I highly recommend you watch. The host’s name is Jay, and he’ll show you how everything I’ve covered here from scratch. Including how he sets up a new website from scratch.

It’s a recording of a live demonstration so be patient as he gets started. Don’t try skipping ahead too far or you’ll miss something important. Some of screenshots I’ve used here are from his demonstration so you’ll likely recognize them. I’ll include the link again below for your convenience.

WATCH: Introduction To Google Search Console (VIDEO) 

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