Are you curious about what search queries, or keywords, people are typing into Google to find your website? Or what keywords are driving the most traffic to your website? Or maybe the keywords that you should optimize a bit more to improve the quality and quantity of traffic to your website from Google? Enter, Google Search Console for SEO.
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free SEO tool that provides you with a wealth of knowledge on how your website is performing in organic Google search results (organic meaning no paid ads). In turn, you can use the data provided by Google Search Console to improve your keyword and SEO strategy.
In this beginner’s guide to Google Search Console, I’ll be giving you details on…
Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmasters Tools, is a free tool from Google that enables you to track the performance of your website on Google. In turn, the analytics provided by Google Search Console enables you to improve your SEO keyword strategy with the goal of increasing your website’s ranking or presence in organic search results.
Google defines Google Search Console as: “Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.”
Now that we’ve defined what Search Console is, you’re probably wondering what it does, the tools it offers, and the data it provides. For a free tool, you are going to get a wealth of knowledge about your website, how people find you, and how to improve your overall SEO strategy.
First, Google Search Console allows you to confirm that Google knows your website exists. This is done by connecting your website to GSC, submitting your sitemap, and by requesting indexing of your website. Each of these items ensures that Google is up to date on everything about your website and can properly display it in search results.
Next, Google Search Console notifies you of any indexing or spam issues with your website. The indexing issues are broken down by status (error, warning, or valid) along with the reason for the specific status. For error or warning indexing issues, you can request that Google re-index the new or updated content after you resolve the indexing issues.
Google Search Console also lets you view all traffic to your site from Google searches. You are able to see how often your website is appearing in search results (impressions), which search queries your website is appearing in, what position your website falls at in search queries, how often users click through to your website from those queries, and so much more.
RELATED: SEO for Beginners – A Glossary of SEO Terms Explained
The easy answer here is for anyone and everyone with a website. Google Search Console is an essential (and free) SEO tool to have in your business toolkit. From business owners to bloggers, marketers, web developers, shops, restaurants, SEO experts, and every business in between, Google Search Console is for everyone.
Adding your website to Google Search Console takes just a few steps and I promise, it is not as techy of a process as you assume it may be. As soon as you add your website to GSC, this free SEO tool will start tracking data. Pretty cool, right?!
Related: How to Connect and Verify Your Squarespace Website with Google Search Console
Now that your website has been added and verified with Google Search Console, you’ll want to submit your sitemap. A sitemap is just how it sounds, it is a digital map or file of your website and all of the pages, links, etc that it includes. Your sitemap helps search engines like Google know what your website is about, how it flows, how to navigate through it, and so much more.
In this Sitemap tab, you’ll be able to see when your sitemap was submitted and the date that Google last read your sitemap, meaning the last time Google went through your site.
You’ve connected and verified your website successfully, and you’ve submitted your sitemap; now it is time to request indexing of your website with Google Search Console. Indexing is a nice way of telling Google to add your site – or a new page/blog post – to search results.
Google Analytics is another free SEO tool from Google that provides you with in-depth website traffic and conversion data. Google Search Console, on the other hand, provides you with in-depth information on how your website is performing in search results. By pairing the two (2) SEO tools together, you’ll have a wealth of well-rounded data about your website.
Since this is a beginner’s guide to Google Search Console, I’m just going to cover the different analytics you can see (and should be paying attention to) in your Google Search Console dashboard. I won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty of analyzing the data now, we’ll save that for another time.
In the dashboard, you’ll want to pay close attention to the Performance section on the left-hand side. When you click that, you are going to open up a wealth of knowledge and information on your site. Let’s start at a high-level overview first.
At the very top, after you select Performance from the left-hand side of the dashboard, you are able to adjust the settings of the data that appears. You can filter by search type (web, image, news) and/or by date. For date, you can filter by the last 7 days, 28 days, 3-months, 6-months, 12-months, 16-months, or a custom date range of your choice.
The graph at the top displays visually the total number of clicks, impressions, average CTR (click-through rate), and average position of your website in Google search results. Clicks and impressions are automatically selected and appear in the graph. To see CTR and position, just click the small check box to activate them in the graph and the table below it.
Below the graph, you will see a table with different tabs: queries, pages, countries, devices, search appearance, and date. Let’s break down some of these terms so you can get a better understanding of the data you are looking at.
I probably sound like a broken record but for a free SEO tool, Google Search Console provides you with a wealth of information about your website and insight on how you can improve your site for improved rankings on Google. If you still don’t believe me, here are 15 examples of the many things you can learn from Google Search Console as part of your SEO strategy…
There you have it, a beginner’s guide to Google Search Console for SEO. Do you have any specific questions about Google Search Console?
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