GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE: A Beginner’s GuideWEBMASTERS

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE: A Beginner’s GuideWEBMASTERS

The way your site is ranked on Google Search is directly dependent on its attendance. Rankings are influenced by the relevance of the content to the search query, page loading speed, behavioral signals, technical errors, and many other factors. You can get a complete picture of a resource’s performance on Google search using Search Console.

We will tell you how to work with this service and use its reports to optimize your site.

  1. What is Google Search Console
  2. How to Add a Site to Search Console
  3. Reports and Tools in Search Console
  4. Overview
  5. Report Performance Report
  6. URL
  7. Checker Coverage
  8. Sitemap
  9. RemovalsMetrics
  10. Internet Key
  11. Mobile
  12. Friendly AMP Status Report Rich
  13. Results Status Reports
  14. Issues Security and Manual Measures
  15. Links
  16. Preferences Features
  17. Former Tools and Reports

What is Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool for webmasters and SEO professionals that shows how Google crawls and presents a site in search results.

What tasks can be solved using the information in Google Search Console:

  • Collect data about the target audience – what queries were used to navigate to the site, in which countries the users are located, what devices they use.
  • Analyze the keywords for which site visitors found it in Google search – for each keyword you can see its position, number of impressions, clicks, click-through rates.
  • Identify effective and ineffective pages in terms of loading speed.
  • Find non-indexed pages and speed up their indexing.
  • Determine the average position of the site on Google search, including the position of the site for a specific query.
  • Identify problems in the mobile version – the font is too small, the value of the viewport meta tag is not set, etc.
  • Analyze the link mass – which external sources link to the site and which specific pages.

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How to add a site to Search Console

Log in to Google, go to Google Search Console and first select the type of resource you want to add. How you can verify the rights to it depends on this.

There are two options available: 

  • Domain resource. It is not a single protocol that is checked, but the entire resource, including all domains, protocols, and directories. For example, when adding a resource promo put the check will also apply to its subdomain blog.promopult.ru. You can only verify the rights to a domain resource using DNS.
  • A resource with a URL prefix. Verification of rights is carried out only at a specific address with a specific protocol. For example, only at https://blog.promopult.ru. In this case, different confirmation methods are possible.

How to rights to a Domain Resource

Enter a domain or subdomain:

VerifyVerify ownership of a domain. To do this, copy the TXT record and add it to the DNS configuration of your domain. Click “Confirm”.

How to verify the rights to a resource with a prefix in the URL

Enter the URL:

Choose an available way to verify the rights:

  • Download the HTML file created by the service and upload it to your website.
  • Other ways to confirm. You can add an HTML tag to your home page code, add a snippet of code to your home page code analytics.js or gtag.js, use account Tag Manager, add DNS records to your domain configuration.

If you need to add another resource to Search Console, expand the list opposite the Resource label and select Add Resource:

Reports and Tools in Search Console

After adding a resource to Search Console, you can access its tools and reports. Let’s dwell on each and describe the functionality.

Report “Overview”

Expand the list opposite to “Resource” and select the required resource:

After that, we get to the main page, where the report “Overview” is presented. This is a general report on key indicators.

Sections of the report “Overview”:

  • Effectiveness. Shows data on how many clicks the site received in a month in Google Search and the total number of clicks.
  • Coating. The number of indexed pages is shown.
  • Improvements. How many website pages are indexed without errors and how many – with errors. 

You can get detailed data for each item in two ways: go to the appropriate section of the menu (“Efficiency”, “Review” or “Improvements”) or click “Open report” in the table row.

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Performance Report

This is a key report for SEO professionals. In the old version of Search Console, its counterpart was the Search Query Analysis report.

From the report you can find out:

  • By what requests users got to the resource.
  • The dynamics of traffic and impressions on the site.
  • Average CTR of a resource, pages with high and low CTR.
  • The average position of the site on Google search and the position of the resource for specific queries.
  • Determine from which countries and from which devices users enter the site (mobile, desktop).

Tracking the dynamics of the main indicators

At the top of the report, there is a line graph that displays the dynamics of clicks and impressions for the last 3 months. The average CTR and average position of the site on the search are also indicated. 

By default, the graph only shows clicks and impressions:

You can add average CTR and/or average site position indicators to the graph.

For example, let’s add a CTR to the chart. To display the indicator, put a tick in the “Average CTR” block:

Also, in the “Efficiency” report, you can set statistics for a different period. To do this, click “Date: for the last 3 months”:

Specify the required period:

As a result, we will get a graph for the last 12 months:

Analyzing statistics for a specific query

In Search Console, you can view statistics for a specific query or word that the query should contain. To do this, we will use a filter. 

Let’s say we want to see statistics for all queries that contain the word “plant”. To do this, click on “+ New”:

In the menu, select the item “Request”:

Select the filter “Requests containing”. Below we write the word “plant” and apply the changes:

We get a line graph for key queries containing the word “plant”:

Below is a table with detailed statistics for three months for all words that contain the word “plant”:

From the table, we see that all clicks were for the query “Yaroslavl Composites Plant”. Most of the screenings were for the query “composite materials plant”.

Let’s see from what devices users went to the site for requests that contain the word “composite materials plant”. To do this, go to the “Devices” tab:

From the table, we see that most users switched from desktop devices – 26 clicks. But there were also transitions from mobile devices – only 9 clicks.

Analyzing which queries the page is ranking for.

Let’s use the filter to see which queries the page is ranking for. To do this, click on “+ New” and select “Page” in the menu:

In the drop-down list, select “Exact URL” and specify the address:

At the bottom of the report, a list of queries will appear for which this page is ranked on Google search:

The specified page is ranked for six queries. Most of the impressions were for the request “buy composite reinforcement”. There were no clicks on any of the requests.

Determining queries with low CTR

Let’s move on to the table with statistics for queries. Click on the filter icon and select the “CTR” item in the drop-down menu:

Filter the queries with a CTR of less than 10%. Click on “Done”:get a

We list all requests with a low CTR:

From the results, you can see that for many requests there were no clicks. Therefore, they have zero CTR.

URL

Checker The URL checker shows whether the page is in the index. A similar feature in the older version of Search Console is “View as Googlebot”.

To perform the check, enter the URL into the search bar:

The system will perform the check:

Based on the check results, we see that no errors were found: the URL is in the Google index, the page is optimized for mobile devices.

Why you need to use URL validation:

  • Speed ​​up indexing of a new page. If the check shows that the URL is not indexed, then you can speed up the indexing process. To do this, you need to request indexing.
  • Speed ​​up reindexing. If the page has been updated (for example, prices, assortment, product description, company description, etc.) have changed, you can also request indexing again.
  • Eliminate errors. The system can detect errors while checking the URL. For more information, click “Explore the scanned page”:

Here you can view the HTML code of the page (the “HTML” tab). Let’s go to the “Screenshot” tab to see how Google sees the page.

It turns out that Google sees this page in a completely different way than the user. To clarify the reasons, go to the “Details” tab:

The reason is that during indexing, not all the resources of the page could be loaded. Also found two JavaScript code errors.

READ ALSO: A

a quick way to check the indexing of pages in Yandex and Google

Coverage

The “Coverage” report contains information about the number of indexed pages and errors. A similar tool in the previous version of Search Console was called Indexing Status.

Let’s go to the “Coverage” tab. Here we can see that 98 pages are indexed by Google without errors. 113 pages were excluded from the search.

Let’s see the report on indexed pages. To do this, set a checkmark in the “Pages without errors” block.

At the bottom, in the “Details” section, information about the type of check and the number of pages is displayed. Click on the link “Page without errors”:

We get into the report, which shows which pages were indexed and when:

In the same way, we learn about the pages excluded from the index. Check the box “Excluded”:

Go to the section “Information”. How many pages are indicated there: 

  • excluded due to redirection;
  • scanned but not indexed yet;
  • blocked in the file robots.txt, etc.

Let’s see the report on pages that have been crawled by the Google robot, but have not yet entered the index. To do this, click on the required line:

From this report, you can see the page URL and the scan date. For example, we can see that the last page in the table was scanned more than two months ago, but never got into the index.

We double-click on this line – a window with details for this URL will open on the right.

Let’sblocking of URLs in robots.txt: The

check did not find any directives that prohibit indexing of the page.

To speed up the URL indexing process, we will request indexing. To do this, click “Check URL”: The

check shows that the URL is not in the index. Click “Request Indexing”:

After these steps, Google will check the possibility of indexing the page. If no errors are found, the page will be indexed.

Sitemap files

To speed up indexing, as well as to send information about the last update and the priority of crawling pages to the search robot, anis drew up an XML sitemap. You can submit a sitemap for crawling by Googlebot and identifying possible errors through the Search Console in the “Sitemaps” section.

To add a sitemap, enter its address in the search and click “Submit”:

boxIn the “Files being checked” block, you can view information about the added map. It displays the file type, the date it was sent, the status, the date of the last processing, the number of URLs detected.

For more detailed information about validation, click on any place in the line with the data:

It can be seen from the report that all URLs have been successfully processed. There are no errors, warnings, or exceptions.

If errors are found, see the indexing report. This is important because all pages in the sitemap must be indexed.

Removals

With this tool, Search Console can temporarily (approximately 6 months) remove URLs, the current page description, or a cached version of a page from Google search results.

Let’s show you how to temporarily remove a URL. Let’s go to the “Deletion” section – the “Temporary Deletions” tab. Press the button “Create request”:

Enter the URL, select the option “Delete this URL only” and confirm your actions:

Done! You can temporarily delete a specific page or an entire folder.

Internet Key Metrics The Internet Key Metrics

the report shows how well your PC and mobile pages are performing. The data source is a report on the usability of the Chrome browser. This report has gained particular prominence with the introduction of new site quality factors by Google – Core Web Vitals. These are three indicators that will potentially affect the ranking of a resource in Google:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – the speed of loading the main content on the page;
  • FID (First Input Delay) – the time that passes before the first interaction with the content is possible;
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – layout stability (how much the layout shifts during content loading).

Data for all three indicators are presented in this report.

Important: you will not be able to view the loading speed data for a single page here. The data is grouped by status, metrics, and URL groups. The goal of the report is to get a complete picture of the resource efficiency as a whole and to troubleshoot problems. You can find out about the loading speed of a specific URL using the service PageSpeed ​​Insights.

Let’s go to the section “Basic Internet Indicators”. Here are the numbers of:

  • effective URLs; 
  • ineffective URLs;
  • pages you want to speed up.

 

Let’s take a closer look at the report on the main Internet indicators of site pages for PCs. To do this, click on “Open report”:

In the report, URLs are grouped according to the following parameters:

  • Low speed (LCP indicator is more than 4 s).
  • It is necessary to increase the download speed (less than 4 s, but more than 2.5 s). These are URLs that are not ineffective but can be loaded faster.
  • Quite reliable (2.5 seconds or less). These are pages that load quickly and are well received by users.

You can see from our report that no ineffective URLs were found for three months. But there are recommendations for increasing the speed of loading pages.

The Information section provides information on recommendations, checks, and trends. In the “Status” column, we see a recommendation to increase the speed. For more detailed information, click on this line:

After working on optimizing the page, check-in Search Console to see if the problem has been fixed. To do this, click “Check the fix”: The

 

the check takes up to 28 days. But the system will not be able to fulfill it if there is low traffic on the page.

Convenience for mobiles The

report provides information on which pages of the site are not optimized for mobile traffic. 

The top shows the number of pages that are inconvenient to view on mobile devices. We can see that there are 2 problems found on 8 pages. No problems were found on 38 pages.

By default, the graph displays only error data. Set the checkboxes opposite the indicators “Page without errors” and “Impressions”. This is how we can track the number of views from mobile devices in dynamics:

Errors are indicated below in the “Information” section. 

In our case, there are two of them (and they are the most common): 

  • Interactive elements are too close. The error is shown when the navigation elements on the page are so close that the user cannot use one without touching the second.
  • Content is wider than the screen. An error is thrown if you have to use horizontal scrolling to view the page.

Also, errors include: too small font, the value of the viewport meta tag is not set, the value of device-width is not set in the viewport meta tag.

To get more detailed information about the error, click on the required line:

The report that opens lists the URLs of the pages where the error was found:

After optimizing the page, you can check if the problem has been resolved:

Don’t know where to start optimizing your site for mobile devices? Check out the Mobile First Guide – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

AMP Status Report

For those who have implemented Accelerated Technology on their site AMP page, Search Console has a special report to track their performance. It shows you which AMP pages on your site are indexed by Google and identifies errors. 

Like many reports in Search Console, this one has two parts – a chart and a table. The diagram graphically shows the number of pages with errors, warnings, and no errors

The tabular section provides information about specific problems: URL not found or blocked in robots.txt, image size is less than recommended, and others (for a complete list of possible errors

Extended results status

, see reports From this group of reports, you can find out what data for Google extended results could find in the content of the pages, and whether there are errors in this data.

Search Console supports reports on these types of rich results: navigation bars, product, logo, vacancies, dataset, event, video, and others (see the full list here). These types the robot detects the presence of the code page of a particular type of micro markup-.

learn how to introduce yourself micro markup Schema.org, we wrote this article, OpenGraph this and data.. is told about the syntax of JSON-LD, which is Google’s recommended for marking

Let’s show the principle of data organization using the example of the reports “Navigation lines” and “Products”.

Navigation lines

Let’s go to the section “Lines navigation “. At the top of the report, we see a diagram and three tabs: “Error”, “No errors, there are warnings”, “Page without errors”. Below is a table with a detailed explanation of the type of problems and the number of elements in which errors or warnings are found.

To see examples of URLs with an error, you need to click on a table row.

Products

Let’s move on to the Products section: The

data in the report is organized in the same way as in the previous one. In it you can see the errors in the micro-markup of the data on the pages of the product cards:

An error was found in the report. To fix it, you need to check the “offers”, “review” or “aggregate rating” data items in the product template. Any discrepancies found should be corrected as recommended by Google.

The report also contains a warning that the not specified global product identifier is. This is a serious problem since GTINs, MPNs, ISBNs, and others allow the search engine to get more information about the products on the site to form an offer that is relevant to users. 

It is important to eliminate errors in micro-markup in time, as they affect the presentation of the snippet in search results. For more information about problems with micro markup read the article “8 Reasons poem micro markup not appear in Google snippets.”

Security Issues and Manual Actions

This section contains two reports. 

The Manual Action Report contains information about the sanctions imposed by Google employees.

From the report, we can see that no problems were found. This means that Google has not blocked any search results from our site.

Let’s go to the Security Issues report. It contains information about dangerous content on the pages of the site: viruses and other unwanted software, programs that mislead users, etc.

No problems were found here either.

READ ALSO:

7 Ways to CheckSite for Search Engine Filters

Links

YourThe “Links” report combines four of them at once:

  • External links. Shows the pages of your site to which external links lead.
  • Internal links. Lists the pages to which internal links from other pages of this resource lead.
  • Most linking sites. There are external links to your resource.
  • The most common link texts.

This report allows you to determine which page has received the most inbound links and determine the pages where you need to build links. Based on this information, you can also increase the weight of landing pages using internal linking and work out an anchor list.

Features of the “Settings”

section This section is located at the bottom of the menu:

Information in it is organized in three blocks.

Resource settings. Here are indicated: the

  • level of user rights – the confirmed owner of the resource or the delegated owner (the latter has fewer rights);
  • Users and Permissions – Verified Owner can grant other users full or limited access to Search Console.
  • connections – other services related to the console, for example, Google Analytics (here you can also associate a service with a resource).

Also, in the resource settings, you can change its address. This will be needed if the site is moved to another domain. Before doing this, read the Google guidelines.

Scanning. This subsection provides general information about the crawl statistics of a resource – the number of requests by a Google crawler to a site over the past 90 days. Follow the link to go to the detailed report.

The graph shows the dynamics of scan requests, the total size of downloaded files in bytes, and the average response time for a page scan request in milliseconds.

A sharp increase or, on the contrary, a drop in crawling requests of the Google robot should be alarming, especially if you did not make any global changes to the site during this period.

Below the graph is a widget about the host status and information about the distribution of robot requests by type of response, file, robot, and target.

About Marker. This shows the type of crawler (most often for computers or smartphones) and the date the resource was added to your Search Console account. There is also an opportunity to delete a resource from your account.

Legacy tools and reports

In this guide, we described how to work with the updated version of Search Console. The full transition to this version took place at the end of 2019. But there is still a Legacy Tools and Reports section in the console. It contains tools and reports from the older version of Search Console. The reason for this is the lack of analogs in the new version.

Let’s list what tools and reports are included in this section.

  1. Tool for checking robots.txt. Validating file syntax and blocking individual URLs with robots. There is a similar tool in Yandex.Webmaster. In the new version of the console, you can check URL blocking in robots.txt by going to the tool from the “Coverage” report.
  2. Targeting by country. The report ensures correct scanning of pages in different languages. Allows adding the here flang attribute.
  3. Messages. Instead of this report, the new version introduces a different message bar – unread notifications are shown in the upper right corner:

The old version displays all site-level messages sent by email:

  1. Linking to your Google Analytics account and other types of resources. For now, you can link your Search Console account to other resources under Settings – Links.
  2. URL parameters. The tool is used to pass specific URL parameters to Google and is intended for advanced users. 

For example, it can be used to tell Google about the country parameter. This setting determines what content on your site will be shown to visitors from different countries.

  1. Marker. The ability to transfer data from template pages to the Google robot. This is a replacement for micro-markup.
  2. Scanning frequency settings. Here you can reduce the frequency of crawling your site with the Google robot. This is recommended only if frequent visits to Googlebot overload the site.
  3. Web tools. Here you can find a report on the quality of advertising, abuse, incorrect notifications, etc.

At the moment, a strategy is being developed to replace the old tools and reports. But the exact date of the transition is still unknown.

To summarize:

  • Google Search Console is an indispensable tool for webmasters and SEO professionals. Identify problems with indexing, see how Google presents a site in search, measure traffic, and link mass – this is an incomplete list of tasks that can be solved with its help.
  • The transition to the updated version of Google Search Console happened in 2019. Therefore, most reports and tools are new. An exception is the tools in the Legacy Tools and Reports section.
  • For normal display of the site on Google search, we recommend checking the site at least once a week for errors and changes in all sections of the Google Search Console. Also, do not forget to check the mail linked to the service – it receives important notifications and summaries about the effectiveness of the resource.

 

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