Google Search Console : A Guide for beginners.
Google Search Console is one of those free tools essential for digital marketing. It is the place where we can monitor the performance of our content in the Google search engine and know how to improve it.
But if you have no idea what Search Console is or don’t know how to use it more than to see the General Description, don’t worry.
In this article, I will tell you what this useful tool is about and how to apply it to improve the SEO performance of your website.
What is Google Search Console and what is it for?
Google Search Console is a free tool designed for webmasters to know the indexing status of their site in the most popular internet search engine, as well as to know what improvements to make.
With Search Console we can:
- send and check the site map
- set indexing frequency
- create robot.txt files
- control inbound and outbound links to the site
- know what keywords led the public to the site and how effectively
- See the possible errors to correct.
Basic Google Search Console Tutorial
As we see the list is quite long and can seem a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, it’s all much simpler than it sounds.
The first thing we see when entering is a search engine above, a main graphic in the centre and a toolbar on the right side. And if we go down a little we find two more graphics.
Let’s go from the simplest to the most complex.
The left bar allows us to navigate through the different parts of the report. The easiest categories to use and that we will cover in this initial tutorial are Overview, Performance, Coverage, Sitemaps, URL Inspection and Links.
Each time we enter a section for the first time, a box will appear at the bottom right, giving us information about it. Do not hurry to put “Understood”, read the tutorials of the application to know it in depth.
The general description gives us a quick look at the indexing status of the site. In many cases, it is all we need to see for daily monitoring. In addition, each graph leads to a more detailed report that we cover in the corresponding section.
The first graph called Performance shows us the number of clicks received in recent months.
Coverage shows a graph of the number of pages indexed correctly by Google and those that presented some type of error. This is one of the most important reports because any page that is not indexed well does not appear in the search results, wasting all our work.
Improvements account for aspects where the entire site – and not page by page – can be corrected.
The first thing we have to see in Performance is the top bar where we can set the temporal parameter and the category of the data.
The temporal parameter is quite simple to understand.
But Search Type is an interesting tool. We can segment the results to analyze only the searches that were made specifically for images, video or everything in general. We can also compare two of them.
Below we find the first of two graphics. It is a time series of the main parameters to consider when analyzing the SEO performance of a site:
- Total clicks
- Total impressions: the number of times one of our pages appeared on the users screen. Here we can assess whether our efforts to optimize SEO work.
- Average CTR: CTR means click through rate, that is, the relationship between total impressions and total clicks received. It is one of the most important measures because it realizes how attractive our site is to users. Not only is it important to appear in the results, but you also have to attract clicks.
- Average position: another variable to evaluate SEO efforts. Average position is the average number in which our individual pages appear in the search results. The smaller the better!
The second graphic is divided into several tabs.
The first account of which keywords brought traffic to our site and the second of which pages received the most traffic from search engines. Both are important to know if our use of keywords is yielding the desired results.
The rest of the tabs show the origin of the traffic according to countries and devices, the appearance of our pages in the search engine (important to control if our schema markups work) and the CTR and position according to dates.
The first thing we see in this section is a graph very similar to Performance. Only in this case, the variables are:
- Error: Report on the number of pages that have an error, that is, they cannot be fully indexed by Google and probably do not appear in search results. Sometimes – like the image below – the numbers of errors can be very large by mistakenly including pages that the webmaster decides not to index by placing a “no index” tag.
- Valid with a warning: pages that were indexed but have aspects to correct
- Valid : correctly indexed pages
- Excluded: pages not indexed by webmaster’s indication
In the detail below we can see the same information with a little more depth.
Here we find one of the best free tools at our disposal to analyze the link building of our website.
We have several tables to analyze:
- Most linked pages: these are the individual pages of third parties that we link to our site
- Website with more links: similar to the previous one but grouped by ownership of the pages
- Most frequent link text: it is the anchor text that we use most to link to those sites. That is, that text that turns blue and takes us to another page. It is an important factor for that Google to know what this page is about.
Now let’s go back to the beginning. We mention use search bar that is located at the top of the screen and it is time to tell them what it is. It is really very useful.
There we can insert any URL of our site and know its individual indexing status.
The interesting thing about this function is that if we change the page or Google robots still did not visit it, we can request that they do so as soon as they can.
This is no less: when we search for fast SEO results, waiting for Google to review your site again may be too late. Especially since if it is not one of the most popular it will have less indexing priority.
This way, we make sure that Google always has up-to-date information about what we publish.
The importance of creating and sending a sitemap to all major search engines is something we already talked about. If you are not aware we recommend you visit this article. Seriously, without that well done and updated sitemap, it is impossible to pretend to appear in search results successfully.
Without too much mystery, this section of Google Search Console allows us to send our site map and control what we have already sent.
It is probably not something we control often, but it is better that everything works perfectly!