What is Google Search Console and how to use it
Your audience size depends on your site's position in search engines. Ranking in Google is influenced by the quality and relevance of content and technical parameters. A tool such as Google Search Console is used to see the whole picture. We'll tell you how to work with it.
What is Google Search Console
With it, you can collect information about the target audience, its geography, and queries, analyze keywords and backlinks, measure page loading speed and look at practical and ineffective pages based on this parameter, search for unindexed pages and sections, and identify shortcomings of the mobile version. All this information can and should be used to improve the site further.
Adding a site to Google Search Console
To add a site to Google Search Console, you need to log in to Google and select the type of resource relevant to your website: a domain resource (including subdomains) or a specific URL.
In the first case, the rights to the resource are confirmed using DNS; in the second case, by adding a generated HTML file to the page code, a snippet of analytics.js or gtag.js code, or DNS records in the domain settings.
To add another resource in the Google Search Console, select the item "Add a resource" in the list opposite the inscription "Resource" and verify it similarly.
What reports are available in GSC
For the same resource, the Search Console provides access to multiple reports. Let's briefly describe the functions of each of them.
The Overview report is a general summary of site information. It provides information about clicks to the site for the month and, in general, the number of indexed web pages and the percentage of pages indexed with and without errors. This report is one of the most important for website promotion, and from its data, it is clear what else needs to be worked on in terms of optimization.
Another critical report for website promotion shows the dynamics of traffic and impressions, the CTR of the website and its pages, the position in the search results (including for individual queries), the dynamics of the leading indicators, the geography of users, and the devices they use (mobile or stationary).
This report shows if Google has indexed a particular web page. URL checking is needed to speed up the indexing of new pages (including re-indexing when vital data about a product or company changes). Here you can also look at the page code for errors that interfere with indexing.
This report contains information about the number of pages already indexed without errors and those excluded from the search. Search bots can exclude pages for various reasons, such as redirects or blocking in the robots.txt file. It also happens that carriers have been crawled but have not yet been indexed. Details are available for each page, and indexing can be requested if there are no errors.
You can also crawl sitemaps through the Search Console by entering the sitemap address into the search bar. Speeding up indexing and transferring information about fresh updates to search bots is necessary. The Files Under Review section displays information about the cards, including file type, the number of pages, the date sent and processed, and status. If there are errors, it is worth checking the indexing report for unindexed pages.
This tool allows you to temporarily remove the URL of a page, its description, or the cached version from the search. You can delete entire sections and individual pages for up to six months.
Key internet metrics
This report evaluates desktop and mobile site performance based on Chrome data. It evaluates indicators such as the stability of the layout (CLS), the speed of downloading most of the content (LCP), and the time until the user interacts directly with the content (FID). Information on page loading speed is not available. Still, from the available data, you can understand the effectiveness of the resource as such, evaluate effective and ineffective web page addresses, and understand which pages should be increased in speed.
Most modern users regularly browse websites from mobile devices. In this report, you can see the degree of optimization of the site pages for traffic from mobile devices: which pages are inconvenient to view from the mobile version and what errors occur, the number of impressions from mobile devices, and URLs of pages with errors. From this information, you will understand how to adapt the mobile version of the site further.
Security issues and manual actions
This section of the console consists of two reports. The first contains information about unwanted software, viruses, and harmful content; the second is from individual Google sanctions. Of course, there should be no problems either there or there.
The Manual Actions report contains information about sanctions imposed by Google employees.
There is a separate panel for posts in Google Search Console. The number above the icon indicates the number of unread messages. The panel displays messages addressed to a specific user of the site and notifications about the site's status, errors, and corrections.
To work with Search Console reports, you need to open access to the data of this service in the resource settings. You must have the Google Analytics account editor role and owner permission for the Search Console account you want to link.
Another report contains information about your website crawling by Googlebot over the past 90 days. It is necessary for sites with many pages (from 1000 and above). In it, you can see the number of scan requests, the total amount of content, and the average response time.
Learn more: What is Google My Business, and how to use it?
This group contains four reports that display the following parameters: external links (an overview of the pages of the site where links from other resources lead), internal links (an overview of the pages where links lead from other pages of the same site), most frequently referring sites, and the most common link texts.
Google Search Console is a multifunctional tool for objectively assessing the site in search engine optimization. Numerous reports help to detect problems with indexing, evaluate traffic and content, and look at the site's position in search results. It is best to check the site for changes and errors in all sections about once a week, and in parallel, check the mail for important messages.