Google Search Console is a tool provided free by Google to help website owners or identify the performance of their website in the organic realm.
In this article you will learn about what Google Search Console is, its benefits, and how to use Google Search Console for website and SEO.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a free platform for website owners to monitor how a website is performing in the organic realm of Google. Google Search Console allows you to find out the domains that provide links to your website (referring domains), website performance on mobile devices, to the analysis of website pages with the highest traffic.
Benefits of Google Search Console?
Many of the benefits that you will get from using Google Search Console. You can make improvements on your website based on analysis from this tool. Here are the benefits you get from Google Search Console:
Discover Popular Keywords for Your Business
Visitors find your website through a variety of keywords. Google Search Console helps you to find keywords that many people use to find your website.
This tool will provide information about the total appearance of your website in search results for certain keywords (impression) and the number of times your website was clicked from the search results (click through rate). That way you can find out which keywords are the most effective and less effective SEO for your website.
Identify the Most Popular Pages
Each website has a page that is more popular than the other pages in the search results. Google Search Console will help you to identify which web pages bring the most visitors. You can sort website pages by impression or click through rate (CTR).
Knowing Where Visitors Come From
Google Search Console also allows you to identify where your website visitors come from. This feature will help you understand the demographics of prospect customers so you can reach the right target audience.
Identify What Devices are Used by the Visitor
Besides getting location information, you can also get data on what devices your website visitors use. Google Search Console will help you to find out how visitors interact with your website, whether mostly using desktop devices or mobile devices.
Check Compatibility on Mobile Devices
You can just check that your website has been accessed on a mobile device by opening it on your own smartphone. Unfortunately this method is less accurate because you only use your own subjective judgment. You can check the performance of your website on a mobile device using the help of Google Search Console. It provides a Mobile Usability feature that helps you to check website compatibility on mobile devices. In addition, Google Search Console will also provide recommendations regarding the steps that need to be taken to improve the performance of websites on mobile devices.
Find Out Backlinks to Your Website
Backlinks are one important indicator in determining website ranking in search results. For anyone working in the realm of SEO, this one feature is quite important for you to know, namely Links to Your Site.
This feature will help you to identify websites that contribute backlinks to your website. Google Search Console also provides information on which pages get the most backlinks and what anchor text is used most often.
Check Broken Link
Besides identifying backlinks, you can also check broken links on your website through Google Search Console. Broken link inspection is important so that you can improve the quality of visitor experience on your website. And you can immediately fix broken links so that visitors will not be directed to the wrong or non-existent pages.
Identify Website Security Problems
The issue of security has always been the concern of all website owners, both blogs, online stores, and company profile websites. Everyone wants their website to be safe from hack attacks, data theft, or other security issues. The good news, Google Search Console can help detect security problems that occur on your website and provide warnings. That way you can fix security problems faster before things that endanger your website occur.
Submit a Sitemap
You can add a sitemap through Google Search Console. A sitemap works to help Google crawl your website so that Google can identify your website faster.
How to Add a Website to Google Search Console
Here are 7 steps to add Website to Google Search Console:
- Google Account Login.
- Open Webmaster Tools.
- Click Add Property.
- Select ” Website “.
- Select ” Website ” from the drop-down menu and enter the URL of your website. Make sure you write down the URL at exactly the URL that appears in the browser.
- Click ” Continue “.
- Choose How to Verify.
Google Search Console provides several ways to verify websites, from uploading HTML files, domain name providers, HTML tags, or Google Analytics tracking codes. Choose the one you want.
- Add Domain Separately.
If your website already supports the versions http: // and https: //, add them separately.
For more complete steps on how to verify Google Search Console, you can follow the guidelines in the How to Verify Google Webmaster Tools article .
How to use Google Search Console
After successfully adding your website to Google Search Console and verifying it, now is the time to start using Google Search Console. The following is a guide for using Google Search Console:
Get to know the terms in the Google Search Console
Before you start using Google Search Console, you should understand a few important terms in this tool.
Every URL link appearing in the search results is called an impression. Impression is the total appearance of a URL link in search results. Although the URL link is not clicked or even seen by searchers, it is still called an impression.
When a user clicks on a link and exits Google search results, it is considered a one click. If the user clicks on a link and then presses the ” Back ” button and clicks on the same link , it is still referred to as one click.
- Click Through Rate (CTR )
CTR is Click divided by Impression then multiplied by 100. If your link appears 20 times in search results and gets 10 clicks, the CTR is 50 percent.
Determine the Target Country With Google Search Console
If your website targets an audience in a specific country, you can instruct Google to target the country you choose. The trick is to open the old version of Google Search Console and select the ” Search Traffic ” menu and click the ” International Targeting ” sub menu .
Select the ” Country ” tab and then specify which country you want to target. Choosing one target country doesn’t mean your website won’t appear in the search results of other countries. If your website is still relevant in other countries, of course Google will still display it.
Setting a target country will help Google to understand your main target audience. That way Google will give your website more priority in the target country you set.
Add an XML Sitemap In Google Search Console
XML Sitemap is useful for providing information to search engines about all the pages on the website. The XML Sitemap also works to tell the search engine which links on your website are more important than other links.
Adding an XML Sitemap to a website helps search engines crawl on your website. Although it does not directly improve rankings in search results, the addition of an XML Sitemap helps search engines to index content on your website efficiently.
You can use the Yoast SEO plugin or Google XML Sitemap. Remember, just choose one. Because using both of them together will make your XML Sitemap an error. For a more complete guide on how to add an XML Sitemap you can read in the article How to Make a Sitemap on WordPress.
After creating an XML Sitemap, you will get a link like this:
Next is to register the XML Sitemap in Google Search Console. Open the Google Search Console dashboard then click the Sitemaps menu and paste the last part of the link above, which is sitemap_index.xml. Then click the submit button to save your changes.
Connect Google Search Console and Google Analytics
Linking Google Search Console and Google Analytics will help you to analyze data from Google Search Console in Google Analytics. That way you can get a new perspective on the content and keywords what are produce most.
If you have not installed Google Analytics for your website, there is no need to worry. The article How To Install Google Analytics will guide you to install Google Analytics on WordPress.
After installing Google Analytics and Google Search Console, the next step is to connect the two. Open the Google Analytics dashboard then click the Admin menu in the lower left corner.
Google Analytics will display settings for the admin. In this setting select the ” Property Settings ” menu then click the ” Adjust Search Console ” button . Then Google Analytics will take you to Google Search Console and display a list of all the websites that you have added to Google Search Console. Select the website that you want to link with Google Analytics then click the ” Save ” button .
It’s done! Now your Google Analytics and Google Search Console are connected. You can see the Search Console menu in Google Analytics through the Acquisition menu.
Fix Search Indexing Problems
One of the most useful features of this google tool is finding and fixing indexing errors. Indexing errors can affect the ranking of search results with those caused by the cessation of crawling and indexing activity from search engines.
You can easily find the error through the Coverage > Index menu . The menu will display which pages on your website that have been indexed by Google and which have experienced errors or get warnings.
Google Search Console will also provide detailed information to learn about errors that occur and what actions need to be taken to fix them. The following are some of the most frequently encountered errors:
- 404 Error : This error indicates that a search engine crawler has followed the URL link, but what appears is a 404 error.
- Soft 404 Error : This error occurs when search engine crawlers get a 404 page error, but the page status code sends 200 messages (which means success) to the browser.
- Server Error : This indicates your server has a time out or is not responding. This error usually occurs when websites get a lot of traffic, are being maintained, or don’t show up for other reasons.
Here is how to resolve the above problems:
- 404 Error
First, what you need to understand is that not all 404 errors are the same . You can ignore some of them and only fix those that really have errors.
For example, if you delete a blog post and don’t want to direct visitors to another blog post, it’s okay to ignore this kind of 404 error. Google will eventually deindex this page if it continues to find 404 errors.
However, if you find a page with 404 errors and want to redirect to a new article, you can redirect.
- Server Error
Server errors in Google Search Console are caused by several reasons. One of the most frequently encountered is the server experiences a time out which results in an error or does not appear at all.
Use Fetch as Google Bot to determine whether the page is really an error. If Fetch as Google Bot shows that page is running normally, you can ignore the error.
Collecting Potential Keywords With Google Search Console
Your website visitors come through a variety of keywords. Website owners can optimize the content targeted for certain keywords. That way the possibility to appear in the top ranking of search results can be higher.
You can see what keywords are popular for your website through the ” Performance ” tab . At the top, you will see a graph that shows your website’s performance in search results. Below that, you can see data about keywords that can be filtered based on average position, impression, and CTR.
You can identify which pages and keywords generate a lot of traffic. In addition, you can also find new keywords related to the main keywords of your content.
Ideally you can generate high traffic from all the keywords you are targeting. However, there may still be a number of keywords that you are targeting not producing results as expected. Of course you need to identify any keywords that have the potential to generate traffic and deserve to be optimized.
Here’s how to find potential keywords that you need to optimize. Open the ” Performance ” menu and click the filter icon and select the ” Position ” filter . Filter keywords with an average position greater than 7 then click ” Done “.
Google Search Console will display keywords where your website appears in average position 7 or above. Double-click in the ” Position ” column to sort keywords by smallest position to largest position.
You will find keywords that rank in positions 7 through 30. These keywords are still very likely to be optimized to get even higher positions in Google search results.
In addition to seeing the position of keywords, you also need to see the impression each keyword gets. Prioritize to optimize keywords that have a greater impression number first. To get the complete information, you can download a summary of the data in CSV.
You can also use Google Search Console to evaluate the content that you have published. You can see the performance per page in the search results, the keywords appear in any course.
To check performance per website page, follow these steps:
- Open the Performance tab
- Click Pages
- Select the web page that you want to see performance
- Then click on the tab ” Queries “
- After that, keywords will appear that generate an impression for that page.
Then you can complete the information in the article based on keywords that generate an impression for that page. That way the possibility of the website page to appear in a variety of keywords is greater. Your article will be richer with information that matches what people are searching for in the search engine.
Looking for Backlink Sources
Links or links are an important part of SEO. The search engine makes the link as one indicator to determine the position of a page in search results. And you can check the performance of external links and internal links of the website through Google Search Console
To see the full report, click the Links menu . Then you will see a link performance report for external links and internal links. At this point I will discuss external links first or often also referred to as backlinks.
You can see which websites have given backlinks to your website through the ” Top Linking Sites ” menu . Google Search Console will display a list of websites that provide links to your website.
Click on the domain name to see more details on the website’s target link page. You will see how many pages on the website provide a link to your website. Additionally, you can also get information about the pages that have been targeted from that website.
If you think the website is of sufficient quality to be a source of backlinks, you can look for other content on the website that can be planted with backlinks.
Improve Internal Link Quality
Apart from backlinks, internal links are also important to improve the quality of your SEO. Internal links help search engines to understand the context and relationships between pages on your website. This tool can also detect which pages on your website are most important through internal links.
It can also help you to improve the internal quality of your website links. Click the Links menu > Internal Link . You will get reports on which web pages get links from other pages. Check which pages have gotten many links and which still require additional internal links.
You can also check more details per page. Click the filter icon then select Target page . Then enter the URL of the page you want to improve the internal quality of the link. After that Google Search Console will display the number of internal links on the page. If the number of internal links is still lacking, you can add it according to your needs.
When adding internal links, make sure your link really related to the page. So reader does not feel confused so you can create a good experience for readers.
Improve Website Performance on Mobile Devices
As many as 94 percent of Indonesian internet users access the internet through mobile devices. That is why Google prioritizes mobile friendly websites to get higher rankings in search results.
This Tool allows you to check website performance on mobile devices through The Mobile Usability feature . If Google Search Console shows an error, you need to fix it immediately because it affects the ranking in the search results. Click on the ” Error ” and identify the problem of what is causing the error. It will provide suggestions on what steps need to be taken to fix the error.
Generally, errors that occur in Mobile Usability are caused by themes that are not coded properly or plugin errors. Therefore, you need to be careful when installing WordPress themes.
Take advantage of Fetch as Google
Fetch as Google lets you know how Google crawls or renders URLs on your website. You can check whether Googlebot can access your website and find out if there are images or content that is blocked by Googlebot.
To access this feature, you can open the old version of Google Search Console and select Crawl > Fetch as Google menu . In the latest version, you can open it via the Index menu > Coverage then click the URL you want to check.
What are you looking for on Fetch as Google? The most important information you need to get is the response code provided. If the response code provided is 200, the page means that it’s fine. Then also check the time it takes for Googlebot to download your page. If the download time exceeds 1.5 seconds, it means that Googlebot is having trouble crawling on your website.
In addition, you can also do indexing quickly using Fetch as Google. You only need to enter the URL and click the Fetch button . If Googlebot has downloaded the page, click the Request Indexing button .
Remove the URL from the Search Results
After diligently updating the blog for more than a year, there may be some content that you want to delete. Unfortunately, removing content that has been indexed by Google is rather complicated. You must remove the URL from the Google index through Google Search Console.
Open Google Search Console then click the Google Index menu > Remove URLs . Then click the ” Temporarily Hide ” button and enter the URL that you want to delete. This feature is only going to hide pages from search results for 90 days. To delete it permanently, you must delete the content from the website so that a 404 error warning appears .
If you manage Google Search Console in groups, you can easily add multiple users. The trick is as follows:
- Open Google Search Console
- Click the Settings menu > Users and Permission
- Click Add User
- Enter the email address of the user you want to add
- Select the type of Permission you will give.
- There are two types of permissions, namely full permissions and restricted permissions. Full permission allows users to access all Google Search Console features, including adding new users . Restricted permissions only allow users to view data, but cannot add new users.
- New users will get an email notification and can log in via that email.
This the article about what is Google Search Console and how to use it. This tool has many benefits for the development of your website. With Google Search Console, you can get accurate data about keywords, security, and website performance in search results. So make sure your website is listed on this tool!