Google Search Console (GSC)

About Search Console

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.

Search Console offers tools and reports for the following actions:

• Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site.

• Fix indexing problems and request re-indexing of new or updated content.

• View Google Search traffic data for your site: how often your site appears in Google Search, which search queries show your site, how often searchers click through for those queries, and more.

• Receive alerts when Google encounters indexing, spam, or other issues on your site.

• Show you which sites link to your website.

• Troubleshoot issues for AMP, mobile usability, and other Search features.

Who should use Search Console?

Anyone with a website! From generalist to specialist, from newbie to advanced, Search Console can help you.

• Business owners: Even if you won't be using Search Console yourself, you should be aware of it, become familiar with the basics of optimizing your site for search engines, and know what features are available in Google Search.

• SEO specialists or marketers: As someone focused on online marketing, Search Console will help you monitor your website traffic, optimize your ranking, and make informed decisions about the appearance of your site's search results. You can use the information in Search Console to influence technical decisions for the website and do sophisticated marketing analysis in conjunction with other Google tools like Analytics, Google Trends, and Google Ads.

• Site administrators: As a site admin, you care about the healthy operation of your site. Search Console lets you easily monitor and in some cases resolve server errors, site load issues, and security issues like hacking and malware. You can also use it to ensure any site maintenance or adjustments you make happen smoothly with respect to search performance.

• Web developers: If you are creating the actual markup and/or code for your site, Search Console helps you monitor and resolve common issues with markup, such as errors in structured data.

Google starts tracking data for your property as soon as you add it to GSC -- even before it’s verified you’re the site owner.

Verifying your Site on GSC

Because GSC gives you access to confidential information about a site or app’s performance (plus influence over how Google crawls that site or app!), you have to verify you own that site or app first.

Verification gives a specific user control over a specific property. You must have at least one verified owner per GSC property.

Also, note that verifying your property doesn’t affect PageRank or its performance in Google search. Of course, the more information you have, the easier it is to rank higher -- but simply adding your website to GSC won’t automatically make your rankings go up.

GSC verification methods

1.HTML file upload: Upload a verification HTML file to a specific location of your website.

2.Domain name provider: Sign into your domain registrar (like GoDaddy, eNom, or networksolutions.com), and verify your site directly from GSC or add a DNS TXT or CNAME record.

3.HTML tag: Add a <meta> tag to the <HEAD> section of a specific page’s HTML code.

4.Google Analytics tracking code: Copy the GA tracking code that you use on your site. (You need “edit” permission in GA for this option.)

5.Google Tag Manager container snippet code: Copy the GTM container snippet code associated with your site. (You need View, Edit, and Manage container-level permissions in GTM for this option.)

Google-hosted sites, including Blogger and Sites pages, are automatically verified.

GSC users, owners, and permissions

There are two GSC role-types. I know you might be itching to get to the good stuff (cough the data) but it’s important to do this right.

1.Owner: An owner has total control over their properties in GSC. They can add and remove other users, change the settings, see all data, and access every tool. A verified owner has completed the property verification process, while a delegated owner has been added by a verified one. (Delegated owners can add other delegated owners.)

2.User: A user can see all data and take some actions, but can’t add new users. Full users can see most data and take some actions, while restricted users can only view most data.

Think carefully about who should have which permissions. Giving everyone full ownership could be disastrous -- you don’t want someone to accidentally change an important setting. Try to give your team members just as much authority as they need and no further.

Do you need a site map?

A site map isn’t necessary to show up in Google search results. As long as your site is organized correctly (meaning pages are logically linked to each other) , Google says its web crawlers will normally find most of your pages.

But there are four situations a site map will improve your site’s crawlability:

1.It’s really big. The more pages you have, the easier it is for Googlebot to miss any changes or additions.

2.It has lots of “isolated” pages. Any page that has few inbound links from other pages is harder for a web crawler to discover.

3.It’s new. Newer sites have few backlinks (links from other sites) making them less discoverable.

4.It uses rich media content and/or shows up in Google News. In these cases, your sitemap makes it easier for Google to format and display your site in search.

Once you’ve built your site map, submit it using the GSC site maps tool.

GSC site maps report

After Google has processed and indexed your site map, it will appear in the Site maps report. You’ll be able to see when Google last read your site map and how many URLs it’s indexed.

GSC dimensions & metrics

There are a few terms you should understand before using GSC.

What’s a Google Search Console query?

This is a search term that generated impressions of your site page on a Google SERP. You can only find query data in Search Console, not Google Analytics.

What’s an impression?

Each time a link URL appears in a search result, it generates an impression. The user doesn’t have to scroll down to see your search result for the impression to count.

What’s a click?

When the user selects a link that takes them outside of Google Search, that counts as one click. If the user clicks a link, hits the back button, then clicks the same link again -- still one click. If then, they click a different link -- that’s two clicks.

When a user clicks a link within Google Search that runs a new query, that’s not counted as a click.

Also, this doesn’t include paid Google results.

What’s CTR?

CTR, or click-through rate, is equal to Clicks divided by Impressions, multiplied by 100. If our post shows up in 20 searches, and generates 10 clicks, our CTR would be 50%.