Google Search Console is a free and powerful tool that provides valuable insights about your website. But most people don’t know how to make the most out of it and they use it just to find out about organic clicks and impressions.
Do you want to know about the Google Search Console in-depth? In this article, we will discuss everything about the Google Search Console so you can use it effectively to generate valuable reports on your website.
What is a Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (previously called Google Webmaster Tools) is free of cost tool provided by Google. It helps you in monitoring the performance of your website and solve any issues that are causing hindrance to the appearance of your website in top search results. You can use this tool efficiently to find underperforming keywords, fix site map issues, review backlinks, find pages with few internal links, and much more.
How to Set Up a Google Search Console
Don’t know how to set up a Google Search Console? Here’s how you can do it.
- Sign-in to the Google Search Console with your Google account.
- Now you will see a page with two options, select and enter your domain or subdomain in URL prefix option
- Now click on ‘Continue’
- Choose verification method
Below are all the verification methods.
What is Verification of Site Ownership?
Verification is a method that proves that you own a property. The reason why the search console emphasises verification is that it allows access to sensitive Google search data only to verified owners. Verification builds a strong connection between your website and Google for information exchange.
Once the search console has verified your site ownership, it checks your verification token from time to time to see if it is still valid.
What are the Verification Methods of Site Ownership?
Different verification methods are supported by the Google Search Console so find out the one that works best for you.
- HTML file upload
- HTML tag
- Google Analytics tracking code
- Google Tag Manager
- Google sites, Blogger, or domain account
- Domain name provider
How to Verify Your Domain in the Search Console
Once you have signed in, the next step is to verify your ownership. This step will differ based on the property type you added.
- Domain property
- URL prefix property
Verification Using a Meta Tag
Here is how you can verify your HTML meta tag in the Google console.
Go to the template manager on the control panel or in the extensions drop down. Now click on the templates file, select details and files link. Go to the homepage of the Google Search Console and retrieve your HTML meta tag code. Select and copy the HTML code. Paste this HTML meta tag in the header section just before the body tag. Now go back to the Google Search Console and click on verify.
Verification Using Google Analytics
Google Analytics tracking food helps in determining your website traffic. Here is how you can verify it in your search console property.
Open the search console using your Google account that has access to Google Analytics. Carefully read the requirements for verification. Now select Google Analytics on the verification details page and click verify.
To avoid any errors, make sure that the tracking code is in the <head> section of your page. Use that exact provided code and do not modify it otherwise your verification will fail.
Verification Using a Tag Manager
If you want to verify ownership using a Google manager tag then you should follow these steps:
Open your search console account that has access to Google Tag Manager. Now read the requirements for the verification. Select Google Tag Manager on the verification details page and follow the given instructions.
Make sure to place the bag in the correct location i.e., the <non-script> Portion of the tag manager could be placed after <body> of your page. If it is not placed correctly, Google might not verify your tag manager.
Verification for a Domain Property
To verify your domain property, click the instructions drop down and find out if your domain is registered with the list provided. If you find your domain in the list, select it and click on the ‘Start verification’ Button. Sign in to your registrar account and follow their instructions.
If you don’t find your domain in the drop-down list then select ‘any DNS provider.’ No sign in to your account with your domain provider, choose your domain and find out the option to manage your DNS. Select the option to add a TXT record, based on the report from the search console, and save it.
Now go to the search console and click verify. The verification can take up to two minutes to complete.
What are the common Errors start to arise during the verification process?Following verification errors are likely to arise during the verification methods:
- Incorrect tag/snippet
- The connection to your server runs out of time
- Error in uploading website domain name
- Invalid server response
- Unable to connect to the server
- Internal error
- Time out
- Invalid to domain
How to Use Google Search Console to Improve Your SEOGoogle Search Console can work effectively to improve your SEO. Here's how:
Find Underperforming Keywords
Underperforming keywords don’t get you ranked in top search positions. And if you rank lower in the search engine, you might miss out on tons of traffic. According to a study, if you are ranking in the eighth position, only 1.8% of users will click on your link. To boost your organic traffic, you must work on your underperforming keywords. You can find your underperforming keywords in the Google Search Console’s Performance Report.
Optimise page with high keyword rankings, but low CTR
Most people believe that page ranking #1 gets about 20-30% of the clicks. There is no hard and fast rule as some pages perform better than average while others don’t perform well at all.
You must analyse your worst-performing pages before you start optimising them. For this purpose, go to the ‘Search result’ report of the Google Search Console, toggle the average CTR and position data Then filter the average ranking keywords. Try to look for keywords with greater impressions but lower than average CTR.
Note: Be careful with your selection of keywords as not all keywords present a good opportunity.
The backlink is an important ranking factor that indicates the authoritativeness of your website. Google states that there is a direct relationship between organic traffic and backlinks. So, it means that if you want more organic traffic to your website then we need to work on getting more quality backlinks. But the question is what type of content will get you more backlinks? For this purpose, you should look out for the content you have already posted on your website.
Go to the Google Search Console, click on the ‘Links’ report, then click ‘More’ on the ‘Top linked pages’ reports which are mentioned under the ‘external links’ subheader. Now sort the reports in descending order to find out which of your pages have the high-quality backlinks and look for patterns to optimise the rest of your pages to get backlinks.
Find Pages that Need More Internal Links
Let’s suppose you are posting a recipe for chocolate cake on your website.
If you already have a blog post about how to make chocolate cake frosting, then you can add the internal link to this blog post to your new blog. The benefit of adding internal links is:
- Your page will get indexed quickly
- It might appear in higher search results
Google Search Console will generate a complete report about your web pages with few internal links. Go to the search console and click ‘more’ under the ‘top linked pages’ report under the ‘internal links’ subheader. Now sort the report in ascending order to see forgotten pages.
The pages on your website that don’t have internal links will never bring much traffic to your website so it is better to delete them. If pages with few internal links are bringing traffic to your website or are worth keeping then it is better to add more relevant internal links to them or to update their content.
If your sitemap has some issues, then it will confuse Google search crawlers and they might index the wrong URLs in some cases. Google Search Console will help you in finding out the issues with your submitted site maps. Go to the ‘Sitemaps’ report, click on the icon next to the sitemap, and now click the ‘see index coverage’ button. You will now see a report showing a number of issues, warnings, valid URLs, and excluded URLs.
Compare Organic Traffic Reports
Web page rankings tend to drop with time, and you might not get the same traffic after days or months. So how can you find the pages with diminishing organic traffic? Open Google Search Console, go to ‘search results’ report, and set a date range comparison to see the performance of your pages. A report will be generated showing the total number of clicks and impressions. Now click on ‘pages.’ sort the report in ascending order to find out the pages with the biggest traffic drops.
Note: To regain the traffic, you must update your content.
Google Search Console is a remarkable tool that generates complete insights about your website's performance. If you want to beat your competitors and want to optimise your website then you must develop a complete understanding of SEO Malaysia. The reports generated from this tool will Indicate your weak areas and help you in improving your SEO strategies.
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