Mastering Google Search Console: Essential Tips for Enhanced Website Visibility

Kunika Tyagi

She is an experienced and skilled English and Hindi Content writer with a passion for crafting compelling and is dedicated to delivering high-quality, SEO-optimized content that resonates with the target audience.

Highlights

91.54 % of the global search engine market is controlled by Google as of November 2023.

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In the dynamic realm of digital marketing, Google Search Console stands as a pillar of knowledge, empowering website owners and SEO professionals with invaluable insights to drive performance and maximize visibility in search results. This comprehensive guide delves into the depths of this powerful tool, illuminating its capabilities and strategies to unleash its full potential for website optimization.
Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a free service offered by Google that provides valuable insights into your website's performance in Google Search. It's like a dashboard, offering a multitude of data points and tools to help you understand how users discover your site, which keywords drive traffic, and where potential optimization opportunities lie.  It's an invaluable tool for website owners, SEO professionals, and developers who want to understand and improve how their sites perform in search.
 
  • 91.54 % of the global search engine market is controlled by Google as of November 2023.
  • In November 2023, Google had a 98.27% market share in India.
  • Approximately 99,000 search inquiries are processed by Google per second. This corresponds to 8.5 billion searches daily and approximately 2 trillion searches worldwide annually.
  • A survey conducted in 2023 among 4,032 Indian customers revealed that Google is the most popular search engine brand in the country. 


Why is Google Search Console (GSC) essential?

  • Visibility and Optimization: GSC provides valuable insights into your website's visibility on Google Search. You can see which search queries lead users to your site, their click-through rates (CTRs), and your website's overall ranking positions.

    Source: Safalta.com

    This data helps you identify areas for improvement, like optimizing content for high-traffic keywords or improving title tags for better click-through.

  • Technical Health: GSC identifies technical issues that can hinder your website's indexing and performance. It flags problems like crawling errors, server errors, and mobile-friendliness issues, allowing you to address them and ensure your website is accessible and crawlable by Google bots.

  • Security and Tracking: GSC keeps you informed about potential security threats like malware or hacking attempts. Additionally, you can submit sitemaps and track the indexing status of individual URLs, ensuring Google has the latest version of your content.
  • Competitor Analysis: GSC offers limited insights into how your competitors are performing for certain keywords. This can help identify gaps in your content strategy and opportunities for differentiation.

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What are the benefits and functions of using Google Search Console?

Here are some benefits and functions of using GSC:
  • There is no cost for Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools). 
  • Before May 20, 2015, Google Search Console was known as Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Google Search Console saves data for the previous 16 weeks. About 48 hours after the Search Console collects the data, it is accessible in Analytics and Search Console. 
  • Effective use of Google Search Console can result in up to 28% more organic traffic for your website.
  • Two ways of proving ownership are required to view data from the Google Search Console.
    • The two approaches are as follows: 
    • Checking the properties of a domain
    • Checking the prefix property of a URL
  • Your website can be added to Google Search Console in minutes.
  • There are 1,000 properties that you can have in your Search Console account.
    • Website property types
    • URL-prefix property
    • Domain property
  • Four indicators that are unique to Google Web Search are used in the Search Console reports in Analytics.
    • CTR 
    • Impressions,
    • Clicks
    • Average Position
  • Google uses its API to transmit the Search Console's data 2 days after the schedule.
  • There are 0 cookies used by Google Search Console.
  • A property in Google Search Console may have up to 100 owners or users.
  • Google Search Console shows the "actual number" of clicks on organic search results.
  • The "Google News Report" was added to Google Search Console's Performance section in January 2021. 
  • Google added a "Core Web Vitals Report" to Google Search Console in May 2020.
  • In September 2019, Google Search Console launched the "Breadcrumbs Report."
  • In April 2019, Google Search Console introduced the "Discover Report," which aims to give publishers further insights into how users find their content.
  • The GA data in Google Search Console Insights is limited to the last 28 days.
  • There are features in the Google Search Console of Coverage Report: excluded, valid,  errors, and warning.
  • Up to 1000 landing page URLs can be stored in Google Search Console.

 


What you can do with Google Search Console?

  • Check indexing status
  • Search queries
  • Crawling errors
  • Optimize visibility
  • View referring domains
  • Mobile site performance
  • Rich search results
  • Highest-traffic queries and pages


What are the key features of Google Search Console (GSC)?

  • Search Analytics: Get insights into which search queries lead users to your website, their average ranking position, click-through rates (CTRs), and impressions. This data is crucial for understanding user intent and optimizing content for relevant keywords.
  • Index Coverage: Monitor how Google crawls and indexes your website pages. Identify any pages that are blocked, missing, or experiencing indexing errors. This ensures your important content is visible in search results.
  • Mobile Usability: Assess how mobile-friendly your website is. Google prioritizes mobile-optimized websites in search results, so this tool helps you identify and fix any mobile-specific issues.
  • Security Issues: Receive alerts if Google detects potential security vulnerabilities on your website, like malware or hacking attempts. This proactive approach helps you protect your website and users' data.
  • Core Web Vitals: Analyze your website's loading speed, visual stability, and interactivity. These metrics are crucial for providing a good user experience, which Google considers when ranking websites.
  • Backlinks: Discover which websites link to your pages, giving you valuable insights into your website's authority and potential for organic growth.
  • URL Inspection Tool: Get detailed information about any specific URL on your website, including its crawl status, indexing status, and any potential issues. This tool helps you diagnose and fix problems affecting specific pages.
  • Messages & Alerts: Stay informed about important updates and issues related to your website through email notifications and the GSC interface.


How to get started with Google Search Console:

Setting Up Your Account
  • To harness the capabilities of Google Search Console, you first need to set up an account. If you already have a Google account, you can simply sign in and add your website to the console. Google provides step-by-step instructions, making the setup process user-friendly for both beginners and experienced users.

Verification Process
  • Verifying ownership of your website is a crucial step in gaining access to the wealth of data that GSC provides. Google offers multiple verification methods, including HTML file upload, HTML tag, DNS record, and Google Analytics tracking code. Choose the method that best suits your technical proficiency and website structure.

 

 

Also read: Monetize Your Website with Google AdSense: A Complete Guide for Beginner


How to optimize your website with Google Search Console?

Here are some ways to optimize your website with Google Search Console: 

  • Internal links: Go to Links, select More, and click the filter icon. Select the Target page, and enter the URL of the page you want to improve.
  • Monitor your CTR: Monitor your CTR over time and your average position over time. 
  • Identify your highest-traffic pages: Identify your highest-ranking pages and your lowest-ranking pages.
  •  Sitemaps tell Google where to find important content on your website, and how they can crawl that content. 
  • Use sitemaps: Submit a sitemap to Google via Search Console. 
  • Identify pages losing organic traffic: Look for pages and queries that have been losing organic traffic over time. 
  • Find pages that need more links: Identify pages that could use more links.
  • Identify underperforming keywords: Find keywords that rank high but have a low click-through rate.
  • Monitor performance: Monitor your site's performance. 
  • Track index coverage: Check whether web pages are properly indexed by Google crawlers. 
  • Check indexing: Ensure that Google is properly crawling and indexing your web pages. 
  • Confirm content relevance: Make sure Google understands the relevance of your content.

 

What are the advanced features and recent updates of Google Search Console?

Performance Report Enhancements
  • In recent updates, Google has introduced enhancements to the Performance report, providing more detailed data on search appearance and user behavior. This includes information on clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and average position. These refinements offer a deeper understanding of how users interact with your site in search results.

Page Experience Signals
  • Google's focus on delivering a positive user experience led to the introduction of Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor. GSC now includes a Page Experience report, which incorporates metrics such as loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. Monitoring and optimizing for these signals can positively impact your site's search rankings.

Security Issues and Manual Actions Updates
  • Google continuously improves its ability to detect and report security issues. The Security Issues report in GSC has been refined to provide clearer information about potential threats. Similarly, updates to the Manual Actions report offer more transparency regarding issues that may have triggered manual penalties, empowering website owners to address and rectify issues effectively.


What are the common challenges and troubleshooting tips with Google Search Console?
 

Network connectivity

  • Ensure you have a stable internet connection.

Browser issues
  • Clear your browser cache and cookies, disable browser extensions, or use incognito mode.
Authentication issues
  • Double-check the correct ownership verification method and make sure the appropriate permissions are granted.
Redirect errors
  • Create a redirection plan. This can include a spreadsheet that lists the original pages you want to redirect and their destination URLs.
Indexing issues
  • The Index Coverage report provides feedback on your site's crawling and indexing process. The reported issues are broken down into four statuses: Valid, Valid with warnings, Error, and Excluded.
Crawl issues
  • This indicates that there is a problem with Googlebot's ability to crawl your website. This can be caused by anything from a temporary outage to a coding error. You should contact your hosting provider to troubleshoot the issue if you see this message.
Alternate page with proper canonical tag
  • This indicates that the page has duplicate content and is currently pointing to the correct canonical page. There's nothing to do here unless you want to look for a way to consolidate both pages into one URL.
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Google Search Console reigns as an indispensable tool for website owners and SEO professionals. By effectively utilizing its comprehensive features and actionable insights, websites can achieve remarkable results in organic search performance, user experience, and overall online success. Embrace its power and witness a transformation in your website's visibility, traffic, and engagement.

What is Google Search Console (GSC)?

GSC is a free tool from Google that helps you understand how your website performs in search results. It shows you keywords people use to find your site, your ranking position, clicks, and more.

How do I add my website to GSC?

You can add your website to GSC by verifying ownership through various methods, like domain name verification, HTML tag verification, or uploading a verification file.

What does the Performance report show?

The Performance report shows your website's search visibility for specific keywords, including impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position.

How do I filter the Performance data?

You can filter the Performance data by date, country, device, search type (web, mobile, image), and more. This helps you analyze specific aspects of your search performance.

How do I check if my website is indexed by Google?

Use the URL Inspection tool in GSC to see if your page is indexed and identify any indexing issues.

How do I fix mobile usability issues?

GSC will provide details on the specific mobile usability issues found on your pages. You can then fix these issues on your website or use the Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to diagnose further.

How do I check for crawl errors in GSC?

The Coverage report in GSC shows any crawl errors encountered by Google when trying to access your pages.

What are manual actions and how do I fix them?

Google can take manual actions against your website if it finds content that violates their webmaster guidelines. Check the Security Issues report in GSC for any such issues and follow Google's instructions to resolve them.

How do I monitor website security using GSC?

GSC can alert you about potential security issues on your website, like hacked content or malware injection.

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