Google Search Console used to be known as Google Webmaster Tools. And it’s a free platform from Google, where you can see how Google views your site and ranks it in organic search results.
It’s a really underutilised tool by small business owners, as most don’t even know it exists, or how to use it. In this blog I will share how to get started on GSC, and the main sections to keep an eye on for your website.
Adding your website to GSC
To add your website to Google Search Console:
- Login to your Google business account. This is the account that you use to login to your business email, Google Analytics, Google Ads etc.
- Go to Google Search Console.
- Click on Start now.
- Click Add Property – choose website from drop down menu – continue.
- Add your URL exactly as it appears e.g. https://www.vivacitymarketing.com.au/
- Select how you will verify your site. I recommend your Google Analytics tracking code.
- You will need to copy and paste your Google Analytics code when prompted.
1 – Overview & Coverage
So once you have your website submitted to GSC, you can then login to your dashboard and the first tab in the navigation down the left hand side is Overview.
And on the right hand side you will see two graphs on top of each other:
- Performance – if you click on “Open report” it will take you through to your website performance on Google, which includes your clicks, impressions and click through rate.
- Coverage – this chart tells you if you have any errors on your website pages, and what the error is. If you find errors in this section then send it through to your web developer to fix them. So just click on “Open report” and send that to you web developer.
2 – Performance –Queries & Pages
Under the performance section, above the graphs you will see an area where you can select:
- Search type – you can select web, image or video. Its default setting is web.
- Date – select the time period you would like to review, 7 days, 28 days, 3 months, 12 months etc.
Once you have selected your date range, the chart will show you:
- Total Impressions – Each time your website URL appears in Google search results that’s an impression.
- Total Clicks – A click is when a user clicks on a link from your website to leave Google search results.
- Average Click Through Rate = Clicks/Impressions X 100. You want this to increase over time.
- Average position on Google – The ranking of your website for a particular search query.
If you scroll down underneath the performance chart, you will see a variety of tabs that you can click on:
- Queries – This shows you the types of keywords and phrases that Google users are searching for to find your website. This is a great place to look for topic ideas and keyword ideas for your blogs and website pages.
- Pages – This shows the most visited content and pages on your website. This is a great place to look for ideas for eBooks, or for blogs to re-purpose to update and use again.
- Countries – This will indicate what countries your website is being visited from.
- Devices – This splits your traffic into desktop, mobile and tablet devices. This is key information to know, as your content and website will need to be optimised to display well on each type of device.
- Search Appearance – video or web searches.
3 – Coverage
In this section you can enter your URL and check if your website is live on Google yet. This is important if you have a brand new website that you have just launched. It can take up to two weeks for Google to index your new website. You can also do this for new services that you add to your website.
4 – Links
Under this section in your Google Search Console you will be able to view:
- Top linked pages – external links and internal links
- Top linking sites
- Top linking text.
This is a great section to keep an eye on if you are guest blogging, and building your website links that way.
5 – Sitemaps
A sitemap is not always necessary for Google to find you, but I recommend if you are a new site that you build a sitemap and submit to Google.
Under the sitemaps section is where you need to update your sitemap as you add new pages to your website, and new blogs etc. By submitting your sitemap under this section Google will know to index the new pages on your website from your updated sitemap.
So there you have it, how to get started on Google Search Console, and the main section in GSC to look at to stay on top of your website listing in Google search results.
If you need assistance with SEO for your website get in touch, we’d love to help.