If you have just launched a new website, you are at the beginning of your online adventure. That’s really exciting! Now it’s time to take control over your website’s progress! The very first step to take is to create a Google Search Console account, previously known as Google Webmasters Tools.
What is Google Search Console?
This completely free toolset offered by Google has been designed for any kind of webmasters, business owners, marketers and publishers to help with some of the SEO basics like getting found on the web and monitoring your website’s search traffic data.
Despite it not being obligatory, it is definitely worth using! This valuable collection of tools and resources reveals worthy, detailed information about your website which can’t be found anywhere else:
1) Google Search Console notifies you immediately about site errors, broken pages and any issues concerning site indexing.
2) It allows you to get messages straight from Google about your website’s condition, quickly detects any security issues like hacking and notifies you if your site has been penalized.
3) Additionally, one of the most important things you can do is submit a sitemap and robot txt. within Google Search Console panel to make sure that your website is being correctly indexed.
4) If there are any major changes to a website you can easily update indexing by submitting particular pages manually to Google Search Console. It is the quickest way to make your updates appear in search results.
On the left menu, select the “Crawl” section first and then “Fetch as Google”.
Insert the URL link of a particular page that needs to be updated. Then click the red “Fetch and Render” button:
After a few minutes the render request is almost complete. All you need to do is submit it to index.
Voila! Wait for the process to fully finalize and you’re done! :-)
5) Moreover, Google Search Console provides you with a unique opportunity to discover how the world sees and interacts with your site. You can learn about important search traffic data such as:
- Which queries bring the most traffic to your site.
- Which keywords enable your site to appear in search results.
- The average search results rankings for most clicked keywords.
- Sites which are linking to your website.
- Mobile usability issues.
This is only a small part of what data Google Search Console can provide you with for understanding your website’s performance more clearly, conducting various marketing analyses and making right, data-driven decisions.
What’s the difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console?
On the surface, Google Analytics may seem quite similar to Google Search Console, but the truth is that their approach to the information varies greatly.
While Google Analytics supplies you with a detailed insight into your traffic flow, traffic volume and focuses on users who are actually visiting your website, Google Search Console provides more internal information and search traffic data. It is best to combine these two tools within the Google Search Console settings for improved integrity.
Why Was Google Webmasters Tools Rebranded?
The previous name of the tool, Google Webmasters Tools, inaccurately suggested that it was directed mainly for webmasters. The fact is that Google wants anyone who owns a website to use their resource. Therefore, in May 2015, Google renamed the tool to Google Search Console in order to make it more inclusive and encourage other, diverse users to take advantage of it.
Additionally, a new logo was created:
How To Set Up Google Search Console?
It is a pretty simple and quick process. All you need to do is access your Gmail or Google+ account (if you don’t have it yet, you must set it up), sign in and go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/. Then, type in your website’s domain, add the property, and you are almost ready to start!
I say “almost” because the next essential step is to confirm that the particular website belongs to you. There are four different verification methods available. Go for the one which suits you best! View them all under the “Alternate Methods” tab:
As you can see on the screen above, the first method is
#1 HTML Tag:
Choose this method if you are experienced with HTML and can easily access your website’s HTML code. Then just copy the given meta tag, view the site’s source code and paste it into your site’s homepage code. It should go in the section, before the first section. That’s it – mission completed!
#2 Domain name provider:
The second option is to verify with your domain provider by selecting the company where you registered your domain name. Select it from the list and follow Google’s instructions. They usually vary according to the particular hosting provider. If the company name is not included in the list, then select “Other” and follow the given instructions. Then, click the verify button. This is the best option for large websites.
#3. Google Analytics:
Already using Google Analytics? Then this would be the prefered and easiest way of verification for you. All you have to do is choose this option and click the verify button!
However, make sure that the GA script is correctly placed within the head section on your homepage. If the script is not located there, Google Search Console won’t work until it has been moved. Pro-tip: If you opt for this method, remember that removing the GA script from your website’s code will disturb the verification process.
#4. Google Tag Manager:
The last method is to verify via Google Tag Manager. It is also as simple as by GA, so if you decide to use it, just choose the last option and click to verify. Plus, remember that once the Google Tag Manager script is removed from your homepage’s code, access to Google Search Console will be denied.
Now the verification process is behind us. You are now ready to login and start using Google Search Console!
Of course, at the beginning there will be no important data displayed because the tool doesn’t work backwards and it needs to be collected first.
The practical use of Google Search Console
Although it can’t replace any SEO Software like Positionly, which is one of the best tools to monitor your daily keywords changes, Google Search Console may become useful for planning your SEO strategy. Search Analysis shows which queries bring you the most traffic and impressions. This is a clear indicator of what keywords have the highest potential and which you should promote in the first place.
Moreover, use Google Search Console to analyze your online brand signals and credibility.
Go to the “Search Traffic” section on the left side of the screen and choose “Search Analytics”. Check clicks, impressions, CTR, and position, and look at your results. Signs of good brand signals are:
- A branded search volume; the more the better.
- A high keywords position. Ranking high (the best in the top three) for branded queries is always a good sign. You should be on the first page, at least.
- A healthy number of impressions.
- A CTR at 30% and more.
Now you know what Google Search Console is, how to get started, what information it supplies you with and which areas it can be applied to. Fortunately, it is really easy to handle. However, I advise you to check it on a daily basis because you’ll be able to spot any issues on your website quickly and react in time.
P.S. Do you use Google Search Console daily? How do you use it to support your SEO activities?