Google search console is a set of free tools offered by Google; which show us “How Google See Our Website”. Google Search Console help us to communicate with Google to maintain and improve our online presence.
It’s not important that to have a Google Search Console account but it’s mandatory to have one; if you want your website to rank higher in search results. This Google Search Console Guide will definitely help you to master this tool.
Google search console tool let you help with
- Set crawl rate
- Demote Sitelinks
- Write and check robots.txt
- Set a preferred domain
- Submit and test XML sitemaps
- Identify inbound links
- Identify internal links
- Blocked pages
- Notify about manual penalties
- Identify keywords for which our site get appeared and clicked
- Click through rate (CTR)
- Hacker attacks
- Create structured data
- Rich cards
- Highlight data
- Notify about HTML errors
- & many more things.
“O M G” Brain get freeze? How a single tool can do this? Is it Superman kind of thing?Before we start revealing super powers of our super tool, let’s start from how to add and define ownership of a website/property.
Add Property (Defining ownership)
When you open Google search console; you will see a red button with “ADD A PROPERTY”. After clicking it a window will popped up. Just enter proper URL of your website (copy it from browser address bar and paste it).Then click on ADD.
You will see a verification tab showing recommended and alternate method to define ownership of your site. Use recommended method. Download the HTML code, place it in the header section of your website. Then hit Verify.
Before verification you can confirm your upload by clicking on link into browser provided on verification tab. You can also verify your ownership by adding HTML Meta tag or Google Analytics Code into your header.
You can also use Google Tag Manager or Domain Name Provider account. After verification your site will appear on Home page of Google Search Console.
You will see options such as Messages, Search traffic, Search appearance, Google index, Crawl, Security issues, Web tools, Current status, New and important, Setting (Gear Icon) and Help.
Help (The 911)
If you feel lost, while using Google Search Console, then click on HELP. Ask any problem that you have. Google will help you quickly.
Setting (Gear Icon)
The workshop of your website. When you hit gear icon you will see options like
- Search console preference
This option let you decide whether you want Google notifications via email or not.
- Site Settings
You can set your preferred domain here. Which version of your website www or non-www you want to Index and Display in Search Result. You can also set crawling frequency of Googlebot for your website. Choose “Let Google optimize for my site”.
- Change of address
If you have new address and want to divert all your traffic to new site by using 301 redirection; then this option will help you.
- Google analytics property
If you want display you’re Search Console Data into Google analytics then you can use this option.
- Users and property owners (partners and partners.com)
In this section you will see owners and users of property. Only user can add users and he can decide whom to give full and restricted access of a property.
Full permission users can do everything. But they don’t have permission to add users, link Google Analytics ¬ify Google about changed address. Restricted users have limited viewing and action taking capabilities.
- Verification details (God is looking down)
Here you can see all users with their own URL’s; how they get verified. You can also see their unsuccessful attempts. If you are owner of website then you can remove a user from here.
This is another Google platform. If you permit association then they will get capabilities to specify your site with their associate.
Don’t neglect them. If they beeped continuously, then we have to do surgery on site. Main part of communication between Google and you. This option displays all the messages sent by Google.
Google will send you message if there is increase in 404 errors, crawling issues, malware issues or get attacked by hacker.
Search Appearance (The silver screening of your website)
This whole section is dedicated to improve your site’s visibility in search appearance. If you use this function properly then; it will help your site to get stardom in search industry.
- Structured data
Structured data is set of tags such as name, image, address, url, email, opening time, etc. which helps search engines to understand a website content more effectively.
Structured data also helps search engines to provide best search results possible at time. It also help webmasters to improve their visibility in search results. It also shows errors of structured data that found during crawling.
- Rich cards
This is new way to display search results. Rich cards uses structured data to display content in more engaging manner such as images, videos, ratings.
- Data highlighter
This is new way to highlight data. This helps you to tag data such as reviews, events, pages directly with your search results. No need to add codes in your website. Just highlight with pointer then hit publish.
- HTML improvements
It displays errors in Meta tags. Such as duplicate title, duplicate description, too long tittle, etc. It also inform you about non-indexible content.
Sitelinks are the most popular links of your website. These links appear under the homepage of website on search results. Google cant understands which links/subcategories you want to highlight. If there is a sitelink that you don’t want to display on search results; then you can use demote function to remove a sitelink from search results.
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
AMP is Google’s new project especially for mobile search results. Google launches AMP to compete with Facebook’s Instant Articles.
AMP helps to boost loading speed of a webpage even with slow net speed. AMP section display errors found during crawling. It also displays pages which are capable to become AMP.
Search traffic (The 3rd eye)
This section helps you to get information about search traffic, their sources, backlinks, etc.
- Search analytics
Here is postmortem of your website. This part shows how many clicks, impressions, click through rate (CTR), position your webpages get between certain period of time according to queries for which your site gets appeared, which pages get appeared mostly, in which country, on which devices under which search type.
- Links to your website (Wanna stay clean? follow me!)
Links are the veins of a website. You have to maintain them clean and healthy. This section gives you information about your backlinks; their sources; who create backlinks and their numbers.
If unhealthy fat (backlinks from low PA, DA and banned sites) starts saturating in your veins ‘Sudden death’. Then our almighty (Google) god will not help you in death (penalties).
- Internal links
This part shows chart of internal links of your website, targeted pages and number of internal links created for them. You have to create good internal linking first.
- Manual actions (Busted!)
The penalties to your website will be displayed here if there is any. The reason behind them will also displayed along with penalties.
So apply for parole (start removing threats); before getting life statement (ban). Maintain cleanliness of here as long as possible to stay free and relaxed.
- International targeting
If you want to target peoples in specific countries, with specific languages; then this section will help you with it. But first, you to insert a code in the backend of your website to get detailed info about your targeted audiences.
- Mobile usability
This section help you get all the information of your website according to mobile friendliness of your website. This section shows how many webpages of your website are not mobile friendly.
This will also display errors that caused them mobile unfriendly such as small font size, text too small to read, clickable elements are too close, etc.
This section of search console shows all indexing related information of all webpages of a website. You can also see how many of your URL’s are indexed and their keywords which help them to appear. Under this section you can remove URL’s that you don’t want to index.
- Index status
This section shows you how many of URL’s are indexed by Google in graphical format. If graph goes down; “Get ready pal!” you have some serious issues.
- Content keywords
The cause of appearance of your webpages on search results. This part shows us list of keywords for which your site gets appeared on search results as well as their number of impressions.
- Blocked resource (Do not enter part for Google)
This block section shows you specific pages that are blocked by you for Google using robots.txt. You can also check and solve block related issues here.
- Remove URL’s (You are fired!)
If you want to remove an URL which is already indexed by Google; then use remove url function to remove them with immediate effect. This will cost you two to twelve hours. Before firing your URL, first redirect it towards another webpage or delete it. No clues bro!
Use this function only in case of 911 kinda situation. You can also remove whole directory.
Made mistake? Fired unwanted URL? Or are you feeling guilty? Then you can cancel your remove request at any time! Now you can say sorry.
Before get ranked; you need to be get crawled by Google crawler also known as Googlebot. You can get all data related to crawling of your website in this section.
- Crawl errors
Crawl errors shows all crawling related issues of your website encountered by Googlebot while crawling. This shows us errors such as 404/page not found error, site errors, URL errors, server errors of your website.
“I want solution not problems!” Ok boss, Google will show you a way how to remove these errors. Check this report regularly.
- Crawl stats
I want numbers! This report is for you. It shows us how many of your URL gets crawled by Google over 90 days. Also, it shows us URL’s downloads per day in KB’s and time spent on downloading them. If you see continuous drop in any of these charts; start diagnosing.
- Fetch as Google
You made recent changes to your website; and need Google to know about it in speedy way? Use this option to notify Google about recent changes manually. Just enter an URL you want to index. Two options are provided.
If you ‘Fetch’ it. Google will run a doctored crawling to any network or security related issues. ‘Fetch and Render’ do the same, but it also show how your page look on mobile or on desktop.
After indexing, you will see “Submit to Index” button. You have to choose either “Crawl Only This URL” if you want to submit specific URL or “Crawl This URL and its Direct Links” if you want to index whole site. Your changes will appear within few days.
- TXT tester
This shows you all the webpages that you blocked for Googlebot using robots.txt file. But robots.txt don’t give you a 100% surety for blocking Googlebot for specific pages.
If you want to cross check that which pages robots.txt is allowing or disallowing for Googlebot to crawl simply enter url of a webpage in the urlbar provided at bottom of this page, then hit check.
- Sitemaps (The lighthouse)
If you haven’t already added it then hit ADD/TEST to add a sitemap. If you already submitted; then hit ADD/TEST to test your sitemaps.
This tab will also show you all your sitemaps related information such as how many you submitted, how many gets indexed. It also shows all webpages that you indexed and get submitted to Google.
- URL parameters
If you have detailed info about this then enter. Entry for ‘rookies’ are banned. You can use URL parameter to tell Google distinguish between pages aimed towards different countries.
This will help you to instruct Google to crawl which version of your URL and prevent Google from crawling duplicate content.
Although Google will notify you about all the security related issues such as hacking, malware as soon as possible. But this section will give you detailed information about security issues in detailed manner.
Here you can access other Google’s tools that will help you to improve visibility of your website. Google provides tools such as; Google My Business, Google merchant Centre, Page speed insights, Custom search, Google Domains, Webmaster academy, structured data testing tool, structured data markup helper, Email markup helper, etc.
Google search console gives huge amount of powers to webmasters. But you know “With Great power comes great responsibility.” Handle it carefully it will give you results “To the infinity and beyond!”