How Do I Use Google Search Console 2022?
An introduction to using the new google search console
How do I use the new Google Search Console? If you are looking for a way to make your blog stand out among billions of internet pages? In the online world, the key strategy for pushing traffic towards your site is employing search engine optimization (SEO) tools and techniques.
One of the most convenient and often underlooked SEO weapons is the Google Search Console (GSC). This toolkit is powerful enough to make your blogs attractive so that the public can easily find them in search engine result pages (SERPs) and access them.
In this article, we will tackle step-by-step how you can start using GSC and use it to your advantage. Are you excited? Read on.
How do I use the new Google Search Console?
What is GSC and how can it help you?
Before diving into the process, let’s take a moment to define GSC. GSC is an SEO tool created by Google to help you understand better how well your website performs on Google Search. The best part? It’s free!
Inside GSC are performance reports and tweakable tools that can further improve your site’s appearance on search, drawing in more searchers towards it.
In technical terms, you will gain useful information on how Google crawls and indexes your website. Once you have identified and removed the indexing obstacles such as errors, you can optimize search performance.
What is crawling and indexing?
As you might have read earlier, the terms crawling and indexing might not be super common, so let’s define them. Crawling is the activity that a crawler (in this case, Google Bot) does, wherein it looks and reads your web page. It does not necessarily mean, however, that your page is already indexed.
When your page shows up in the search results, it means that it has been indexed. Indexing, therefore, means that Google has officially recognized
your page and ranked it on its search results. With this, you can say that not every crawled page is indexed, but every indexed page has already been crawled.
So, without further ado, let me guide you on how you can start working with GSC.
Step 1: Create a GSC account and verify your site
If you are new to GSC, you have to create an account here...Take note that you’re using your business account if it’s a business site.
Afterward, you need to introduce your site to GSC by adding and verifying it. This allows GSC to validate your identity as the webmaster, owner, or authorized user. Google wants to make sure that the information it extracts will only be given to the rightful hands.
To add your site via GSC, just log in to your account. After logging in, click the “Search property” field at the top left portion and select “Add property” to input your website.
You have two options on how to insert your website: through Domain or URL prefix option. For the Domain option, simply type in the domain name, while for the URL prefix option, you have to carefully encode the accurate URL, whether it has ‘HTTPS:// or ‘www’.
After adding your website, GSC will verify your ownership. Selecting the Domain option requires DNS verification but if you choose the URL prefix option, you can take advantage of multiple verification methods.
Verifying thru the URL prefix option requires any of the following:
HTML File Upload
Just download the HMTL file that GSC provides and upload it to your website so that GSC can verify it later.
If you are a WordPress user with Yoast SEO, you can verify through the HTML tag option. Copy the code and paste it into the tab of Webmaster tools.
Google Analytics (GA)
For this option, copy the GA tracking code that your site is using. Take note though, that you will need the “edit” permission to proceed.
Google Tag Manager (GTM)
Copy the GTM snipped code of your site.
After uploading the HMTL file or copying the HTML code, return to GSC and press the ‘Verify’ button to confirm. You will get a confirmation message telling you that the verification was successful.
Step 2: Check your website’s indexability
Index Coverage Tab
Another valuable report in GSC is the Index Coverage report. It is more detailed and technical, but it will give you information on how many pages you have that have been indexed by Google, as well as salient errors encountered during the indexing process.
To do this, go to Index Coverage under the Overview section and make sure that the following parameters are selected: Error, Valid with warnings, Valid, and Excluded.
Take note of the following:
If your content is fresh (e.g., new blog posts, new site pages, etc.), there should be an increasing trend of your indexed pages.
If there are abrupt drops, Google is finding it hard to access your website.
If you have already resolved the errors, the population of your indexed pages must increase.
URL Inspection Tool
The URL Inspection Tool diagnoses SEO problems by giving you insights into the information Google has about your URL’s indexability and discoverability. By submitting individual pages, GSC can simulate how Google crawled it and what happened to it when it was crawled. If there are errors noted, it means Google was not able to crawl the page correctly.
How to request Google for indexing
A very important step for getting your new blog posts indexed in Google do this right away as soon as you hit publish.
Through the URL Inspection Tool, you can request Google to index a new URL, or if there are revisions to an indexed page. If there are no errors when running your live URL, Google will add to its crawl queue.
To do this, input your website’s domain in the search bar, including its full URL. Click ‘Request Indexing’, and you’re good to go!
A great method to check if your site pages and posts are being indexed by Google. Type this URL into google search bar site://your-domain-name.com press enter, all the pages and posts should show up if they are being indexed correctly.
Step 3: Check your mobility usage
In 2019, the growth of mobile internet usage has reached a stunning 53 percent versus desktop usage. With this data, it’s critical to ensure that your page doesn’t encounter errors when viewed on mobile devices.
If your mobile page is not user-friendly, visitors tend to leave immediately, and won’t have the chance to look at your blogs.
From your dashboard, click Mobile Usability and select Error. Scroll down and check for any issues affecting mobility performance. You can double-click any error to see what URLs are being affected by it.
Step 4: Add a sitemap
Functioning like roadmaps, sitemaps will lead searchers to all the essential pages inside your website. If you want your blogs to be easily discoverable by search engines, then you should not forget to create a sitemap for your site. This is most especially applicable if your website is large, contains sizable multi-media content, or just new and doesn’t have many backlinks.
To submit a sitemap in GSC, you can do the following:
Search your sitemap through your live site.
Find the correct location of your property in GSC.
Under the “Index” section, visit “Sitemaps”.
Get rid of obsolete sitemaps that you have submitted previously if any.
Add your new sitemap URL through “Add a new sitemap” then click submit.
Wait for Google’s verification that the sitemap has been found and read. Be patient as it could take a while before your sitemap is successfully crawled.
Your site map should look like the URL below
Add this to the end of your domain name: sitemap_index.xml
Other important considerations when adding sitemaps:
Make sure to use only one URL for every page in your map. Using multiple URLs per page will disturb Google’s capability in indexing your site.
Only include URLs with the 200 status code, and do not include those that are redirected, with 404 status, and non-static.
If the protocol (HTTP://) and the subdomain (www) exist on your site, always include them in the sitemap.
Place your sitemap at the root of the site so it will affect the whole site.
Step 5: Analyze your website’s performance via GSC
Once GSC has successfully verified your website and analyzed it, it’s time to take a closer look at the reports and information extracted by GSC.
Inside the performance tab, you will see your website’s rank in Google as far as pages and searched keywords are concerned, up to 16 months of previous data. Checking the performance tab regularly will let you know what specific pages or keywords need optimizing. Under this tab, you will see the following sections: queries, pages, countries, and devices.
You can sort each of these sections according to the four metrics below:
A click qualifies if a searcher clicks on your website’s URL and you are taken to a new page outside Google Search. The number of clicks speaks of how frequently people click the URL of your website in the Google search results. This tells you if your page titles and meta description perform well or not.
Whenever your URL appears on the first page of Google Search during a search, it is counted as an impression. Whether the searcher views the URL or not, it is still an impression. However, if the URL appears on pages 2 and above, it won’t count as an impression not unless the searcher clicks on it.
CTR or click-through rate tells you the portion of the people who have seen your URL in the search results, who also actually clicked that URL linked to your website. You should consider writing page titles and meta descriptions that are very appealing. To calculate CTR, just divide the number of clicks by the impression.
Last but not the least, this metric tells you the average numerical rank of your website’s URL in a top-to-bottom fashion, in a given period.
Under the Enhancement tab, you will find the necessary information and instruments to enhance your site’s performance in terms of speed, mobility usage, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) usage, and other improvement tools.
Step 6: Check other GSC reports
As a final checking, you can visit the following reports in GSC:
Security Issues Report
Let Google determine if there are security issues with your website such as hacking, phishing attacks, or any malware occurrence. For sites plagued with security issues, GSC will issue warning labels when a user visits them.
Security issues can be categorized as follows:
This refers to any form of content placed inside your website without your approval, which has occurred because of your website’s weak security. If this is the case, Google will exert every effort to keep your hacked site away from searchers. Hacking examples include injected content, added content, hidden content, and redirect.
Malware and unwanted software
This refers to any software intended to harm devices or users. Malware is either installed by the site owner or hacker. If GSC detects that your website is hosting any unwanted software that negatively affects user experience, it will also affect the indexability of your site.
Social engineering refers to any content that deceptively lures visitors into doing dangerous activities like asking them to reveal confidential information like phone numbers, credit cards, and passwords.
If your site contains security issues, these will appear at the top portion of the report. If there are none, you will see a message saying so and a green checkmark.
Below are the possible issues you might encounter:
Hacked: Code injection
Hacked: Content injection
Hacked: URL injection
Deceptive embedded resources
Links to harmful downloads
Unclear mobile billing
To remove the security issues you encountered, you can do either of the following:
Use URL Inspection Tool so you can view your site the way Google views it.
Lastly, you can cap it off with this report by ensuring your website is compliant with webmaster quality guidelines If you use any wrongful SEO practices, Google will enforce manual action for your website.
Google search console is an indispensable tool for website owners or bloggers who aspire to attract more visitors to their content. Once you have verified your site and got rid of all the unwanted errors, all you have to do is monitor it through GSC from time to time.