How to Use Google Search Console for SEO: A Complete Guide

How to Use Google Search Console for SEO: A Complete Guide

You can stay on top of your website’s performance with the Google Search Console.

Typically, an administrator will use the console to make sure that your website is healthy. Even if you have someone else managing your web presence, however, it’s a good idea to know your way around the Google Search Console.

For almost ten years, it was called Google Webmaster Tools. Eventually, Google branded its Webmaster suite as the Google Search Console.

Since then, Google has continued innovating the tool. Each year, the company provides new analytic and tracking capabilities via the console.

With the Google Search Console, you can know everything there is to know about your site’s SEO standing with Google. Here, you’ll learn the basics of the Google Search Console.

To learn more about how to use Google Search Console, continue reading.

Getting Started with the Overview Report

The Google Search Console Overview Report is the main dashboard of the tool. The Overview Report features three main information points.

It will provide you with a summary of your website’s performance. It will also provide you with a Coverage report.

Finally, you can view the Enhancement report to gauge the effectiveness of your URLs from the Google Search Console overview page. You can observe more detailed reporting on these metrics by drilling down deeper into the tool.

Using the URL Inspection Tool

The URL Inspection Tool is one of the most valuable resources in the Google Search Console. It enables you to see how many people viewed your website. It can also show you how Google renders your site.

Also, you may have published a new blog post or redesigned a webpage. If so, you can use the URL inspection tool to tell Google to crawl the page.

You can add a URL to the inspection tool using the search bar at the top of the Google Search Console. It will then provide you with a report.

Measuring Site Performance

You’ll find the Site Performance tool in the Performance section. There, you’ll see the same metrics that were in your overview report. However, you’ll have 16 months of data in this expanded view.

The Site Performance tool also gives you the ability to filter results. For example, you can limit data by:

• AMP pages
• Job posting
• News
• Non-rich AMP results
• Rich results

Again, Google continually updates the Search Console. Resultantly, you may soon find new filters available for this feature.

Reviewing Index Reports

Managing Index Reports issues can turn into a full-time job. You may want to find Index bloat. Alternatively, you may want to find problems with CSS.

You might even want to remove unwanted website URLs. You can accomplish these tasks with Index Reports.

The Google index report tells you how your content is performing in its search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s an important tool for managing your content.

The Google algorithm might ding you for anything from low organic traffic to thin content. If there’s a serious problem with your web assets, however, you can find it here.

Google Search Console Enhancements

Any day that you receive a “no errors” message from the Enhancements page is a good day.

You can do a lot with the Enhancements section of the Google Search Console. It will help you keep your structured data working properly. The Enhancements section will also tell you if your AMP pages are active.

AMP pages are content that you optimize for Google mobile viewers. This is very important, as Googlebot likes mobile-friendly content—a lot.

To get started with Enhancements, select the feature from the left menu bar. Now, you can view multiple reports about your site enhancements.

Checking Security Manual Actions

Here’s another area where you want to see “no issues detected.”

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for anyone who operates online. Google has responded to this environment.

Accordingly, it’s revised the Search Console to include Security Manual Actions. The Security Manual Actions section is where you’ll find notifications if you violate any of Google’s guidelines.

It’s pretty easy to steer clear of violating a lot of Google’s penalties. Most of them are quite abhorrent.

However, you can also incur Google penalties due to the actions of your users. For example, a Google manual security action violation might include user-generated spam.

If, somehow, you do violate a Google security guideline, you’ll need to submit a reconsideration request.

Reconsideration requests take time. There’s a lot of work involved in the process. They also require fast action.

Search Console Legacy Tool

There are some legacy tools that Google has yet to announce plans for replacement. Resultantly, the fate of these tools is currently in limbo. Still, here’s a quick look at a couple of tools now featured in the Legacy Tools Reports section.

If your website uses several languages or targets a specific region, you most likely use hreflang tags. The International Targeting tool helps you to identify errors with these tags.

Meanwhile, the Messaging section is one legacy tool that will most likely stay. It’s an email inbox for your Google Search Console.

The Legacy Tools Reports section also includes the URL Parameters tool. It’s a one-stop shop for managing crawl budget and duplicate content.

Console Links Reporting

Ideally, every website would only have high-quality links. For example, every link to your content would come from great sites like CNN, Entrepreneur and the New York Times. However, that’s most likely not the case.

It’s important to manage your backlinks. Fortunately, the Link Reporting tool shows you what’s linking to your content.

The Google algorithm changes constantly. Small oversights can lead to a severe drop in your domain authority with the next update. Accordingly, you’ll want to keep an eye on backlinks that you should disavow using the Link Reporting tool.

Managing Google Search Console Settings

Google makes it easy to change your online address with Search Console Settings. You can even use the feature to modify your 301 redirects. The Search Console Settings feature also allows you to enable or modify email notifications.

Meanwhile, the Crawl Stats section measures your crawl rate. This report tells you how often Google crawls your site.

The quicker the Googlebot can crawl your site, the better performance you should see. Conversely, you may have a problem with your site if you see a big dip or spike in Googlebot crawling activity.

A Closer Look At Google Console Associations

Again, Google Search Console evolves continually. One of the latest additions to the Search Console is Google Associations. You’ll also find this feature in the Search Console Settings section.

Luckily, Google thinks through its new features. For example, the company automatically carried over existing associations to the new Associations page.

As time passes, Google will provide more data through the Search Console and other services. As this takes place, website owners will have the ability to unlock more functionality for their sites.

For example, users may have the ability to view the organic performance of their Google Ads accounts. These kinds of associations give you a better view of your performance across different Google services.

The Future of Google Search Console

The Google Search Console is an essential tool for search engine optimization experts. As you can see, it can give you powerful insights into your digital assets. However, you may wonder what’s coming next.

Based on Google’s history, the company most likely has a lot more in store for the Search Console. Already, you can combine Google Analytics with Google Search Console Data.

More than likely, Google will deliver more insights from Core Web Vitals. They’ll also most likely provide more content reporting tools for publishers.

Building Your Digital Brand

If you’re not an SEO expert, managing your digital brand can prove dizzying—even with a great tool like Google Search Console. Many companies hire a digital marketing expert for this reason.

Likewise, you may have considered hiring a professional for the job. However, finding the right professional begins with understanding your goals and desired results. When you know what you want, you make it easier for a consultant to provide you with the right results.

Still, you’ll want to look for a digital marketing specialist with considerable experience. You’ll also want to look for an agency with a team of specialists in various digital marketing disciplines. This kind of expertise is essential for ensuring that a service provider can promote your brand successfully.

Your Partner in SEO Success

Now you know more about how to use Google Search Console. Hopefully, you’ve learned many important aspects about managing your digital presence.

If you’re ready to start taking advantage of digital opportunities, Hays Digital Marketing can help. We’ll help you to develop a plan for digital marketing success.

We can audit your site in less than an hour. More importantly, we can provide you with a complete website optimization solution. By taking advantage of our experience, you can successfully grow your business online.

Contact Hays Digital Marketing today at (888) 581-6857 or connect with us online for a free site audit and optimization proposal.

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