Search Console SEO Guide for Beginners for 2022

Google Search Console (GSC for short) is one of the most important tools in the daily life of an SEO. Many people still know it as “Webmaster Tools”. It represents the communicative interface between your domain and Google.

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This is a summary of the basic concepts you need to know about Google Search Console and not die trying.

Together, we’ll go over the most important options in Google Search Console, and what information is most relevant to each of them.

What is Google Search Console (GSC)?

Google Search ConsoleGoogle Search Console (GSC) is a free service from Google that allows you to see the indexing and performance of your websites and web pages in Google searches.

In a basic explanation, GSC is a powerful tool to confirm that your website is indexed and that Google can access your website without hindrance on both mobile and desktop versions.

You can check and set the crawl rate and view statistics on where your traffic is coming from and where you are getting organic traffic from.

GSC, like many other web development tools from the almighty Google, is robust and very powerful. If you’re building your first website, you should take the time to understand it, play with it, and learn how to take advantage of it.

This guide will take you through the basics of this tool, and can be a helpful guide to help you save time learning what metrics matter to your site’s performance and how you can leverage this data to better build your website.

How to Create a Property in Search Console? 

If you’ve never worked with Search Console before, you can activate your account using your Google account, preferably the same account you work with Google Analytics with. 

In this way, you will be able to link the accounts of both platforms for the same property, and thus obtain much more enriched data.

Once you sign in, you won’t have a confirmed property, so you’ll need to add a new property for the first time. If you’ve already added a property and want to add another, click the property picker in the top left corner. In the dropdown menu that appears, you will see a button to add another property.

How to Create a Property in GSC:

#1 Add a Property

After logging in to search console dashboard, see add Property button that shows in the upper corner of the left-hand side:

#2 Choose Property Type

In the following interface, select which type of property you would like to have:

Property Type Domain:

A complete property that provides all data for all subdomains and all protocol types (HTTP and HTTPS).

Disadvantage 1: To confirm domain ownership, confirmation via a DNS entry is required, ie with the domain registrar. This, then, requires your participation and cannot always be implemented.

Disadvantage 2: if only one domain property is confirmed, a problem in the CMS may generate data from the version of the domain that is not active, and that distorts the data that you need to see.

URL Prefix:

Creates a property on a prefixed address, for example, https://domain.com.

  • Advantage: individual subdomains or protocols can be analyzed separately and installation is usually easy based on one website, and the same.
  • Disadvantage: Data is only collected for that address Confirmation via the prefix can be made possible with one of the following methods: store a special HTML file, add a Meta tag on the website, link to an already confirmed Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager account with the same URL or a different URL. DNS confirmation that with the domain ownership type.

Depending on the type of property you add, you must continue to meet the prerequisite. Google Search Console will help you step by step.

As soon as you confirm, Search Console will collect data about your web address or domain going forward. It may take several days before you get the first records.

Search Console Reports

GSC has many reports, so here are some important GSC Reportsimportant GSC Reports you should know:

  • Overview: The Search Console Dashboard
  • URL Inspection – Single URL analysis from Google’s perspective.

Performance: – Statistics on the various traffic sources recorded by Search Console:

  • Search results: Organic traffic statistics.
  • Discover: statistics of the traffic coming from Google Discover.
  • Google News: traffic statistics from Google News.

Index:

  • Coverage: number of URLs examined and submitted and which of them are not indexed
  • Sitemaps: stored XML sitemaps and their status
  • URL removal: to manually remove individual URLs from Google’s index.

Experience:

  • Page experience: statistics and list of URLs that generally load faster or slower
  • Core Web VitalsCore Web Vitals: Shows the performance of web URLs, based on real-world usage data.
  • Mobile Usability: Report which pages are suitable for mobile phones and which are not.

Improvements:

  • AMP: report AMP URLs that are valid, valid with warnings, or invalid outright.
  • Events: list of URLs with structured event data.
  • Search box: list of URLs with structured data implemented in the internal search box.
  • Videos: list of URLs with structured video data. (More options can be shown here depending on which types of schema you are using on your website.)

Security and Manual Actions:

  • Manual Actions – If Google reviewers have manually penalized the website, it will appear here.
  • Security Issues – When Google Detects Hacked URLs

Legacy tools and reports:

  • International targeting: Segment your audience based on location and language settings
  • Messages: list of messages from GSC that are also received in the account that manages the account.
  • URL Parameters: A table showing the URL parameters configured for the website.
  • Web Tools: list of additional tools, many of which are also available outside of Google Search Console

Links: report of the external and internal links that Google has detected 

Settings: Search Console account settings.

All these sections have a reason for being a practical function. In order not to redound in the technical description of each of the sections, we are going to work on many of them by answering basic questions that can be resolved with Search Console.

What are Impressions, Clicks, CTR, and Average Position in GSC?

The four KPIs are the basis for search analysis in Google Search Console. If you click on the small question mark in each area, you will receive information about the calculation:

  • Total clicks: indicates the number of times users have clicked to reach your website. How this value is calculated depends on what type of search result it is. 
  • Total Impressions: this is the number of times a link to your website was seen in search results. How this value is calculated varies depending on whether the results are images or something else, as in some cases it takes into account whether users have to scroll down the results page to see them.
  • The CTR: That is, the click-through rate, is calculated from the values ​​of impressions and clicks. The calculation looks like this: (number of clicks/number of impressions) x 100. Example: If you appear 100 times for the keyword “hiking” and click once, the result is a CTR of 1%.
  • The Average position: indicates in which position your website appears in the search results on average. To be calculated, the highest position of the website is taken into account each time it is displayed in the search results. Specific page positions are listed in the table below the chart. The use of some search functions, such as carousels or information panels, complicates the task of determining the position.

How Can I Identify Threshold Keywords? 

Threshold keywords are search queries that are on the threshold of very good rankings, known as “low hanging fruit.” With them, you can achieve success very quickly.

You can define these thresholds yourself where search queries fall. The most common are search queries for which your pages are on the edge of the first page of Google results (ie positions 11, 12, or 13).

Another threshold to consider is that of the first 5 search results. Of course, it is also very important when going from position 2 to position 1.

To identify these search queries, click “Search Queries.” Make sure that (a) you have selected the average ranking, (b) keep the period updated (“last 28 days”). You can now sort by position and directly see which of your keywords rank for the thresholds.

You can be even more objective by filtering for specific positions. This way, though, won’t show all the threshold keywords, but you’ll have to filter each position individually.

However, it’s best if you create a list of all your threshold keywords. To do this, export the keywords your domain ranks for, ideally as a CSV file. Once you have prepared the CSV data in Excel or Google spreadsheet so that it can be imported successfully:

These supposed threshold keywords need to be investigated further because the average position is the result of all the positions on all your pages that can rank for the search query.

Here it is necessary to pay attention to the following: You should always assume that multiple pages rank for the same keyword and will therefore falsify the displayed average position. So maybe it’s just a threshold keyword at first glance.

If, for example, URL 1 (with 58 impressions in the last 7 days) for “Men’s Shoes” is on average position 9, while URL 2 (with 3 impressions in the same period) is on average position 38, fakes irrelevant URL 2 your result: in this case, the average position for “Men’s Shoes” is 10.6, which would correspond to a threshold keyword. The relevant page, the only one that counts, ranks ninth.

How Can You Get a New Page into Google’s Index as Quickly as Possible?

Have you made changes to one of your pages and want Google to crawl that page again today instead of tomorrow? No problem. To do this, simply enter the desired URL in the search field for URL verification and request re-indexing.

In this way, you send Google the signal “Look at this page again, I have changed it”.

Another tip: if you need to fix technical bugs, first use the URL verification live test and request a new crawl if it says the problem has been resolved, otherwise you’d be inspecting the URL that Google has cached, and you wouldn’t be able to verify.

How to Check Ranking Keywords for Your Site?

Would you like to know what search terms users use to access your website? Then the Google Search Console is your excellence tool. You can easily find out in the performance report, which can be accessed via the “Overview” navigation on the left.

By default, data from the last three months is always displayed. With this overview of search queries, you already get a rough overview of your website’s ranking in the Google search engine. You will also find out for which keywords users view your website, how many clicks actually result from this, a click-through rate (CTR), and the average position of the keyword.

The default settings are set such that your search queries are already sorted by clicks, i.e. visits generated via this keyword:

keywords in GSC

 

You can then refine this report as desired, such as filtering by country, device category (desktop, tablet, and mobile), or time (up to 16 months ago). If your target market is India, for example, it is recommended to pre-filter on “Countries”.

Conclusion 

That’s how you can get started with Google Search Console. I hope this article helps you understand Google Search Console better.

If you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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