Is this your first time hearing about Google Search Console (GSC)?
If so, then you’ve been missing on a great solution for most of your digital marketing problems.
But don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Lots of webmasters and small business owners outsource all their digital marketing efforts.
So, they don’t care about what online marketing tools are out there.
Outsourcing started as a good idea at first. You hire a marketing company to handle everything for you while you get to focus on the real work. But then digital marketing agencies started to become greedy.
Today, it costs you thousands of dollars just to set up an account and have it track your website’s performance on the SERPs.
These agencies are trying to keep you unaware of how simple it is to learn how to use Google Search Console.
And they do that so they can justify the cost they charge they’re charging you.
So, are you ready to save yourself thousands of dollars and achieve better SEO results?
In this full guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about GSC and how to use it. We’ll also share with you some of the most important tools you can use to grow your business.
Let’s get to work.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a platform for webmasters to track their websites’ performance.
It offers a wide variety of monitoring options that allow you to know how Google views your website.
GSC will also help you improve your SEO rankings by offering lots of marketing tools.
Some of the best features you’ll get by using GSC are:
- Optimize your technical SEO and increase traffic
- Diagnose SEO errors in your website and fix them
- Identify your highest-ranking queries and most popular web pages
- Check your mobile usability issues and learn how to fix them
And the best part about all this?
It’s a free tool.
So now you might be wondering — how do I use Google Search Console to grow my business?
Let’s start with creating your account.
How to Create a Google Search Console Account
Creating a GSC account is simple and won’t take much of your time.
All you have to do is follow these steps:
1- Register or login to your Google account:
Just like any other tool offered by Google, the registration requires you to own a Google account.
If you already have a Google account, continue with the next step. If not, you can create a new one here.
Make sure to verify your account type (personal/business) before taking any further steps. Select the one that you wish to associate with your GSC account.
2- Create a Google Search Console Account
Go to the official website, then click “Start Now”.
If you’re already logged in to your Google account, you’ll be taken to a new page where you have to add your website.
3- Add Your Website
Enter your website URL in the left box and click “Continue”.
Your website will be added to your GSC account.
Now, you have to complete the verification so that Google knows you’re the owner and give you full details.
4- Verify Ownership of Your Website
You’ll get a DNS TXT record — which is a code that you need to paste to your DNS provider to verify ownership of your domain.
Click “Copy”, then paste the TXT code in your DNS records (in your domain provider’s panel).
Is this method complicated for you?
No worries, there’s an even easier method!
Go back to the first step, and add your domain to the box in the right.
And make sure it’s the full domain name including “https://www.”.
After adding your domain, you’ll have a list of verification options to choose from.
You can download an HTML file and upload it to your file directory on your website.
Once uploaded, click on “Verify” and your website will be successfully added to your account.
You can also complete the verification by:
- Pasting an HTML tag to your site’s home page
- Having a verified Google Analytics account linked to your website
- Using the Google Tag Manager
Google Search Console Best Practices
Now that you’ve created your account and verified your website, it’s time to learn how to use GSC effectively.
1- Link Google Search Console with Google Analytics
Before you link the two accounts together, you need to have a Google Analytics account set up.
If you don’t have an account, you can create one here.
From the Google Analytics menu, select the property you want to link to your GSC account.
Click on “Admin” from the left box, then go to “Property Settings”.
A new box will pop up on the right.
Scroll down to the bottom, and you’ll find a button at the bottom “Adjust Search Controle”. Click on it.
Click on “Add”.
Finally, you’ll find your website.
Select it, and click “Add”.
It will take some time before the two platforms are fully linked. So, you should expect some delay before the data is imported.
2- How to Add a Sitemap to Your GSC Account
A sitemap serves as a guide for search bots and crawling spiders. It makes it easier for robots to surf your website and extract data from it.
And it works the same way for Google Search Console.
Adding a sitemap to your GSC account is a crucial step if you want to see accurate data in your account. It helps the tool crawl your website more efficiently and get information faster.
If you already have a sitemap, then you’re only one step away from adding your sitemap.
Go to “Sitemaps” from the left sidebar.
Paste your sitemap link and click on “Submit”.
Once it’s added, GSC will fetch the results and tell you if there are any errors with it.
If you don’t have a sitemap, don’t worry.
You create one with a few steps.
If you’re a WordPress user, you can create one by using the Yoast Plugin or the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
If not, there are many sitemap generators online that you can use.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
Once your sitemap is generated, upload it to the main directory on your website.
Then copy the link and add it to your GSC account.
3- How to Manage Users and Owners on Google Search Console
There are two permissions for webmasters to use after creating their accounts.
Owners and Users.
Owners have full access to the platform and do anything with the data and user permissions. They can add or remove new users, change settings, and access all the data.
A user can either be a full user or a restricted user. And the difference between the two lies in the ability to see almost all the data or be limited to only see certain parts selected by the owners.
To add or remove new users/owners, follow these steps:
1- Click on “Settings” from the left sidebar.
2- Then click on “Add User”.
A new box will pop up.
3- Enter the user’s email address and select the proper permission you want to give them.
Done! The new user will be added to the list.
If you want to remove a user or end their permissions, all you have to do is remove them.
Click on the three dots on the right, then click “Remove Access”.
Best Google Search Console Tools to Improve SEO
Before 2018, GSC only had some basic tools and reports that were hard to read and make use of.
But with this new update, any site owner can master the tools and get the best results.
Whenever a digital agency promises to get you phenomenal SEO results, it’s using one of the practices below.
Let’s get started.
1- URL Inspection
The URL inspection tool is a great way to see how Google views your website when visiting it.
It will give you details about why your website isn’t being indexed. That way, you can fix them and claim the higher rankings you deserve.
To inspect your website, enter the URL in the input box on the top of the page.
Wait for a few minutes for the inspection to process, and you’ll get a report on how Google crawls that page.
If everything is good with your website, you’ll see this page.
If not, you’ll be given some details about the errors your website has.
You can follow the instructions on the page to fix those errors.
2- Index Coverage Report
The Index Coverage tool is used to generate reports related to indexing.
A web page will be indexed on Google if it’s found by crawling spiders then added to Google’s search index.
But some problems might occur with your pages along the way. And if they remain unfixed, some of your web pages will never rank on Google.
The GSC Index Coverage tool will sort your web pages depending on the error.
You’ll get to see which pages have the same error type and fix them separately depending on the issue.
Some of the errors that keep your pages from getting indexed are:
- Not found 404 errors
- Redirect errors
- Server errors
- Crawl errors
3- Performance Report
Any business needs to keep track of how its website is performing on the SERPs. And that’s exactly what the performance report tool will give you.
This tool shows you data about how often your website comes up in the SERPs.
You’ll also see how many clicks it gets and the average CTR for each indexed page.
You can use this information to improve your SEO performance and grow your business.
Using this tool, you’ll learn about:
- How your search traffic is changing over time and where it comes from
- What search queries and keywords bring you the most visitors
- Your top-ranking pages and how they perform on Google
- What queries and pages have the highest and lowest click-through-rates
4- Mobile Usability
Did you know that you can check the mobile-friendliness of your website using GSC?
All you have to do is click on “Mobile Usability” from the left sidebar.
You’ll get a report about your different web pages and whether they’re mobile friendly.
Google Search Console will tell you which pages don’t support mobile devices.
It’s necessary to fix those errors because mobile-friendly websites are preferred and given better rankings by Google.
Wrapping It Up
Google Search Console is an essential tool that every SEO practitioner should be using. It will save you thousands while you get to achieve better results with your website.
So, what are you waiting for?
Follow the practices in this guide and start monitoring your SEO results.
Need help with your digital marketing? Don’t hesitate to contact us today.