How to setup and use google search console – an overview

Google is one of the top-rated search engines and most of the people use google to find some or the other information within the internet space.  Here is the free tool from google which helps you understand what keywords people are typing to find your site, and how is your page positioned based on the search keywords.

Google discovers URLs through many means either by connecting the links from crawled pages or by sitemaps. Many a times the page may get disappeared or removed or the links may be broken and result in error 404, but once google hear about a URL it will continue to crawl through it for a while.

The tool is Google search console erstwhile known as google webmasters. Feel free to use this tool to maximize your SEO results.

Before you use this free tool, there are few steps which needs to be followed to configure your site:

  1. Create a free account with GSC and then you’ll need to verify that you are the owner of the site. 
  2. Click on “Add property” button on the left-hand drop down and enter the name of your website and then click “continue”
  3. Note, GSC considers “http” and “https” as two different sites and one must be careful while entering the site info.
  4. Next is the verification process, which can be done by adding an HTML file to your server. Note you can only do this if you are the admin and owner of the site.
  5. Once your site is verified you can see the perform dashboard based on the traffic to your site.

Overview: This section will provide an overview of your page performance on google search. This is the most important section as it gives you the statistics of your page based on clicks, impression, CTR and average position. You can also download the “queries” or “Keyword” report, pages, countries and device type reports from this section. The new version of Google search console can have 16month of data available within the dashboard sections.

Index: A page is indexed if it is crawled by google. The “coverage” report lets you know which of the pages have been indexed and how to fix the pages which could not be indexed. Ideally the number present under Valid section should increase. For example, if your pages are blocked for crawling by say: robots.txt or any other bot you may find the “Errors” increasing

Sitemap: A sitemap is basically a xml file where you provide info on all your assets on your page and their relationship with the page. Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. A sitemap tells the crawler which files you think are important in your site, and also provides valuable information about these files: for example, for pages, when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and any alternate language versions of a page. You can use a sitemap to provide information about specific types of content on your pages, including video and image content. If your site pages do not naturally reference each other, you can list them in a sitemap to ensure that Google does not overlook some of your pages.

Mobile usability: This report tells which pages in your property have usability problem when viewed on mobile. “Error” shows the number of errors and issues associated with the page. Different types of errors are associated based on your page architectures and design, few examples of error type are: Text too small to read, clickable elements too close together and content wider than the screen

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