Google Search Console is a free but immensely powerful tool which if you know how to use right, can give you extremely useful data. This tool contains huge amounts of data that can help you improve your online presence, click-through, user experience and build an SEO strategy.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free Google tool offered to SEO specialists and website owners (or webmasters). Like other Google tools, Search Console is an extremely useful and powerful tool that helps SEO specialists and website owners monitor how Google is seeing their websites, that is, their site’s presence in Google Serps (Search Engine Results Pages). With this tool, you can monitor and maintain your website performance and develop an effective SEO strategy, as well as resolving issues highlighted on Google Search Console that are preventing your site from improving search rankings. Below, we discuss in more detail why each Search Console feature is useful.Useful Search Console features:Performance Report (clicks, impressions, average CTR, queries)
This, to me, is the most useful feature on Search Console. It measures your site’s search traffic and performance on Google. Here you can see the total impressions, which is the number of times your search query appeared in search engines and clicks to your website.
The Google Search Console Performance Report lets you filter the data by queries, pages, countries, devices, search appearance and date. This allows you to drill down and dive deeper into the data, getting insights such as the queries that bring people to your web pages and start building a strategy around that. This Search Console Performance Report feature provides a comprehensive range of key insights to SEO Specialists. Coverage
This useful Search Console feature is a top-level report, which shows the current index status of all web pages that Google has crawled or attempted to crawl on your site. Here we can see pages that are not ranking on Google, which can mean loss of traffic to the site. Using this information, you can make HTML improvements to resolve the issues that are preventing these pages from ranking on Google. Sitemaps
Having your sitemap submitted to Google helps with getting your site indexed quicker. The sitemap feature on Google Search Console gives you an option to add a sitemap by adding your sitemap URL and submitting it to Google.
To add your sitemap, In Search Console -> Sitemaps -> under ‘Add a new sitemap’ insert your sitemap URL -> click Submit.
Once your sitemap is submitted, you will see sitemap information under Submitted Sitemaps, which will give you an error if your sitemap has issues on your website. You can create a new XML sitemap using a free XML sitemap tool from the list below and more online.XML SitemapsXML Sitemap GeneratorFree Sitemap GeneratorMobile Usability
Since Google shifted to mobile-first indexing, this has become another particularly useful Search Console feature. It allows you to test and improve your site’s mobile usability with customised reports. This report will give you a list of pages on your site with mobile usability issues when being viewed on mobile devices, these issues cause ages not to be indexed properly.
The most common mobile usability issues are the following:
- Content wider than screen
- Text too small to read
- Clickable elements too close together
- Viewport not set
- Viewport not set to ‘device-width’
- Uses incompatible plugins
You can also see how Google is seeing your mobile pages using the Google Mobile Friendly Test Tool
. Link Report
This Search Console feature gives a list of all your site’s external and external links. You get to see your top linked pages as well as who links to your site the most. Given spammy sites are linking to you, you can have those links disavowed to avoid having your rankings affected.Conclusion
There are other useful Search Console features such as the AMP Status Report (allows you to track Accelerated Mobile Pages with errors) and the Rich Results Report, which shows you the rich results Google could read or could not read from your website.
Google’s search algorithms are always going to be improving and to ensure we stay ahead of things, we must understand and use these useful Search Console features to get useful insights, measure and monitor our site’s presence on Google.
If your site is struggling with an online presence, let Algorithm Agency
dive into your Google Search Console data and we can find out why. About the author
Ntokozo Dlamini is an SEO team lead with an engineering background. He is passionate about web analytics and problem-solving through data trend analysis.