Google Search Console is a powerful tool for website owners, SEO professionals and web developers to monitor and maintain the presence of their website in Google search results. The console provides valuable insight into your website’s visibility, the keywords you rank for, the types of impressions and clicks your website receives, backlinks and much more.
Search Console consists of a set of tools and reports, including:
Search Analytics Report: This highlights the number of times your website appears in search results and the click-through rate (CTR) of your pages. It breaks down the type of search query, what device was used and the average position of your results in the search engine results page (SERP).
Crawl Report: This highlights any errors encountered when Google attempts to crawl and access the content of your website, in order to index it, as well as broken links (404s) and server errors (500s).
Sitemaps Report: This provides a view of the sitemap files submitted to Google, as well as statistics related to items found in the file, submitted URLs and warning about potential errors/issues.
Security Issue Report: This scan can detect malware or other security related issues which your site is being flagged for.
Backlinks: This sections highlights the number of backlinks pointing back to your website.
Manual Action Report: If you’ve been caught in a Google penalty (manual action) then this report highlights why it has been implemented.
Rich Cards: If your website fits the criteria for eligible rich cards and you use the Schema.org structured markup then this report can be used to verify whether the rich cards are being received and presented correctly in search results.
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The main purpose of using the console is to identify any issues with your website and make fixes and optimisations in order to improve performance in organic search results. Search Console can be used to identify errors, improve crawl rate and optimise titles and meta descriptions for more effective CTRs.
To begin using the console you will first need to create a Google account and verify that you’re the owner of the website. You can do this by hosting a verification file, linking your Google and Analytics account or adding HTML or tag to the header of webpages.
Once you are ready to go, you will be taken to a dashboard screen which offers a high-level overview of your website performance in organic search results. The dashboard is also where you can access the various reports and tools that make up Search Console.
Ensuring Your Website Is Accessible
The Crawl report section of the console is used to ensure that all your pages can be crawled and indexed by search engine bots. It highlights the response codes received when bots attempt to crawl specific webpages and whether any URLs are blocked from being crawled. If any of your pages are not accessible by bots then this can cause issues with crawling and indexing and can mean that you miss out on potential visibility for queries your page may rank highly for if it were indexed.
The search console tool also highlights a list of common crawl errors for your website. This is beneficial for identifying any issues which search engine bots may be having with crawling and indexing your content. Crawl errors are further broken down into categories such as soft 404 errors, not found (404 errors), server error (500 errors) or DNS errors.
Google Search Console can provide a lot of valuable insights into how your website is performing. The reports and tools can provide information on how visible your website is in search engine results, the keywords you rank for, how your website appears in SERPs, the backlinks pointing back to your site, manual action taken by Google and more. This can not only be used to identify any issues and improve the performance of your website in organic search results, but also to track the progress of SEO campaigns.