If you own a website, you want it to perform at its best in search engine results pages (SERPs). One tool that can help you achieve that goal is Google Search Console (GSC). In this guide, we'll cover what GSC is, how to set up your account, and how to use it to improve your website's visibility in search results.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) is a free service from Google that helps website owners monitor and maintain their website's performance in search results. By using the tool, you can identify technical issues, opportunities for improvement, and gain insights into how users interact with your site.
Setting Up Your Account
To start using GSC, you need to create an account. Here's how:
- Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home and sign in with your Google account (or create one if needed).
- Click "Add Property" and enter the base domain name of your website (e.g., www.example.com).
- Choose a verification method (e.g., HTML tag or file upload) and follow the instructions provided by Google for verifying ownership of your URL.
- Once your ownership is verified, you can access all the features of GSC.
Key Features of Google Search Console
Now that you have set up your account, let's explore the key features of GSC that can help you improve your website's performance in SERPs.
- Performance Report: The Performance report shows you how your website is performing in Google search. You can see how many clicks and impressions your website has received, as well as the click-through rate (CTR) and average position of your website in search results.
- Coverage Report: The Coverage report helps you identify any technical issues on your website that are preventing Google from crawling and indexing your pages. You can see which pages have errors, warnings, or are valid, and take action to fix any issues.
- URL Inspection Tool: The URL Inspection tool allows you to inspect individual URLs on your website and see how Google crawls and indexes them. You can also check if a page is included in Google's index and if there are any issues with the page.
- Sitemap Submission: By submitting a sitemap to GSC, you can ensure that Google crawls and indexes all the pages on your website. A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website and helps search engines understand the structure of your site.
- Security Issues: GSC alerts you if it detects any security issues on your website, such as malware or hacked content. You can then take action to fix the issues and keep your website secure.
Optimising Your Website Using GSC Insights
Now that you know the key features of GSC, let's explore how you can use the data and insights provided by GSC to optimise your website for better performance in SERPs.
- Identify High-Performing Pages: Use the Performance report to identify pages that are receiving high clicks and impressions. Then, optimise these pages further by adding more relevant content, improving the meta title and description, and ensuring they have clear calls to action (CTAs).
- Identify Low-Performing Pages: Use the Performance report to identify pages that are receiving low clicks and impressions. Then, optimise these pages by improving their content, meta title, and description, and by adding relevant internal links to them.
- Optimise for Mobile: Use the Mobile Usability report to identify any mobile usability issues on your site, such as text that is too small to read or clickable elements that are too close together. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly as more and more people are browsing the web on their mobile devices.
- Monitor Index Coverage: Use the Index Coverage report to identify pages that are not being indexed by Google. This could be due to a number of issues, such as a broken link or a redirect that is not working properly. By fixing these issues, you can ensure that all of your pages are being properly indexed and are visible in search results.
- Track Keyword Performance: Use the Search Analytics report to track the performance of the keywords that are driving traffic to your site. Identify which keywords are performing well and optimise your content to include them. Also, identify which keywords are not performing well and consider removing them or improving the content to better match the search intent.
- Fix Technical Issues: Use the Coverage and Enhancements reports to identify and fix any technical issues on your site, such as broken links, missing alt tags on images, or slow-loading pages. These technical issues can negatively impact your site's performance in search results, so it's important to fix them as soon as possible.
By using the data and insights provided by GSC, you can make data-driven decisions to optimise your website for better performance in SERPs. Regularly monitoring and analysing your site's performance in GSC will help you stay on top of any issues and make continuous improvements to your website.