Learn Google Search Console
Learn how to set up and use Google Search Console to monitor your website’s SEO performance using the free videos provided below.
If you have any questions or need help using Google Search Console, please contact me.
How to Use Google Search Console
- Add a Property – Domain or Prefix
- Coverage Reports
- Performance Reports
- Inspect URLs
- XML Sitemaps
- Core Web Vitals
- Mobile Usability
- Crawl Stats
- Removal Requests
- Robots.txt Tester
- Add Users
Why Should You Use Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google and gives you a way to understand how Google’s robots see certain aspects of your website. Other SEO tools, while valuable, cannot give you the same information because those tools aren’t Googlebot. As a result, those other SEO tools see the web in different ways and what they see might or might not be something Google sees. Long story short, you have to check Google Search Console, to understand what matters to Google.
What is the difference between Google Search Console and Google Analytics?
Google Search Console helps you understand your website’s performance in Google’s organic search listings. By using this free tool, you can check for problems with how Google has crawled your website and also view data about rankings or traffic in search results.
Google Analytics is also a free tool provided by Google but this tool allows you to measure and monitor what is happening with all the visitors who come to your website. In Google Analytics, you can measure how much traffic comes to your website from all different traffic sources. One of those traffic sources could be Google’s organic search but you can also measure traffic from social media, email campaigns, ads, and more.
To learn more about Google Analytics, check out my Google Analytics Tips & Tricks videos.
What is the difference between a domain and prefix property?
There are two different types of properties in Google Search Console: a domain property and a prefix property. A domain property lets you look at every variation of the domain where a prefix property only lets you view certain parts of the domain.
Let’s take elementive.com as an example. If we create a domain property for elementive.com, we could see activity related to all the variations of that domain name, such as https://www.elementive.com, https://elementive.com, or https://subdomain.elementive.com.
However, if we created a prefix property of https://www.elementive.com, we could only view activity for https://www.elementive.com and not view activity for other variations, like https://subdomain.elementive.com. Viewing activity for just https://subdomain.elementive.com, would require creating a prefix property specifically for that subdomain.
Learn how you add a domain or prefix property in Google Search Console.
What is a good average position in Google Search Console?
Determining what is a “good” average position requires watching how your average position is trending over time. As you work to optimize your website, you should see your average position improve (meaning the average position gets closer and closer to 1).
To get a better idea of your average ranking position, instead of looking at ranking position overall, it is better to drill into a more detailed ranking position. You could use filters to look at ranking position by device, for specific types of keywords, or for a specific group of pages. Learn how to use filters in Google Search Console’s performance report. For example, if you filter to the average ranking position for a specific keyword, you can see if that keyword’s ranking position is holding steady (which is good), trending up (which is great) or trending down (which suggests there is a problem to fix).
All of that said, though, to a certain extent ranking position doesn’t matter as much as clicks, impressions, or click through rate. Quite often we see clicks, click through rate and impressions trending up even though position is trending downward. That can be a positive sign that your website is performing better and expanding into targeting more keywords. The more search terms your website appears in, the chances are your average rank will be lower since your website may not rank highly for every term.
How often should I check Google Search Console?
If your business depends heavily on organic traffic from Google, you need to check Google Search Console several times per week, if not daily. In particular, you want to monitor the Performance and Coverage reports. Performance tells you how your website is appearing in search results and you can watch for any odd dips or surges. Coverage tells you what problems Google might be finding on your website. For companies who rely heavily on organic traffic, it is helpful to check the other reports in Google Search Console at least a few times per month.
If your business isn’t as dependent on organic traffic from Google, our recommendation is to check the Coverage and Performance reports monthly and check the other reports at least once per quarter. However, if you aren’t going to open up Google Search Console that often, make sure you are receiving email notifications from Google Search Console. Some of the email notifications are about minor errors that Google’s bots have detected. Other emails, though, might notify you about severe problems or manual actions taken against your website.
Finally, no matter the nature of your business or your website’s traffic, you want to check Google Search Console following any algorithm updates Google releases to see what impact this update had on your website. The Performance report will give you the best idea of how the update affected your website’s traffic and the Coverage report can help you identify what issues might have contributed to a traffic loss or a drop in rankings.
Need Help with Google Search Console?
If you have other questions about Google Search Console or your website’s SEO performance more generally, please contact me.