Google has been slowly transitioning from the old Search Console to the new Search Console. At Element5 Digital, we finally feel like there is enough tools within the new Search Console that we have started using it solely instead of jumping back and forth between the old version.
This article is going to explore the new Search Console and act as a beginner’s guide to setting up a website within the tool.
Adding Your Site
Before you begin, you will need to add your website to Search Console. If your website is already added to Search Console, you can skip to the Overview section.
To add your site, click on the property dropdown in the top left of the screen and then click on “Add property”.
Google Search Console recently added the ability to select a property type. Normally, you would add all of the different versions of your URL such as www, non-www, http, and https. Google would then let you select the primary domain.
With the new property types, you can now add the domain of the site and it will cover all URLs across all subdomains as well as all URLs across https and http. This new way of adding your site does require DNS verification while the old way does allow for other methods such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and meta tags. To verify your property, just follow the instructions given by Google and then you will be ready to go.
Currently, the Overview section of Search Console is broken into three reports; Performance, Coverage, and Enhancements. The Performance report shows total search clicks over time. The Coverage report shows valid pages and pages with errors over time. The Enhancements report shows different ways to improve your site. All of these reports have links to open the report and view more data.
The Performance section of Search Console focuses on the analytics of your site specifically relating to organic search. Search Console can be linked with Google Analytics so all your analytics lives in one spot. If you prefer to view the data within Search Console, you can do it under Performance.
Search Console lets you see the metrics clicks, impressions, average CTR, and average position. You can see these metrics for queries, landing pages, countries, devices, and search appearance.
The Coverage section shows crawl errors, warnings, valid pages, and excluded pages. This is a good section for quickly identifying errors within your site. We have noticed that sometimes Google will flag false positives in this report, but you can always ask Google to re-evaluate them.
The Sitemaps section allows you to submit your sitemap and see some information related to submitted sitemaps. You can see when sitemaps were submitted, when they were last read by Google, what the current status is, and how many discovered URLs there are.
The Links section shows you external links, internal links, top linking sites, and top linking text. This section is helpful for determining SEO strategies moving forward.
The Settings section of Search Console shows you which verification method was used for your site, what other users are added to the site, and some indexing crawler stats. You can add multiple users to Search Console and give them full or restricted access. You can also remove users, if needed.
If you would like, you can also remove your site from Google Search console by clicking on the “Remove Property” button within the settings.
Google Search Console is a great tool for letting Google know things about your website. It also gives you some great data that can be super helpful when determining your SEO strategy. Since Search Console is a tool that changes pretty often, we like to follow the Google Webmaster Central Blog to stay up-to-date on new features and changes. If you’d like to learn more about Google Search Console, we recommend checking out Search Console Help or if you have any questions you can contact us today!