After creating a new website, the most common question that comes in your mind would be 'how to submit website to Google ?', the easiest way to do so would be creating a Google Search Console Account. Google Search Console, previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a great tool to analyze how Google views your website. This free tool from Google will let you know how Google crawls and indexes your website. It also provides you with useful website insights like website performance, search presence, security and search analytics information. In this blog, let's look at how to set up a Google Search Console account so that you can gain all the valuable information to keep your website up-to-date and in sync with Google's protocols.
Creating a Google Search Console Account
The first step in creating a Google Search Console Account is by visiting the Google Search Console website and signing in to your Gmail Account.
Creating a property in Google Search Console Account
Now provide your website address and add a new property to your Google Search Console account.
Verify Domain Ownership
After creating a property, you will be asked to verify ownership of your website. You will be provided with multiple options for verifying your domain. Some of them are :
- Adding an HTML file to your website
- Adding an HTML meta tag to your home page
- Signing into your domain name provider
- Using Google Analytics
- Using Google Tag Manager
You can verify your website by performing any of the above options you find most suitable. It is recommended to verify all versions of your website like www,non-www,http, https, etc. by creating a separate property for each in your search console account
After verifying your website, you can now start using your google search console account
The main sections of Google Search Console are explained below:
Search Console Dashboard
Google Search Console Dashboard will show messages or critical issues affecting your website. In addition to that, it will also provide the overall crawl and search analytics status of your website. The dashboard will also give you the status of your XML sitemap if it's submitted to Google.
Search Console Messages
In the message section, Google will provide you with critical updates, issues and messages about your website.
In this section, Google will show how your website appears in Search results. This data can be helpful as it can ultimately determine the CTR (Click Through Rate) of your website.
Some of the Search Appearance sections in Search Console are:
Structured Data - Structured Data is a coding format that helps Google better understand the content of your website. Google, in turn, shows your website in a better format in Search and other Google Platforms. The Structured Data section in the search console shows the occurrence of structured data coding on your website.
Rich Cards - Rich cards feature too uses structured data to show rich snippets in search results. Rich cards can be used in a number of ways in Google Search to improve your Click Through Rate (CTR).
Data Highlighter - Data Highlighter Feature in Search console helps to build structured data for the website.
HTML Improvements - HTML Improvements section in Search Console shows improvement in the HTML coding of your website.
Accelerated Mobile Pages - AMP Section in Search console will detect the AMP Pages in your website and the issues relating to same.
This is probably the most important section of Search console from a Search marketer's point of view. It shows the website's search data.For example, the most used search queries for finding your website, product or service, the landing pages which have earned most clicks, etc.
Search Analytics - This tab is the most important tab in Search analytics section. It was earlier referred to as ‘Search Queries’. Search Analytics gives an overview of your website's organic performance in Google’s SERP. It shows organic performance data in terms of Queries, Landing Pages, Countries, Devices, Search Type (Web, Image, and Video) and Dates.
You can apply a filter and sort this performance data by No of Clicks, Impressions, CTR (Click Through Rate) and Position.
You can get the following website data :
- Search queries with high CTR
- Landing Pages getting the most number of clicks.
- The countries from which you are receiving the most clicks.
Links to your Site - In this section, you will be shown the links pointing to your website or in other words, the inbound links to your website. You can also view all the anchor text on your website.This section also shows the most linked web pages of your website.
Internal Links - In this section, you can see all the internal links pointing to a particular website page. You can see the number of Internal Links pointing to a specific page of your website
Manual Action - If your website incorporates any manual actions, you can see the details of the same on your manual action tab.
International Targeting - In this section, you can see the presence of language attributes on your website like hreflang attributes. Here you can set the target country for your website users i.e. you can set a country where you feel is most important for your website and should be given priority compared to other countries in Google’s Search.
Mobile Usability - As the mobile users have nearly doubled in the last year or so, Google too is giving due importance to its mobile user experience. One such measure by Google is using mobile responsiveness and user experience as its ranking factor. Google is also planning for a mobile-first index for ranking web pages where ranking in SERP [Search Engine Result Pages] will be based on the mobile version of the website.With the growing importance of mobile, Google has introduced the mobile usability report to focus on issues affecting your mobile version of the website.
This section of Search console deals with the indexing status of your website pages. It will show the number of pages added to Google’s Index, the number of pages blocked using robots.txt file and the number of unwanted URLs removed from Google’s Search.
Index Status - In this section, you can see the total number of pages indexed by Google’s Robot (also known as Googlebot). The robots.txt blocked pages or pages via manual login are not displayed in this section.
Blocked Resources - This search console section will give you an idea of the website resources blocked from Googlebot using a robots.txt file or otherwise.
Remove URLs - This section shows all URLs requested to be removed from Google's SERP. It is to be noted that this feature can be utilized to temporarily remove the URLs. To permanently remove the URL’s, you can utilize the robots.txt feature after removing the specific URL from Search.
In this section, you can see all the crawl related data of your website. As it is only after your pages are been crawled by Googlebot that you can expect them to be indexed, which makes this section super important in Google Search Console. This section has following subsections:
Crawl Errors - In this section, you can see all the crawl errors present on the website. These errors that were encountered by Google while crawling your website pages. You can see all 404, 403 and 500 HTTP codes showing the presence of broken links or issues related to the server.
Crawl Stats - This section shows the number of pages crawled by Googlebot in the last 90 days. Crawl Stats also shows the time spent downloading the pages and the download size. You may want to increase the number of crawled pages on your website while keeping the download time and download size to a minimum. If this report shows otherwise, then it's time to check the performance of your website.
Fetch as Google - This section helps to see how Google crawls and renders your web pages. There are two options here. One is to simply get Google to fetch the provided URL and the other is to fetch and render the URL. Fetch feature will simply fetch your URL and show its crawl https response status while fetch and render shows you the actual crawl page, image or any web content requested to be fetched by you.
Robots.txt Tester - This section will show you the live robots.txt file if submitted to Google. The main intention is to test your new robots.txt file for any errors. You can test your robots.txt file for all Google crawlers like Googlebot, Google-News, Google-Images, etc.
Sitemaps - This feature is used to notify Google about the created sitemap by submitting it URL. After submitting the XML sitemap to Google, you can see the index status of your submitted web pages. You can see how many pages or images are submitted to Google and how many of them have been indexed by Google.
URL Parameters - This feature helps Google understand the parameter in your URL. If you want to check whether certain parameters are creating duplicate content on your website, you can add the same here.
This search console section deals with security issues of your website. For eg, if your website is hacked or subjected to any kind of spam, the details and type of hack would be shown in this section solutions to resolve them.
Other Google Web Tools
In addition to Search console tools, Google also provides additional Web Tools to improve the user experience of the website.
Ad Experience Report
This report shows the ad experience issues and if it violates Google’s better standard for users. Better ad standards are a set of ad experiences which users find highly annoying. If your site violates these standards, Google will identify the issues causing the violations. You can see the violations for both desktop and mobile ad versions.
This section includes the following Structured Data Markup Tools:
- Structured Data Markup Helper - This tool will help you to create structured data markup for your web pages. After creating the Markup, you can add the same to the HTML of your web page.
- Structured Data Testing Tool - The created Structured Data Markup can be tested using this tool before implementing on your website. It will also point out issues, if any, regarding the same.
- Email Markup Tester - This tool will help you to validate the structured data content of your HTML Email and will point out issues if any.
- Google My Business - This tool helps to list your business in Google’s Local Pack, Google Maps and other Google Platforms. Google local pack are 3 local results shown on top of organic results and is triggered when searches including local location terms are involved. With the growing importance of Local Search and Google Local Packs, it becomes imperative to start using Google My Business Page.
- Google Merchant Centre - This Google tool helps you to upload your product data to Google so that it can make it available for Google Product Search and Google Services.
- Page Speed Insights - This tool will point your performance issues on your website to make it faster for all devices.
- Custom Search - This tool will help you to create a custom search box on your website.
- Google Domains - It’s a domain registering service offered by Google and offers services like private domain registration, DNS Hosting, Dynamic DNS, etc.
- Webmaster Academy - It's a complete guide provided by Google for creating a user-friendly website and making it available for potential search queries.
Additional Search Console Settings
These additional Search Console Settings can be accessed from the topmost right corner of the search console by clicking the gear icon . You will be restricted to few settings options if you don't possess owner access to your Google Search Console Property
- Site Settings
This section can be used to display your website URLs with or without ‘www’ quotient. You can also have the option to not set the preferred domain.You can also adjust the crawl rate of Google using this setting. You can change the present Crawl rate using this Search console feature.
- Change of Address
If you are moving your current domain to a new domain, you can use his feature to update Google about the change.
- Google Analytics Property
If you are the owner of your search console property, you can use this feature to link your Google Search console property to the associated Google Analytics Property of the website
- Users and Property Owners
This feature too needs owner level permission for access. Using this feature, you can prioritize the level of access to your Google Search Console Property
- Verification Details
This section shows the verification details of your Google search console property. Here you can see the details of attempts made to verify your Google search console property and the verified owners of the property.
Google properties such as Google AdWords, Google+ or a mobile app can be associated with your website through search console using this feature.
Google Search Console is an essential tool to be set up by site owners and search marketers for improving the search performance and overall health of the website. This free tool from Google is sure to be more useful than any of the other paid SEO tools available in the market. Even if your website is performing well in search, you will still gain huge benefits using this Search Tool.
This resource was published by Ranjit Venugopal09 November 2017
Ranjit is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Webdura Technologies . He is Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Hubspot Certified . He loves digital space and helps businesses increase their returns through digital strategies.