This article is meant to easily breakdown Google Search Console for you once you have signed up. I will be going through each of the features on the console dashboard in an easy to understand fashion. Now, let’s begin.
Table Of Content
- Performance Tab
- URL Inspection Tab
- Index Module
- Enhancements Module
- Security & Manual Actions Module
- Legacy Tools & Reports
- Other Modules (News, Products)
Performance Report 📈
If you want to measure the success of your website’s organic online reach you will use the performance tab. This module breaks down your performance in search results when users type their inquiries in Google. In here, you will be able to see the total clicks to your website pages and even your images. Impressions are the amount of times someone laid eyes on your content. Meaning that they saw your content in results but did not click through to it. Which brings me to the next tab which is Average CTR (Click-Through-Rate). Google calculates this number by taking the number of times someone saw your web page link and dividing it by the number of clicks through that link onto your webpage. This number is typically higher when your site is further up in the search results. Generally speaking, more eyes on your search result (impressions) = more clicks = higher click through rate. This is why it’s imperative that your webpages show up on page 1 of the search results.
According to Moz in 2014, the first page of Google captures 71% of search clicks. In recent times this number has been as high as 92%.Moz
This does not leave much room for lower ranking web pages to flourish in search results which is why the performance tab is important in terms of measuring success.
From the performance tab you can view your average search position and the keywords that triggered your clicks and impressions. You can also view which pages had these clicks and impressions and begin to take action to improve your on page SEO so that you can move up in rank. Essentially you want your content heavy pages to be in the top 10 results on Google.
Visual Learner? Watch the Dummy Guide To Google Search Console Series On YouTube!
How To Use Google URL Inspection Tool 🕵️♀️
Google Search Console’s URL inspection tool is in my opinion, one of the best features on the platform. This tool allows you to plug in a url and discover any errors that may prevent that url from getting indexed. The tool also allows you to request indexing which means that you can submit a url to be crawled and put in Google’s black book of search results. Requesting on-demand indexing is especially helpful if you have updated a page or blog post recently and want the internet to be aware of those updates. However handy, don’t abuse the indexing feature. Requesting the same url multiple times back to back does not make Google get you indexed quicker. In fact, in can hurt your indexing request.
Index Module On Google Search Console 📰
Indexing is a complex process on Googles end. Thankfully the tech giant made indexing sites a simple process for its webmasters. In fact it only takes about 4 days to 4 weeks to add your pages to search. Much quicker than it was in Google’s infant phase. The indexing module includes reporting and tools that you need to make your webpages discoverable to Google. We will dive into each tab below.
Coverage Tab 🌐
Google uses a bot that runs to your website and crawls along your pages to determine how to categorize your content and where to place it in the search engine. The coverage tab serves as an indicator in how many of your pages where indexed successfully, which pages have crawl errors and which pages where excluded. Most of your top level (main) pages will be indexed just fine as long as your website says it’s ok to be crawled. Generally speaking most web host, like Word Press, Shopify, ect. will have a robots.txt file that tells Google its bot is ok to run so there is nothing on your end to do. Expect to see some excluded pages on this tab as old pages, internal admin pages, and some photos will not be crawled and indexed. If The goal is to go through and make sure that the pages you DO want included are indexed properly.
Submit Sitemap To Google 🌍
I cover what sitemaps are and how to get one in my SEO guide. The sitemap tab in console is used to submit your sitemap for quick site understanding and indexing by Google.
Click the image to read about Sitemaps and how to get one
Remove Page From Google Using This Tool ❌
There may be some pages you don’t want showing up in search for whatever reason. Maybe your site was hacked and the hacker created some bogus pages. Or you could have deleted an outdated page and want it removed quickly from search engines rather than having traffic to a 404 page. The removal tool in Google Search Console is where you would do this. Simply submit a request with the URL and it will no longer be indexed.
Enhancements Module ✅
The enhancements module features tools that help you measure user experiences on your site. How your pages perform once someone is on it is a vital aspect of your ranking. Poor sight speed and poor ease of use and navigation will cause people to bounce off of your page.
Core Web Vitals ❤
Different metrics make up the core web vitals but at the time of this writing there are three that Google focuses on when it comes to user experience. These are loading, interactivity and visual stability. You can view the image below from web.dev if you’re interested in the technical terms and details but this is a dummy guide so we want to keep things simple. Take your website into GTmetrix and follow the advice it gives you to improve your site speed. You won’t see core web vitals in search console until you have enough traffic coming in.
Mobile Usability 📱
Mobile usability has much to do with the design and responsiveness of your web pages on mobile. People use their digits to interact with on screen elements, mostly the thumb, which makes their experience with your website tactile. Google uses mobile usability as an indicator of how easy it is to navigate those site elements and how responsive those elements are. To fix any issues with mobile usability, you would click on the details of the error, reference the page and fix those issues on that page.
What Are Website Breadcrumbs?
Website breadcrumbs are a navigational system on a webpage that tell users where they are. Here is an example below highlighted in yellow.
Why are breadcrumbs important in Google Search Console?
Breadcrumbs help Google to understand the structure and content of your website. They also help associate your webpages to one another with leads to better user experiences. Let’s use the breadcrumb above as an example. A user lands on my blog post Guide to Rocking SEO but decided that the info was not exactly what they were looking for. Maybe this user wanted to find a shorter post on keyword research alone. Instead of bouncing off my page back to Google they can follow my SEO breadcrumb and look for a keyword research focused post on my site. To sum it up, breadcrumbs help reduce bounce rates and a decrease in your bounce rate increases your SEO and page rankings because Google will determine that your website is helpful to its users. The breadcrumb tool in search console will help you determine which pages are having breadcrumb issues. You will want to fix these as soon as possible. Most themes will come with built in breadcrumbs but if not and you are using a self-hosted WordPress website then I recommend Yoast SEO Plugin Or Rank Math Plugin. Both have built in breadcrumb features you can use.
Sitelinks Searchbox 🔍
The sitelinks search box is a way for people to search your website from Google Search Results in real time. It is a rich feature by Google and there is nothing to do on your part to get it aside from making sure there are no issues with your webpages and adding certain structured data. Even with adding the structured data Google will determine when it wants to show this search box and it does not show for every search. You can take a look at the photo below as an example of what this looks like. As far as its importance to Google Search Console this tab will tell you if there are any page errors that would prevent your pages from being able to have this search box in results.
Security & Manual Actions Module 🔐
This section is a little short because this module is pretty straight forward. If there are any issues with your website security or if there are manual actions you need to take Google will give you a heads up. If there are any alerts in this module then take care of it expeditiously as these can prevent your pages from showing up in search results.
Legacy Tools & Reports 📚
The tabs listed under this module are tools that were available in an older version of Google Search Console that have not yet found a place on the new dashboard. In here you’ll find ad experience reports (if you’re running ads), testing tools for markups, messages, and parameter features. I won’t be going in-depth on these tools in this post as they will be implemented in the new search console in the future and are mostly for advance users. This is a dummy guide after all and I want you to focus on the most important aspects of search console and not confuse you.
Links are by far my second favorite module to check (nerdy, I know) but it gives me insight on my site’s reach. In this module you can view your top linking sites and external links which are sources, that in some form, linked back to you. These backlinks are very important when it comes to SEO and rankings. Quality backlinks you have from authoritative sites makes Google believe that your site is popular and a great resource so in return Google boosts you up in the search results. Now these backlinks can happen naturally as people discover your site and share your content or you can get them from your own outreach by guest posting for example. You can also view internal links as well and top linking text; text that was used in your backlink.
Other Modules 😎
You may see some other modules on your Google Search Console dashboard that I did not cover. These are typically the product and news options. These module are not standard on the dashboard unless you have published news articles or products on your site. If you see these modules you can click into them to get insights about any markup errors with products or ranking data for your news articles.
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Wrapping Up 🌯
I hope this guide helped you to understand Google Search Console and how to use its features to your benefits. If you are a visual learner and want more in depth content on the topics above then be sure to check out my YouTube series where I break down each module.