Advanced SEO Guide to Google Search Console

advanced guide to google search console tutorial

Advanced Tutorial to Google Search Console

Google recently changed its Google webmaster tool to Google Search Console.

New Google Search Console has advanced features that made it a more powerful tool than the previous one. If Google Search Console doesn’t ring a bell to you. Then it is the best time to register with Google Search Console. In this week’s post, am going to walk you through Google search console and its tools.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a platform to help website owners or designers or SEO experts to improve their website compatibility with Google Search Engine. With Search Console, it is easy to monitor website search traffic, extract data and find website errors. It has several other additional helpful roles in Search Engine optimization that we going to discuss today.

Search Console Google formerly known as Google webmaster is a primary SEO tool that should not be ignored in any case.

Advantages of Google Search Console

  1. Fastest method to crawl your site by Google Bots or put your website in to Google Search Engine database.
  2. Submitting your sitemap to search console inform Google as soon as you add a new page.
  3. Adding robot file to search console can alert you if find any website issue.
  4. Finding website Crawl Errors
  5. Monitoring Links to your site
  6. Monitoring any manual action against your website

Quick Summary what you will Learn:

  1. How to add website to Google search console
  2. How to use Data Highlighter to enhance website’s search appearance
  3. What is International Targeting?
  4. How to use Search Analytics in Google search console
  5. Understanding Google crawl errors
  6. How to use URL parameters

How to Add Website in Google Search Console

Create or login to Gmail that you want to associate with your website. Now click https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and add property.

how to add property to search console

Next step would be verifying the ownership. There are 2 verifying methods: Recommended and Alternative methods. Recommended methods include methods such as HTML file upload, hosting server method and couple of other.

Alternative methods are as follow:

1 Add a meta tag to your site home page
2 Use your Google Analytics account to confirm ownership
3 Use your Google Tag manager

We prefer Google analytics as simplest method to connect with Search Conole Google.

After successfully adding your website to Search Console, you can see your website on dashboard of Google analytics like below example.

search console tutorial

In messages, you can check any manual action taken against your website by Google or any website improvement suggestions.

Next Google Search Console settings are structured data under Search Appearance. This option is to customize website’s Google Search appearance. To understanding structured data in details, look at below example of structure data errors for our website. It shows 7 items with errors on www.seotalkers.com.

Google search console help

Second settings under Google Search Appearance are Rich Cards. Rich cards are very helpful if your website is an eCommerce website with products, reviews, and description. Rich cards use schema.org which is a structured markup language to display content in an even more engaging and visual format. They work similarly like Rich snippets but with a focus on providing a better mobile user experience.

An example how your website appears on Rich cards on mobile.

Search console rich card example

 

Third settings under Google Search Appearance are Data Highlighter. This is an amazingly easy option which doesn’t require editing HTML code. Follow below steps in order to use data highlighter.

Step 1: Add your website URL. Select type of information you want to highlight. Information types for selection are articles, book reviews, events, local businesses, movies, products, Restaurants, software applications and TV episodes. Then Select, if you want to highlight a particular page or other pages like this as well.

how to use data highlighter

 

Step 2: Highlight data step by step as shown below

how to use data highlighter in search console

 

After submitting and reviewing data highlights, you can submit it. It will start appearing in Google search once get crawled again.

Fourth settings under Google Search Appearance are HTML improvements. Google didn’t detect any error on our website. Google uses it to alert website owners if they find any issue with the website.

Fifth settings under Google Search Appearance are sites links. Google site links do not accept manual suggestions anymore and it has become an automatic part of Google to generate links under your site’s search results. However, if you don’t want to appear a particular website page under your site link, you can demote it.

Sixth settings under Google Search Appearance are Accelerated Mobile Pages. If a web page listed in Google SERP has a valid Accelerated Mobile Page version, Search may direct mobile users to the cached Accelerate mobile page version which opens faster than a regular page.

How to use Search Analytics in Google Search Console

First Settings under Google Search Traffic are Google Search Analytics. It is my favorite part of Google Search Console. It is very useful to track clicks, impressions, average rankings and CTR for queries. These queries are very useful and can come handy in doing keyword research for your website. Other than queries, you can check several metrics such as pages, countries, devices and search type.

how to use search analytics

Second Settings under Google Search Traffic are Links to your site. It helps you in finding who link you most and where you get most links to your site.

Third Settings under Google Search Traffic are Internal Links. Check below example for my website’s internal links.

how to find internal links

Fourth Settings under Google Search Traffic are Manual Actions. It is the page to check when one of the Google web spam team members takes actions against your website. This is the page if you have violated Google webmaster quality and design guidelines.

Fifth Settings under Google Search Traffic are International Targeting. If you have multiple versions of your website for different audiences based on their language, you must consider International targeting. International targeting uses href-lang markup to display relevant language and country version to your visitors.

Sixth Settings under Google Search Traffic are Mobile Usability. Google recently started degrading websites with mobile incompatibility issues. Therefore, it becomes necessary to check up your website verifies if there isn’t any mobile usability issue. It makes it even more important to always keep it under check.

How to Check Google Index Pages and Blocked Resources

First Settings under Google Index is index status. It gives you the insight of how many pages have been indexed by Google. You can check index graph and download it as well.

Second Settings under Google Index is Content Keywords. Content keywords give you the insight of most to least relevant keyword based on your website content.

Content keywords

Third Settings under Google index is Blocked Resources. This is the important feature if you have mistakenly blocked any page or disabled the indexing within robot file.

Fourth Settings under Google index is Remove URLs. The remove URL tool is created for urgent requirement of blocking a URL. Accidently exposing confidential pages of your website are the most relevant case of using this service. However, it is not a permanent solution. It will block your page for only 90 days.

Understanding Google Crawl Errors with Google Search Console

This is most commonly used the section of Google Search Console. If you have come around this term first time, let me introduce you what are they. The Crawl Errors under Crawl section report website URLs that Google could not find or returned 404 not found errors. Google show crawl errors data from last 90 days.

Crawl errors are the very common problem that can’t be avoided. They don’t affect your website SEO immediately but Google looked down to the website with 404 errors. Redirecting 404 errors to relevant pages is the easiest solution to fix it. There are several reasons behind the occurrence of 404 errors. Moving or deleting a web page is one of the most common problems that trigger 404 errors.

The Second section under Crawl is Crawl Stats. It showcases Crawl stat in last 90 days with a graph.

The Third section under Crawl is Fetch as Google. It is generally used to check if Google can fetch your URL or not.

The Fourth section under Crawl is Robot.txt tester. Robot.txt file is a tool to disallow Google to crawl an individual URL here. However, blocking a webpage with Meta no index is better than robot.txt. Robot.txt disallow only tells Google to not crawl the page however Google can show those pages in SERP. Meta no index tells Google to not to crawl not to index the web page.

The Fifth section under Crawl is Sitemap. Adding website sitemap should be a first priority of any website owner or webmaster. A sitemap is an XML file that contains all website URLs to get crawled. It is best practice to make sure that Google index all web pages.

The Sixth section under Crawl is URL parameters.

How to use URL Parameters in Google Search Console

URL parameters play a vital role in avoiding duplicate content issues for large websites. This section is used to help Google by providing instructions on how to handle parameters in your URLs. This is, however, most critical section of Google Search Console and should be used if you fully understand how it works.

What are URL parameters?

In the simplest definition, URL parameters are URLs that make same content available via different URLs. For example; if you have an e-commerce website then your products could be visible via following URLs:

  1. http://www.example.com/product/short/red.html
  2. http://www.example.com/product?category=short&color=red
  3. http://www.example.com/shop/index.php?product_id=32&highlight=red+short&cat_id=1&sessionid=123&affid=431

URL parameter enables you to give Google information about your preferred version from these URLs. Using URL parameter tool for the first time can cause several misunderstandings, though. It is important that you read all details before using it. Read Google’s URL Parameter Help Section for more help.

I will write a separate section on how to use URL parameters next week. So you have to wait until next blog post.

Security Issues

It is the section where Google alerts if there is any security breach or issues that can affect your website security. You can learn about it more by visiting search console.

Other Resources

These are other useful Google resources worth considering. Other resources are as follows:

Structured Data Testing Tool – A testing tool to check rich data snippets if you have implemented it correctly or not.

Structured data mark up helper – A mark up writing tool to help you if you are not sure how to start it.

Email mark up tester – A helpful tool for your email marketing campaign.

Google my business – A helpful tool to check if your business looks good on Google map listings.

Google merchant center – A useful tool to place your products on Google.

PageSpeed insights – A tool to find out how to optimize page speed of your website.

Custom Search –

Google Domains – Find Google domain and build a website with Google. But it is not available everywhere, not in India at least.

Webmaster Academy – A Google academy to learn how to create a Google compatible website.

I hope this search console tutorial will help you in setting up your website and learning Google Search console. We would love to assist you if you need help at any stage of Google search console or Google Analytics set up. Contact us for free SEO analysis.

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Mr. Superunique

Owner, Founder and CEO at SEOTalkers
I am Bhupinder Thakur, CEO of SEOTalkers. I started working as SEO executive in 2008 while pursuing BCA. I was more focused on becoming a programmer but soon started realising the tremendous future growth of Internet marketing. By the time of my 2 years working experience, it becomes my passion and I started working as a freelancer. Later, established SEOTalkers in 2012.
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