Google search console is a tool by Google to help anyone to understand the performance of its website. One can improve their site appearance and bring the most relevant potential audience to their website. Search Console lets the site owners learn about the top tactics to improvise the website performance.
Search console provides complete information about how Google crawls and indexes the website, let’s get to know everything in detail about the way Google search console works to leverage and optimize the search performance of your website:
Google is a fully automated search engine powered by bots called web crawlers. Even on most of the pages that you do not submit manually, crawlers find themselves while exploring the web. Google never promises to crawl a page on money or perfection. Crawlers work on the bases of preset algorithms.
Still, the first step to perform better on the SERP is to include all the Google search essentials:
- Technical requirements: this is the content part and the specific user experience you need on your website to help Google serve best to its users.
- Spam policies: Types of SEO practices you are employing impact the ranking, any type of cybercrime or black hat SEO activity can blacklist your site if caught.
- Key best practices: It enlists the core practices to support your website and the content to reach the most relevant audience.
Three stages of the Google Search process:
The very first step approach that Google takes is finding out the existing pages on the web. There is no central registry of all the pages, this is the reason Google has to keep looking for new pages. This process is termed URL Discovery. Some pages are already listed on Google if it has already visited them. New pages come up from the links of new pages on existing pages or blog posts on those websites.
You can get your website crawled by submitting your list of pages (sitemap) to Google. Once Google discovers the URLs, it visits pages to see what’s on them. Such a huge task is not in the control of many teams. So, there is a program to fetch data from different pages called Googlebot or crawler or spider.
The Googlebot can save itself from the server load or glitch by responding differently according to the site’s behavior. You can know more about this in the Google search console settings.
Google crawlers might experience some issues in accessing the site, listed below.
- Problems with the server of the site
- txt directives preventing crawler access to the page
- Network issues
This is the stage where Google tries to understand what is available on that page. The program processes the textual content, image, videos, title, attributes, and more on the page. Google also keeps a check on the duplicacy of the pages and finds out the canonical page.
Google clusters all the pages with similar content and considers the most representative page as a canonical URL. Google considers a few factors like language, location, etc. while listing the page in the canonical list. Indexing is not guaranteed due to the huge number of databases that are managed on thousands of computers.
You might face indexing issues because of these reasons:
- The quality of the content on the page is low
- Robots’ meta directives disallow indexing
- The design of the website
3. Serving search results
This is the final step to the conclusion of the entire process. When a user enters a search query on the Google homepage, hundreds of factors work behind the most relevant search result on your SERP. Language, location, and the device on which you are searching are very important. These search results become better day by day with the machine learning processes employed by Google.
For example, if one is searching in the USA for “best SEO company” and the search result will appear from Paris then it has no use. So, every factor matters for results more accurately than ever. One can change search preferences in search settings.
You might not see your page in search results even after indexing because:
- The content of content on the page is irrelevant to users’ queries
- The quality of the content is low
- Robot meta directives prevent serving
There is no need to log in to the new tools every day. Google Search Console sends an alert itself to you if any issue is found by Google on your site. You might need to check your account once a month or you think the content on your site is unstable due to updates.
To get started, follow these steps:
Verify site ownership. Get access to all the information on the search console by verifying the site ownership.
Verifying site ownership means you own a website, and this gives you a high degree of permission on the Google search console. This is quite complicated because the Google search console provides a site owner with the permissions to add and remove other users, configure settings, view all data, and use all tools. The verified owner can make changes to the website that can impact the presence of the website over the internet.
Out of the standard verification methods, in which the domain method is new and more feasible. Here you verify the entire site and its pages. Or you can just verify one URL under the specified protocol.
Visit Google Search Console, click on search property, a drop-down will appear and then click add property. Then just select the property type and enter the URL and click continue.
In the next step, there are several methods to continue verification like, Sites that use a website hosting platform (WordPress, Shopify, Wix, etc), HTML file upload, HTML tag, Domain name provider, Google Analytics tracking code, Google Tag Manager container snippet, Google Sites, Blogger, Google Domains, etc.
The HTML tag method is the most common among all of the others. So, choose the HTML tag method and copy the HTML tag.
Embed the HTML tag to the root code of your website. And click on continue and follow the guideline mentioned in the second point.
If you manage your site on WordPress then you can easily manage your site by installing the Sitekit by Google. It is Google’s official WordPress plugin that enables you to manage the site easily and escalate the process with other Google products also.
You get access to three other major web services from Google in the site its plugin along with the search console and that is without any code editor.
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Page Speed Insights
You can add other verification methods in the settings section of the Google search console.
Verify child properties
Once you have verified a property, any child properties that you add like a landing page or any new service page will be auto-verified using the same verification method as the parent method. For example, if you verified ownership of esl.com using the HTML tag method, any child properties that you create will be auto-verified using the same HTML tag method.
You might experience a few common verification errors while verifying the site ownership, most of them are listed below:
Common verification errors
In addition to any method-specific verification errors, the following verification errors are possible in most verification methods:
- Incorrect tag/snippet/file errors: Use the exact and accurate data in the beginning.
- The connection to your server timed out: This happened because of the server, just try again in this case.
- We encountered an error looking up your site’s domain name: It could happen due to a DNS error.
- The download request was redirected too many times: Check for the URL related issues
- Your server returned an invalid response: When the site is encrypted with the password.
- We were unable to connect to your server: Again, this is due to the server being down.
- An internal error occurred: Visit Google Search Central Help Community.
- Could not find your domain: check whether the URL is correct or not.
If your issue is not listed here then, visit the Search Console help center to post a question or report an issue, make sure you are doing this with your relevant Gmail account.
After verification is completed successfully, make sure that Google can find and index your pages. If not then review your page URLs and try fixing all the issues. The report shows all errors and warnings, optimize your website for the same accordingly. Now you will know how you can perform several activities at your fingertips with the Google search console.
- Optimize your website accordingly. Check the indexing report for the same. Page indexing report looks like this:
- Check the mobile usability report and optimize your website for mobile usability on priority. As mobile friendly or responsive websites are likely to show higher conversion rates.
- Submit your XML sitemap to the Google search console, it helps you Manage your sitemaps using the sitemaps report and increase the site discovery process.
- Monitor your site’s performance with the help of a Search performance report. It shows the traffic on your website classified on the bases of locations, queries, pages, and audience.
- You can analyze your Monitor your CTR over time, with the help of a CTR report on the Google Search Console. This way you know the conversion worth of the website.
Here are the points to ponder always, for successful website performance and extract most of the help from Google search console.
- Keep Basic Search Console usage for website owners in mind
- Know how Google Search works
- Do not use robot.txt in the name of the file you want Google to crawl. Because txt is used to tell search engines which URLs or directories in a site should not be crawled.
You can compare the site performance report between two tentative periods by setting a custom duration. This helps you to analyze how much progress you have made in that period. It is a very useful methodology for SEO experts.
Inspect and Troubleshoot Any Single Page
Use the URL inspector tool to test and fix any specific URL of your website. Most common reasons for using URL Inspection:
- To troubleshoot why a page isn’t on Google.
- To confirm that you have fixed a reported issue by Google on a specific page.
- Requesting indexing for a single page.
To inspect a URL simply put the URL into the search bar on the Google Search Console dashboard and click on the page verdict or click the 🔍 in front of the URLs. You will get one of three types of results after this:
URL is on Google: The page is indexed, and there are no problems, but this does not promise for ranking of the page
URL is on Google, but has issues: The page is indexed, but there are one or more issues that affect your page Ranking.
URL is not on Google: in such case check whether your URL is not broken or it has not been indexed yet. Check for the robot.txt also.
It might have other reasons, listed here:
- Crawl allowed?
- Page fetch
- Indexing allowed?
- Google-selected canonical
- The last crawl date is empty
Google search console introduces an ocean of different tools and helpful features to manage a website and stand out as a successful online platform on the world’s largest search engine. This does not end here you can keep reading and learning more on Google Search Central formerly known as webmaster.
Now you have a complete idea, of how strong the Google search console is. And what can you do with it? Google Analytics is now introducing the simplified form of the Google search console, but still, it couldn’t be replaced. Leading digital marketing companies work over the best tools and techniques to ensure the expected SEO outcomes.