Google Search Console is a tool that helps webmasters find errors on their website. These errors affect how the website and its pages appear in the Google search engine. Google Search Console, or GSC, is best used if you want to rank your blog higher on the search engine result pages (SERPs).
There was a time when webmasters had to submit a sitemap to Google so Google knows that their websites exist. Now, you only have to register for an account and integrate your website with GSC.
But how to do set up and use Google Search Console with your website?
Today, you will learn the step by step process on how to do it, and I will also share some tips on how to use it.
Integrate Directly Via GSC
The first step is to go to your Google Search Console and then log in. If you already have a Google account, then use that account to log in. All Android users have a Google account.
You can use that account or create a new one if you want to separate your business Google account from your personal one.
The screen should look like this:
Once there, click on the Start Now button, and then log in to your Google account. Next, look for a link that says Add Property and click it. A property is the website domain name. It is called property because a website is an asset.
Once you click on Add Property, enter the domain name of your website. It is up to you to choose if you want to add Domain or URL, but Domain property is better. Once done, click on the Continue button.
The next step is to verify your ownership of the domain, which means you need to go to your registrar, and then add a TXT file or code.
In the screenshot below, you have to copy the entire code, and then paste add it to your TXT files, which you will do from your web host.
Copy the code and then paste it on a notepad. Do not exit the Google Search Console browser.
For this tutorial, we are using SiteGround as the web host, so we will log in to our SiteGround account.
From SiteGround, you need to find your domain name and then click on DNS Zone Editor.
The next step is to add the TXT file from Google. To do this, click on the TXT area, paste the code from GSC inside the Value box, then hit create.
If the activity is successful, you will see a box that says that it is successful, like one below.
Next, you have to go back to the browser where you are logged in to Google Search Console, and then click on Verify.
Google will verify your ownership of the website, and now you can log in to Google Search Console to see your traffic stats. Sometimes, it can take up to 24 hours for the integration to be completed.
How to Use Google Search Console
To start using GSC, just log in and click on Performance. This will show you data such as your clicks, impressions, etc.
Here are some terms that you will find useful:
- Clicks – the total number of clicks on your link when they appeared on search
- Total Impressions – the total number of times that users saw our links in search page results
- Average CTR – this is the average number of clicks you get; high CTR means people are clicking our links from GSC
- Average Position – this shows the average position of your website in the search engine results.
If you browse down your Performance page, you will see the URLs of your website that perform the best. You can download this as a CSV file, which you can view from a spreadsheet.
Using the Speed Function
GSC has a way to measure the speed of your website. Of all the tools out there, this is the best one to use since it is owned by Google. If Google thinks your website is too slow, it is not going to rank your website in the search results.
On your left panel, just click on the Speed link. It will show you a page where it will ask you to try PageSpeed Insights. Click that link, and Google will analyze your website’s load speed.
Once the analysis is over, it will show you a page like this:
If you can, you have to target a green score. Yellow is alright if you are at the high 80s. If you scroll below, you will see some recommendations, and how much time these issues will contribute to your page load speed if fixed.
Here is a sample screenshot:
Using the SiteMap
If you want to make sure that Google Search Console indexes all your pages, you need to submit a sitemap. To do this, click on the Sitemaps link from your control panel on the left.
You will see a page like this:
To get your sitemap, you need a plug-in like RankMath. It is a free plug-in that you have to install to your WordPress CMS. From RankMath, just click on Sitemap settings, and you will see your website’s sitemap as shown below.
The sitemap link is covered in blue. Once you have it, copy it and paste it on GSC. Then, click on submit.
Once you submit your sitemap, give Google some time to crawl and index your website.
Using the Links Function
If you scroll down at the bottom of your control panel, you will see the Links function. Click this to find out how you are performing in terms of linking.
Once you click this, you should see this page:
And if you scroll further, you will see this:
With the Links tool, you can find out how many websites are linking back to you. These are called backlinks. Not only that, but you will also see which texts are being used to link back to you.
If you click on a website that has a link back to you, you will see how many times the website linked back to you, and how many pages from your website are linked to.
How do you use this information? There must be something in your blog post that made people link back to it. You can contact the blog owners, and then collaborate with them, or you can make more blog posts similar to what you posted.
Google Search Console is a powerful tool. Best of all, it is free. You do not need expensive SEO tools to analyze what is happening on your website as far as SEO is concerned—GSC can provide all the data you need.
If you ever get stumped, or if you are unsure how to analyze your stats, Google is always there to help you. Use Google Search to find answers to your questions. For the best results, you also need to integrate your website with Google Analytics.
The last step to make the best out of GSC and Google Analytics is to install SiteKit to your WordPress. SiteKit is a product of Google. Once the plug-in is installed, you can integrate Google Ads, GSC, and Analytics into your WordPress website.