How to Setup Google Search Console
The digital space is ever evolving. Establishing a robust online presence is crucial for any business's success. But, what happens after you’ve built your presence through having a website? Having put up a website for your business, you’ve only got half of the work done. If your business has been thriving for 2-5 years and are now gearing up to scale and outsource marketing efforts, mastering how to be more visible online becomes paramount.
One tool that can significantly contribute to this endeavour is the Google Search Console. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of setting up a Google Search Console account and shed light on why this is essential for your business's growth and online success.
Why is Setting Up a Google Search Console Important?
As you employ digital marketing strategies, having a clear understanding of your website's performance and how it appears in Google search results is non-negotiable. Google Search Console empowers you with valuable insights that can make a world of difference in your business's trajectory. The platform enables you to monitor your website's performance, identify issues that might be hindering your online visibility, and optimise your content for better search rankings.
When learned how to use Google Search Console effectively, you gain more insights on how the search engine sees your website. With the data you’ll collect from GSC, you now have the tools to refine your strategies and increase your website’s organic traffic by 28%.
How to Set Up Your Google Search Console Account
Sign in to Search Console with your Google account
If it’s your first time you log in, you’ll see a pop-up asking you to add a property (i.e., your website). You’re given two options: add a domain or a URL prefix.
1. Visit the Google Search Console Website:
- Go to the official Google Search Console website: https://search.google.com/search-console/.
2. Sign In with Your Google Account:
Use your existing Google account credentials to log in. If you don't have an account, you can create one.
Add a Domain Property
By adding a domain property, you’ll have the most comprehensive view of your website’s information. When you add a property this way, you need to verify it through your DNS (domain name system) provider. Follow these steps to add your domain property:
Add Your Website:
- Click on the "Add a Property" button.
- Enter your website's domain or URL in the provided field.
Choose a Verification Method:
Google offers multiple verification methods. Select the one that works best for you:
- HTML File Upload: Download a verification HTML file, upload it to your website's root directory, and click "Verify" in Search Console.
- HTML Tag: Add a meta tag to your website's HTML code on the homepage.
- Google Analytics: If your site is linked to Google Analytics, you can verify through that account.
- Google Tag Manager: Verify using your Google Tag Manager account.
Complete the Verification Process
Follow the specific instructions for your chosen verification method to confirm ownership of your website:
Access Your Search Console Dashboard:
- Once verified, you'll be directed to your Search Console dashboard.
Explore the Performance Report:
- Navigate to the "Performance" section to see a snapshot of your website's search performance.
- Review metrics such as clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and average position.
Analyse Search Queries:
- Dive deeper into the "Queries" tab to see which search queries are driving traffic to your site.
- Identify high-performing keywords and opportunities for improvement.
Inspect URL Coverage:
- Visit the "Coverage" section to identify any indexing issues or errors on your site.
- Address these issues promptly to ensure optimal visibility.
Check Mobile Usability:
- Review the "Mobile Usability" section to ensure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Address any issues that might affect user experience on mobile devices.
Set Up Performance Alerts:
- Configure email notifications to receive alerts about critical issues affecting your website's performance.
Use the URL Inspection Tool:
- Enter specific URLs to see how Googlebot views and crawls your pages.
- Identify potential issues and ensure proper indexing.
- In the "Enhancements" section, you can review structured data and other elements that enhance your site's appearance in search results.
Monitor and Optimise:
- Regularly log in to Google Search Console to monitor your website's performance and address any emerging issues.
- Continuously optimise your site's content and structure based on the insights provided.
Submitting Sitemaps and Accelerating Indexing
A well-organised sitemap is like a roadmap you give search engines, guiding them to the most important pages on your website. The best part is, doing this is easy. Google Search Console allows you to submit your sitemap, ensuring that search engines can crawl and index your content efficiently.
This step is particularly beneficial when you add new pages or make significant updates to your site. By submitting your sitemap through Google Search Console, you expedite the process of getting your fresh content indexed, which means it will start appearing in search results faster.
Discovering the Performance Insights
Once your website is verified, you'll gain access to the data about how your site is performing in Google search results. The Performance Report provides a comprehensive overview of key metrics such as:
- Click-through rate, and
- Average position for specific search queries
This information allows you to find out which are the keywords that are driving traffic to your site and understand user behaviour better. By analysing this data, you can tailor your content and marketing strategies to align with your audience's preferences.
Identifying and Fixing Errors
Google Search Console is like a detective for your website, alerting you to potential issues that might be affecting your search rankings. Your Coverage Report highlights any errors or indexing problems that Google encounters while crawling your site.
These issues could range from missing pages to server errors. By addressing these concerns promptly, you ensure that your website remains accessible and user-friendly. This in turn contributes to an overall positive user experience and higher search rankings.
However, monitoring your website for errors and fixing these issues tend to get technical. Some fixes need an expert’s eye to interpret what’s going on. It’s totally understandable if this isn’t your cup of tea as a business owner. That’s where we can help.
Improving Mobile Usability
With the rapid growth in global web traffic from mobile devices of 51.52% as of May 2023, it’s imperative that your website adapts to mobile-friendly optimisation practises. Google Search Console provides a Mobile Usability Report, which identifies any mobile-specific issues on your site.
This report helps you ensure that your pages are responsive, load quickly on mobile devices, and provide a seamless experience for users across all platforms. A mobile-friendly website not only makes visiting your website a smoother experience for users, it also receives a ranking boost in Google's mobile search results.
The Bottom Line
We’re well into the digital age, and a strong online presence is the cornerstone of your business’ success. If you’re currently in a stage in your business where you might not need this, taking the time to set-up Google Search Console is a strategic move that can yield substantial benefits once you’re ready to scale your marketing efforts.
By setting up a Google Search Console account and leveraging its insights, you can optimise your website's performance, enhance user experience, and ultimately drive organic traffic and growth. Plus, it helps you save on business costs by making sounder decisions when it comes to where to divert your marketing budget and efforts to. Remember that continuous monitoring, analysis, and adaptation of what the data Google Search Console provides your business are keys to staying ahead.
If you're looking for personalised guidance and support in implementing this powerful tool, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation and let's embark on a journey towards maximising your online presence and propelling your business toward success.