The Beginner's Guide to Google Search Console

The Beginner's Guide to Google Search Console
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Google Search Console is a control panel that can be used by webmasters and website owners. With its help, it is possible to see the indexing status of Google pages, search terms, CTR, keyword transitions, external and internal links, possible security issues and threats. We will talk about these and other opportunities in this article. Are you ready to plunge into the Google Search Console guide? Then, let’s not waste valuable time and get to it.

 

How to Add a Site to GSC?

 

Before you start working with Search Console, you will have to register a Google account. If you do not have one  yet, it’s high time to create one with the Gmail service. Previously, this tool was called Google Webmaster Tools, and this name was saved in its URL. The tool was renamed to Search Console, but the URL address remained the same. Google limited itself to just changing the name, the interface of the service remained virtually unchanged (from the old version).

Keep in mind that when adding a site you will have to pass through the verification process. It is necessary for Google to entrust that you are the site owner or a webmaster. The verification protects from unauthorized use of the Console. There are two simple steps you should take to add your site to the Search Console. Check them out below:

  • Enter your Console account;
  • Enter the address where you see “Add property.”

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? You are right, the process of adding a site to the Console is a piece of cake. Let’s have a look at the verification procedure. This may be a bit more difficult than the previous stage, but it is not as complicated as it may seem. If you have some HTML knowledge, it is going to be of use to you. If not, then don’t start panicking as we are going to discuss this point later.

Adding to Google Webmaster is only 50% of what you have to do to start using the Search Console. Now you need to choose a way to confirm the rights to the site you are adding. Otherwise, anyone could add any sites to Search Console. There are several ways to confirm it:

  • Download an HTML-file with the verification code to the server;
  • Add a meta tag to the code;
  • Confirm it via DNS entry;
  • Confirm with Google Analytics;
  • Confirm the site using Google Tag Manager.

In the case of Google Analytics, a site must be added to this system, and a tracking code must be installed on it. We will assume that you have not yet installed Analytics, so we immediately reject this method. DNS method is not as easy as ABC either. It does not fit all users and the same goes for Tag Manager.

The easiest and most common option is to add an HTML file. Let’s have a look at the procedure of adding it to the site with the aim of verification.

 

How to Verify a Site Adding HTML?

 

If the combination of words “HTML code” doesn’t look unfamiliar to you, this verification method will definitely suit you better than the others. There is nothing too difficult. How to get the necessary code for verification? Just choose the HTML tag being offered to give preference to one of the available methods. Sometimes, there is no need to look for it among the alternate methods as it will be offered to you under the name “ Recommended method.”

After getting the required code, the next step you should take is to use it for verification. This will require minimum efforts. Just add the code to the homepage. This is rather simple, isn’t it? The only important thing to remember during this procedure is that you should copy and paste the code into the Head section.

Verify the site after making sure that the code has been added. Usually, everything is fine, and in several seconds you are going to see a note that your site was verified successfully. However, sometimes errors may occur and interfere with the verification process. In this case, you will be informed of them. Bear in mind that after you have done everything, your HTML code should remain. You can register for Google Search Console, or Google Webmaster Tools as it has been called before, without special skills and knowledge. It is not necessary to ask a programmer to do this for you.

 

How to Upload a File in HTML?

 

Let’s consider one more method to verify your site, which requires similar actions. You should find the option “Manage site” and locate the HTML file upload prompt there. It may be either in the recommended methods or in the alternate options to choose from.

Have you managed to upload a file? Then, let’s move to the second step. Verify the site by pressing the corresponding button. You will see the result immediately. In case, everything is correct, the system will congratulate you on the successful accomplishment of the task. If not, then you will be provided with the explanation why something went wrong during the verification process for you to know how to fix the existing error.

 

How to Verify Your Site with the Help of a Domain Name?

 

All owners of large internet resources are recommended to give preference to this method, which is based on a domain name provider. Everyone can guess the meaning of the phrase “domain name provider,” including beginners. However, it is better to make it clear. This is the company, which sold you the domain. Why is this method better than others? Everything is simple. It helps to prove that you are the owner.

As with the previous methods, here, you should start from the function allowing to manage your site and then choose the domain name provider option. Can’t see it as the recommended one? Don’t worry! It can’t disappear anywhere. Have a look at the list of the alternate methods.

 

How to Add Google Analytics Code?

 

This method is the simplest one among all the above-listed ways of verification if you know how to use Google Analytics. Go to your website and check the HTML code, which must be in the Head section. Manage site and find the option with the name “Google Analytics Code.” It can be either in the recommended methods or in the list of other methods. After you have done this, you will be provided with the guidelines for your further actions. As in the situation with the previous methods, you are expected to leave the code. Otherwise, your site will not be verified anymore.

 

How to Use Google Tag Manager?

 

One more effective way to verify your site is through Google Tag Manager. If you are familiar with this term, then you will find it not very complicated. Check your HTML code. All necessary steps are the same. Manage site and verify it. There is nothing difficult. You are recommended not to remove the GTM from your site. Otherwise, you risk having an unverified file.

 

Learn How to Link Google Analytics to Console

 

Some people think that these are the same tools with a similar range of functions to enjoy, however, this is a misconception. If you take a closer look, you will find a number of features that differ much. Let’s try to compare and contrast Google Analytics and Console. GA provides you with the opportunity to learn more about the number of site visitors. It will help you to have a clear picture of how much time people devote to staying on your site and how exactly they got there. This means that you will be able to know where every user is from. The information about the geographical position of site users is very important.

As for Console, the situation is slightly different. It also provides you with knowledge about users, but this knowledge is about other things. It is able to provide detailed and careful research defining whether malware has taken place. Using it, you can always know whether there are errors on your site or any other problems. One more function it has, which is one of the most significant functions for the success of your site, is the identification of the keyword queries that lead people to your site. Having this knowledge, you will have a great opportunity to brainstorm ideas on how to move it to the top of the search results page.

As you can see, GA and Search Console are completely different tools, which have the same aim – to provide a site owner with an in-depth analysis of site visits. However, they do this in different ways. This means if you have one of them, for example, GA, you shouldn’t neglect to add your site to the Search Console as well. When using both of them, you can have a clearer picture of your site popularity. So let’s sum it up. If you have both tools you have the benefit of being aware of the following important details: who visits your site, which country he or she comes from, how long he or she stays at your site, which keyword queries he or she uses to come to your site.

You will be glad to know that it is easy to use both of them. Does the idea to link GA with Search Console seem great for you but you don’t know how to do this? It is not a problem. Let’s have a look at the steps you should take to benefit from the features each of them can provide you with. Take into account that before the linking process, you should ensure that you have added your site to Console successfully. If it is there already, let’s move to the next step. Using the dashboard, you should choose the site you want to link to GA. Find the gear icon and click on “Google Analytics Property.” Now the only thing you are expected to do is to choose a GA account and save the settings. The entire process will take a couple of minutes if you have already verified your site using one of the methods that we have already discussed in this article.

 

What is a Sitemap and How to Submit It to the Google Search Console?

 

If you are a site owner, you must have heard about such an important file as the sitemap. Even if you just now hear this term for the first time, it is not difficult to guess its meaning. To explain it in simple words, it is like a map of your site. By adding a sitemap, you provide search engines with significant pieces of information regarding the organization of your site and the type of content that can be found there. The information also covers details about all types of content on your site, including videos and images.

This process isn’t a necessity, and every site owner should make a decision on their own whether he or she needs this file or not. You may be wondering why you should add a sitemap if it’s not obligatory. This is recommended to be done with the aim of making the work for Google easier and more effective. Nobody wants to waste time on things which doesn’t provide a certain benefit. Don’t worry! Your efforts will be rewarded. This will be helpful, especially for new sites. However, the owners of large sites can also benefit from a sitemap, which is going to help link pages on your site together.

Do you need a sitemap? Let’s get started with the process of adding it. We want to remind you of the necessity to add your site to the Console before you do this as you will need to fix settings from its dashboard. Select the site, find “Crawl,” under which you will see the file you need which is called “Sitemaps”. You will intuitively understand what to do next. Click on it and then add. Write down the address of the site in a special box when submitting it to the sitemap. Well done! Now your site has been added.

 

Learn More about the Robots.txt File

 

Today, a search engine is one of the easiest and most effective ways to quickly find an answer to an interesting question, learn the latest news or to buy a product that is very difficult to find. But let’s look at a search engine from the position of a site owner. There are high-quality and useful sites which the user just does not get to because they do not get close to the TOP-10 or even the top 50 search results.

Sometimes even perfectly optimized resources with excellent ratings and level of trust can be ranked rather badly by search engines. One of the main reasons for this is the presence of a large number of duplicates and “useless” (in terms of search engines) pages in the index. The main and most optimal tool for dealing with duplicates has always been the robots.txt standard. Its main purpose is to exclude unwanted pages from the index, which is very important for efficient and effective promotion of a site in search engines. We will not dwell in detail on the theoretical description of the purpose and syntax of this file. We will take a closer look at the practical side of applying this standard when promoting in the Google search engine.

Pros you will get by using it:

  • The prohibition on indexing individual pages, files, and directories.
  • Ability to configure permission to index individual files in a directory that is closed from indexing (specifying the “Allow” directive after the corresponding “Disallow” directive).
  • Easy to use in comparison, for example, with the meta tag (it must be specified on every page you want to close from indexing, while the robots.txt file allows you to close entire directories).
  • Ability to close an entire site from indexing by specifying the “Disallow: /” directive (closing the test version before “rolling out” the updated site).

In case you want to check the functions of the robots.txt file, add a site to the Console, find the option “Crawl,” and then choose “robots.txt.Tester”. Click “Submit” and “Verify live version.” Now you can use it for your benefit.

 

Fetch as Google

 

Have you made all necessary changes to your site and want it to be added to Google index? Follow these simple tips on how to submit to index. By doing this, all new information will be reflected in the search results. Find the page for submission, click on “Crawl,” click on “Fetch as Google.” It is possible to enter either the full site address or to choose a specific page. Take into account that the process of fetching will take some time, which may vary depending on the size of the site.

The next step is to submit to index. Click on the appropriate button. You will be offered to choose the option you need. You can crawl a specific page or the whole URL with direct links. If you have done everything in the correct way, soon all site changes will be visible. However, this process may take several days so keep that in mind.

 

Be the First One to Know About Site Errors with Console

 

It is not a secret that there is nothing worse for a site owner than to find out that there are errors on the website. It is even worse to discover that it is not your fault. Search Console is able to identify errors and inform you instantly. Want to avoid errors? Just check your site with the help of the Console. You need to choose “Crawl errors.” Then have a look at all errors that the tool has found. If you can’t understand what kind of errors are shown, you have a great opportunity to learn more about it thanks to the description provided. Take notes to eliminate all mistakes or ask a webmaster to do this.

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful for beginners who are just about to add their sites to the Google Search Console. Now you know what advantages this tool can provide you with and you can use them to your benefit. Follow the instructions carefully if you want to start working with the Console as soon as possible. Good luck!

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