How to Use Google Search Console – Part 2: Using 15 Search Console Reports to Manage Your Website Performance
Google Search Console offers many free tools and reports to track your website performance and search analytics and optimize your website.
The first article on How to Use Google Search Console- Part 1 explained the steps to add your website to Search Console. This Part 2 article lists some of the valuable Search Console reports you can use to monitor and improve your website and SEO rankings.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your website performance in Google Search. It provides several reports, tools and analytics to monitor, track and improve your site performance in Google Search results. It can provide business owners and website owners with valuable information on how users find their website on Google and helps to identify and fix website issues to improve their website search or SEO rankings.
Google Search Console was previously called Google Webmaster Tools.
What Are the Benefits of Using Google Search Console?
Google Search Console offers many tools and reports to monitor and improve your website performance.
Search Console enables you to:
- Monitor your website performance.
- Identify search queries used by customers to find your site.
- Check indexing status and crawl errors.
- Monitor for security issues such as hacking or malware.
- Check for manual actions or Google violations.
- Import Search Console data into your Google Analytics account.
- Submit sitemaps.
- Inspect website URLs.
- Check web pages for mobile usability.
- Check which websites are linking to your site.
- Check for user experience issues.
- Receive alerts from Google on any issues that they find with your site.
How Can I Add My Website to Google Search Console?
To use Google Search Console, you will first need to add and verify your website in Search Console.
Go to Google Search Console at https://search.google.com/search-console/about and sign in with your google account.
For detailed steps on how to activate search console and verify site ownership, read our article on How to Use Google Search Console Part 1: Adding Your Website in Search Console
How Can I Use Google Search Console Reports to Manage My Website?
Once you activate Google Search Console for your website, you can monitor your website performance with many reports and tools.
Here are some of the reports available.
The Overview report gives you a summary of the total number of clicks, error pages and enhancements such as mobile usability. If there are any security issues or manual actions, they will be listed on the overview report.
The Performance Report lists how many people clicked on the site in search results, which search queries were used and the average position in Google search results.
The search performance report lists several metrics including:
- Total Clicks: the total number of clicks the site received on Google search for the report period.
- Total Impressions: the total number of times the site was shown on Google search results.
- Average CTR (click-through-rate): the percentage of impressions that resulted in clicks.
- Average Position: the average position of the site in Google search results.
The table below the graph lists a lot of useful search data including:
- Queries- the search queries used by users when your site was shown on Google search.
- Pages- the web pages on your site that received impressions on Google search.
- Countries- the countries from which users searched.
- Devices- the devices used for searches.
- Search appearance.
- Search dates.
URL Inspection Tool
The URL inspection tool is one of the most important debugging tools.
It allows you to:
- test a live URL.
- check the indexing status of the web page.
- View a crawled page to see what information Google has indexed about the page.
- You can also ask Google to index a page.
It has 3 sections:
- URL is on Google – tells you if Google has indexed the web page and whether it can appear on search results.
- Coverage – when the page was last crawled and whether the page has been submitted and indexed.
- Enhancements – this includes mobile usability which tells you if the page is mobile-friendly, breadcrumbs, structured data markup issues and more.
Under Index Reports
The coverage report shows the indexing status of all pages on your website along with any indexing errors. You can use this report to check for indexing or crawl errors on your site and fix them.
It is important to fix any broken links on your website. Broken links can not only impact the customer user experience but can also impact your SEO rankings on Google.
The Sitemaps report shows the submitted sitemaps and lists any errors. You can also submit a new sitemap on this page.
If you need to temporarily remove any web pages from Google search, you can use the removals report. It also provides a history of block requests.
Under Enhancements Reports
Core Web Vitals Report (New)
The Core Web Vitals Report is a new report that was just added to Google Search Console in May 2020. The report helps to fix issues with poor user experience on your site. It shows how your web pages performed based on live data.
Page performance issues such as long web page load times can adversely affect the bounce rate on your website. It is important to have web pages load fast.
It has been shown that:
- An increase in page load time from 1 to 3 seconds, can cause the bounce rate to increase by 32%.
- An increase in page load time from 1 to 6 seconds, can cause the bounce rate to increase by 106%.
The Core Web Vitals Report shows website URL performance by status, metric type and URL group. It is based on 3 metrics:
- Loading time – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – the amount of time to render the largest content element on the page from when the user requests the page URL.
- Interactivity – First Input Delay (FID) – the time from user interaction with the page (user clicked on a button or link), to the browser response.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – the amount that the page layout shifts during loading. Having page elements shift can result in a poor user experience.
When you open the report, you will see the Mobile and Desktop summary page. Data is grouped by performance status – Poor, Needs Improvement or Good.
Since the report is very new, or if sufficient data is not available, you may see a “No data available” screen.
To see performance of a specific URL, you can run the Google PageSpeed Insights test to find recommendations for fixing issues with that URL.
Once you fix an issue with an URL, you can “start tracking” to begin a 28 day monitoring period. If the issue is not present on your site during the monitoring period, it is considered fixed.
Mobile Usability Report
This report shows you how your web pages perform on mobile devices. It helps you identify any errors with mobile-friendliness of your web pages and fix them.
Having a mobile-friendly website is very important since Google is planning to switch all websites to their Mobile-friendly Search Index in September 2020.
Under Security and Manual Actions Reports
Manual Actions Report
The manual actions report is important. It helps you check if your website has any manual actions that will prevent it from appearing in Google search. Once you fix any issues, you can file a reconsideration request with Google to re-assess your site.
Security Issues Report
The security issues report helps you check if your website has any security issues identified by Google. This can include warnings about hacked content or malware. Once you fix the issues, you can file a reconsideration request with Google.
Under Legacy Tools and Reports
There are many legacy tools that have not yet been replaced in the new Google Search Console. Some of the important ones include:
The Crawl Stats shows how often Google has crawled your site. It shows the pages crawled per day; kilobytes downloaded per day and the time spent downloading a page. It also provides a breakdown of high, average and low values for each activity for the timeframe selected.
The Messages report lists any messages Google has sent to your website. You should check this report frequently.
You can also view Messages in the top bar under the bell icon.
Web tools includes the Ad Experience Report, Abusive notifications and testing tools such as Structured Data Markup Helper, Email Markup Tester and more.
Links and Settings Reports
The links report is useful to see the websites that are linking to you as well as the top linked pages on your site. This can help you identify any spammy links and take necessary action to have them taken down.
Settings provides the property settings including ownership verification and users.
The Settings report also provides information about when your website switched to Google’s mobile-first search index, and when the website was added to your Search Console account.
Google Search Console is a valuable tool to manage your website performance. It provides many reports to monitor and maintain your website and improve its performance on Google search results.
By checking Search Console regularly, preferably monthly, you can identify any site errors and fix them before they impact your site performance or SEO rankings on Google search results.
Google Search Console not only helps you maintain your site but also helps to screen for any manual or security actions against your site that need to be immediately addressed. Search Console should be regularly used by website owners and business owners to maintain and optimize their websites.
We hope you found this article helpful to use Google Search Console reports to monitor and improve your website performance.
- Google, Verify your Site Ownership – Search Console Help
- Google, Using Search Console With Your Website
- Google, Core Web Vitals Report
Related Articles on Search Marketing
1. Gold Mango Design, How to Use Google Search Console- Part 1: Adding Your Website to Search Console
2. Gold Mango Design, What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization and Why is It Important?
3. Gold Mango Design, 10 Local SEO Tips yo Boost Local Search Rankings
4. How to Set Up Google Analytics for Your Website
5. How to use Google Analytics Reports to Track your Website Performance
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