Are you having your own website or maintaining other company websites? Then you need to check regularly the performance of the website. For that, you need webmaster tools by Google, i.e. Google Search Console Beta.
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What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize the visibility of their websites.
It was previously known as Google Webmaster Central and then Google Webmaster Tools. In 2015, Google rebranded Google Webmaster Tools with the new name Google Search Console. In January 2018, Google introduced a new version of the Google Search Console, with a refreshed user interface and improvements, that is Google Search Console Beta.
Google wrote on its Webmaster Central blog “A few months ago we released a beta version of a new Search Console experience to a limited number of users. We are now starting to release this beta version to all users of Search Console so that everyone can explore this simplified process of optimizing a website’s presence on Google Search. The functionality will include Search performance, Index Coverage, AMP status, and Job posting reports.”
Why should you use Google Search Console?
- Monitor your site’s performance in Google Search results
- Make sure that Google can access your content
- Submit new content for crawling and remove content you don’t want to be shown in search results
- Create and monitor the content that delivers visually engaging search results
- Maintain your site with minimal disruption to search performance
- Monitor and resolve malware or spam issues so your site stays clean
- Discover how Google Search—and the world—see your site
- Which queries caused your site to appear in search results?
- Did some queries result in more traffic to your site than others?
- Are your product prices, company contact info, or events highlighted in rich search results?
- Which sites are linking to your website?
- Is your mobile site performing well for visitors searching on mobile?
New Google Search Console is a free service that lets you learn a great deal of information about your website and the people who visit it. You can use it to find out things like how many people are visiting your site and how they are finding it, whether more people are visiting your site on a mobile device or desktop computer, and which pages on your site are the most popular. It can also help you find and fix website errors, submit a sitemap, and create and check a robots.txt file.
Besides seeing this kind of data, you will get mail notifications when Google Search Console notices new errors. Because of these notifications, you are quickly aware of issues you need to fix.
How to set up an account in the new Google Search Console Beta?
To start using the new Google Search Console, you will need to create an account. Within the new Google Search Console, you can click on “add a new property” in the top bar:
However, clicking on + Add property will redirect you to its old version where you can add a website.
Clicking on the ‘ADD A PROPERTY’ button, you can insert the website you want to add. Make sure you add the right URL, so with ‘HTTP if you have an HTTPS website and with or without ‘www’. For collecting the right data, it is important to add the right version.
Next, you will be asked to verify your site that you are the owner. There are several options to verify your ownership. Which method will work best for you depends on you? For WordPress users who use Yoast SEO we recommend using the HTML tag within the ‘Alternate methods’:
The free version of the Yoast SEO plugin will help you easily connect (and verify) your digital property to Google so you can start collecting data in Search Console.
If you do not use the Yoast SEO plugin, you can use other alternative methods to connect your website to your search console account.
Features in the new version of Google Search Console
The new Google Search Console is still in beta, and Google says that it will continue to port features from the old Search Console to the new, over the course of the coming year. Webmasters and SEOs will be able to use both versions of Search Console side-by-side until the transition is complete. Here are the new features in the new Google search console beta:-
The most powerful new functionality in the refurbished Google Search Console, now known as Search Performance. Within the performance tab, you can see what pages and what keywords your website ranks for in Google. If you check the performance tab regularly, you can quickly see what keywords or what pages need some more attention and optimization.
In the old version of Google Search Console, you could see the data of a maximum of the last 90 days but in the new version, it is possible to see the data up to 16 months. Keep in mind that the data is available from the moment you set up your account.
Within the performance tab, you see a list of ‘queries’, ‘pages’, ‘countries’, ‘devices’, or ‘search appearance’. Each of those sections can be sorted by the number of ‘clicks’, ‘impressions’, ‘average CTR’ or ‘average position’.
1. Total Clicks
The amount of clicks tells you how often people clicked on your website in the search results of Google. This number can tell something about the performance of your page titles and Meta descriptions.
2. Total Impressions
The impressions tell you how often your website in general or how often a specific page is shown in the search results.
3. Average CTR
The CTR ‘Click-through rate’ tells you what percentage of the people that have seen your website in the search results also clicked through to your website.
4. Average position
The last one in this list is the ‘Average position’. This tells you what the average ranking of a specific keyword or page was in the period you have selected.
The updated Index Coverage report gives you insight into the indexing of URLs from your website. It shows correctly indexed URLs, warnings about potential issues, and reasons why Google is not indexing some URLs.
You can view data by pages with errors, valid pages with warnings, valid pages that have indexed, excluded pages, and overlay impression data on top.
The table below then gives more detail as to the types of issues detected, allowing webmasters to click through and inspect the affected URLs.
The system automatically alerts you when there is an indexing error and can help you trace the root of the problem, so you can solve it faster. When looking up a specific issue, you will be given a series of diagnostic tools to help you understand the issue, along with a share button so that you can quickly communicate this data to your team. There is even a “validate fix” button, you can use to verify that your corrective action was effective.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
Google’s updated AMP status report also allows website owners to validate newly fixed AMP URLs. In the old version of Search Console, Google would provide a list of AMP URLs with errors and recommend a fix, but there was not any way to request that Google reprocess the amended URLs.
Now, you can request that the new Search Console validate a fix across multiple pages, and Google will again process those with a higher priority.
Job postings are new in Google Search Console. Within this tab, you will be able to list your job openings and to track their performance. If there are any errors, you will see them in here. It’s not the most important feature of Search Console but it can be valuable for specific companies or websites.
A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.
Use the Sitemaps report to see which sitemaps were processed for your site, any processing errors, or to submit a new sitemap for your site. The new Google Search Console encourages the use of sitemaps to help Google discover the right content on your site and to improve content tracking and error reporting.
If you have created a WordPress website, then you can create sitemaps with the Yoast SEO plugin. However, if you have your website created in HTML then you can use the following websites:
Within the XML sitemap tab of Google Search Console, you can tell Google where your XML sitemap is located on your site:
You should regularly check sitemaps. Checking this regularly, you can be sure that Google can find and read your XML sitemap correctly.
Related Article: Google Search Console Complete Guide