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Google Search Console: How to Set it Up and How it Helps
SEO / 02 Feb 2022
A question we’re often asked is, ‘aren’t Google Analytics and Google Search Console the same thing?’. No, they’re not. When combined, they’re an analytical powerhouse, but they serve 2 different primary functions.
Google Analytics is all about user interaction with your site wherever they come from, whereas Google Search Console is only concerned with search engine analytics and SEO.
As an agency with a white label SEO specialism (and a self-confessed bunch of data and word nerds), we could talk to you for hours about the intricate details of both platforms. But today, we’re focusing on Search Console set-up and key features to get you started.
Why Do I Need Google Search Console?
SEO is considered cloak and dagger by many. We’ve talked before about this, but it’s worth saying again. At Beesting, we demystify SEO. Our approach is transparent, straightforward, and collaborative. We take our clients along for the ride, so you understand what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what benefits you’ll see from our actions.
Google Search Console is one of the free tools we use to do that. It goes a long way to improve your understanding of:
- how Google views your website
- which search queries bring users to your site
- where you appear in search results, and
- performance issues that affect your search engine ranking.
OK, now we’ve explained why you need it, let’s move on to set up, which is usually quick and relatively painless.
Google Search Console Set-up
- First things first, you’ll need a Google Account. If you’re already using Google Analytics on your website, use the same account if possible.
- Then, head to Search Console.
- Enter your website URL in the ‘URL prefix’ box and click ‘next’. You’ll be asked to verify the site as yours. If you’re already using analytics, this step is automatically completed for you.
- Once you’ve confirmed that your website is yours, the first thing to do is submit a sitemap to Google for indexing. Google sends its magnificent spider bots to your website for thorough analysis and adds the most up to date version of your site to its index.
Search Console’s Noteworthy Features
Honestly, there are too many to mention, but here’s a quick introduction to key features in the left sidebar – a whistle-stop tour, if you will.
The Overview tab
Your starting point. Head to overview for the headlines and highlights of your website’s search performance. Details like the number of clicks from search engines, any glaring errors you need to rectify, and the users’ website experience are contained here – with links to more detailed reports and explanations should you need them.
The Performance Tab
Your port of call for, well, performance. This data breaks down the number of times you appeared in a Google search (impressions), the number of clicks, your click-through rate, and your average position on search engines. Everyone’s favourite is the queries report, which tells you the search terms that are getting you found by your clients.
The URL Inspection Tool
Every time you update your site, it’s SEO best practice to request an index from Google to see the fresh, updated version that reflects all your changes.
This tool allows you to enter a specific URL (e.g. a link to your latest blog post or the page you updated last week) to see whether Google has made the required update and any issues you need to rectify.
If Google hasn’t updated its index (long delays were a common problem at the end of 2021), you can also give it a gentle nudge to get on it.
The Index Tab
‘Coverage’ shows you how many of your web pages Google has indexed, whether any have been any pages excluded, why, and the actions you need to take to rectify the problem.
‘Site maps’ gives you the option to submit a new site map and tells you when your last sitemap was successfully submitted and crawled.
‘Removals’ gives you the option to block pages from the search engine results pages for up to 90 days. It’s a temporary measure, typically used when old and under review.
The Experience Tab
This one’s a biggie. Page experience, core web vitals, and mobile performance are increasingly important ranking factors. The experience tab is the place to flag any performance issues and get IT to sort out those tricky technical tantrums.
Your core web vitals include page speed, usability, and visual stability metrics. You know, the things that make a website experience fun or done.
We’ll Be Your SEO Sidekick
SEO is an in-demand, lucrative skill-set for every agency looking to grow. But before you look at employing an experienced SEO professional, stop right there.
White label SEO is our superpower. We’re specialists. And much cheaper than another member of staff. Talk to us about our white label SEO services and SEO copywriting packages.
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