To manage a website properly, it is important to keep an eye on its performance. Google offers various tools that can be used to collect and analyze your website's data. The best-known tools for this are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Anyone who manages a website can use these tools free of charge and benefit from the advantage of gaining valuable insights into their own website.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the new Google Search Console you need to know. Not all features of the old version are yet included in the new version. In this article, we will focus on the functions of the new version of Google Search Console.
Why should you use Google Search Console?
The Google Search Console was made available to easily track the performance of websites. With the help of your Google Search Console account, you can gain important insights into your website. You can immediately see whether parts of your website need to be revised because, for example Crawling error have occurred that need to be corrected. If these errors remain undetected, they can have a negative impact on your site's ranking.
You will also receive email notifications if Google Search Console detects new errors on your website. These notifications make you aware of problems immediately and allow you to fix them as quickly as possible.
Setting up an account
To use the Google Search Console, you must first create an account. In the new Google Search Console, you can click on "Add property" in the top bar. However, the function for adding a property is not yet included in the new version of the Google Search Console. This means that you will be automatically redirected back to the old version, where you can then add your website.
If you click on the "Add property" button, you can add the website you want to add to Google Search Console. Make sure you add the correct URL. For example, pay attention to the "https" if you have an https website. To collect the right data, it is important to add the website correctly.
If you have added a website, the next step is to confirm that you are the owner. There are various ways to check this, e.g. with the Google Analytics account. After saving, you can return to Google Search Console and click the "Verify" button to confirm. If everything went smoothly, you will receive a success notification and Google Search Console will start collecting data for your website.
What functions does the new version of Google Search Console have? Now that you know how to set up your account, I would like to take a look at the functions of the new Google Search Console. As already mentioned, not all functions of the old version are yet integrated into the new one, so you will sometimes have to switch between versions when using the Google Search Console. First of all: It will not be necessary to change the data that Google Search Console for you on a daily basis. Finally, the e-mail notifications inform you of errors so that you can act quickly when it matters.
In the "Performance" tab, you can see which pages and keywords your website is ranking for on Google. In the old version of the Google Search Console, you could only see the data for the last 90 days at most.
This time window has now been extended to 16 months in the new version. The data is available from the time you set up your account.If you check the "Performance" tab regularly, you can quickly see which keywords and pages need to be revised and optimized. In the tab "Performance" you will also see a list with the items "Requests", "Pages", "Countries" and "Devices". Each of these sections can be sorted by the number of clicks, impressions, average CTR or average position. I will explain exactly what this means below:
The number of clicks indicates how often users have clicked on your website in Google's search results. This number can tell you something about the quality of your Page titles and meta descriptions. If only a few people click on your result, it may be too inconspicuous and won't stand out from the crowd. In this case, check what other results are displayed around you and optimize your snippet so that it doesn't get lost among the other results.
The position of the search result naturally also has an effect on the number of clicks. If your page is in the first three search results of Google, it will automatically receive more clicks than if it is on the second page of the search results or even further back.
The impressions indicate how often your entire website or a specific page of it appears in the search results. So if you rank for a specific keyword, the number of impressions behind it shows you how often your website appears in Google's search results for this keyword. However, you do not yet know which pages are listed for the keyword.
To see which pages are available for the specific Keyword rank, simply click on the line of the desired keyword. This will add the keyword as a filter.
You can then navigate to the "Pages" tab to see exactly which pages rank for this keyword. Check whether these are the pages you want to be displayed for the keyword. If this is not the case, the pages you want to see there probably need further optimization. Generate good content on these pages that contains the keyword, add internal links from relevant pages and posts to the page and optimize the loading times.
3. average CTR
The CTR (click-through rate) shows you what percentage of people who have seen your website in the search results have also clicked on your website. A higher ranking naturally also leads to a higher CTR, as your website is simply more present.
However, there are also measures that you can implement yourself to increase the CTR. For example, you can optimize your Meta description and make it more appealing. It is important that it stands out from the other results, as this will attract more people to your website and will certainly increase the CTR. Note, however, that this won't have much impact if you're not yet on the first page. In this case, you should work on improving your ranking first.
4. average position
The last item in this list is the "Average position". It tells you what the average ranking of a specific keyword or page was in the time period you selected. Bear in mind that Google displays different search results depending on the person, so the average position only provides a guideline. However, this guideline can still give you a good idea of the position of your website and help you to understand the clicks, impressions and CTR.
A rather technical but very valuable tab in the Google Search Console is "Index coverage". This section shows how many pages have been included in the Google index since the last update, which have not been indexed and which errors and warnings have made it difficult for Google to index your pages.
I recommend checking this tab regularly to see what errors and warnings are occurring on your website. However, you will also receive notifications when Google has found new errors. If you have received such a notification, you can check the error in more detail at this point.An error that could occur in this section would be, for example, a new URL that you have added, but which is set to no-index. A redirect does not work and Google receives a 404 error when indexing the URL. In such a case, you can click on the link to analyze the error in more detail and see exactly which URLs are affected. After you have taken care of the error, mark it as fixed so that Google can test it again.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
You will find the "AMP" tab under "Index coverage". AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. If you have set up AMP for your website, you can check it for errors in the Google Search Console. In the corresponding section, you will see the valid AMP pages as well as warnings and errors.
If you click on one of the issues displayed, you can see the affected URLs. Just like in the index section of Google Search Console, you should confirm your change when you've fixed an issue.
An XML sitemap leads to all important pages and posts on your website. Basically, every website can benefit from using one. If an XML sitemap has not been automatically created on your website, I recommend creating one so that Google can easily find your most important pages and posts.
In the XML sitemap tab of the Google Search Console, you can tell Google where your XML sitemap is located on your website.
It is also advisable to enter the URL of your XML sitemap in the Google Search Console so that Google can find it more easily. This also allows you to quickly determine whether your sitemap contains errors or whether some pages are not indexed. If you check this regularly, you can be sure that Google can find and read your XML sitemap easily.