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A Guide to Google Search Console for Beginners

If you own a website and you’re wondering how to optimise the visibility of it, you’ve come to the right place. 

Google Search Console is a free tool that measures site traffic and performances, allowing webmasters to fix issues, which subsequently allows websites to rank better in Google SERPs. 

Setting up Search Console is quite straightforward. To begin, simply go to the welcome page and log in with your Google credentials. Once this is done, you must enter the web address in either of the boxes (shown below). The left-hand box is for a domain property, whilst the right hand is for URL prefix.

Oftentimes, those using Search Console will use domain property as this includes all the URLs, subdomains and the protocols such as http:// and https://. On the other hand, URL prefix is for those that want an exact web address

You will then need to verify that they are owners of the website in question. If domain property has been selected, site owners must verify the ownership via the DNS record. 

The next steps may vary as it depends on the domain provider. In general, though, all you must do is go to the DNS record settings of the domain and then add a new DNS record, paste the text that is found in Search Console into the DNS configuration and verify it on Search Console.

Once verified, site owners will then have access to Google Search Console. Here is how to share access with people with the three levels of permission that GSC allows.

Owners – this one will most likely be whoever has set up the Search Console account. This is the highest level of access, granting permissions to site data and all the tools on Search Console. With this, webmasters can delegate the owners and change permissions.

Full Users – the second level of permission can view all site data and use the majority of the tools on GSC. However, they are unable to change the permissions and cannot share access to other G-Suite accounts as Owners can. 

Restricted Users – the lowest level of permission can only view Search Console data and export basic reports for use.

The dashboard includes everything from overview, performance, URL inspection and sitemaps. Through the dashboards, users can visualise their performance and see where they can implement any changes.

Here are a few of the tools that Google Search Console offers its users: 

Overview – this section of the dashboard includes the site performance report (how many people click onto the website organically from Google) and the coverage report (whether pages have been indexed properly).

Performance – shows users how a website or a specific page is performing in SERPs. This includes total clicks, impressions and average positions. These can be filtered down to show a range of variables. 

URL inspection – if looking to inspect a URL to see the current index status, users simply paste the URL into the inspection bar, which will show the indexed status and if they’d like to test the live URL for an indexability test.

Now that you have GSC set up and ready to go, you can look through the different tools it offers. Users can monitor how well the site is performing for specific keywords, compare search results, view errors and warnings that Google could penalise the site for and analyse how well the site is performing on different devices.

For help with setting up Google Search Console or if you’re looking to optimise SEO across your website, contact the SEO team at Colewood.