Google Search Console: The Complete Guide to How to Use It in Practice

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If Google Analytics is a powerful tool to analyze user behavior on your site, Search Console (Webmaster Tools old) is also a key part to learn how users arrive there.

We have commented on this other post that the Google Webmaster Tools is what allows you to understand how Google sees your site and make necessary optimizations. But do you really know how and what to consider?

With the “democratization” of information, to the old name Webmaster Tools has changed since the public who have been using is no longer limited only to technicians.

Thinking about it, we have gathered here the most important information so that you can extract important data, even if you are not a webmaster.

Google Search Console features

  • Search Appearance (Appearance Search): How Google is reading each of the pages – titles, descriptions, pictures etc.
  • Traffic (Search Traffic): What people are looking for on Google that leads to click (or not) on your site;
  • Google ‘s index (Google Index): How is the performance of Google to index the pages of your site and identify the keywords that appear most;
  • Crawl (Crawl): What difficulties Google’s robots are taking the time to sift through the pages of your site in search of relevant content;
  • Security issues: Notifications of safety problems found on your site;
  • Other additional features .

We will address each of these points, trying to translate all this information into practical actions to know what to do with them:

1. Aspects of Search (Search Appearence)

This topic Research Aspects, you can analyze the optimizations you can do to improve the look of your site when it appears in Google search results:

Structured data

It is a report that is used to identify the data that are structured on your site, and that Google can identify your page to understand and add rich snnipets (search results with information optimized to make them attractive).

Understand how structured data a set of information with standard structure, for example, sequence of articles containing author, date, title; and then a list of restaurants with address information, evaluation of users, prices etc.

This report is important to analyze data and markup errors found on the page.

There are two types of structured data errors:

  • Missing field: For example: did not indicate the author or title of the article;
  • Best or worst rating missing:  For example: a product is rated on a scale of 5 points, but were not marked the minimum and maximum parameters – bestRating (5) or worstRating (1).

If you click on the found items, will be detailing the markings found.

Use the data marker to fix it, as explained below.

Bookmark structured data

For the errors found in the structured data, this is the tool for you to indicate to Google which is every element of your site, if you have one set of structured information such as events, articles, etc. Products

You should choose the type of information you want to highlight. For example, if you choose article, you have to indicate title, author, publication date, image, category, average rating, as in the example below.

 

HTML Improvements

This report identifies, as the name suggests, HTML improvements problems encountered during the Google crawl your site. This is because, in research, Google always cherishes for present users search unique and exclusive content.

Here’s what I mean each indication:

  • Meta Description: Problems encountered in the description of the site appears in the search, as duplicate meta description, too long or short. Ideally, a description meta has between 50 and 140 characters.
  • Titles: Identifies how is the configuration of the title of the page (Title): Absent, long, short, uninformative or duplicated. If you click on the problem encountered will have access to a report of the page where the error was identified. In the case of duplicate titles, for example, you must change the <title> to the displayed pages. If you have questions about these concepts, see more at How to make an on-page optimization .
  • Non – indexable content: Pages that have not been crawled and indexed by Google.

Links to the site

There is the possibility for rich snippets submit sitelinks, as shown below.

If you do not want a sitelink to appear in Google’s search results (is now an automated algorithm), you can stoop so it appears no longer, as in the example shown below:

Pages accelerated mobile

This is a new feature, part of this year and also in the implementation period. It provides an error report to pages of analysis that were accelerated mobile. Therefore, it is necessary that they have already been created according to the specifications of HTML MPAs .

The objective described in the Google Webmaster blog itself, is to facilitate the detection of shortcomings in its implementation of MPAs (short for Accelerated Mobile Pages) throughout the website.

If you want to start your AMPs, you can follow this guidance , the MPAs Project itself. And for more information on this report, you can check the orientation of the console itself Search on Google search Guidelines for AMP and MPAs report .

2. Search Traffic (Search Traffic)

This report has important features for identifying information about traffic to your website:

Search Analitycs

In this report you can identify organic traffic to your website and get insights of possible optimizations. The report presents:

  • The keywords in your site appeared in search results:  If you have problem with (not provided) to analyze the keywords that led users to your site in Analytics, here is the solution. Stay tuned to the words that bring more traffic, and invest in them;
  • The pages of your site that have been referenced:  Analyze whether the pages you consider important are actually bringing results;
  • Countries that accessed:  If necessary, optimize the pages for other languages that also have traffic to your domain;
  • If it was mobile or desktop device:  If you have great access for mobile, make sure that your pages are responsive;
  • If the search was for the web or specifically for images: This is a way to verify that the images are being indexed. If you want to know how to optimize the search for your images, see this article with Google optimization guidelines.
  • Analysis by date: Extract analysis and data comparison by a specific date.

And all the information you can know how many clicks and impressions (user viewing the search results), which CTR (how many views had obtained and which clicks) and what the average position obtained.

  • Clicks: Number of clicks that led users to your website.
  • Impressions: How many views the link to your website has in Google search results, even if it has not been displayed by scrolling.
  • CTR (click-through-rate): Count of clicks divided by impressions count. A high CTR means that the appearance of your website in search results is assertive, that is, those who have seen and clicked interested. If there are no impressions, the CTR will be shown as a dash (-), it would be divided by zero.
  • Position: the average position of the main result of your site in search results. If no impressions, the position will be displayed as a bar, it does not exist.

For more information about the report, just check the Google Webmaster Help article

Links to your site

One of the weight criteria for Google rankear your best page is the amount of links that refer to it.

Here you can see the sites that make reference to its (also called backlinks). This analysis allows you to identify who is calling attention to its content and draw insights from potential partners.

internal links

Similarly, the amount of internal links also help in this rankeamento. Therefore, this report is essential to analyze the structure of the used internal links within your own site, and that the important pages are being referenced. Otherwise, you should better exploit its internal links to them.

If not shown any data, check the “Crawl Errors” to determine if there were any problems found in the crawling and indexing of your website. More Info here .

manual actions

Even if Google use algorithms to improve the quality of research, also uses manual mechanisms in specific cases. That is, if there is any improper setting on your domain, it will be corrected manually by Google as penalty. The reasons could be:

  • Site hacked by third parties;
  • Spam generated by the user;
  • free hosts with spam;
  • Structured markup with spam;
  • Unnatural links to your site;
  • Thin content with little or no added value;
  • Cloaking and / or unauthorized redirects;
  • Pure spam;
  • Hidden text and / or excessive keywords.

So if your site does not appear in the search results, or appear to underperform who had already displayed, check if there was manual actions. In the Google help center you can learn about how to fix each of the reasons.

International segmentation

If your site also has an international reach (which can be checked in the Search Analytics report> Countries), you should optimize the content to reach the right audience. It is this feature that you check whether it was properly optimized for that language. For more information visit the Google Help .

Ease of use on mobile devices

Unlike the report “Pages accelerated mobile” we spoke of above, this is not necessary to have configured AMPs because the goal is to present the usability of their mobile pages and possible errors. The main errors that Google will display are:

  • Using Flash: Most mobiles does not handle flash content;
  • Viewport not configured;
  • Fixed-width viewport;
  • Content not sized to viewport;
  • Size small font;
  • very close touch elements;
  • Use of interstitials.

More details and information, see here at Google Help .

3. Google Index (Google Index)

Status Index

Displays pages indexed by Google, which were blocked by robots and that were removed.

Okay, but what about you analyze? What you should note is regarding:

  • Steady increase in indexed pages:  This means that Google is managing to trace them and indexing them;
  • Unexpected drops:  Be aware that may mean that the server is overloaded or out of service, and that Google is having trouble accessing their content;
  • Very high levels of volume: Can display duplicate content, lack of canonical directions, auto – generated pages and even that the site may have been hacked;
  • Sudden changes:  What indicate safety or site settings.

Keywords content

In this topic you can identify the keywords most frequently used on your site, its variations, significance (frequency that is found in its content) and the main page of your domain that refer to it. Ideally you analyze together with the Search menu Analitycs to understand how Google is interpreting the keywords of your website.

If case appear meaningless keywords to your content can be a clue that your site has been hacked. And if some important keyword does not appear, there might be a problem to index that page. To confirm this see the “Tracking Error”.

blocked funds

To get properly index the pages, the Google robot to do a full scan on your domain, including JavaScript, CSS and image. They need to be accessible so that Google can perform the process properly.

If you encounter problems, this report is that resources will be identified that are locked for this reading of the robots.

If an error is found, to fix it you must click on the host to see the problems, and in each of the blocked funds will be the instruction of how to unlock them.

Remove URLs

You can temporarily block pages on your domain that does not want to appear in search results by sending a request to remove this URL.

If you want to remove the URL permanently or do not know what the appropriate use of this tool, see further guidance in Article Tool Remove URLs

4. Tracking (Freestyle)

In this section, you can analyze with accuracy how Google crawls your site to index it and what are the problems encountered:

Crawl Errors

If Google has any problems in crawl and index any content of your domain, is that this report will present:

  • Site errors:  the last 90 days Problems that prevented access to your entire website
  • URL errors:  specific errors when trying to crawl unique pages for computers, smartphones or Android apps

tracking statistics

The graphs presented are divided into pages crawled per day, received Kilobytes and page download time. The important thing here is to analyze abrupt increases and fallen.

Article Tracking Statistics Report (websites) you can find the full explanation for each situation.

Fetch as Google

This tool simulates how Google indexes your page in order to ensure that elements in Flash or JavaScript are suitable. The important thing to consider here is whether the research was:

  • Complete: Google managed to crawl your entire site
  • Partial: Some errors were found and a complete list of error reporting and how to proceed is here
  • Redirected: The server responded to a direction.

test Robots.txt  

Through the robots.txt file, you can display and check what does not want to be indexed and the URLs that are blocked to appear in search results. The goal is not to overload the server, tracking irrelevant pages – for example, any images you do not want to appear on Google searches. To better understand how it works, see this article about the robots.txt file  in Google Webmaster Tools help.

Sitemaps

We’ve talked in the post “Sitemap: what you need to know”  about the importance of a sitemap to Google better index and understand how your site is structured. We also talked about how to create one, in this post , and it is this tool that you send the file generated sitemap, and can view the errors found.

The video below also talks about concepts, what are the existing sitemaps formats and 4 more good practice for you to get the most out of these techniques on your website.

URL parameters

Here, you can tell Google the parameters you use on your website and what is its purpose in order to prevent him understand how duplicate content.

If your site has several products for shopping – that can be separated by categories of beverage, for example – these filters lead to different sessions, but that may have the same content. Better understand this article from the Google Webmaster Help Center .

5. Security Issues (Security Issues)

If your site has been hacked or has been infected with malware, it is this section you will know. You can follow Google ‘s own guidelines to prevent malware infection, available here .

If a problem is found, the indicated is, first, examine yourself if the code does not contain or offer a download malware and request a review of the problem.

After fixed the problem, you can also request a reconsideration request for Google to re – review your site.

6. Other assets (Other Resources)

In this section are met all other additional features of Google to further improve the optimization of your website. Are they:

data testing tool structured

Here you can enter a URL or source code and verify that Google’s robots can read properly.

Assistant structured data markup

It is a slightly more advanced tool to mark the structured data, as well as the Search menu Data Highlighter Appearance.

Markup Tester for email

Tool to validate the HTML email structured data aimed at improving involvement in the email, adding information to enable recipient configure your inbox.

Google My Business

This is where you can tell Google the physical address and telephone number of your store or office when they are searched on Google.

Google Merchant Center

Here, you can set up information of their products and make them more easily found by users.

PageSpeed ​​Insights

Want to know how to optimize the speed of the pages of your site? Here you get many indications of Google itself. See the following example:

custom search

Functionality for you to enter search field on your own website and manage them. As we have already mentioned in this post, this is an important application to extract the inputs that users seek within your site and analyze these statistics to create or optimize the layout of the content on your property.

Google domains

If you want to buy a Google domain to create your site.

Webmaster Academy

Area in which they are gathered all the information and content you create a website and optimize it to be found on Google. Here, you will have access to courses that show you tips, videos and examples and explain how the Google search and the Search Console itself.

Conclusion

Having a tool in Google Webmaster Tools is essential for you to optimize your website for Google search, but know how to use it, it is sometimes a challenge.

If you can and be able to devote to understand it and apply patches to the inputs that the tool brings, it will be an important ally to find optimizations needed for a better placement on the results of pequisa without a specific technician.