Understanding Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that helps you to monitor your website performance and check for any technical errors. This makes it a really useful free resource and the perfect accompaniment to Google Analytics.

Its reporting has been updated in the last year to include new features focusing on core web vitals. This element of the tool looks at metrics that can affect a user’s experience and this may influence your search engine rankings in the future.

This blog will show you some of its main features and point you in the right direction for more in-depth knowledge on the key areas to look at in your Google Search Console account.

Here’s a short video explaining what you can find on the platform.

Setting up Google Search Console

If you’ve not yet set up your Google Search Console account, it’s a pretty straight-forward process. Just follow this link to Google Search Console instructions.

Performance

The performance report is a summary of your number of impressions (opportunities to be seen) and clicks through from organic search results. The average click through rate (CTR) is the percentage between the two and the average position is your ranking position across all terms you are currently featured on Google.

Below this graph you’re able to see the types of search queries (keywords) that have generated impressions and clicks. This can reveal incredible useful information. For example, if you have a keyword that’s showing a high number of impressions that’s really relevant to your business but a low number of clicks, it’s likely that you’re not ranking very highly for that term and you could improve your SEO positioning to increase traffic. It can also help you to understand what are the most popular keywords driving traffic to your website.

Why do my stats do not match Google Analytics?

It’s very unlikely that your traffic results will match that of other monitoring platforms such as Analytics as they are measuring different interactions (sessions for Analytics and clicks on Search Console). This article from Google’s search console help section also outlines other reasons why the stats may differ.

Coverage

The Coverage report is really helpful as it will identify any crawl errors that have been found. This could include 404s (pages not found) and you can then permanently redirect that page if it is no longer live (using a 301 redirect). It also shows you what pages have been indexed by Google.

Mobile usability

This gives you the opportunity to troubleshoot design and development issues with the mobile version of your website.

Even though most websites are automatically responsive to different size screens, you still need to take into consideration usability for mobile devices when designing your pages. Most website design platforms such as WordPress will enable you to make certain adjustments for text size and buttons for a mobile view which will enhance the experience for this smaller sized screen. For example, choosing to stack two columns on a mobile view so they appear larger than if they were featured side by side.

What are the core web vitals?

This new feature is a report that shows you how your website pages perform based on real world usage data and it’s measured in three different ways.

  • Largest Contentful Paint: measures perceived load speed and marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded.
    • An ideal speed is 2.5 seconds or faster.
  • First Input Delay: measures responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when trying to first interact with the page.
    • An ideal measurement is less than 100 seconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content.
    • An ideal measurement is less than 0.1.

It is widely felt that this information will be used by Google to help influence ranking of search terms and so it’s really worth while regularly reviewing your results. Here’s a short video on how the Web Vitals reports should be used to help you with Search Engine Optimisation.

Looking for more information?

If you’d like to learn more about Google Search Console, this article from Search Engine Journal is a really useful resource. I’d also recommend Google’s guide to Search Console that has some easy to follow training videos.

For help and guidance in all areas of measuring digital marketing, drop me a line at rebecca@newviewmarketing.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: