Fun fact about me:
I use Google Search Console every day, three times a day which means for a total of ninety times a month.
It’s true: Google Search Console is a place you should go, and often.
By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll know:
➥ How to set up Google Search Console
➥ Which keywords your website content ranks for
➥ What other websites have linked to your website
➥ How to see if your website has a penalty
It gets better as Google Search Console is a free tool. Let’s get started!
What is Google Search Console?
Formerly called “Webmaster Tools,” Google Search Console helps you measure your website’s performance, fix issues that may hurt your rankings, and boost your keywords higher in the Search Engine Results Pages.
If you do have issues Google feels the need of fixing, you receive notifications so you know what actions you need to take to keep your rankings from falling.
Google Search Console shows you your website’s clicks, impressions, and keyword positions.
If you make major changes to your site, you can let Search Console know by submitting a site map so Google can re-crawl your website.
In other words, using Google Search console, you can monitor your website’s performance to boost your visibility on the web.
How to Set Up Google Search Console?
Before you can reap the many benefits of Google Search Console, you need to connect the tool to your website and verify that the website is yours.
Note: I tried to outsource linking Google Search Console to my business partner who lives in a different country. He lives in Hungary while I live in the United States. Since Google knows I don’t live in Hungary, I needed to do this myself.
Before we begin, I recommend you have Google Analytics set up for your website.
Here’s How to Connect Google Search Console to Your Website.
Step-1 ➞ Go to Google Webmasters.
Step-2 ➞ Click Search Console.
Step-3 ➞ In the upper left-hand corner of the screen, there is a drop-down menu.
Click on the drop-down arrow.
The screenshot below shows you my websites.
Step-4 ➞ Click Add Property to add a new property.
You can choose to Add a Property with a Domain or URL prefix. Whichever you choose, enter the URL of the domain where requested.
Step-5 ➞ Verify ownership using your Google Analytics tracking ID.
To find your Google Analytics tracking ID, login to your Google Analytics account. Go to Admin » Property settings » Basic settings » Tracking ID.
Step-6 ➞ Scroll down and click Settings.
When you see a green check, you know you connected Google Search Console to your website correctly.
In case you have business partners like I do, you can give other people permission to see your website’s data on the condition the other users have a Google account.
Which keywords does Your Website Content Rank For?
Once you connect Google Search Console to your website, there are two ways to check your keywords.
Method 1: Google Analytics
Did you know Google Analytics has a free app that allows you to check your keywords on your mobile device?
After installing the app, go to Acquisition, Search Overview, Organic Search to see the keywords your site generated traffic for in the last month. Click the arrows at the top to change the time frame you are viewing.
Method 2: Google Search Console
Step-1 ➞ Go to Google Search Console.
Step-2 ➞ You can change the time frame by clicking the drop-down depending on what report you want to view. Google Search Console defaults to a three-month view.
Click Search Results/Queries.
You’ll see the keywords, the clicks, and the impressions your web content generates.
These are my Top 10 keywords for the last three months.
Let me show you a little trick. Notice, none of the positions in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages appear in the screenshot.
Step-3 ➞ Click Average Position.
Notice the “Average Position” box turned orange.
Now let’s examine the screenshot of keywords that generate traffic once again.
The position column appears displaying the positions of the keywords.
This information is crucial for you to maintain your favorable rankings at Google.
For instance, look at my keyword MeWe review on the bottom of the Query column, which generated almost 7,000 impressions. At position 8.3, the keyword is at the bottom of Page 1 in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages.
This information lights a fire under me. I am motivated to update the post to try to move it higher in the SERPs before the keyword falls off Page 1.
Fun Fact About Your Keywords:
Expect impressions to go up before clicks. Once people can see your posts, they can click. An increase in impressions is a favorable sign that clicks and traffic are soon to follow.
Besides Post Position, Google Search Console shows you a great deal of data about your keywords.
Queries – The keywords bringing you traffic. People type these queries into the Google search bar. Consider updating your post and adding these keywords into the text or add them as tags. Since these search queries are already bringing up your post at Google, imagine how much more often your post would appear if you had these keywords in your article.
Pages – The URLs of the posts bringing your website traffic.
Countries – The countries where your traffic comes from.
Devices – You will see whether people are viewing your content on desktop, mobile, or tablet.
Search Appearance – Your type of content. For example, are you posting videos?
Dates – The amount of interest your website generated on different dates.
Let’s see what happens when you click Dates:
As you can see, on Tuesday, August 4, my website generated the most impressions and clicks.
Keywords show you what posts to update.
Keywords show you user intent.
Here’s another trick:
Take the keywords and plug them into a keyword tool. See what other variations of the keywords populate. Using the keyword tool, see monthly search volume and online competition. Perhaps you’ll find more keywords to write future posts about. Google is already sending you traffic for the seed keywords. You may receive a boost in traffic if you use variations of the seed keywords.
Let Me Recommend Come Keyword Tools:
The MozBar is a free Google Chrome extension that allows you unlimited monthly search queries. The MozBar also lets you see the Domain Authority Ranking of any website. You can also use the MozBar for competitive analysis since the tool lets you see your competitors’ meta descriptions.
Here is a MozBar tutorial.
Have you heard of Ubersuggest? Ubersuggest is a popular keyword tool. However, Neil Patel, the brains behind Ubersuggest, just started charging $29 a month to use the tool. Here is a list of free and paid Ubersuggest alternatives.
How to Use Google Search Console For SEO in 2020 Click To Tweet
How to See What Other Sites Have Linked to Your Site?
Are you curious to see who linked to your blog posts?
Here’s how to use Google Search Console to see who linked to your posts:
Step-1 ➞ Go to URL inspection and paste your URL.
Step-2 ➞ Click Links in the bottom of the left sidebar.
You will see a comprehensive report of the following data:
➥ The sites which link to your website most
➥ Your top linked pages from other sites
➥ Top linked anchor text pointing to your website
➥ Top links from a specific site
➥ Top sites linking to your website
➥ Internal links
There are advantages of learning this information:
➥ In order to be found on Google, you need to boost your SEO.
➥ In order to boost your SEO, you need to have links pointing to your website.
➥ In order to have your keywords do well in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages, you need to know what keywords are sending you traffic. Anchor text people use as links help me understand this information.
➥ Also, the more authoritative the website that links to you, the higher your SEO goes.
Therefore, this information is gold as far as understanding your SEO.
Before We Wrap Up, You Should Know One Last Feature of Google Search Console
Google Search Console tells you your penalties. Learning whether you have penalties is enormously important.
For instance, you might be having a traffic dip you believe is due to Google’s algorithm changes. What if, in fact, they are due to Google penalties?
In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, you’ll see a bell that stands for notifications.
Can you tell I have 25 notifications?
If there is a number on the bell, click it and see if Google says you have penalties that could be costing you rankings and therefore traffic.
If you do, don’t despair, Google tells you how to fix the errors.
Wrapping Up: How to Use Google Search Console and Why You Must Use It?
In closing, this guide to Google Search Console answered to the following questions:
➥ What is Google Search Console?
➥ How to set up Google Search Console?
➥ How to use Google Search Console to see which keywords your website ranks for?
➥ How to use Google Search Console to get information on your internal and external links?
➥ How to use Google Search Console to learn if your website suffers from Google penalties?
Readers, please share so other website owners learn the power of Google Search Console.
Janice Wald is the founder of MostlyBlogging.com. She is an ebook author, blogger, blogging coach, blogging judge, freelance writer, and speaker. She was nominated as the 2019 Best Internet Marketer by the Infinity Blog Awards and in 2017 as the Most Informative Blogger by the London Bloggers Bash. She’s been featured on Small Business Trends, the Huffington Post, and Lifehack. Join us at MostlyBlogging.com for more SEO tips and receive a PDF of 137 free marketing tools.