Google Search Console or GSC (formerly “Google Webmaster Tools”) is a conglomeration of Google SEO tools and reporting. It offers data and configuration control for your website as well as a variety of visitor metrics. Search Console gives you direct insight from Google as to how the search engine sees your website. Check your website for any found errors, see broken pages, check site indexing, etc. Additionally, this is where you will receive messages directly from Google regarding any issues with, or actions taken against, your website. This could be something like a detected hack attack, a malware warning, a manual penalty for bad linking practices or other technical notices which the search engine may send via the Google Search Console.
App developers can use Google Search Console to add deep linking to their apps (which allows app pages to show up in users’ mobile search results), connect their app with a website, handle crawl errors and more.
Search Console is a great tool to help you discover problems which might hurt your search result rankings, or even your websites’ user experience.
There’s a lot you can do with GSC, but it can take a while to learn how to get great returns on the time you spend with it. In light of this reality, we’ve tried to assemble a practical collection of key features along with a brief description. Many of these are most useful in maintaining SEO best practices on your website.
Note: If you want to use Google Search Console, you will first need to verify ownership of the domain before Google will grant you access to the data for analysis or download. Remember to add all site versions (http:// and www. versions). Once you have linked your website, Google will then reveal the information it has on your site activity.
This section reveals how your site appears in Google’s search results pages (SERP). Its appearance is influenced by a variety of factors and may include components such as the page title, snippet (meta description), sitelinks, site search option, URL, event rich snippet, breadcrumbs, and product or rich snippets.
Google collects and displays up to 10,000 pages that contain structured data in this section of Search Console. Here you will find graphs showing the amount of structured data elements found on the website, and any subsequent markup errors. You can download the error report for sharing or offline review.
Note: The structured data report can work well in conjunction with the Structured Data Testing Tool. Once you have identified pages with errors, put them in the testing tool. Use the results found to solve any problems.
This impressive tool is one of the easiest ways to implement structured data, especially when you don’t have access to the website’s back end.
Enter the URL of a page on your website and then select a section of text from the page such as the business phone number, for example. Then tag it with the label Telephone in the pop-up window Google provides. Information which isn’t visible on the page can be entered manually. While this is not as preferred as having the hard code on the page itself it is better than nothing!
Google gathers and displays errors discovered during crawls of the website here. Common errors are identified and flagged such as missing title tags, duplicate titles or even non-indexable content. This is a great place to start when performing a website SEO audit.
Sitelinks help visitors navigate your website. They are automatically generated by Google and are basically shortcuts to deeper and often more specific pages. If there are sitelinks that you do not want appearing for a page, you may actually demote them here by entering the URL to remove.
The Search Traffic section of Google Search Console provides information such as the keyword search phrases Google served your site in response to, the number of times this occurred (impressions), how many times this caused a visitor to click through to your site, and your average ranking for the term. In addition, this section allows us to view which domains Google has ascertained contains a link to your website, the page on your site it links to, as well as what your internal link structure looks like. This is also where you will find more information about any manual actions taken by Google against your website.