Google Search Console is a tool that indexes and crawls your site, measures your website performance, and searches traffic. Sounds super simple, right? Well, it is. But don't let the simplicity of it undervalue the need and use of this tool. Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the most critical tools that can help navigate your SEO (search engine optimization) and paid ad campaigns.
Throughout this blog we'll be taking a more in-depth look into how to set up GSC, the different ways you can use GSC, and the components that make it make so crucial to the future of your digital marketing and success of your business in the digital age.
Naturally, if you hire us to design & develop your website, we'll complete this for you. However, if you're venturing on your on, you can follow these steps to connect Google Search Console.
Setting up Google Search Console through Wix
To begin setting up Google Search Console through Wix, you'll want to login to your account, access your website and navigate to the "Marketing & SEO" tab on the left side menu.
In the list of sub-sections, click "SEO". We recommend you complete the Get Found on Google Checklist and as part of that checklist, one of the steps is connecting to Google Search Console. You can simply click "Connect" From there, Google will prompt you to sign in using your Google Account (if you don't have a Google Account we recommend you create one).
Google will ask you to allow this connection. After clicking "Allow," you're all set Google Search Console has been connected to your Wix site and you can now explore your new GSC account.
Using Google Search Console
Now that you've set up Google Search Console your website is ready to be crawled, indexed, and evaluated which, in turn, will provide data that'll help you to make your website as SEO-friendly as possible. Like we said, GSC is a simple tool, but because of the wealth of knowledge it provides it's best to know your role on the backend.
The two primary users of GSC will be the SEO specialist/marketers and Webmasters (web developers). Additionally, the owner of the site should at the least know the high-level function of GSC for when you need to make any updates or fixes to your website.
For SEO specialists, GSC is the foundation of any SEO plan as it helps tremendously with keyword research.
To begin, you'll want to check out the Search Results tab under the Performance section. The two most important tabs here are "Queries" and "Pages". Queries allows you to see exactly what keywords or phrases that users have searched for that led to them finding your website and with the timeframe modifier you're able to compare the short term or long term performance. Here is where you can begin to adjust your content to fit trending keywords that are working for your business now and what's worked for your business in the past. This a great way to either plan future SEO plans or to check in on past ones to see what kind of changes occurred.
The GSC also gives users the ability to take a keyword and find out which pages appear the most and are clicked on the most when the term is searched. For being such a simple tool, the Google Search Console certainly packs a punch and is a boon to the amount of knowledge an SEO specialist can gather for their research.
For web developers, GSC offers a similar level of support. Web developers have 2 roles when it comes using GSC. The first is making sure the right sitemap was uploaded to GSC or to upload a more recent version if changes were made. We don't necessarily have to upload new sitemaps as the DNS verification will pull sitemaps however this should be an avoided practice. Whenever you make a single or multiple changes to URLs or build a new site structure entirely, a sitemap should be uploaded immediately. This is due to the random intervals in which GSC will re-crawl your site, by uploading a new sitemap it will notify GSC and make it a priority/forced re-crawl.
Aside from sitemaps, web developers will live for the "Experience" tab as this contains Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, and Mobile Usage. The page experience tab will give an overview of core web vitals and mobile usage with the mix of mobile and desktop users. Core web vitals will give us a look at pages performance in regards to things like LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) to name a couple. These reference site performance for both desktop and mobile as it measures site speed and responsiveness. For a less technical explanation for non-developers read about the Core Web Vitals here. The final tab is Mobile Usability which is exactly how it sounds: If a site is properly responsive for mobile users and things aren't broken or missing.
Google Search Console is a vital tool for both marketers and web developers as a starting point for SEO and website optimizations. While more intuitive tools exist, GSC is a free tool that should serve as a benchmark before paid tools are utilized. Stay tuned for future blogs about SEO, tools, Paid Ads, and more.