Almost two years have passed since the new Google Search Console was launched in September 2018. During this time, it has been constantly updated and new features have been added. It is about time to take a closer look at the most important reports. In this guide, we will take you through one of the most important SEO tools available today: the Google Search Console.
- The first thing you see on Google Search Console is the overview. This page features three reports on Performance, Coverage, and Enhancements. Each report can be clicked on for a more detailed view.
- “Performance” within the overview shows you how many search clicks were generated in the last three months.
- “Coverage”, categorized under “Index” and highlighted in the Overview section, warns you about any errors and issues found on your website.
- “Enhancements” provides you with suggestions and recommendations on what you can do next to improve your website.
The “Performance” tab is your place to go to if you want to learn more about your search results and see how often your website is displayed as well as the page for which a specific search terms ranks for.
To help you better understand how your site performs, you can visualize the following metrics:
- Total Clicks
- Total Impressions
- Average CTR
- Average Position
Furthermore, you can filter the results by search type.
This report is useful when you are trying to find answers to questions such as:
- How much traffic did my site get?
- What are my top and trending search queries?
- What are the most successful pages on my site in Google search?
As you review the reports, keep in mind that Google began consolidating your site traffic on canonical URLs as early as spring 2019. For example, if you have a desktop and mobile version of your website, the report will show you the total traffic for both properties. See an example below (source):
Discover is Google’s way of showing you content that might interest you, even if you are not actively searching. Previously called Google Feed, it was renamed in September 2018.
If your site has enough Discover data accumulated, you will see a report similar to Search Results for your Discover data only.
As the name suggests, the Index Coverage report informs you which pages have been indexed. At the bottom of the page you willl find the Crawl Errors report, which informs you about all errors and broken pages Google encountered when indexing your site.
This report shows which sitemaps were submitted. You can also submit new sitemaps.
A sitemap tells Google which pages and files you think are important on your website, and also provides valuable information about these files: for example, when the page was last updated, how often the page was changed, and whether there are alternative language versions of a page.
Do you have a URL that you need to quickly remove from Google Search? Then go to the Removals report and send a new request.
Under the tab “Enhancements” you will find all the necessary reports to check how your website performs in the real world.
Core Web Vitals (previously Speed)
Until recently, speed was one, if not the main focus when it came to user experience. The change of name shows that a website today must do more to satisfy users. Enter the Core Web Vitals and its three metrics that make up the new report:
Without going into too much detail, these three metrics “capture important user-centric outcomes, are measurable, and have supporting lab diagnostic metric equivalents”.
Depending on how your pages score on these three metrics, you will see one of the following three status (Source):
- Needs Improvement
Be sure to check this report over time to ensure that your site remains user friendly, especially after major site updates.
With Google’s mobile first index, this might as well be one of your most used reports.
It shows you how mobile-friendly your pages are and if there are any design or developmental issues.
Rich Results Reports
These reports vary depending on what type of structured data you have implemented on your website. Currently, there are 29 different categories of structured data that can be reported in Google Search Console. A full list can be found here.
This report should be consulted from time to time to ensure that Google can still crawl your structured data.
Security & Manual Actions
This report is best when it is empty. The only time you will find something in it is when Google has noticed a violation of its policies. In that case, you will receive a notification in the manual actions report.
This tab was added to the Search Console back in January 2019.
Hopefully it will never get to this point, but if your website is ever hacked or malware appears on it, the Security Issues report will inform you.
By now, you should have a better understanding of Google Search Console and be ready to start working on your site. If you have any questions or require professional assistance, we are happy to help.