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The 5 most important reports within Google Search Console

You can not imagine whether Google Search Console offers an answer. Still, this tool is relatively unknown to the general public. So time for a change! In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the reports Search Console has to offer. With this comprehensive manual, you are then ready to optimize your website.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the nicer (free) SEO tools. Where Google Analytics gives us insight into user statistics on the website, GSC gives us insight into the statistics of our website in the search engine (Google). It provides fascinating data, such as the searches with which your website is found or the average position of a specific keyword. You also gain insight into a website’s performance in the search engine. For example, are there pages with error messages or pages that cannot be indexed? In short: the Google search console is a free SEO tool where you can monitor, improve and manage your website.

What kind of data can you analyze with Google Search Console?

Once your property has been verified, you can get started! When you click through to the Google Search Console dashboard, you will see an overview on the left with various functions. For example, you can gain insight into the search behavior of users, which pages contain errors, and which pages receive the most external links. Below we explain the 5 most important reports and how you can use them to optimize your website.

1.      The performance report

It is still common that customers do not use Google Search Console. Although you may not find all functions fascinating, in our opinion, every digital marketer should find this function interesting. Within the ‘Performance’ tab of Google Search Console, you can view all keywords on which your website is found. This can be done up to 16 months ago. Within this report, you can check four options: clicks, impressions, CTR, and position.

Click

“Total clicks” are clicks on search results that bring a searcher to a website. Remember that a click from a searcher makes a visitor.

Impressions

The number of impressions is always above the number of clicks. This is the frequency at which your website’s search result is shown in the search engine. It is important to remember that an impression is also counted when the search result is not visible but is on the page. We also say that a search result is below the fold. There will be no impression if your search result is on page 2 and the searcher has not visited page 2.

CTR

CTR stands for Click Through Rate. This is the rate at which searchers click through to your website. This number is obtained when you divide the clicks by the number of impressions and multiply that by 100.

Clicks/impressions*100=CTR

A high CTR indicates that more people click through on a search result. It suggests that the search result matches the search intent and that the search result is likely to rank high on the first page of Google.

Position

The position is based on an average. It is the average position over the selected period of a particular keyword or URL. Because positions can fluctuate considerably, the average position is a good number to hold. It allows you to see whether something is going on or a fluctuation.

Besides these four options can be checked, 7 data views can be selected to specify your analysis.

  • Searches – For which keywords is my website visible
  • Pages – Which pages are visible in the search engine
  • Countries – From which countries do the organic visit come
  • Devices – On which devices is my website viewed
  • Search type – In addition to web results, you can also filter on images and video
  • Search Formatting – How Structured Data Pages Compare
  • Date – choose the period for which you want to see the data

Each of the above data views can be filtered or compared. Interesting analyzes can be made with this. We show you some of our favorite analyses.

Keyword cannibalization

By selecting a keyword or filtering on a specific search query, it is possible to see which pages this search query is displayed. You do this by selecting a keyword within the searches. After this, the data is shown for only this keyword. When you then navigate to the ‘pages’ tab, you will see the pages that are shown for that search. When these are several pages with the same purport, we know there is internal competition for a certain keyword. It is also called keyword cannibalization.

Mobile vs. Desktop Rankings

By comparing the devices on mobile and desktop, the difference between the rankings of mobile and desktop devices can be made clear. There is always some difference here. If there is a lot of difference between certain keywords or specific URLs, it can’t hurt to do additional research.

Answer search intent

It is the reverse variant of keyword cannibalization. When we filter on a page, we see the data for that particular page. In the first tab, ‘searches,’ we get to see the searches for that specific page. It gives us insight into the search intent of the searcher. Here are often combinations that we can use to optimize our page further.

2.      URL Inspection Tool

When you have created a new page, you want to share it with the world as soon as possible. Nothing is more annoying than having to wait on Google for your new page to be included in the index finally. After all, you are curious how this page will do in the search engine. To speed up this process, you can submit pages to Google. It will ask Google to index a specific page. You can do this in the URL Inspection tool in the old Webmasters, better known as ‘Fetch as Google.’

In addition to submitting your page to Google, you can also see how Google sees your page. You do this by entering the relevant URL in the search bar at the top of Google Search Console. Google then retrieves the status of your page. Once the data has been retrieved, you will see if your page is currently indexed or not. If your page is currently not found in Google’s index, you will see the following: ‘URL not indexed by Google.’ To ensure that Google does index your page, you can request indexing. Click on ‘Request indexing’ on the right. It will allow you to submit the new page to the index.

By clicking on ‘View crawled page’ on the left, you can get more information about how Google sees the page and how a user sees a page. It is precious because it gives you insight into what Google can see. When you block specific stylesheets within your robots.txt file, what Google sees will differ from what visitors see.

In addition to submitting an indexation and understanding how Google sees your page, you can also find more information in the URL Inspection tool:

  • Coverage
  • Ease of use on mobile devices
  • Sitelink search box

3.      Coverage Report

The Google Search Console coverage report contains 4 functionalities: errors (valid with a warning), valid, and excluded. This report gives you insight into which pages contain any problems. If you don’t have expensive crawl software at your disposal, the coverage report within Google Search Console is your go-to report for tracing broken pages, among other things.

Errors in Google Search Console

Crawl errors are pages that Google has found but returns an error. Often these are pages that no longer work. The so-called 404 error. It provides quick insight into the number of error messages and whether they have increased significantly in recent days. It is crucial to check this report regularly and resolve issues as quickly as possible. A website with many error messages will give Google the impression that the site is poorly maintained. Because of this, Google expects that this can provide a bad user experience for searchers. For this reason, Google can assign a competing website a higher position in the search results than a website with many error messages.

Valid with warning

In this tab, messages are shown where the page is indexed, but any problems have been detected. For example, think of pages included in the index but are currently blocked in the robots.txt. Again, must resolve all issues or warnings.

Valid

It shows all pages currently indexed by Google where no issues were found. This tab indicates how many pages of your site Google has found and included in the index. You can also gain insight into whether Google has found pages not currently in the sitemap. Click on this and see if the sitemap needs to be updated.

Excluded

Under the tab ‘excluded,’ you can gain more insight into which pages are currently not included in the index by Google. These can be sections of the website blocked in the robots.txt file and URLs with a canonical tag. It’s always a good idea to dig into this data and check if any crucial pages are currently being excluded from the index.

4.      Site Vitality Report: Mobile Usability

Most online marketers now know that Google has been using Mobile-first indexing since 2018. This means that Google mainly looks at and indexes the mobile version of your website. Errors related to mobile usability are then reported here. Even though your website receives most of the traffic from the desktop, it is still important to regularly check this report for errors and problems. There are several errors that we regularly see:

  • Text too small to read
  • The viewport is not set
  • Clickable elements are too close together
  • Problem with LCP
  • CLS problem

Within Google Search Console, the URLs where these errors were found are displayed. Often there is a pattern in these errors. For example, look at point 1. This can often be easily remedied by adjusting the font size in the CSS class for mobile devices. Pages that contain problems with LCP (also called Largest Contentful Paint) or CLS (which stands for Cumulative Layout Shift) are often related to several factors. Look for solutions together with your web developer so that the mobile site’s user experience is optimal again.

5.      Google Search Console Links Report

Within Google Search Console, there is a report about links to your website. Here, you get a better idea about internal links within your website and external links that your site receives. The report contains several sections:

  • Most Linked Pages (External)
  • Sites with the most links to your site
  • Text with the most links to your page
  • Most Linked Pages (Internal)

Here, you can gain insight into whether the most important pages you want to perform in the search results receive sufficient internal links. If you notice that this is not yet the case, view the options for including the relevant page in the main menu or footer.

You can also see which pages receive the most external backlinks from other websites in the link report. By placing internal links from these pages to other important pages within the website, you can adequately distribute the authority value. You can also find out what kind of anchor text (also called link text) is used to refer to a page on your site. Do you mainly see a lot of branded anchor texts here or descriptive anchor texts?

Conclusion

All in all, Google Search Console has a lot of information to offer you to optimize your website. Use this free tool and try to monitor the above reports regularly.

Hopefully, these insights will help you when optimizing your website. If you can’t figure it out yourself, or if you run into something, let us know and contact MavenUp Creatives. We’ll be happy to help!

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