So we’ve covered the main dashboard to Search Console in part 1, now we’re going to get a little more in depth and cover the Search Appearance and Search Traffic section.
Unless you’re REALLY serious about your SEO (search engine optimisation) then I would suggest that you don’t pay too much attention to this section.
But if you are then here’s what each section means!
To put it simply, its adding some code to your website content to make it easier for search engines to understand what the page is about.
It can help with showing your websites data in enhanced search results – these being rich snippets, rich cards, carousels, knowledge boxes for example.
There are several ways that you can add structured data to your website content but the most popular is “schema”. There are over 597 types, 867 Properties, and 114 Enumeration values so if you do use them then use carefully!
If there is schema.org data on your website the Search Console area should look something like this:
As you can see 52 of the pages on my site have the website schema tag applied and one has the event tag.
Googles Rich Cards are another way of coding information on your website to make it appear more prominently in search results.
If you (or your website designer) has added the necessary code you’ll see the details here.
If not then stay tuned as I’ll be covering Rich Cards markup (or coding) in one of my future tutorials!
This is another way to make up (or code) relevant information such as reviews or events to make them appear more prominently in Google’s Search Results.
Again this is an advanced SEO function that I’ll be covering in another tutorial!
This section is all to do with whats called “on page optimisation”.
There are several areas on a web page that Google looks at to ensure the page provides good information for what a user is searching for. These are things like meta data (description, URL’s, page titles, images and on page content).
If you have duplicate or missing data in these areas then Google will tell you.
Accelerated Mobile pages
This is another advanced SEO function where you can create an alternate version of one of your web pages without images etc so it loads much faster on mobile devices.
This is mainly used by news websites (such as The Guardian) so again we’ll be covering this in a later tutorial.
This section is probably THE most important one for small businesses to keep an eye on.
Here you will see all the keywords that have resulted in a visit to your website.
The default view shows the last 28 days of data, how many clicks to your website each search term has produced sorted in decreasing order.
There are lots of options for expanding this data –
1 – you can change the date range to the last 7, 28, 90 or a custom period. You can also compare two sets of data over the last 7 or 28 days to the previous period and reset will take you back to the default 28 days view.
2 – These options will add more data to your view. Adding impression data will show you how many times your website was shown in search results for a particular keyword, CTR will add the click through rate percentage (number of clicks divided by number of impressions) and adding position will show you your average position in organic search results.
3 – These options enable you to group your data into specific categories – you can filter your queries to only include “digital marketing” for example.
Pages will show you data from pages that include certain text in their URL, exclude certain text or exactly matches the URL (useful for seeing search queries to a specific landing page).
Countries will allow you to see which of your impressions and clicks came from which country (if you’re targeting the UK but most of your traffic is from the US there’s an issue somewhere!)
Devices will sort your data between desktop, tablet and mobile devices and search type is your data in standard web searches, image searches or video searches.
Links to your site
This is another really important section to regularly review. One of the key ranking factors for Google is how many websites link to yours (called backlinks) – but only if they are good ones!
The default view for this section shows you the total number of links to your site, the 5 sites that link to you the most, the top 5 pages that have the most links to them and how the sites that link to you display their link (called Anchor Text).
Who links the most
Clicking on the more button under the Who links the most will show you the all the domains that have links to your site, how many links there are and how many of your pages they refer to.
Clicking on any of these website addresses will show you the detail of what pages of your they link to, and clicking on that will show you all the pages on their site that link to you.
Your most linked content
This is all of your pages that have links to them, how many links in total each page has and how many separate domains (websites) have links.
As above if you click on any of your page names it will show you who links to that page, and clicking on that will show you the actual pages that have the link to you on them.
How your data is linked
Anchor text is the clickable text bit in a link – it’s usually blue and underlined.
The former did nothing to help your organic rankings, the latter would actually harm them as the link should actually refer to the content of the page and not what keyword you’re trying to rank for.
So in this section you should see a wide variation of phrases that are used in the links to your site – if you have a lot of “here’s” or strange ones this definitely requires further investigation!
A list of all the pages on your website that Google has found, along with how many other pages on your site link to to each one.
The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page. If an important page does not appear in this list, or if a less important page has a relatively large number of internal links, you should consider reviewing your internal link structure.
You should never, EVER see anything here! A Manual Action is when an actual person at Google has decided there are security issues with your site and flagged it.
Flagged sites can be demoted or even removed entirely from Google’s search results. The Manual Actions page lists known issues on your site and provides information to help you tackle the problem.
If you have websites in different languages you will want to add code to your site so the correct version appears in search results.
This is another advanced SEO feature and not relevant to the majority of small businesses so that’s enough for this section!
Google has been moving towards “Mobile-first Indexing” since late 2016 – this basically means that website pages that work well on mobile devices will receive better organic rankings.
So you’ll want to ensure your website is the absolute best it can be for use on mobile devices. This section will tell you if Google has any issues with it.
Here is the data for my website (don’t worry – I’ve purposely made the errors increase specifically for this guide!).
So I’ve got 2 main issues on my website – 10 pages have clickable elements that are too close together and 10 pages that have content wider than a mobile screen.
Clicking on one of issues will show you exactly what pages have the problem, and clicking on each individual page will give you options on how to double check the issue is still there and advice for rectifying it.
So there you have it – part 2 of my Essential Guide to Google Search Console for small businesses!
If you’re still struggling with the concepts then come along to my Master Digital Marketing training course on Monday 23rd April – tickets are just £15!!