The Top 5 Things to Check in Google Search Console
When it comes to the health of your website, as well as your search engine optimization (SEO), utilizing Google Search Console is important. Google Search Console allows you to monitor your site’s performance and health, and fix problems as they come up. If you aren’t using this powerful tool, you should be. It not only gives you an edge over the competition, it helps make your site better for your customers. Here are the top five things you should be checking in Google Search Console.
1 – Coverage
Of the five topics in discussion here, this is by far the most important. Search Console shows you the errors on any of your pages, as well as any potential warnings. It’s crucial to make sure your site doesn’t have any errors, and to address them as soon as possible. While warnings may be less critical, they are still worth checking for as well. There are also several other items you can see with the Coverage tool including: valid pages, excluded pages, pages with redirects, and pages you have excluded Google from indexing, among a list of other items.
2 – Sitemaps
This tool is where you can submit your sitemaps and sitemap indexes, which is the list of content you want Google to see. A sitemap is what you provide to Google that details the pages, content, and files on your site. You can also see the entire list of all pages on your site here. Through this section, Google will crawl and index pages automatically, and the sitemaps let Google know when pages change and need to be recrawled or reindexed. This means that Google can recheck your site more often, instead of having to wait for Google to discover these changes organically.
3 – Performance
With Search Console, you can see some of the stats related to how your website is performing in Google search. These include impressions, clicks, click through rate, and average position. Impressions refers to the number of people who were served the result of a search for your site. Clicks are the number of people who have clicked on a search result for your site. Those two statistics come together to form your click through rate, which measures the percentage of people who clicked on your site after seeing it in their search results. Finally, average position shows the top 1000 search keywords for your website based on people’s search frequency.
4 – Core Web Vitals
The Core Web Vitals tool is very powerful, showing where there can be improvement with your website. Whether it’s for mobile or desktop, your core web vitals can be monitored here and are broken into three categories: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). It’s key to your site because it shows how pages are loading in terms of speed, layout, and input. LCP is the measure of time that it takes for your site to load the largest element that’s visible on a page. FID shows you how long it takes to be able to click on something on a page. CLS is important, because it shows you how much the elements on your page move while loading. It may sound weird, but it’s incredibly important, since most people find it annoying if the item they’re trying to click on moves when the page is loading, causing them to click on something they didn’t want. Everything is given the rating of Good, Needs Improvement, or Poor, and you should make adjustments accordingly.
5 – Mobile Usability
According to statista.com, mobile device users accounted for 54.4% of all web traffic in 2021, so saying that mobile accessibility is important is an understatement. Google uses a mobile first index, and having a responsive website that works on any device is key. You want to avoid having two separate sites, as that can raise the work you’ll have to do exponentially. Having one website that is responsive on any device is a much better option, and it’s easier than ever when you utilize Google Search Console. This tool shows you errors that are specific to how usable your pages are on mobile devices. Given this, you can make changes to your site to increase performance and usability on mobile devices.
To put it in perspective, Google Search Console gives you unparalleled access to the statistics and measurements that affect your site’s performance. When you have access to these, you can work to resolve issues that come up with your site, as well as increase its performance and visibility, all in real time. These tools will help you gain the edge over the competition, and help your site perform to your expectations.