The Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is an SEO analysis tool that measures the performance of a website. This free analysis tool provides some useful features for search engine optimization.
Our experience with customers shows that while Search Console is often used, the full scope and use of each feature is often not fully understood. As Google has recently made some changes to the GSC, and as a result has added or removed one or the other feature, we will show you the most important changes based on practical examples.
What is the Google Search Console?
The Google Search Console’s free service provides a comprehensive way to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot a website’s presence in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).
The tool can be used as a direct channel between Google and the webmaster. In addition to tips for improving your presence, webmasters also receive technical information about your site.
Set up Google Search Console
To use the GSC, all you need is a Google Account and free registration in the Google Search Console. Each Google Account has the capacity to add up to 1,000 websites or mobile apps.
To set up, first visit Google Search Console. To set up your own Google Search Console, you’ll need to sign in with your Google Account. Make sure that this is the same account you use for all other webmaster tools. After this step, look in the Dashboard for the “Add Property” menu item and enter your URL.
There are currently two ways to use it on the home page of the former Google Webmaster Tools. On the one hand the old, traditional version of the GSC and on the other the newer version, which is much more intuitive and offers some new useful features.
Google plans in the future to convert all functions of the Search Console into the newer version. But at the moment, both views and thus many of the benefits of the original tool are still available.
The analysis period can also be set individually in the new Google Search Console. However, for the first time data from a longer period, up to 16 months can be analyzed.
By clicking on the “Date” button you can easily set the desired period.
ALT: Crawl Bug Report – NEW: Index Cover Status Report
The primary goal is optimal Google indexing because that’s the only way to benefit from the widest search engine. The indexed pages of a domain should be reviewed periodically. In the old version, this had to be verified under the indexing status. The GSC’s new dashboard shows crawl errors in the new Index Cover Report.
A distinction is made between the web page level and a new URL checking tool, which allows URLs to be checked separately.
The advantage here: The new report focuses on the errors relevant for Google of the past month and thus gives information about serious errors, which could result in exclusion from the index.
The old report, however, contained errors of the last 3 months, which were partly outdated or only temporary. With the new report, problems can be more easily evaluated, prioritized, and grouped according to recurring issues.
For example, if you’ve specifically instructed your sitemap to crawl a specific URL and a 404 message appears, it’s considered a bug in your Google Search Console. If this is not the case, this will not be noted as an error. In the old view of Search Console, all crawl errors that the Google bot finds on a web page were listed. It was difficult to keep track of the relevance of each error message. The new solution makes it easier to keep track of things to avoid being excluded from the index.
ALT: Security Issues – NEW: Security Issues Report
To detect attacks on your domain by hackers or implemented malicious code in the source code, it was previously possible to receive notifications via a notification function of the Google Search Console. If you enabled messaging under Search Console Settings, you’ve been notified of a potential security issue on your webpage.
The new version also clarifies the security problems of a domain, and recommendations for action are made. These are content areas that cause malicious downloads, malware, and misleading pages due to hacking attacks. This area shows when Google pronounces punishments against a website.
ALT: Structured Data – NEW Status reports on rich search results
Using structured data, you can highlight SEO information such as data about products, events or recipes.
Google uses this information to provide more accurate search results. Directly in the Google Search Console, under the “Improvements” section, you can check whether Google lists the identifiers of the structured data and whether any errors or warnings occur. In the following example products were included.
NEW: Test for results with Rich Media
To avoid bad results like the one in the previous example, before embedding, you can use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to review the inclusion of Structured Data. There, the data can be retrieved directly from a URL or individual code snippets for inspection.
In addition, the Rich Media Results test is another review tool. With this tool, you not only see which elements are detected but also their errors, warnings, and properties.
The Google Search Console is a high-quality tool for analysis, planning, and control in search engine optimization. The tool is free and based on Google’s original data.
With the Google Search Console, you have a powerful tool at your disposal to ensure your outstanding and sustainable positioning in online marketing. Therefore, we recommend that you use the GSC for a comprehensive analysis of your Internet presence.