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A Beginner’s Guide to Google Search Console

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SEO Basics

The author’s opinions are solely their own (excluding the rare event of an hypnotic experience) they may not necessarily be in line with the Moz’s views.

If the term “Google Webmaster Tools” rings an alarm for you, then perhaps you already know the concept behind Google Search Console is. Since Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) has become a valuable resource for so many different types of people besides webmasters–marketing professionals, SEOs, designers, business owners, and app developers, to name a few–Google decided to change its name in May of 2015 to be more inclusive of its diverse group of users.

If you’re not familiar with Google Search Console or GWT Let’s go back to the beginning. Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to get a wealth of data about your site and the users who visit it. You can discover things like how many people are using your website and the way they find it, whether more visitors are using your website via mobile devices or a desktop computers, and which pages on your website are most well-known. It will also assist you to discover and fix any website issues and submit a sitemap and also create and test your robots.txt file.

Are you ready to take advantage of everything Google Search Console has to provide? Let’s get started.

The process of adding and verifying a site by using Google Search Console
In case you’re new in Google Search Console, you’ll have to register and verify the validity of your site(s) prior to you perform anything else. The process of adding and verifying your site within Search Console proves to Google that you’re the site’s webmaster, owner or another authorized user. In the end, Search Console provides you with numerous, extremely precise details and information about the performance of your site. Google isn’t going to divulge this kind of data to anyone who wants it.

The process of adding a website for inclusion in Search Console is a very easy process. Begin by logging into the account you have created in your search console account. After you’ve signed into the account, you’ll notice the box beside the red button that reads “Add Property.”

 

Simply type in the web address for the website you’re looking to add to the box and then click “Add Property.” You’re done! Your site has already added to your Search Console account!

Then, you’ll be required to verify the authenticity of your site. There are several ways to go about this. The best method for you is contingent on the degree to which you’ve worked with HTML and whether you are able to uploading files to your website and what size you have for your website and whether you’re running other Google applications linked to your website. If all this seems confusing, don’t worry, we’ll help you understand the process.

Adding an HTML tag
This verification method is suitable for site owners and users who are familiar with HTML codes.

In on the Search Console dashboard, select “Manage Property,” then “Verify this property.” If you see that the “HTML Tag” option does not appear under “Recommended method,” then you must select the “Alternate methods” tab and choose “HTML tag.” This will supply you with the HTML code you’ll need to use for verification.

Copy the code and then use the HTML editor to open the code to your website’s homepage. Copy the code from inside the Section of HTML code. If your website already contains the meta tag or another code , you can find it in the Section is irrelevant as to which code the verification is located in relation with the code. It only needs to be located in the section. If your website doesn’t have one, you should consider adding one. section, you can make one to aid in validating the website.

After the verification code is saved, then publish the new code. Then, visit your website’s homepage. Then, you can look at the source code of your site. The verification code will be visible within the source code. Section.

When you’re confident that the code is on the homepage of your site Go back in Search Console and click “Verify.” Google will then examine the code of your website for verification code. If the verification code is found, you’ll be notified via a message know that the website has been validated. If not, you’ll be given information on the mistakes it made.

If your website has been validated through Search Console, do not delete the verification code from your website. If the verification code disappears, this can make your website not verified.

The uploading of an HTML file
In order to use this method you need for uploading files into the site’s root directory.

In on the Search Console dashboard, select “Manage site,” then “Verify this site.” In the event that “HTML file upload” is not listed under “Recommended method,” it should be listed under “Alternate method” tab.

When you opt for this method You will be required to download an HTML file. Download it, and then transfer it into the given place. Make no changes to the contents of the file, or the name of the file The file must be identical to the original. If the file is altered, Search Console will not be in a position to validate the site.

Once the HTML file has been uploaded, head again to Search Console and click “Verify.” If everything is successfully uploaded, you’ll get a notification page to let you know that your site has been confirmed.

After you have verified your website using the method above, do not delete the HTML file from your website. This will cause your website to be deemed unauthentic.

Verifying via domain name provider
A domain name service provider will be the business which you purchased your domain from or the place where your website is located. If you confirm the domain name service provider you use, it is not just proving that you are the owner of your primary domain, but also that you also own all the subdirectories and subdomains that are connected to it. This is a good option for those with an enormous web site.

On your Search Console dashboard, select “Manage site,” then “Verify this site.” If you do not see”Domain Name Provider” in the “Domain name provider” option in the section titled “Recommended method,” look under the “Alternate method” tab.

If you choose “Domain name provider,” you’ll be asked to select the domain name provider you want to use from a list of widely used providers, like GoDaddy.com. If your service isn’t listed on this list, select “Other” and you will be provided with instructions for creating an DNS TXT records for your service. If you find that a DNS TXT record isn’t working with your service, you’ll have the option of establishing the CNAME record on your own instead.

Add Google Analytics code
If you already use Google Analytics (GA) to track the traffic on your website it is the best solution for you. However, first, you’ll have to look over the HTML code of your site to ensure that you’ve got the GA monitoring code can be inserted within the The code for your homepage’s section part of your homepage’s code, not the section. In the event that GA code is not present in the Section, you’ll have to transfer it there in order in order to make this work.

In your Search Console dashboard, select “Manage site,” then “Verify this site.” If you do not find”Google Analytics Tracking Code” or “Google Analytics tracking code” option, then under”Recommended method,” click on “Recommended method,” look under the “Alternate method” tab. If you select “Google Analytics tracking method,” you’ll be given an array of directions to follow.

Once your site is confirmed, do not remove the GA code from your website, or it will make your website not verified.

Using Google Tag Manager
If you already use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to your website (GTM) for your site, it could be the best way to ensure the integrity of your site. If you’re considering trying this method, you’ll need to be in the GTM “View, Edit, and Manage” permissions set to your account in GTM. Before you try this method, check the code of your website’s HTML code to ensure that your GTM code is immediately placed following your website’s tag.

On your Search Console dashboard, select “Manage site,” then “Verify this site.” If you don’t find”Google Tag Manager” in the dashboard, you should “Google Tag Manager” option found under “Recommended method,” it will be listed in the section titled “Alternate method.”

Choose “Google Tag Manager” and click “Verify.” In the event that your Google Tag Manager code is discovered, you will see an indication that your website has been verified.

After the site has been checked, do not remove the GTM code from your website,or your site will be deemed unauthentic.

How do you connect Google Analytics with Google Search Console
Google Analytics as well as Google Search Console might seem similar in that they provide the same data, however there are some major distinctions between the two Google products. GA is more about who is visiting your site–how many visitors you’re getting, how they’re getting to your site, how much time they’re spending on your site, and where your visitors are coming from (geographically-speaking). Google Search Console, in contrast, is more geared towards more internal data–who’s linking to your site, if there are malware or other issues with your website, and what keywords your site is showing up in the search results . Google Analytics and Search Console don’t treat certain information in the identical manner and, therefore, even if you believe you’re viewing the identical report, you may not get exactly the same data in both reports.

To get the most value out of the information offered with the help of Search Console and GA, you should link your accounts from both of them. Linking these two tools will allow you to combine data from both sources, providing you with additional reports you’ll only have access to once you’ve completed that. So, let’s get started:

Have you added your website and verified by Search Console? If it’s not there, you’ll have to confirm that first before proceeding.

In on the Search Console dashboard, click on the website you’re trying to connect to. In the upper left-hand corner, there’s the gear icon. Click it and select “Google Analytics Property.”

It will take you to the list of Google Analytics accounts linked to you Google account. All you need to do is select the you want to use the GA account, then click “Save.” Simple, right? It’s all you need to begin getting the most value from Search Console and Analytics.

The addition of an online map
Sitemaps are documents that provide web crawlers and search engines crucial information on how your website is structured and the kind of content that is available. Sitemaps may contain metadata that contains information regarding your website including information on videos and images and the frequency at which your website is up-to-date.

If you upload the sitemap you’ve created by submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console, you’re aiding Google in making sure they have the data they require to complete their job with greater efficiency. It’s not a requirement but your site won’t get penalized for not submitting an official sitemap. However, there’s no harm in doing so particularly if your website is new and no other websites have linked to it. especially if you own a big website, or your website has many pages that aren’t well linked.

Before you are able to submit a sitemap on Search Console, your site has to be added and verified by Search Console. If you’ve not completed this, then take the time to do it right now.

On the Search Console Dashboard, click the website that you would like to create a sitemap for. On the leftside, there’s an option that says “Crawl.” Below “Crawl,” there will be a button that says “Sitemaps.”

 

Click on “Sitemaps.” There’s a button that says “Add/Test Sitemap” in the upper right hand corner.

It will open the box, which has a space for you to write your own text.

Type “system/feeds/sitemap” in that box and hit “Submit sitemap.” You have successfully submitted an online sitemap!

Looking over the robots.txt file
A website’s existence doesn’t suggest that you should include all directories or pages indexed through search engine. If there are specific things on your website you’d like to keep from the search engine index, then you could do this through the robots.txt file. A robots.txt file, which is located in the base of your website informs crawlers of search engines (i.e. spiders) what you’re doing and do not want to be listed with the help of commands referred to as the robots Exclusion Standard.

It is important to remember the fact that robots.txt files aren’t always guarantee that they will be 100 percent effective in keeping items out of the reach of web crawlers. The commands contained in robots.txt documents are definitions of instructions and while crawlers that are used by legitimate search engines like Google will recognize these commands, it’s quite feasible that another less reliable crawler might not. It is also possible for different crawlers to read commands in a different way. Robots.txt files won’t hinder sites from linking back to your site even if you do not wish to have it to be indexed.

If you’re looking to review the contents of your robots.txt file to find out exactly what it allows and isn’t , log in to Search Console and select the website whose robots.txt file you wish to examine. Have you not yet added or verified your website to Search Console? Make sure you do this first.

On the left side of the screen there’s an selection “Crawl.” Click it, and then select “robots.txt Tester.” It will open the Robots.txt Tester Tool lets you inspect the robots.txt file, and make modifications on it, then will notify you of any issues it discovers. You can also select from Google’s User-Agents (names for crawlers and robots) and type in the URL you want to allow or disallow, then perform a test to find out whether the URL is recognized by the crawler.

If you make changes on your robots.txt file by using Google’s robots.txt tester however, these changes won’t be automatically reflected in your robots.txt file on your website. It’s a breeze to modify it yourself. After you’re sure that your robots.txt file is exactly as you’d like it to be, click”Submit” or click the “Submit” button underneath the editing box located in the lower right-hand corner. It will then give you the option of downloading the updated robots.txt file. Simply upload that to your site in the same directory where your old one was (www.example.com/robots.txt). Obviously, the domain name will change, but your robots.txt file should always be named “robots.txt” and the file needs to be saved in the root of your domain, not www.example.com/somecategory/robots.txt.

Restart the robots.txt test tool, press “Verify live version” to verify that the correct file is present on your website. All is is correct? Good! Now click “Submit live version” to notify Google that you’ve changed your robots.txt file. Google should now crawl it. If not, you can re-upload the updated robots.txt files to your website and attempt again.

Find as Google and then submit to index
If you’ve made substantial modifications to your website the quickest method to have the changes indexed by Google is to submit the site manually. This allows any changes made to items like titles or on-page content to show up on search pages as quickly as is possible.

First step to log to Google Search Console. Then, you must select the page that you wish to submit. If the website doesn’t include the ‘www..’ prefix, make sure you click on the link without it (or reverse.)

On the left right side of the screen there should be an “Crawl” option. Click on itand select “Fetch as Google.”

 

Clicking “Fetch as Google” should bring you to a page that appears something like this:

If you require the entire site (such following major updates to the site or if your homepage has been through a lot of renovations completed) then you can leave the middle box empty. Otherwise, use it to enter the full address of the page you need indexed, such as http://example.com/category. After you have entered the address of the page you wish to be indexed then hit”Fetch and Render “Fetch and Render” button. Fetching can take up to a few minutes, based on the size of the pages to be fetching.

When the indexing is completed and the indexing is complete, you will see the “Submit to Index” button which appears in the results page at the lower part of the page (near”Complete. “Complete” status). You’ll be presented with the option of select either “Crawl Only This URL,” this is the option you’ll need if you’re retrieving or submitting one particular page, as well as “Crawl This URL and its Direct Links,” when you’re trying to index all of the site.

Simply click here, allow indexing to finish then you’re done! Google is now sending its search engines to index the latest information on your site The new content should be visible in Google in the coming days.

Site errors in Google Search Console
Everyone wants to find issues with their site, but at times you may not be aware of an issue until someone else tells you. As opposed to waiting on someone else to inform you of the issue, Google Search Console can immediately inform you of any issues it discovers your website.

If you’re looking to examine an internet site for internal flaws choose the site you’d like to review. On the left right side of the screen select “Crawl,” then select “Crawl Errors.”

 

Then, you will be directed directly on your Crawl Errors page and displays any website or URL error that is detected by Google’s bots when indexing the page. It’s similar to this:

 

Any URL errors that are discovered will be highlighted in the lower right. Click on any error to read a description of the error that was encountered as well as more details.

Note any errors that you encounter and take screenshots, if necessary. If you’re not accountable for handling errors on the website contact the person responsible for the error who is responsible so they can fix your problem(s).

This guide should have been helpful in getting you acquainted the basics of Google Search Console. After all is setup and verified, you are able to begin to take in all the data that Google Search Console has for you.

 

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