Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the most important tools for an SEO agency. GSC is a completely free tool provided by Google to help brands and businesses keep track of their online presence in search. The service was previously known as Google Webmaster Tools but made the switch to Google Search Console in 2015. Since then, the tool has undergone various updates to improve reporting and UI elements.
GSC is considered an essential SEO tool by many agencies, giving a view of site errors, performance metrics and deeper insights into the search queries where your website is appearing. Different report types can be found alongside an Overview Report which presents a higher level view of recent website performance. We’ll give a summary of some of the most useful reports and tools below:
The Performance Report is one of the most used dashboard, giving site owners insight into how their website has performed in search results. Within this report, GSC will visually present metrics such as clicks, impressions and average position as well as further insight into how your site is found in search; date ranges, search types, country and device information are all useful parameters to monitor the performance of an SEO campaign.
The URL Inspection tool provided by GSC will trigger a crawl of the submitted URL. Upon completion, which is usually very quick, GSC will report back important information about the specific page such as index status, mobile-friendliness, breadcrumbs and SERP features. If you’re having problems with a certain page and are looking for a sense check, this is a good port of call.
Search Console gives a view of how a website has been indexed. This report gives SEO teams and site owners a clear overview of which pages have been properly crawled and indexed, highlighting any errors which could be causing problems in your campaign. Used alongside impressions, which is an option within the report, you can easily identify any problems with visibility. For example, if a spike in errors correlates with a drop in impressions.
For further insight, the report provides more detail in a table view that lists specific errors or other statuses. Drilling down into these errors by clicking on them will reveal the exact URLs that are affected. GSC allows you to export these for further analysis outside the tool.
More recently, the Page Experience report was added to Search Console as part of Google’s focus on website performance and usability, including the Page Experience Update. In this GSC report, we find an overview of site performance including mobile usability and Core Web Vitals. This is closely linked with the Core Web Vitals Report which gives further information about specific pages, their CWV score and specific issues related to CWV.
Many SEO professionals will remember when Search Console was still named Webmaster Tools. In earlier times, it was clear that WMT was designed for SEO teams, developers and trained site admins. However, the change in name represented a shift towards a more accessible and inclusive platform (for users of all technical abilities). Google have aimed Search Console at anyone with a web presence who’d like to monitor their performance in search. We use Search Console data in lots of different ways throughout an SEO campaign, from research to reporting. We encourage anyone with a site to make sure GSC is setup properly and is regularly monitored. If you’d like to learn more about our SEO services or any other marketing channels, please give us a call.