Google Search Console is a collection of tools which enable easy monitoring and adjustment of a website’s performance. It allows a webmaster to understand how their website is performing on Google Search, what search queries result in the website being returned for instance as well with a plethora of technical data such as crawl errors, website load speed to name but a few. It also sends notifications when it detects errors, making it simple to fix them. It is free to set up and use Google Search Console.
For many years, GSC was called Google Webmaster Tools, before it was rebranded in 2015 as Google Search Console.
The Console is in perpetual development with new tools, analytics and data tracking facilities being added all the time, together with upgrades and innovations.
The main tabs of the Console are the Performance Tab, Index Coverage, URL Inspection, Enhancement Tabs, Sitemaps, Links, Mobile Usability, Manual Actions and Security Issues.
This carries data from the past 16 months and shows which pages and keywords are working in Google rankings, sorted into ‘clicks’ on the website via the search results, ‘impressions’ which are appearances in the results, ‘average CTR’ which is the percentage of people who click through to the site, and ‘average position’ which gives the average ranking of a specific page or keyword.
- Index Coverage
This shows how many of a website’s pages appear in the Google index and details the errors and warnings that have caused problems in indexing.
- URL Inspection
This compares a page as it appears in Google’s index with how it currently exists on the site. It also shows how frequently it is crawled and whether there were any difficulties in the process.
- Enhancement Tabs
This gives helpful pointers on increasing page-loading speeds on both desktop and mobile devices as well as how to make improvements in the performance of structured data such as breadcrumbs, events, FAQs, reviews, searchboxes and videos.
A sitemap explains the structure of a site to Google Search and makes it easier for the engine to find the most important pages and posts. It is simple to add the URL of the sitemap to Google Search Console.
This tool shows how many links there are to a website, identifies those linking websites, gives details of how many links to the site are featured on those sites and which anchor texts are most frequently used.
- Mobile Usability
This tool shows how users access websites on mobile devices and flags performance and usability issues.
- Manual Actions
This report serves as a warning system for activities that Google seeks to prevent, such as unnatural or paid-for backlinks, spam, third party hacks or attempts to hide content from Google.
- Security Issues
This tab simply gives notifications if a security issue should arise.