SEO FAQ: Do I need Google Search Console?

As a business owner, you may have heard of Google Search Console or GSC and wondered “Do I need Google Search Console for my business?” and if so, what is so great about it? Well, keep reading to find out that answer from the perspective of an SEO specialist

I firmly believe that Google Search Console is a crucial tool when it comes to understanding your business’s search engine traffic. The platform is extremely helpful in understanding how people are finding your website!

If you want to dig into where your traffic is coming from, what pages they are viewing, and what they are searching for, you need a GSC account. Being able to easily access and view this information is vital for tracking, analyzing, and improving your website visibility. Best of all, it’s free and only takes 15 minutes or less to set up. 

google search console logo

Why is it important?

Google Search Console helps you gain insight into your business’s organic search performance. When you log in to GSC you can see the exact search terms (keywords) that people are typing into Google that lead them to your website. Once you can see what keywords are bringing people to your page, you can devise a plan to better optimize your website or specific pages for those keywords. 

For example, if you can see that a particular term is getting your site lots of impressions (it is showing up in searches and people are seeing it) but not many clicks, you know that you need to focus on improving your meta description so that people are more likely to click the link to learn more. You also might realize there is a different keyword people are searching for that you hadn’t even optimized for, so then you could create a separate landing page or optimize an existing page to increase the number of visitors. 

Another benefit to using Google Search Console is that it will alert you to any indexing issues- which means Google has not properly filed your site or page and therefore it won’t show up in search results. If you do come across any indexing issues, you can use GSC to submit an indexing request to have Google re-index your site. Make sure you check the inspection tool regularly to see if the issue is resolved.

Google Search Console also allows you to submit your sitemap and individual URLs for crawling, which can help ensure that all of the pages on your site are being indexed by Google. Using the valuable information gained from GSC, you can develop an effective SEO strategy which in turn will lead to much greater visibility in Google search results. 

 

How to Set Up Google Search Console for Your Business

If you want to set up a Google Search Console for your business, here is a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Make sure you are signed into your primary Google account.
  2. Then go to https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome
  3.  In the URL prefix box, paste in your full URL. Note: Make sure to copy and paste the URL directly from your website!
  4.  Use one of the 4 verification methods to verify

Note: If you have Google Analytics already set up, this is the easiest way to verify. 

If you do not have a Google Analytics account, I would recommend using the HTML method. Here are instructions on how to verify for some of the popular website builders:

How to verify using Yoast on WordPress websites:

  1. Go to “Other Verification Methods” on Google Search Console click HTML tag and copy. 
  2. In WordPress, click on “Yoast SEO” in the sidebar and then Settings 
  3. In the “Site Connections” section, copy and paste the HTML tag and save changes.
  4. Back in Google Search Console, click “Verify” 

How to verify on Wix websites:

  1. Follow step A. from the WordPress instructions above. 
  2. In Wix, go to the SEO Dashboard. 
  3. Select Go to Site Verification under Tools and Settings.
  4. Click on “Google Search Console” to expand, paste the meta tag and save. 
  5. Go back to Google Search Console and click verify. 

How to verify on Squarespace websites:

  1. To connect your Squarespace site to Google Search Console, open the Home menu and click Analytics.
  2. Click Search keywords.
  3. Click Connect in the panel’s pop-up.
  4. Log into the Google account you want to connect to your site. If you have multiple Google accounts, ensure you select the correct one.
  5. Review the permissions, then click Allow.

How to verify on Showit websites:

  1. Copy the HTML code as in above directions.
  2. In Showit, click on the “Properties” panel on the right. You should a tab for “Advanced Settings” 
  3. Select it and it will reveal a box for adding a custom head HTML.
  4. Copy the HTML tag, then go back to GSC and verify. 

For other websites:

       For any other websites, you can likely find the instructions on Google by searching “how to connect Google Search Console to *insert website builder*” 

     5. That’s it! Your account is all set up! Please note that it will take a few days before you see any data in your GSC account.

PRO TIP: Add a UTM tracking link to your Google Business Profile to distinguish between your organic and GBP performance results. You can read more on optimizing your GBP here. 

Here is how to do this: 

  1. Start by copying the URL of your website and adding this to the end of your URL: /?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=GBP&utm_content=GBPwebsitelink
  1. This is now your UTM tracking link for GBP. It should look something like this: https://mywebsite.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=GBP&utm_content=GBPwebsitelink
  1. Paste this full link into the website section on your Google Business Profile. You can do this by clicking “Edit profile” and scrolling down to the Contact Information section.

How to Analyze Results in Search Console

There are four key metrics to look at when logged into GSC: clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and average position. When analyzing your website performance in GSC, you want to click on “Performance” and then check clicks (when a user clicks on your links), impressions (how often your site appears in searches), click-through rate (the percentage of users who saw your site and clicked on your link in searches) and average position (average ranking on Google). 

google search console comparison chart

These numbers show you where people are finding your website on Google and whether or not they are clicking on your link when they see it. It is perfectly normal for impressions to be much higher than clicks. Think of how many website links you see on an average Google search vs. how many you actually click on. 

By analyzing these results from GSC, you can determine which pages are getting the most traffic and which need to be optimized better.  

 

How to Grant Access to Google Search Console

The nice thing about Google Search Console is that you can grant access to other team members or marketing/SEO service providers that you are working with. If you want to grant access to another user, here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Sign In to Google Search Console: Log in to your Google account associated with the website you want to grant access to. Then go here: https://search.google.com/search-console/
  2. Select the Property: If you have multiple websites, select the property (website) for which you want to grant access.
  3.  Click on “Settings”: On the left-hand sidebar, click on “Settings.” This will open the settings menu for the selected property.
  4. Access Permissions: Under the “Users and permissions” section, you will see a list of users who currently have access to the property.
  5. Click on “Add User”: Click on the “+ Add user” button to initiate the process of adding a new user.
  6. Enter User’s Email: In the “Email” field, enter the email address of the person or entity you want to grant access to. Make sure you enter the correct email address.
  7. Choose Permission Level: There are different permission levels you can assign to the new user:
  • Full: Provides complete access to all features and settings of the property.
  • Restricted: Offers access to some features but limits changes to specific settings.

Choose the appropriate permission level based on the level of access you want to grant. 

        8. Notify New User: You can choose to notify the new user via email by checking the box that says “Notify this user by email.” This can be helpful to let them know they’ve been granted access.

       9. Click on “Add” or “Send Invitation”: After selecting the permission level and optionally notifying the user, click on the “Add” or “Send Invitation” button (the exact wording may vary based on your account status). An email will be sent to the new user containing instructions on how to access the property.

 

So, do I need Google Search Console for my business? 

After reading this blog post, I think you will know what my answer is- YES! GSC is so beneficial to businesses because it helps guide data-driven decisions and improved SEO strategies which in return enhances online visibility. Google Search Console is so easy to set up and best of all it’s completely free! 

If you want to improve your search rankings, all you need to do is set up a GSC account, analyze your website’s data, and utilize the information to set yourself up for success! 

google search console graph

Get Help With Your Google Search Console 

If you are having trouble setting up your Google Search Console or struggling to interpret your website’s results, contact me for help! Since GSC is such an essential tool for successful SEO, I help all of my clients set up an account. If you are interested in any other SEO services, check out all of the ways that we can work together here