Google Search Console

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Owning and managing your own website can be challenging, there are so many things to keep track of – on top of trying to run your business!! If only there was a tool that could help me track the data from my website so that I can spend time focusing on actually running my business! Google Search Console to the rescue!

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console (GSC) is a must have for any small business with a website (or any business for that matter). It is probably the most useful SEO tool that you can have, and the best part? It’s completely free! It allows you to track important metrics on your website so you can see what is driving traffic to your site and what isn’t working so well so that you can make tweaks. It also helps to identify any errors with your website and helps to fix them, allows you to add sitemaps and optimise your website for mobile users. Not bad for a free tool really hey? 

Adding your website to Google Search Console

First things first, you’re going to need a Google account. You might already have one if you use Gmail or any other Google services, if not it only takes two minutes to create one. 

Once you are logged into Google Search Console, you want to select ‘Add property’ from the dropdown menu in the top left – highlighted below in yellow. You can use this to track multiple domains if you are using more than one.

A window will then appear asking you to select your ‘Property Type’, you will be given two options to choose from ‘Domain’ or ‘URL prefix’. 

If you choose ‘Domain’ – you will have to enter your domain, leaving out any ‘www.’ or ‘HTTPS’. If it was our website, it would look like this – thatsherbusiness.co.uk

We choose this option if we want to track all the URLs across our entire website – this is probably the option that you are going to want to use.

You can choose the ‘URL prefix’ option which will allow you to to track more specific URLs and for this option you would need to enter the fill website address. For us, it would look like this – https://www.thatsherbusiness.co.uk

If you are stuck as to which option is the best for you, as we mentioned above, it’s probably ‘Domain’. If you need some extra help, you can read Google’s page on how to add a website property to Search Console.

Once we have added our Property to GSC, you will need to verify your ownership of the domain. There are various ways to do this depending on whether you chose ‘Domain’ or ‘URL prefix’. Google has a helpful page for if you need help with verifying your site ownership. If you get stuck, it’s always best to contact your web hosting provider for help. 

Bear in mind that verification can take up to 72 hours to complete so once you have completed your verification, it may take a few days before your GSC is up and running.

Getting the most out of GSC

Now that you are all set up with GSC it’s time to start making the most out of it. It can take a little bit of time for Google to collect data on your website, so you might not see information straight away. But within a couple of days (a couple of weeks for some GSC tools), they will have collected enough information to start giving you some performance statistics. 

It’s worth getting familiar with the wide range of tools that GSC has to offer, I’m sure that everyone will find different tools useful in different ways. But here are some of the most important features that you should be using straight away – bear in mind that if you have only just set up GSC, it can take a while for these metrics to update!

  • Performance – this allows you to see how much traffic is coming through to your pages, handy on its own right? It also tells you which keywords are being used to find your site, which of your pages are the best performers and tons of other useful information so you know exactly how your users found you.
    Have a play with the filter options at the top as well, this allows you to really tailor the information that you want to see. 
  • Sitemaps – if you haven’t already uploaded your sitemap to GSC, you should. It’s a really simple way of giving Google the layout of your website so that they can list it on their results pages. If you haven’t already uploaded your sitemap to GSC, we have a handy guide that will help you!
  • Mobile usability – this part of GSC tracks your website’s performance on mobile devices. More and more people will be using their phones to look at your website, so it needs to look good not just on the desktop screens, but on the smaller screens too! GSC will help you do just that, by spotting things that might be holding your mobile site back from realising its full potential. 

These are just a few things that GSC can do for you, but have a look around the menus and see what other metrics GSC is tracking. You never know what juicy info you might find that helps to give your website a boost!

Google Analytics

Its also worth getting your website set up with Google Analytics 4, this is another useful website tool that will help you by tracking certain metrics on your site (click the link for a useful guide from Google).

Analytics can measure how many users have accessed your site over a specific time period, it can also tell you where they came from, what pages they are looking at, how long they spent on certain pages and loads more useful info! You can set up events so that it knows when you have made a ‘conversion’ (e.g. when a user reaches your checkout page) and it can help identify which pages users are leaving your website from.

The team of GSC and Google Analytics can really help to elevate your site, it allows you to identify what is working well, and what could use some improvement. For 2 free tools, you really can’t go wrong!

Here is a guide from Semrush – 12 Key Google Analytics Metrics to Track to help get you started!

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