Learn How To Get Started with Google Search Console For SEO
One of the best things you can do for your website is invest in SEO. Once you resolve to do that, the most logical course of action would be to hire an SEO expert. But what if you’re strapped for cash, like most businesses starting out are? Do you say “forget it” and carry on, hoping your website will find traffic from another source? Negative, ghostrider!
Let’s Get One Of The Most Essential Tools For SEO
Instead of deciding to forego SEO altogether because you can’t afford to hire a professional, take it upon yourself to get the most foundational tool out there for SEO, Google Search Console! It might seem intimidating at first, but we’ll go over a few simple steps to get you started. There is some great information you can get out of Search Console and you don’t need to be an SEO expert to understand it!
How To Setup Google Search Console
There are 2 things you need, a website and a Gmail account. For the sake of this post, I’m going to assume you have both. If you don’t have a website, feel free to reach out to us about designing one for you, and if you don’t have a Gmail account, just sign up for one here.
Step 1: Hop on over to good ole’ Google Webmaster Tools.
Step 2: Get started by signing in.
Select the green button that says “Search Console” and continue to sign into Google.
Step 3: Add your website.
Once you get to the “Welcome to Search Console” screen, enter your website and select “Add A Property”.
Step 4: Verify your “property”.
You need to verify ownership of your website before Search Console will start working. This is a security precaution to make sure that someone doesn’t wrongfully get access to important information to your site and use it maliciously. Now, there are a few ways to do this but the easiest way (and only way we’ll cover in this post) is through the Yoast SEO plugin. Most WordPress users have either heard of Yoast or already have it installed. It’s a great plugin and easy authentication for Google Search Console is just one of the benefits of the plugin!
Step 5: Download Yoast SEO plugin.
If you already have Yoast, then you can skip this step! To add the plugin, just click on “Plugins”, “Add New” and use the search feature to find Yoast. Once downloaded, be sure to activate the plugin.
Step 6: Get your verification info.
Now, in Google Search Console, select the “Alternative Methods” tab, then select the first radio button for “HTML tag”. Copy everything Google provides in the white box.
Step 7: Enter your meta tag verification info into Yoast.
Navigate to the plugin by going to the menu on the lefthand side, selecting “SEO” and then “Dashboard” from the pop-up menu. Go to the “Webmasters Tools” tab and paste your meta tag into the “Google Search Console” box.
Step 8: Have Google verify the site.
Go back to Search Console, select “Verify”, and wait for the confirmation message to appear. Once you get the green check from Google, select “Continue”. You’ll be taken to your dashboard for the newly added site!
Step 9: Now you can get started with Google Search Console!
The best place to get started with Google Search Console is in the Search Traffic section. From your dashboard, click on “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics”.
It takes a while before you’ll see anything because Google doesn’t retroactively look for data. Going forward, however, Google will monitor and track the keywords and pages you rank for!
Step 10: Some quick tips on understanding Search Analytics data.
Once data has been collected, head back over to the Search Analytics page and select all of the options in the first row (Clicks, Impressions, CTR, Position). By default, the “Queries” section is selected. Select a date range using the “Date” option.
What you’re looking at is a table that shows you a list of keywords that were searched and led to your website being shown in the results. The Impressions column shows you the total number of times your website was shown in the search results, while the Clicks column shows you how many times someone actually clicked on your result. The CTR column is a percentage of Clicks divided by Impressions. And Rankings gives you your average rank for that keyword.
There’s a wealth of knowledge that you can find in Google Search Console. You may not understand everything within the tool, but that’s ok. You can begin to become familiar with your site and the keywords you rank for. That’s pretty invaluable, no matter your level of SEO knowledge. This is just the start of a deeper understanding of your website.
Do you need help getting Search Console setup? Do you want us to go over another verification route for you? Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll setup a time and date so we can walk you through the process!