Google Search Console (GSC) is the leading search engine's free tool built specifically to help optimize websites.
If you’re a brand looking to check out your true Google Search performance, GSC is the ultimate arbiter. 💪
It’s worth nothing that there are solutions like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz Pro, and many tools to help SEO professionals achieve their goals.
Nonetheless, Google Search Console remains one of the best and most effective options, including no less than five stand-out reports for SEO.
Let’s take a look at ‘em:👇
🍎 The Core Web Vitals Report
Put simply, Google wants website owners to understand which performance factors contribute to a good user experience.
Google does this because each time the company presents a link in the SERP, they essentially endorse said link and tell the searcher that this page has the right information that relates to their search query. 👍
However, if the information presented is hard to access because of slow loading pages or similar problems, both Google Search and the page in question take a reputation hit.
To help SEO practitioners gauge their optimization efforts, Google created Web Vitals that lists site performance factors responsible for a good user experience.
Core Web Vitals are a subset of Web Vitals (confusing, we know!) and take into account what’s present on every website. It’s these factors that are known to impact rankings on Google Search.
The Core Web Vitals explained: 👇
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This measures perceived page loading speed based on elements a user can see.
- First Input Delay (FID). This measures interactivity by tracking delays in event processing.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This measures visible stability in the page as it loads.
In GSC’s Page Experience > Core Web Vitals report, search optimizers will find details about which pages are meeting the Core Web Vitals standards and which ones aren’t, and this information is separated by device type, i.e., desktop or mobile.
Drill down in the report to find issues, like CLS taking longer than 2.5 seconds and the pages impacted, which you’ll then need to fix. 🛠
This report can become a working list shared across your SEO team. Get these Core Web Vitals in line and watch pages rise on Google's search engine results pages (SERPs). 📈
🤖 The Coverage Report
Found at Index > Coverage in Google Search Console, this report helps SEO professionals identify which pages Google's search bot has crawled and indexed, exposing any problems which may have occurred during that process.
Items listed as errors on this report are problems that prevent pages from being indexed, meaning no one can find them on Google Search, even though Google did crawl the page.
With errors, a minor fix could lead to a lot more site traffic. 🧑🔧
Valid with Warnings
This report will also identify pages that are "Valid with Warnings." A common example is a good page that your robots.txt file is blocking. Google Search Console flags the page because it’s unsure if this is intentional. ⛳️
These valid with warnings pages may or may not appear on Google, and can typically be fixed with just a little work.
Finally, there is a list of "Excluded" pages that are not indexed. Here are pages Google believes you intentionally don't want included.
Keep scrollin’ for three more reports to keep your eyes on for SEO success. ✅
🤔 The Top Queries Report
Nestled in Search Console's Performance on Search results section is what SEO practitioners call the top queries report.
There is an HTML version of this report available, but many SEO professionals export it using the export link in the upper right corner of the report's main page.
The resulting spreadsheet will list a website's top search queries (the specific phrases users typed into Google Search) and complete click, impression, and position information for the specified period.
At the most obvious level, this report shows which search queries drive the most site traffic. But it will also help to identify SEO opportunities, including: 👇
- Identifying long-tail key phrases for additional optimization,
- Locating search queries with poor click-through rates,
- Tracking position for long-tail key phrases.
To make this clear, consider the second bullet point above. Here an SEO pro might look for search queries with lots of impressions but a relatively low click-through rate. 🖱
These search queries represent an opportunity to get more traffic since they are already getting impressions. So minor changes to the content, page title, or even meta description could result in many more site visits.
🔝 The Top Pages Report
Located right next to the Queries tab in Search Console's Performance on Search results section is the top pages report.
Similar in purpose to the Top Queries Report, this information helps identify the leading pages on your website. 🏆
This is a good way to find potential topics for expansion or potential weaknesses in page types.
Are blog posts generating more traffic than product pages? Are frequently asked questions getting loads of traffic? Are there pages missing that should be earning more visits?
🔗 The Links Report
If you want to know which pages have the most inbound links and which domains are linking to them, you will want Google Search Console's Links report.
The report includes data for both internal and external links. ✍️
In the former case, the tool can be used to ensure topic clusters and similar linking strategies are being properly employed. While the later case can be used to identify new outreach opportunities or, conversely, pages to disavow.
✨ Conclusion: Utilize the SEO tools on the market to help drive traffic to your pages! Your brand works hard on your content, make sure you’re taking all necessary steps to get it the eyes it deserves! 👀