Google Search Console (GSC) is a free service to help website owners (technical & non-technical) analyze how they are performing in search.
GSC contains a wide range of features including – reports, analytics, and tools. Each different feature helps website owners understand the different aspects of how a site is discovered, indexed, and positioned in Google Search.
Learn about how to setup your account, understand all the data, and leverage the reports and tools to improve your website. Before you can do any of this, you have to prove site ownership. GSC has a ton of features that can help you grow your organic traffic.
GSC Features, Reports, and Tools
- Site Verification
- Performance Data
- Index Data
- Experience (Mobile & CWV)
- Link Data
- URL Inspection
- GSC Legacy Tools
- GSC Alerts & Controls
Before you start, you need to understand the first choice you make in the verification process.
There are many great resources and articles about how property verification works in Google Search Console – but they are mostly generic & have no context.
Use this GSC site verification tool to find out the easiest way to verify based on your specific situation.
Google can verify websites in 2 ways
- Domain: This is the most comprehensive and includes everything: all subdomains any URL regardless of HTTP vs HTTPS. It will capture ALL the data relevant to your website. This is usually what you want. The catch – the verification process can be a bit more technical.
- URL Prefix: You decide which version of your site you want to track. There are a few use cases where this is useful: you want to track data for just one part of a website, you only have access to part of a domain (ie mysite.wordpress.com), or you only want to share part of your site with an outside agency/consultant. You have some easier verification options – and we’ll match you with the best method
Most website owners want to choose Domain. There are a few cases where URL Prefix is a better fit. Word of warning: choosing URL prefix because it’s easier to verify your site is NOT a good reason alone. If you’re stuck or need help – there are great resources to help you.
Verify My Site
Let Your Data Process and Settle
Once you verify your site, GSC will take some time to populate the data in your account.
Don’t worry this happens to any site that has not been verified recently. Until then let’s get familiar with some of the basics.
Search Performance Analytics
- Click, Impression, Query, and Position data
- Search data: Web, News, Discovery, Product
Site Index Data
- URL Removals
- Page Experience
- Mobile Usability
- Core Web Vitals
- Manual Actions
- Security Issues
- Alert settings
- User controls