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
Domain verification or site verification is the process of proving you are the true owner of a domain. As with most things in life, there are options for how you a can verify your ownership with Google. 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 your domain.
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 Data
The performance report in GSC contains a rich dataset about your site within the Google ecosystem. The default view (and most popular) focuses on search traffic from Google.com.
The report centers around 4 primary metrics:
You can also analyze a growing list of different search result types offered by Google.
- Featured Snippets
- Google News (App and Web)
- Google Discover
- Rich Results
- People also ask
- List Details
- Google Image Search
- Search Generative Experience (SGE) coming soon
Site Index Data
The indexing data provided by Google allows you to see which pages of your website are indexed. The indexing dashboard includes a summary with granular data that allows you to analyze and troubleshoot various scenarios.
Google provides 3 ways to interact with your indexing data:
- Page Indexing
- URL Removals
- Page Experience
- Mobile Usability
- Core Web Vitals
- Manual Actions
- Security Issues
- Alert settings
- User controls