Google Search Console for Dummies- Part 2

Part 1 of this series talked about the Search Appearance section of the Google webmaster tool also called as Google webmaster tool. let’s see how we can use second section Search Traffic .

Search Traffic


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Google Webmaster Tool

This section digs deeper into your rankings and reports on links to your site, how your keywords are ranking, penalties imposed by Google, mobile-friendliness, etc.

For any webmaster, this is the most valuable section of the webmaster tool, it gives insights into your website and you can decide what going wrong or what actions are benefitting your website.

Search Analytics Report

The Search Analytics Report shows how often your site appears in Google search results. Filter and group data by categories such as search query, date, or device. Use the results to improve your site’s search performance, for example:

  • See how your search traffic changes over time, where it’s coming from, and what search queries are most likely to show your site.
  • Learn which queries are made on smartphones, and use this to improve your mobile targeting.
  • See which pages have the highest (and lowest) click-through rate from Google search results.

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Shown above is a sample report from the Webmaster tool. Let us see what each of the categories implies.

On the top row, you will find the metrics and you can select all or few of them.

  1. Clicks : The number of clicks per keyword. This helps you learn how each keyword ranks in the search results and how many clicks it received.
  2. Impression: The total number of impressions per keyword. This helps you understand how users interacted with a keyword. For example, a high number of impressions and a low number of clicks implies that your page title or description is not well written or that you have not built in rich snippets.
  3. Click-Through-Ratio (CTR): These are the click count divided by the impression count. If a row of data has no impressions, the CTR will be shown as a dash (-) because CTR would be division by zero.
  4. Position: The search position per keywordThe average position of the topmost results from your site. So, for example, if your site has three results at positions 2, 4, and 6, the position is reported as 2. If a second query returned results at positions 3, 5, and 9, your average position would be (2 + 3)/2 = 2.5. If a row of data has no impressions, the position will be shown as a dash (-), because the position doesn’t exist.

In the second row, there are Grouping options with filters,

  1. Group by Queries: Group results by query strings that users searched for on Google. Only searches that returned your site will be included. This report can help you review the expected keywords or Find queries with high impressions and low CTR. These queries can help identify where you can improve your content to satisfy your user’s interests.
  2. Group by Page: Group results by individual page on your property that were returned by search results. The Pages filter helps you filter URLs, compare one page with another, and sort out pages in terms of clicks. Use this feature to figure out your top, middle, and worst performing pages and then deploy SEO to improve their rankings.
  3. Group by Country: This filter helps you filter your site performance by country and compare site rankings between two countries. This is very helpful if you are targeting a global audience. Note that the country filter is limited to the countries with the top 20 impressions for your property. If you need to filter by a country not on the dropdown list, group your query by countries, then click the row of the country that you want, which will filter results by that country.
  4. Group by Device:  The Devices filter shows you the devices, including desktop, tablet, and mobile, used to access your site. You can compare search figures between the devices to get advanced insights. Use this filter to optimize your site for devices often used to access your website. For example, if mobile devices make up most of your searches, you can focus on improving your mobile user experience and creating faster loading pages.
  5. Filter by Search Type [Not for apps] : Select this option to filter or compare by search type, which is the type of Google search run by the user: web search (the default combined search results), image search, video search, and so on. Grouping by search type is not supported because the results page layout is very different for different search types. For example, position 30 in image search results might be on the first result page, but position 30 in web search would be on page three.
  6. Group by Date: Shows a graph of your selected metrics over the selected time span. Default time span is four weeks. The data table is not shown when grouping by date. You can compare site performance between two date ranges, just as you would do in Google Analytics.

Links to your Site

The Links to Your Site report lists links that Googlebot discovered during its crawling and indexing process, as well as the most common links sources and the pages on your site with the most links. In addition, you can also see the most common anchor text found by Google. Click each list item to see more detailed information. If users reach a page on your site as a result of clicking a link with a redirect, that intermediate link will also be listed.

You can gain a lot of valuable insights from this report.

Here are the two biggest takeaways:

  • You’ll know whether you should be disavowing backlinks that look suspicious.
  • You’ll get a good perspective on who is linking to you and what they’re linking to. This information can help you increase the number and quality of backlinks by targeting similar sites or by increasing engagement/advertising on the sites that already link to you the most.

Internal Links

The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page.

Here’s how you can use this report in SEO:

  1. Many internal links to a web page inform Google that this is an important page. As a result, that page should rank higher than other pages for keywords present on that page.
  2. You should focus on building internal links to important pages that do not have any or many internal links pointing to them. Avoid sending all your links to the “about” or “contact us” page. Instead, use internal links to strengthen your deep internal pages, such as content-rich articles or information pages.
  3. If you’re deleting or renaming pages on your site, check this data first to help identify and prevent potential broken links.

Manual Actions

If your site isn’t appearing in search results, or isn’t performing as well as it once did, check  the Manual Actions report and take steps to address the problem. Keep in mind that a “manual action” is different from an algorithmic penalty. Algorithm penalties are automatic and will not be reflected in this section. Manual penalties, on the other hand, are more severe and require you to take extensive action.

Two types of actions are displayed on the Manual Actions page.

  • The Site-wide matches section lists actions that affect an entire site.
  • The Partial matches section lists actions that affect individual URLs or sections of a site. It’s not uncommon for individual pages on a popular site to have manual actions, particularly if that site is a platform for other users or businesses to create and share content. If the issues appear to be isolated, only individual pages, sections, or incoming links will be affected, not the entire site.

Each section includes the following information:

  • Reason: The reasons for each action Google has applied.
  • Affects: The parts of the site affected by each manual action. Only the first 1,000 matches will be displayed.

Once you’re sure your site is no longer in violation of our guidelines, request reconsideration of your site. After you’ve submitted a reconsideration request, be patient and watch for a message in your Search Console account — Google will let you know when it reviewed your site. If google determine that your site is no longer in violation of guidelines, it will revoke the manual action.

Read Google’s Quality Guidelines to learn what Google considers to be webspam.

International Targeting

This section is applicable only if your website serves translated/modified-for-a-country or regional content for users in different geographies beyond your main location. For example, if your website attracts viewers from the UK, you may want to present a UK-English version to visitors from that area.Or if you sell to customers from France and Germany, you should translate your website into those languages for better targeting.

In such cases, your web developer will employ the hreflang tag to inform Google to serve the appropriate page according to geography.

Once you have configured multi-language or multi-regional sites and pages, you can use two sections in the International targeting pages to keep your international presence healthy:

  1. The Language section—this helps you ensure your hreflang tags use the correct locale codes (language and optional country).  More commonly, you can make sure that alternate pages have tags that link back to the pages for your site.
  2. The Country section—you can use this tool to set a site-wide country target for your entire site, if necessary.

Mobile Usability

Global web traffic from mobile devices is on the rise, and recent studies show that mobile visitors are more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites. The mobile usability report identifies pages on your site with usability problems for visitors on mobile devices.

The graph shows mobile usability issues detected over time on your site.

  1. The initial screen shows a count of pages exhibiting specific errors, grouped by type.
  2. Click on an error type to see a list of pages affected by the chosen error.
  3. Click on a page URL to get a list of instructions on how to fix the error.

The following errors can appear in the Mobile-usability report:

  • Flash usage

  • Viewport not configured

  • Fixed-width viewport

  • Content not sized to viewport

  • Small font size

  • Touch elements too close

  • Interstitial usage

In the next part of this series ,I will talk about the next section Google Index.

Till then  ………..



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  1. Pingback: Google Search Console for Dummies- Part 1 – Go Digital

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