Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Scott Charleboix
This blog post is about the Power of Google Search Console for WordPress users. Traditionally I’m not in the habit of writing a blog post centered around a keyword. Usually, I write my blog post and then I figure out the focus Keyphrase that I want to use. I’ve just finished writing a nine-part blog series on keyword research and this technique was quoted for being one of the best strategies for improving your Search Engine Optimization. In that endeavor, I’ve decided to focus primarily on using the topic of Google Search Console (GSC).
Update: I wrote this post nearly a year ago (in August of 2021) and at that time I didn’t know too much about keyword research. My approach to writing posts since I wrote this one has tremendously changed. I now research my posts before I write the post. This usually results in SEO scores that are in the high 90’s and that’s before I really start putting the last finishing touches on the post.
Moreover, by utilizing keyword research to create posts, I now have 40 page 1 Google rankings as depicted from my CanIRank program (depicted below). FYI, the goal is 50. My guess is once I reach 50 that the next goal will be an even 100.
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Because the Google Search Console has many insights that it can provide to you the webmaster and manage your website. I’ve just only scratched the surface and I’ve only played around with it sparingly, so I want to get deep into the weeds and find out more of what it has to offer and what to be on the lookout for in the program. With the few minutes that I played around with GSC it was very evident that this free collection of tools and various reports is very convenient for SEO professionals and website owners.
But for this post unlike any other post that I’ve written before I’m doing my keyword research first and then writing the post.
The process I used to begin was opening KeySearch and typing in my “targeted” focus Keyphrase of Google Search Console and here were the results with the Volume and Score as well. Note: The items listed below are the SEO Suggestions generated from KeySearch:
- Google Search Console 2,900 63
- Google Analytics 5,000,000 79
- How to use Google 40,500 67
- Google Console 60,500 58
- Google Webmaster Tools 165,000 61
- Google Search Console 1,000 45
The first five items all have an indicator that the competition is “very difficult” so I’ve selected to use the last one: Google Search Console for WordPress as my focus Keyphrase and the competition for those keywords is “moderate”.
Now I’ll make the transition to the original contents of this post discussing the GSC.
The Benefits of using Google Search Console
Here are just a few basics it will provide and it’s capable of providing more than just the items listed below:
- Identify search terms people are using to find your website
- Analyze important metrics like Google search
- Analyze important metrics like Google clicks
- Analyze important metrics like Google impressions
- Navigate technical issues to double-check your pages are getting properly indexed
- Navigate technical issues to double-check your pages are accessible to searchers
- The ability to get email alerts when it detects site issues
- Notification from Google the issues have been fixed
“Anyone who’s got a website can and should dip their toes in these waters. According to Google, whether you’re a business owner, SEO specialist, marketer, site administrator, web developer, or app creator, Search Console will come in handy.”
Getting started with setting up GSC
Naturally, the first thing you’ll need to do is to setup GSC for your site. If you’re an existing user, I wouldn’t recommend logging out, unless you definitely know how to log back into it.
Visit the GSC landing page and then click on the Start now button. First time users are prompted to specify a domain property or URL prefix property. I recommend using the choice of a domain property (located on the left). Then you’ll need to put in your Google email name and password.
After you sign into your Google account, you’ll see the Welcome to Google Search Console menu and as I mentioned you want to put your domain name (i.e. PinArtwork.com) in the field that’s underlined above enter domain or subdomain.
The reason for this selection is to get a very thorough and detailed look at many different factors of your website which we’ll get to in a moment.
The next step is going to be your verification process to confirm you own the website. You’ll be required to put a DNS record into your site as part of the verification process. This ensures that you’re an authorized individual to see the data on your website. This only takes a moment to setup. All you’ll need to do is to copy and paste the information that it’s in the 2nd line (google-site etc etc.) into your DNS record. This link verification instructions for your specific domain name provider provides the instructions to put the code into your website. If that doesn’t work I’d suggest to call your domain name provider and ask for their assistance.
The instructions for the latter (a URL prefix) are slightly different and require you to upload a HTML file.
Google Search Console’s most important features
Hopefully, it doesn’t take long to verify your site’s ownership. Once it’s been verified, you’ll be able to start utilizing the power of Google Search Console for WordPress.
There are four sections that you’ll want to get familiar with on GSC:
- Experience and
To see the report for each of the primary sections, you click on the OPEN REPORT located on the right side of the applicable section that you want to preview.
Here’s an important note about the coverage section:
“Index Coverage reports. This report shows the status of your site’s URLs within Google’s index and is used to troubleshoot technical SEO issues that can prevent your pages from showing up in search.
“My favorite search console feature is the Coverage feature. It shows you any errors that may be keeping your site’s pages out of the search results and explains how to fix the issues. Not knowing about errors on your site can cost you visitors and conversions. Use the information it gives you to fix issues such as text that is too small to read or content wider than the screen on the mobile view of a website. Fixing issues like these helps improve your viewer’s experience for better results.” – Christina Drews Leonard
Google will email you when it detects a new index coverage issue on your site, but it won’t email you if an existing issue becomes worse. It’s a good idea to check this report from time to time to ensure that any issues are under control.”
Here’s what each of those options means in the Index Coverage of GSC
- Error: The page is not indexed and does not appear in Google search results. Clicking on a particular type of error (in the table below the chart) will show you the URLs that the error applies to, which can get you on the path to resolving them.
- Valid with warnings: These pages are indexed and may or may not be appearing in Google search results. GSC uses this designation because it thinks there’s a problem you should be aware of.
- Valid: This indicates that a page is indexed and showing in Google search results — there’s no need for further action (unless you don’t want the page to be indexed).
- Excluded: These pages are not indexed and are not labeled as having an error because Google thinks it is your intention to have these pages excluded. This can happen when a page has a noindex directive or there’s an alternate page with a canonical tag, for example.
- Experience – I personally need to look at the 73 failing URLs and figure out how to fix these errors. These are some of my earlier posts probably from before I started using Yoast SEO. I’m not majorly worried about these core web vitals, but
Clicking on the arrow to the upper right of anything that you want to look at will provide further elaboration and more details. So, I’ve clicked on the core web vitals to get an idea how to fix those issues.
This gets me closer to identifying the problem, but you have to look further into the program to find out how to make improvements.
By clicking on the URL at the bottom under “Example”, you’re provided with a list of a few of the URL’s that need attention.
At this point, I’ve slightly narrowed down the issue to something dealing with CLS called Cumulative Layout Shift.
“CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page. The score is zero to any positive number, where zero means no shifting and the larger the number, the more layout shift on the page. This is important because having pages elements shift while a user is trying to interact with it is a bad user experience.
If you can’t seem to find the reason for a high value, try interacting with the page to see how that affects the score. Agg. CLS (aggregated CLS) shown in the report is the lowest common CLS for 75% of visits to a URL in the group. You can find recommendations on fixing these issues by running an external test.”
I checked the recommendations link and now I’m totally lost how to fix the one error that is associated with 73 different URLs that have the same type of error. So I’ll be turning my attention to a Facebook post to see if I can get some help. Now I’ll move along to enhancements.
In enhancements, there were only two errors. I haven’t been able to exactly isolate what the problem is but it has something to do with the featured product on two of my URLs.
The two URLs that I need to check associated with my tripwire are:
- https://pinartwork.com/downloads/tripwire-detailed/ and
They’ve got something to do with “Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregateRating” should be specified”. But what I need to fix specifically eludes me.
By now I hope you can see that by looking at by using the Power of Google Search Console for WordPress you’ll be able to identify problems that you need to fix on your website. I’ve provided the ones from my website to illustrate some of the ways to use GSC.
This post has just highlighted a few of the “basic” features. If you have a website the Google Search Console can be a powerful tool in your SEO arsenal.
At the time that this post was written Rank Math SEO didn’t have their Index feature. It’s a very useful feature that you don’t even have to go outside of your WordPress dashboard to see the overall results of how many of your posts have been indexed. Another great benefit of using Rank Math SEO is that it’s $40 dollars less than it’s main competitor Yoast SEO. So with Rank Math SEO you’ll save $40 per year and have a much better chance of ranking in Google because you’re able to see the predictability factor of your post and a number score from 0 to 100 indicating it’s SEO performance.
I highly encourage you to get Rank Math SEO for your blog and make the switch. You’ll be glad you did. Just like me when I made the switch almost a year ago.
Please provide a comment if you’ve installed Google Search Console and if so, how it’s helped “your” website. Thank You.