Link building, how to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy. Have wondered why given phrases…
GSC, 5 fundamental functions for boosting your website. Are you planning a SEO campaign aimed at increasing the visibility?
In this blog article we present the most fundamental GSC functions that can take your website to a completely new level. Let’s discover them!
The best functions to make the most out of your GSC
Not sure what is a sitemap? An XML sitemap is a file that provides information about the content of your website. Helps the search engine crawlers to read your website correctly.
Basically, without this file your content will be much more complicated. A sitemap is not obligatory but you can really gain a lot with this file.
How to submit an XML sitemap?
- from your GSC dashboard choose the Sitemaps option;
- add the name of your sitemap and then click the “Submit” button;
- if your sitemap has been created correctly, you will receive a message: “Sitemap submitted successfully”.
2. Index coverage report by GSC
Google Search Console shows all indexed pages. Also, it indicates whether there are any errors found when indexing your website.
You should monitor them on a daily basis. Too many errors (404 or 500) on a website can result in a sudden drop of valuable web traffic.
Where you will find the Index Coverage Report which will indicate all the issues? In the Coverage option (it’s available in the Index section on the right).
Once you choose the option, you will get a full report of errors.
On the summary page you will see a report with all pages that Google attempted to crawl. The status has 4 main categories:
- error: a page is not indexed, you should fix the problems as a priority;
- warning: a page is indexed, however, some issues encountered when indexing the page;
- excluded: a given page is not indexed intentionally;
- valid: everything is fine with a page, it is indexed correctly.
Possible errors from Google:
- server error (5xx): appears when, for some reason, it was impossible to process a given request;
- redirect error: one of the redirect errors appeared;
- submitted URL not found (404): a page doesn’t exist anymore;
- submitted URL seems to be a Soft 404: the server sends the 200 OK status code. However, Google thinks that your page doesn’t exist;
- submitted URL marked “noindex”: a page had the noindex directive in a meta tag or HTTP header;
- URL returns unauthorized request (401): Google can’t index a page as it lacks valid authentication credentials;
- submitted URL has crawl issue: Google was unable to crawl a page;
- submitted URL blocked by robots.txt: it was impossible to index a page as the robots.txt file blocked it.
At GSC you can choose the primary crawler value (smartphone or desktop). This simulates how a user would see your website on mobile devices or desktops.
3. Links Reports in GSC
Link building is one of the fundamental off-site SEO strategies. Without high-quality backlinks coming from reliable domains, you don’t have much chance to increase your rankings.
Many marketers use Ahrefs tools to discover backlinks. Naturally, we recommend this tool. Did you know that GSC has prepared a report of all links as well?
You will find the Links report in the last section.
Once you click there, you will receive a report displaying different types of links, both external and internal. This is a really great source of information!
3.1 Top linked pages (externally)
Here you will find a list of your pages that are most often linked by other websites. This way, you can check which pages are the most popular and receive recognition.
3.2 Top linking websites
In this report, you can check on which domains your website is most often mentioned. Websites are sorted by count of backlinks. This way, you will see which domain links to you the most.
Check the list of the domains. You will see if you recognize all of them. Your website has spammy and low-quality domain?
In this case you can ask to remove the link or disavow it. Also, Top linking websites report gives you the opportunity to check if the domains are relevant and related to your industry.
3.3 Top linking text
In this report you can see which anchor text is most often used by other websites to point to yours. The Top linking text report indicates only links from other websites, excluding your internal links.
Keep in mind that this report is case-insensitive. The “source” and “SOURCE” anchor texts are recognized as the same thing. Keep in mind that every link pointing to your website that has no text is “empty” in the report.
3.4 Top linked pages (internally)
It is quite similar to the first one, with one significant difference. Here, you will see all the internal links (a list of the most frequently linked pages within your website).
Check if the internal linking is correct and if most links lead to the core pages:
- home page;
- category pages;
- contact page.
4. Performance Report by GSC
Increasing the visibility of your website in the search results. This is what all SEO activities are aiming at. That’s why you should regularly measure your website performance.
To do this, there is no better and more effective tool than Google Search Console. SEMrush and other paid SEO tools will only show you estimated traffic. But here you will get more accurate data.
Why is the Performance report the core of all GSC functions? Because this is where you will find all the key data. You will be able to check:
- how the organic traffic and visibility in Google search results is changing with time;
- which keywords your website appears in search results and which of them generate the highest traffic;
- what is the click-through rate (CTR) of particular pages;
- which devices generate more traffic.
4.1 How to read the Performance report?
The Performance report displays several key metrics. You will be able to evaluate the performance of your website in the search results. These are:
- total clicks: the number of visits to your website from organic search results;
- total impressions: number of times your website appeared in the search results after entering a query;
- average CTR: the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions;
- average position: the average position of the topmost result on a given query.
4.2 Dimensions and filters in the Performance report
The Performance report offers the possibility to adjust the displayed data to several dimensions:
- queries: keywords to which your website or a certain page appears in the search results;
- pages: which individual page within your website appears most often in the search results;
- countries: countries from which the user searches come from;
- devices: types of devices on which users made searches that showed them your website;
- search type: web, image, video, news;
- search appearance: which additional search result features will be presented;
- dates: the number of clicks and impressions made on a given day.
5. Mobile Usability Reports by GSC
Currently, every website should be optimized for mobile devices, and not without a reason. More than half of the global web traffic comes from mobiles.
Check if Google Search Console reports any issues concerning mobile usability.
Where to find the Mobile Usability report? It is available in the Enhancements section. Once you click, you will find a report presenting all the issues concerning the lack of optimization.
The report shows two types of relevant data:
- status: error (a page is not mobile-friendly) or valid (a page is mobile-friendly);
- pages: the number of pages affected by a given error.
Which types of error appear in the Mobile Usability report?
In the Mobile Usability report you will find the following errors:
- uses incompatible plugins: some of the plugins that a given page contains are not compatible with mobile browsers;
- viewport not set: your website doesn’t inform a web browser how to adjust your pages’ dimensions to different screen sizes;
- viewport not set to “device-width”: a page doesn’t adapt to different screen sizes;
- content wider than screen: a page must be scrolled horizontally to fully display words or images;
- text too small to read: the size of the text is too small, making it difficult for users to read the content;
- clickable elements too close together: clicking on the desired element becomes too complicated.
As you can see, GSC offers a wide range of great features and reports. Keep monitoring your website’s performance in the search results.
In this article we presented 5 of the most important functions. However, GSC can do so much more! In this Google tool, you can also check:
- security issues;
- Core Web Vitals;
- crawl stats;
- international targeting.