Google Search Console:The Definitive Guide

This guide has everything you need to know about the Google Search Console.

If you’re new to SEO, I’ll show you how to get started with the GSC.

And if you’re an SEO pro? I’ll reveal advanced tips, tactics and strategies that you can use to get higher rankings.

Bottom line:

If you want to get the most out of the new Search Console, you’ll love this guide.

Google Search Console: The Definitive Guide

Chapter 1:Getting Started With the
Google Search Console

Getting Started With The Google Search Console

In this chapter I’ll show you how to use the Search Console. First, you’ll learn how to add your site to the GSC. Then, I’ll help you make sure your site settings are good to go.

Step #1: How to Add Your Site to the GSC

First, login to the Google Search Console and click on “Add a Property”.

Add property search console

Then, copy and paste your homepage URL into the field.

Add property domain

Next, it’s time to verify your site.

There are 7 ways to verify your site. Here are the 3 easiest ways to get your site verified:

  • HTML File: Upload a unique HTML file to your site.
  • CNAME or TXT Record: Here’s where you add a special CNAME or TXT record to your domain settings.
  • HTML Code Snippet (my personal recommendation): Simply upload a small snippet of code (an HTML tag) to the <head> section of your homepage’s code.

Note: Make sure to verify the HTTPS and non-HTTP versions of your site. This means adding: https://example.com AND http://example.com as separate properties.

Once you’ve done that, you can proceed to step 2.

Step #2: Decide on a “Preferred Domain”

Your 2nd step is to set a preferred domain.

This tells Google to use the “WWW” or non-www version of your site.

Set preferred domain

For example, Google can see your URLs as:

https://Example.com
Or
https://www.Example.com

I personally don’t like “WWW”. But that’s just me. It honestly has zero impact on your SEO.

So:

Why does this matter?

The version you choose here is the version that will show up in the search results.

So if you go with a “WWW” version, your site will have a “WWW” in the search results.

WWW Serp

Important Note: You can also choose “Don’t set a preferred domain”…

Preferred domain

…but I wouldn’t recommend it. As Google says: “If you don’t specify a preferred domain, we may treat the www and non-www versions of the domain as separate references to separate pages.”

This can make your backlinks MUCH less powerful. So make sure not to pick “Don’t set a preferred domain”.

Pro Tip: Setup an automatic 301 redirect that redirects traffic and links FROM your non-preferred domain name TO the preferred version. For example, all links that point to https://www.backlinko.com/ automatically redirect to https://backlinko.com/. This is best for user experience and SEO.

Step #3: Set Your Target Country

Google does a pretty good job figuring out which country your site is targeting. To do that, they look at data like:

  • Your ccTLD (for example: co.uk for UK sites)
  • The address listed on your website
  • Your server location
  • The country you get most backlinks from
  • The language your content is written in (English, French etc.)

That said, the more information you can give Google, the better.

So the next step is to set your target country inside the GSC.

1

Click the “International Targeting” link (under “Search Traffic”)

International targeting
2

Click the “Country” tab

Country tab
3

Check the “Target users in” box

Target users in
4

Select your target country from the drop-down box

International targeting

And you’re all set.

Step #4: Link Google Analytics With Search Console

Back in 2013, Google switched all searches over to HTTPS.

Google move to HTTPS

This was great for security. But it was a bummer for website owners.

Suddenly, priceless keyword data vanished from Google Analytics.

Instead, all we got was this:

Not provided

The good news? There’s a simple way to get some of that keyword data back:
Link Google Analytics with your Google Search Console account.

Here’s how:

Open up your Google Analytics. Then, click the “Admin” button at the bottom of the left menu.

Admin

Click on the “Property Settings” link.

Google Analytics admin

Scroll down until you see the “Adjust Search Console” button. Click it!

Adjust search console

Click on “Add”.

Add search console property

Scroll down until you find your website, check the box, and hit “Save”.

Add search console property

You’re done! Analytics and Search Console are now linked.

Let’s see what you get…

Landing pages with impression and click data:

Landing pages

Impression, click, CTR, and position data by country:

Search console country data

But most importantly… keyword data:

Keyword data analytics GSC

Boom!

It’s not perfect. Half of the queries are listed as “Other”.

But if you compare this to what you usually get from Analytics…

…I’m calling that a win.

Step #5: Check For Security Issues

Finally, check to see if you have any security issues that might be hurting your site’s SEO.

To do that, click “Security Issues”.

Security issues

And see what Google says:

No security issues at Backlinko

In most cases, as you see here, there aren’t any security problems with my site. But it’s worth checking.

Step #6: Add a Sitemap

I’ll be honest:

If you have a small site, you probably don’t NEED to submit a sitemap to Google.

But for bigger sites (like ecommerce sites with thousands of pages) a sitemap is KEY.

That said: I recommend that you go ahead and submit a sitemap either way.

Here’s how to do it:

First up, you need to create a sitemap. If you’re running WordPress with the Yoast plugin, you should already have one.

If you don’t have a sitemap yet, head over to Yoast. Then, set the XML sitemaps setting to “On” (under “General/Features”):

Yoast sitemaps

Click the “See the XML Sitemap” link, which will take you to your sitemap:

Backlinko sitemap

Don’t use Yoast? Go to yoursite.com/sitemap.xml. If you have a sitemap, it’s usually here. If not, you want to create one.

So let’s submit a sitemap to Google.

It’s SUPER easy to do in the new GSC.

Made it into the new GSC? Good.

Grab your sitemap URL. Then, hit the “Sitemaps” button.

New Google Search Console sitemaps

Paste in your URL and click “Submit”.

New GSC submit sitemap

And that’s it:

Submit sitemap success

Told you it was easy 🙂

Chapter 2:How to Optimize Your Technical
SEO With the GSC

How To Optimize Your Technical SEO With GSC

In this chapter I’ll share the tactics I use to SLAM DUNK my technical SEO.

As you know, when you fix these technical SEO problems, you’ll usually find yourself with higher rankings and more traffic.

And the Google Search Console has a TON of features to help you easily spot and fix technical SEO issues.

Here’s how to use them:

Use The New “Index Coverage” Report To Find
(And Fix) Problems With Indexing

If everything on your website is setup right, Google will:

a) Find your page
and
b) Quickly add it to their index

But sometimes, things go wrong.

Things you NEED to fix if you want Google to index all of your pages.

And that’s where the Index Coverage report comes in.

Let’s dive in.

What is the Index Coverage Report?

The Index Coverage report lets you know which pages from your site are in Google’s index. It also lets you know about technical issues that prevent pages from getting indexed.

Index coverage report

It’s part of the new GSC and replaces the “Index Status” report in the old Search Console.

Note: The new Index Coverage report is pretty complicated.

And I could just hand you a list of features and wish you luck.

(In fact, that’s what most other “ultimate guides” do).

Instead, I’m going to walk you through an analysis of a REAL site (this one), step-by-step.

That way you can watch me use the Index Coverage Report to uncover problems… and fix them.

How to Find Errors With The Index Coverage Report

At the top of the Index Coverage report we’ve got 4 tabs:

  1. Error
  2. Valid with warnings
  3. Valid
  4. Excluded
Errors over time

Let’s focus on the “error” tab for now.

As you can see, this site has 54 errors. The chart shows how that number has changed over time.

If you scroll down, you get deets on each of these errors:

Indexation errors

There’s a lot to take in here.

So to help you make sense of each “reason”, here are some quick definitions:

“Submitted URL seems to be a Soft 404”

This means that the page was “not found”, but delivered an incorrect status code in the header.

(I’ve found this one to be a little buggy)

“Redirect error”

There’s a redirect for this page (301/302).

But it ain’t working.

“Submitted URL not found (404)”

The page wasn’t found and the server returned the correct HTTP status code (404).

All good. (Well, if you ignore the fact that the page is broken…)

“Submitted URL has crawl issue”

This could be a 100 different things.

You’ll have to visit the page to see what’s up.

“Server errors (5xx)”

Googlebot couldn’t access the server. It might have crashed, timed out, or been down when Googlebot stopped by.

And when you click on an error status, you get a list of pages with that particular problem.

Affected pages

404 errors should be easy to fix. So let’s start with those.

Click a URL on the list. This opens up a side panel with 4 options:

Individual error

But first, let’s visit the URL with a browser. That way, we can double check that the page is really down.

404 page

Yup. It’s down.

Next, click “Fetch as Google” in the side panel.

Fetch as Google button

Click “Fetch”:

Fetch as Google

And Googlebot will rush over to your page.

Sure enough, this page is still giving me a 404 “Not found” status.

Fetch as Google

How do we fix it?

Well, we have two options:

  1. Leave it as is. Google will eventually deindex the page. This makes sense if the page is down for a reason (like if you don’t sell that product anymore).
  2. You can redirect the 404 page to a similar product page, category page, or blog post.

How to Fix “Soft 404” Errors

Now it’s time to fix these pesky “Soft 404” errors.

Again, check out the URLs with that error.

Soft 404

Then, visit each URL in your browser.

Looks like the first page on the list is loading fine.

Page working

Let’s see if Google can access the page OK. Again, we’ll use “Fetch as Google”.

Fetch as Google

This time we’ll choose “Fetch and Render”. Fetch and Render sends Googlebot to the page. It also renders the page so you can see your page like Googlebot sees it.

Fetch and render

Looks like Google found the page this time.

Google found page

Now let’s see how Google rendered the page.

Google fetch and render preview

Looks pretty much the same as how visitors see it. That’s good.

Next, scroll down. Google shows you resources that users see…. but Google can’t fully see.

Partial fetch

Sometimes there’s a good reason to block certain resources from Googlebot. But sometimes these blocked resources can lead to soft 404 errors.

In this case though, these 5 things are all meant to be blocked. So let’s move on…

Finally, click the “Fetching” tab to see the live HTTP status code.

Fetching tab

Nice! The 200 status means that the page was found this time and should be indexable.

So we’re good.

The next time Googlebot stops by, the page should get indexed.

How to Fix Other Errors

You can use the same exact process I just used for “Soft 404s” to fix any error you run into:

  1. Load up the page in your browser
  2. “Fetch and Render” as Google
  3. Read over the specific issues that the GSC tells you about
  4. Check the HTTP status of the page

Here are a few examples:

Redirect Error

Redirect error

Everything looks good here.

Crawl Error

Reindex

Don’t see any issues here.

Server Error

The server error has disappeared on its own:

Server error

Must have been a temporary issue with hosting. But you’d want to keep an eye on that to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Bottom line? With a bit of work, you can fix ALL errors from the Index Coverage report.

How to Fix “Warnings” In The
Index Coverage Report

I don’t know about you…

…but I don’t like to leave anything to chance when it comes to SEO.

Which means I don’t mess around when I see a bright orange “Warning”.

So let’s hit the “Valid with warnings” tab in the Index Coverage Report.

Filter warnings

This time there’s just one warning: “Indexed, though blocked by robots.txt”.

Filter warnings

So what’s going on here?

Let’s find out.

The GSC is telling us the page is getting blocked by robots.txt. So instead of hitting “Fetch As Google”, click on “Test Robots.txt Blocking”:

Robots blocking

This takes us to the robots.txt tester in the old Search Console.

As it turns out, this URL IS getting blocked by robots.txt.

Robots blocking

So what’s the fix?

Well, if you want the page indexed, you should unblock it from Robots.txt (duh).

But if you don’t want it indexed, you have two options:

  1. Add the “noindex,follow” tag to the page. And unblock it from robots.txt
  2. Get rid of the page using the URL Removal Tool

Let’s see how to use the URL Removal Tool:

Check Indexed Pages For Possible Issues

Now let’s move on to the “Valid” tab.

This tells us how many pages are indexed in Google.

Valid indexation

What should you look for here? Two things:

1

Unexpected drop (or increase) of indexed pages

Notice a sudden drop in the number of indexed pages?

That could be a sign that something’s wrong:

  • Maybe a bunch of pages are blocking Googlebot.
  • Or maybe you added a noindex tag by mistake.

Either way:

Unless you purposely deindexed a bunch of pages, you definitely want to check this out.

On the flip side:

What if you notice a sudden increase in indexed pages?

Again, that might be a sign that something is wrong.

(For example, maybe you unblocked a bunch of pages that are supposed to be blocked).

2

An unexpectedly high number of indexed pages

There are currently 41 posts at Backlinko.

Backlinko published posts

So when I take a look at the “Valid” report in Index Coverage, I’d expect to see about that many pages indexed.

But if it’s WAY higher than 41? That’s a problem. And I’m going to have to fix it.

Oh, in case you’re wondering… here’s what I do see:

Backlinko GSC index status

So no need to worry about me 😉

Make Sure Excluded Stuff Should Be Excluded

Now:

There are plenty of good reasons to block search engines from indexing a page.

Maybe it’s a login page.

Maybe the page contains duplicate content.

Or maybe the page is low quality.

Note: When I say “low quality”, I don’t mean the page is garbage. It could be that the page is useful for users… but not for search engines.

That said:

You definitely want to make sure Google doesn’t exclude pages that you WANT indexed.

In this case, we have a lot of excluded pages…

Excluded pages

And if you scroll down, you get a list of reasons that each page is excluded from Google’s index.

Excluded pages errors

So let’s break this down…

So that’s the Index Coverage report. I’m sure you’ll agree: it’s a VERY impressive tool.

Check The “HTML Improvements” Report

I’m no coder.

But even I know that screwing up your HTML can hurt your SEO.

And this is especially true for your title and description tags.

In short, every page on your site should have:

  1. A unique, well written title (up to approx. 65-70 characters)
  2. A unique, well written meta description (up to approx. 300 characters)

Every. Single. Page.

(Yes, even if you run an ecommerce site with a bazillion pages)

Fortunately, it’s EXTREMELY easy to spot HTML problems in the Search Console.

Just load up the “HTML Improvements” report and Google will tell you what’s up:

HTML improvements

Need specifics? Just click on a category for a full list of pages with issues.

Duplicate meta descriptions

Simple.

Chapter 3:Get More Organic Traffic with the
Performance Report

Get More Organic Traffic With The Performance Report

In this chapter we’re going to deep dive into my favorite part of the GSC: “The Performance Report”.

Why is it my favorite?

Because I’ve used this report to increase organic traffic to Backlinko again and again.

I’ve also seen lots of other people use the Performance Report to get similar results.

So without further ado, let’s get started…

What Is The Performance Report?

The “Performance” report in Google Search Console shows you your site’s overall search performance in Google. This report not only shows you how many clicks you get, but also lets you know your CTR and average ranking position.

Performance report GSC

And this new Performance Report replaces the “Search Analytics” report in the old Search Console (and the old Google Webmaster Tools).

Yes, a lot of the data is the same as the old “Search Analytics” report. But you can now do cool stuff with the data you get (like filter to only show AMP results).

But my favorite addition to the new version is this:

In the old Search Analytics report you could only see search data from the last 90 days.

Old search analytics

(Which sucked)

Now?

We get 16 MONTHS of data:

Last 16 months data

For an SEO junkie like me, 16 months of data is like opening presents on Christmas morning.

(In fact, I used to pay for a tool to automatically pull and save my old Google Webmaster Tools data. Now, thanks to the beta version of the new GSC, it’s a free service)

How To Supercharge Your CTR With The
Performance Report

There’s no question that CTR is a key Google ranking factor.

The question is:

How can you improve your CTR?

The GSC Performance Report.

Note: Like I did in the last chapter, I’m going to walk you through a real-life case study.

Last time, we looked at an ecommerce site. Now we’re going to see how to use the GSC to get more traffic to a blog (this one).

Specifically, you’re going to see how I used The Performance Report to increase this site’s CTR by 63.2%.

So let’s fire up the Performance report in the new Search Console and get started…

1

Find Pages With a Low CTR

First, highlight the “Average CTR” and “Average Position” tabs:

Highlight CTR and position

You want to focus on pages that are ranking #5 or lower… and have a bad CTR.

So let’s filter out positions 1-4.

To do that, click on the filter button, and check the “Position” box.

Position filter

You’ll now see a filter box above the data. So we can go ahead and set this to “Greater than” 4.9:

Filter by position

Now you have a list of pages that are ranking #5 or below.

According to Advanced Web Ranking, position #5 in Google should get a CTR of around 4.35%:

CTR

You want to filter out everything that’s beating that expected CTR of 4.35%. That way you can focus on pages that are underperforming.

So click the filter button again and check the “CTR” box.

Filter CTR

(Make sure you leave the “Position” box ticked)

Then, set the CTR filter to “Smaller than” 4.35.

Filter CTR

So what have we got?

A list of keywords that are ranking 5 or lower AND have a CTR less than 4.35%.

In other words:

Keywords you could get more traffic from.

We just need to bump up their CTR.

So:

Let’s see if we can find a keyword with a lower-than-expected CTR.

When I scroll down the list… this keyword sticks out like a sore thumb.

Best helmet brands

1,504 impressions and only 43 clicks… ouch! I know that I can do better than 2.9%.

Now that we’ve found a keyword with a bad CTR, it’s time to turn things around.

2

Find the page

Next, you want to see which page from your site ranks for the keyword you just found.

To do that, just click on the query with the bad CTR. Then, click “Pages”:

Search console query data

Easy.

3

Take a look at ALL the keywords this page ranks for

There’s no point improving our CTR for one keyword… only to mess it up for 10 other keywords.

So here’s something really cool:

The Performance report can show you ALL keywords that your page ranks for.

And it’s SUPER easy to do.

Just click on “+ New” in the top bar and hit “page…”.

Filter by page

Then enter the URL you want to view queries for.

Enter page URL

Bingo! You get a list of keywords that page ranks for:

Search queries filtered by page

You can see that the page has shown up over 42,000 times in Google…but only got around 1,500 clicks.

Impression data for motorcycle page

So this page’s CTR is pretty bad across the board.

(Not just for this particular keyword)

4

Optimize your title and description to get more clicks

I have a few go-to tactics that I use to bump up my CTR.

But my all time favorite is: Power Words.

What are power words?

Power words show that someone can get quick and easy results from your content.

And they’ve been proven again and again to attract clicks in the SERPs.

Here are a few of my favorite Power Words that you can include in your title and description:

  • Today
  • Right now
  • Fast
  • Works quickly
  • Step-by-step
  • Easy
  • Best
  • Quick
  • Definitive
  • Simple

So I added a few of these Power Words to the page’s title and description tag:

Snippet preview
5

Monitor the results

Finally, wait at least 10 days. Then log back in.

Why 10 days?

It can take a few days for Google to reindex your page.

Then, the new page has to be live for about a week for you to get meaningful data.

With that, I have great news:

With the new Search Console, comparing CTR over two date ranges is a piece of cake.

Just click on the date filter:

Date filter

Select the date range. I’m going to compare the 2 week period before the title change, to the 2 weeks after:

Compare date range

Finally, filter the data to show search queries that include the keyword you found in step #1 (in this case: “best helmet brands”).

Best helmet brands CTR

Boom!

We’ve increased our CTR by 63.2%. And just as important: we’re now beating the average CTR for position 5.

Pro tip: You’ll find that different title formats work better in different niches. So you might have to experiment to find the perfect format for YOUR industry. The good news: Search Console gives you the data you need to do just that.

How To Find “Opportunity Keywords” With GSC’s
Performance Report

If the last example didn’t convince you of just how awesome the new Performance Report is, then I guarantee this one will.

What Is An Opportunity Keyword?

An opportunity keyword is a phrase that ranks between positions 8-20 AND gets a decent number of impressions.

Why is this such a big opportunity?

1

Google already considers your page to be a decent fit for the keyword (otherwise you wouldn’t be anywhere close to page 1). When you give your page some TLC, you can usually bump it up to the first page.

2

You’re not relying on iffy keyword volume data from third party SEO tools. The impression data you get from the GSC tells you EXACTLY how much traffic to expect.

Mining For Gold With Google Search Console’s
Performance Report

Finding these gold nugget keywords in the Performance report is a simple, 3-step process.

1. Set the date range to the last 28 days:

Filter performance report by date

2. Filter the report to show keywords ranking “Greater than” 7.9

Filter by position

3. Finally, sort the by “Impressions”. And you get a huge list of “Opportunity Keywords”:

Order by impressions

Here’s what to do to push those pages up:

1

Cover The Topic In INSANE Detail

Google LOVES content that covers 100% of a topic.

That’s probably why the average word count of a page 1 result is 1,890 words.

Content total word count

So make sure your content is a BEAST. It should cover everything there is to know about your topic.

(Kind of like this guide you’re reading 🙂 )

2

Improve Dwell Time With Video

Dwell time is the amount of time a Google searcher spends on your page.

And when you increase your Dwell Time, you can get higher rankings (thanks to RankBrain).

Now you already made your content super in-depth. So there’s a good chance your Dwell Time is already solid.

But to seal the deal…

Add some videos to your page. Wistia found that visitors spend 2.6x more time on pages with video.

Wistia study findings

That’s a HUGE difference.

And if you want to learn some other ways to boost Dwell Time, here’s a video that shows you how to do it:

3

Add Internal Links For An EASY Win

Adding a few internal links to your page can give it a quick (and EASY) boost.

Internal links

In chapter 4 I’m going to show you how to use Search Console to optimize internal linking.

But for now, just keep in mind that a handful of strategic internal links can quickly boost your rankings.

4

Grab Some New Backlinks To CRUSH The Competition

Yup, backlinks are still a GIGANTIC part of Google’s algorithm.

Which means:

Building high quality backlinks to your page can boost its rankings… even if everything else stays exactly the same.

But this is not a link building guide. This is.

Backlinko link building

So make sure to bookmark that guide so you can read it later.

And before we move onto the next chapter, I’ve got two quick bonus tips for you…

Bonus Tip #1: Optimize For Opportunity Keywords In GSC… and Rank For HUNDREDS Of Longtails

In my guide to Google’s RankBrain, I said:

“Long tail keywords are dead.”

And I’m not taking it back.

The days of optimizing 1000 pages around 1000 long tail keywords are long gone.

The good news? You can now get one of your pages to rank for hundreds or even thousands of long tail keywords.

Want proof? According to Ahrefs, my post on SEO techniques ranks for 4,000 different keywords…

Ahrefs SEO techniques

For example, I rank on page 1 for keywords like “SEO strategy”, even though I didn’t optimize for that term.

SEO Strategy

Why? Because Google is smart enough to figure out that “SEO strategy” and “SEO techniques” are basically the same.

OK, how about long tails? Yep, I rank for a TON of them:

Long tails

The result? This one page brings me over seven thousand visitors a month from Google…

SEO techniques google analytics

So what’s the secret?

Well first, you want to make your content SUPER in-depth. We already covered that. But it bears repeating.

Because when you publish meaty content, you rank for hundreds of long tail keywords automatically.

Need a hint on what extra sections to include? Just check what keywords your page is already ranking for in Search Console.

Page filter

And here’s another pro tip:

Find the most common questions people ask about your topic. Then, answer them in your content.

The easiest way to find questions: use Answer The Public.

Just type your main keyword into the box…

Answer the public

And you’ll get a massive list of questions…

Answer the public

The best part? These answers give you a shot to rank as a Featured Snippet.

After all: why rank #1 when you can rank #0?

Find High-Impression Keywords

I already showed you how to optimize keywords that rank 8-20.

But…

I also like to look for keywords that aren’t ranking, yet still get some impressions. Here’s an example:

Low ranked keyword

That keyword is sitting at position 50-ish… yet the page was still seen nearly 200 times.

Which tells me: if that many people are visiting the 5th page, wait until I hit the first page.

It’s gonna be nuts!

Chapter 4:Cool GSC Features

Cool GSC Features

In this chapter I’m going to show you some of the coolest features in the Google Search Console.

First, I’ll teach you how you can use the Search Console to fix your schema.

Then, I’ll show you one of the quickest (and EASIEST) wins in SEO.

Nail Your Schema With The Structured Data
Testing Tool

If you’re not using Schema markup, you’re missing out.

As you might have read, my analysis of 1 million Google search results didn’t find any correlation between Schema and rankings.

Presence of schema markup

But that doesn’t mean Schema is useless.

Schema can hook you up with sitelinks, star reviews, and recipe images that help your result stand out… and get more clicks.

Schema recipes

In fact, a recent study by ConversionXL found that review stars can improve CTR by up to 35%. That’s INSANE.

It gets better:

Google has a free tool that makes testing Schema structured data a cinch.

You can access this tool in Search Console. Just click “Web Tools > Testing Tools > Structured Data Testing Tool”.

Structured data testing

Or if you’re already signed in to your Google account, you can click here.

To run a test, just enter a URL into the box and hit “Run Test”:

Test structured data

Running this site through the tool highlighted an error in their “Organization” schema:

Schema errors

This one was an easy fix.

All they had to do was add schema markup for “name”…

Schema validating

… and the errors are gone.

As it turns out, the GSC actually gives us TWO ways to find schema errors.

I just showed you the first one.

But I think this second method is even better.

Why?

Because it shows you schema errors across your entire site.

For example, here’s what you get when you click the “Structured Data” link under “Search Appearance”:

Structured data errors

We can see that there are “hentry” errors on 28 pages, and “hcard” errors on 2.

Let’s click on the hentry errors to see what’s up…

Missing author

Looks like we’re missing schema for “author”.

Here’s the fix.

Author fix

Did it work?

To find out, hit the blue “Test live data” button.

Test live data

Which takes you back to the Structured Data Testing Tool.

As you can see, it worked like a charm!

Structured data fixed

Power Up Important Pages With Internal Links

Make no mistake:

Internal links are SUPER powerful.

Unfortunately, most people use internal linking all wrong.

That’s the bad news.

The good news?

The Search Console has an awesome feature designed to help you overcome this problem.

This report shows you the EXACT pages that need some internal link love.

To access this report, hit “Internal Links” in the GSC sidebar.

And you’ll get a report that shows you the number of internal links pointing to every page on your site.

Internal links report

This report is already a goldmine.

But it gets better…

You can find the EXACT pages that internally link to a specific page. Just grab a URL and paste it here:

Find internal links

And you’ll get a list of all the internal links pointing to that page:

Internal links to page

In this case, we only have 11 internal links pointing to this motorcycle helmet brands page. That’s not good.

So:

Once you find a page that doesn’t have enough internal links juice, add some internal links that point to that page.

New internal link

Time spent: under a minute.

Assessment: Win!

Pro Tip: Supercharge Key Posts With Internal Links From Powerhouse Pages

What’s a Powerhouse Page?

It’s a page on your site with lots of quality backlinks.

More backlinks = more link juice to pass on through internal links.

You can easily find Powerhouse Pages in the Google Search Console.

Just hit the “Links To Your Site” link. And you’ll see a section titled “Your most linked content”.

Most linked content

Click “More” for a full list.

By default, the report is ordered by the total number of backlinks. But I prefer to sort by number of source domains:

Source domains

These are your Powerhouse Pages.

And all you need to do is add some internal links FROM those pages TO the ones you want to boost.

Easy, right?

Chapter 5:Advanced Tips and Strategies

Advanced Tips and Strategies

Now it’s time for some advanced tips and strategies.

In this chapter you’ll learn how to use Google Search Console to optimize crawl budget, fix issues with mobile usability, and improve your mobile CTR.

Mastering Crawl Stats & Crawl Budget

If you have a small site (<1,000 pages), you probably don’t need to worry about crawl stats.

But if you have a huge site… that’s a different story.

In that case, it’s worth looking into your crawl budget.

What Is Crawl Budget?

Your Crawl Budget is the number of pages on your site that Google crawls every day.

You can see this number in the “Crawl Stats” report.

Crawl stats

In this case, Google crawls an average of 22,257 pages per day. So that’s this site’s Crawl Budget.

Why Is Crawl Budget Important For SEO?

Say you have:

200,000 pages on your website
and
A crawl budget of 2,000 pages per day

It could take Google 100 days to crawl your site.

So if you change something on one of your pages, it might take MONTHS before Google processes the change.

Or, if you add a new page to your site, Google’s going to take forever to index it.

So what can you do to get the most out of your Crawl Budget?

Three things…

1

First, stop wasting Crawl Budget on unnecessary pages

This is a biggie for Ecommerce sites.

Most ecommerce sites let their users filter through products… and search for things.

This is great for sales.

But if you’re not careful, you can find yourself with THOUSANDS of extra pages that look like this:

yourstore.com/product-category/?size=small&orderby=price&color=green…

Unless you take action, Google will happily waste your crawl budget on these junk pages.

What’s the solution?

URL Parameters.

To set these up, click the “URL Parameters” link. Then hit “Add Parameter”.

URL parameters

Let’s say that you let users filter products by color. And each color has its own URL.

For example, the color URLs look like this:

yourstore.com/product-category/?color=red

You can easily tell Google not to crawl any URLs with that color parameter:

Color parameter

Repeat this for ALL parameters you don’t want Google to crawl.

And if you’re somewhat new to SEO, check in with an SEO specialist to make sure this is implement correctly. When it comes to parameters, it’s easy to do more harm than good!

2

See how long it takes Google to download your page

The crawl report in Search Console shows you the average time it takes Google to download your pages:

Crawl speed

See that spike? It means that it suddenly took Google A LOT longer to download everything.

And this can KILL your Crawl Budget.

In fact, we have this quote straight from the horse’s mouth…

In a Google Webmaster Central blog post, Googler Gary Illyes explained:

“Making a site faster improves the users’ experience while also increasing crawl rate. For Googlebot a speedy site is a sign of healthy servers, so it can get more content over the same number of connections. On the flip side, a significant number of 5xx errors or connection timeouts signal the opposite, and crawling slows down.”

Bottom line? Make sure your site loads SUPER fast. You already know that this can help your rankings.

As it turns out, a fast-loading site squeezes more out of your crawl budget too.

3

Get more backlinks to your site

As if backlinks couldn’t be any more awesome, it turns out that they also help with your crawl budget.

In an interview with Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting, Matt Cutts said:

“The best way to think about it is that the number of pages that we crawl is roughly proportional to your PageRank. So if you have a lot of incoming links on your root page, we’ll definitely crawl that. Then your root page may link to other pages, and those will get PageRank and we’ll crawl those as well. As you get deeper and deeper in your site, however, PageRank tends to decline.”

The takeaway:

More backlinks = bigger crawl budget.

Get The Most Out of “Fetch As Google”

I already covered the “Fetch As Google” tool in Chapter 3.

But that was one part of a big process. So let’s take a look at Fetch As Google as a standalone tool.

Specifically, I’m going to show you 3 cool things you can do with the Fetch As Google tool.

1

Get new content indexed (in minutes)

Fetch As Google is the FASTEST way to get new pages indexed.

Just published a new page?

Just pop the URL into the box and hit “Fetch”.

Fetch as Google stand-alone

Next, hit “Request indexing” to send Googlebot to that page.

Request indexing

Finally, choose “Crawl only this URL” and hit “Go”…

Submit method

…and Google will normally index your page within a few minutes.

2

Use “Fetch as Google” to reindex updated content

If you’re a regular Backlinko reader, you know that I LOVE updating old content.

I do it to keep my content fresh. But I also do it because it increases organic traffic (FAST).

For example, in this case study, I reveal how relaunching an old post got me 260.7% more organic traffic in just 14 days.

Content relaunch

And you better believe I always use the “Fetch As Google” tool to get my new content indexed ASAP.

Otherwise, I have to wait around for Google to recrawl the page on its own.

As Sweet Brown famously said: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”.

3

Identify Problems With Rendering

So what else can the “Fetch As Google” tool do?

“Fetch And Render” shows you how Google and users see your page.

And because it shows them side-by-side, you can EASILY spot differences.

In this case…

Render difference

…Houston, we have a problem!

Looks like Googlebot can’t load some of the images on that page.

What’s going on here?

Well, I scrolled down to the bottom of the report. And it looks like the images were temporarily unreachable.

Temporarily unreachable images

Maybe it was a fluke.

So I went ahead and ran the “Fetch And Render” again.

And Google still couldn’t access those images. Hmmm.

Next, I wanted to see if I got the same problem if I fetched using Google’s mobile crawler.

To do that, choose “Mobile: Smartphone” here.

Desktop to smartphone

So what happened?

Mobile crawl

That’s better.

Now, I should point something out:

Google recently updated their guidelines for the Fetch as Google tool.

Back in the day you got unlimited single URL submissions. You also got up to 10 URL + “crawl this URL and its direct links” page submissions a day.

Today, you only get 10 individual URLs and 2 site recrawls.

Fetch as Google guidelines

Google’s John Mueller stated on Twitter that they are setting “Pretty aggressive limits” on this feature.

John Mueller tweet

So use it… don’t abuse it!

Make Sure Your Site Is Optimized For Mobile
(Unless You Like Losing Traffic)

As you might have heard, more people are searching with their mobile devices than with desktops.

(And this gap is increasing every day)

Mobile .vs. Desktop

And Google’s “Mobile-First” index means that Google only cares about the mobile version of your site.

Bottom line? Your site’s content and UX has to be 100% optimized for mobile.

But how do you know if Google considers your site mobile optimized?

Well, the Google Search Console has an excellent report called “Mobile Usability”. This report tells you if mobile users have trouble using your site.

Here’s an example:

Mobile usability

As you can see, the report is telling us about two mobile usability issues: “Content wider than screen” and “Clickable elements too close together”.

All you need to do is click on one of the issues. And the GSC will show you:

1. Pages with this issue
2. How to fix the problem

Mobile usability details

Then, it’s just a matter of taking care of that issue.

And if you need more help optimizing your site for mobile users, make sure to read my guide to mobile optimization.

Compare Your CTR On Desktop and Mobile

The new Performance report lets you easily compare mobile and desktop CTR.

Here’s how:

Fire up the Performance report. Then, hit “New+” to add a new filter, and select “Device”…

Filter by device

Click the compare tab on the popup, select “Desktop vs Mobile”, and hit apply…

Compare tab

You’ll get a list of queries, with separate stats for mobile and desktop.

Desktop .vs. Mobile CTR

Of course, it’s normal for mobile and desktop CTRs to be a little bit different.

But if you see a BIG difference, it could be that your title and description tags don’t appeal to mobile searchers.

And that’s something you’d want to fix.

Now, Over To You…

Conclusion

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which strategy from today’s guide do you want to try first?

Are you going to increase your CTR?

Or maybe you’re ready to beef up your internal linking.

Leave a comment to let me know.

Also, I’d like to give a BIG shout out to David McSweeney for “donating” three of his websites to use as examples (and for helping me put this guide together).

389 Comments

  1. WOW… great post as always. I think this tool is underrated and certainly underused because it’s free so people don’t think it’s valuable. It allows us to see data that can’t be seen with other tools. What do you think about the keywords everywhere tool, have you ever used it? I’m just curious, either way, keep up the epic posts.

    1. Thanks Zukais. I agree: the GSC has some of the best features of ANY SEO tool on the market.

      I have used the keywords everywhere extension. It’s solid.

  2. Thanks for the great article!!

    I love Google Search Console and I hope everyone is making the most of it.

    I look forward going step by step with this.

    Thanks,

    Chris Pontine

  3. Great depth as usual Brian! It’s crazy how many website owners solely focus on Google Analytics when Search Console actually provides a much clearer of SEO progress, especially during early stages of campaigns when a lot of people lose hope. Awesome advice on identifying the “power house” pages for internal linking!

    1. Well said, Sam. I think part of the reason for that is that GA is easier to use and understand. “Users” is more intuitive than most of the terms the GSC uses (even the new one that’s designed to me more user friendly).

    1. You’re welcome. I tried to make the guide super comprehensive so you could learn everything there was about the GSC in one place.

    1. Thanks Niall. You’re not alone. There’s A LOT to the GSC that people miss (myself included until recently). As it turns out, even though millions of people technically use it, the GSC is an untapped goldmine.

  4. Brian, amazing post, as always. I will be hitting up the new GSC this evening. To be honest, I’ve been reverting to the old version until I get familiar with it.

    On an unrelated note, I would love to hear your take on keyword cannibalization and how to avoid it. Perhaps you could offer some guidance on this in the future? I often face this with my clients.

    1. Thanks Jamie. To be honest, you still need to use the old version for some stuff (like submitting pages for crawling). But they should have the new one out of beta before the end of the year. Also, thanks for the topic suggestion. I might cover that in a future post (or write an entire post on it).

    2. I keep reverting to the old version as well. They’ve moved things around in the new version and it seems like getting to things requires more clicks. In other words, the new version is not very user friendly compared to the old one. (At least in my opinion.)

  5. Honestly, I’ve no idea about using google search console. I just use it to see click getting by my website from google. Thanks Brian, I’m 100% going to use this guide.

    1. You’re welcome, Ajay. The Google Search Console has a pretty steep learning curve, but it’s worth learning for sure.

  6. Hi Brian

    At the start you say in the green box:

    Note: Make sure to verify the HTTPS and non-HTTP versions of your site. This means adding: http://example.com AND http://www.example.com as separate properties.

    I think you meant:

    Note: Make sure to verify the HTTPS and non-HTTP versions of your site. This means adding: https://www.example.com AND http://www.example.com as separate properties.

    as you’re referring to www and non-www in the original, which can be specified in the settings.

  7. All these tips are very detailed and well written for us. I have learned a lot from this guide about Google Search Console. Brian dean your are such a master like us. Thanks a lot and keep going.

  8. too confusing… i have my site on GSC and when i click on it to manage it, i dont see any of the stuff you mention here!

  9. This guide is super awesome. Thanks for sharing such an in-depth information. Whether it is STW videos or your articles everything is explained in a super simple way. As far as my experience is concerned, I uncovered lots of potential keywords from Google Search Console data which we haven’t thought of targeting in the beginning.

    1. No problem, Navneet. In my opinion, that’s the best part of the GSC: finding untapped keywords that you’re already ranking for. And unlike most keyword research tools, the data comes straight from the horse’s mouth.

  10. Thanks for the guide, Brian. Hopefully, I will now be able to fix my Structure data errors. I currently have a couple of errors: Missing: author
    Missing: entry-title
    Missing: updated. Do you have a fix for the entry-title and the update error?

    1. No problem, Ivaylo. I haven’t run into that before. I’ll ping our CTO to stop by and answer this one as he knows more about structured data errors than I do.

    2. Hey Ivaylo,

      Lloyd here; CTO at Backlinko.

      Can I see an example of your post / page with this error?

      Cheers,
      Lloyd

        1. Hey Ivaylo,

          I see what you mean there.

          I would take a look at the source code of one of our blog posts, for example this one: https://backlinko.com/on-page-seo

          You can see that we have an “article” tag with a class of “hentry”.

          Inside of that, we have “entry-inner”, and then “entry-header”.

          Inside of that, we then have “entry-title”.

          Also inside of “entry-header” we have “vcard” and “author” classes on the same div, with the author (Brian) ‘s name inside a span with “fn”.

          From my research at the time, I found that the structure I’ve just given was the optimal way of doing this (though there are other, similar structures that will also work).

          Crucially though, when I view the source code of your link, I don’t see any divs with the class of “entry-title”, “author” or “updated”.

          Hope this helps 🙂

          Cheers,
          Lloyd

  11. Great guide, Brian. Have already forwarded it to my folks to see if we haved missed anything in our internal processes.

    One thing bothers me a lot about GSC: Limitation to 999 results. On big sites 999 URLs are reached pretty quickly and in GSC itself you will not get all the results.

    This is especially annoying when keywords with more impressions get added and “rankings are lost” for ones with less impressions that ARE actually ranking.

    There is a way to get ALL the data, though, using a neat Excel Addon called Analytics Edge.

    If you want I can add a chapter to this guide with screenshots on how to use it. Just shoot me a message.

    1. Thanks Henrik. Yup, that’s annoying for sure (most ecom sites I’ve worked with run into this problem all the time). I’ll email you if I decide to add a new chapter to the guide.

  12. Thank Brian for a great post !

    I’m learning Google Webmaster Tools and you have this new guide !

    My sites is spammed by competitor backs links and I’m trying to disavow it !

  13. Ah Brian, I thought it was just a new look console. I didn’t realise it has increased functionality. Some of these tips, I had no idea about.

    1. Hey Ian, a new look and UI is definitely the biggest chance. But they also added a lot of cool new features.

    1. Thanks Joe. I have a few pages in that category. When I check them, it’s exactly as Google describes: they’re pages that are indexed but not in my sitemap. In my case, they’re pages that I actually don’t want indexed.

  14. Excellent article written in an easy-to-follow manner. Definitely one I’m bookmarking for future reference (specifically for when errors pop up).

    I followed along and already discovered a keyword I’m going to target for greater CTR. Many thanks!

    1. You’re welcome, Filipe. The GSC is a totally underrated SEO tool. So I thought it was high time that I wrote about how to get the most of out this gem of a tool.

  15. Can You Make Post on

    How To create Post Like You I Want To Make Post Like You For My Business Website

    How You Find topics ?
    How You research ?

  16. Thanks Brian, for this amazing guide. I used to with the old version of Search Console and since I saw the new version I was scared that now I have to learn everything from beginning.

    But thanks to this guide now I am ready for new search console.

    1. Awesome, Umesh. Fortunately, most of the same features are in the new GSC. But it can take some time to get used to it (in fact, that’s one of the reasons that I wrote this guide: to force myself to learn about the new GSC).

  17. Your guides are pretty easy. Very helpful for Beginners as well as Professionals. I’ve been reading Backlinko posts for a long time. I have commented one or two times here.
    Your writing style and easy-to-understand methods + long in-depth posts help us to learn more and grow our blog.
    Thank you, Brian!

  18. The most understated part of this whole guide is the fact you get 16 months of data. This is really useful if you’re new to working with a site and have no history of rankings etc.

    Being able to spot that a specific keyword dropped 20 positions at the time of a Google update 6 month before you took on a client or joined a new company is pure bliss. In my experience people are much better at setting up Search Console for a site than analytics or any form of keyword tracking.

    1. Yup, that’s a big change for sure. 90 days of data is nothing. 16 months is legit. It’s Google’s gift to SEOs 🙂

  19. Hi Brian,

    Thanks once again for the super informative post. It’s awesome.
    I was expecting you to talk even briefly about the backlinks section in Search Console. Do you think you will ever do an analysis on the correlation between search console backlinks and the main SEO tools backlinks reporting at any point? Now, that would be an interesting post.
    Thanks again

    1. Hey Marko, I didn’t cover that feature because it’s pretty much useless. The GSC only shows a very small fraction of your site’s total backlinks.

  20. Thanks, Brian! As always, great tips & insights. GSC has indeed great features & it’s just a case of using them in the right context. I loved the way you show CTR optimization based on The Performance Report. It really works, I’ve tested that myself. That’s also a low-hanging fruit anyone can just go ahead and implement right away. Other tips are also super helpful, especially for beginners who are just starting out with GSC.

    1. You’re welcome, Marcin.

      You’re right and make a great point: the GSC has a ton of pretty amazing features that most other SEO tools would charge thousands for. The downside is that, unlike tools like Ahrefs etc. , it can be hard to know when to use the GSC (and how to use it).

    1. That’s a lot of errors actually. I’d recommend working with a technical SEO (or developer who knows a lot about SEO) to get that fixed. It’s hard for me to diagnose the problem without digging deep into your site.

      1. I believe a lot of those are because of redirects. Bluehost may have changed directories (not sure!). What I just did after reading your blog is “fetch as google” my main URL. Once Google re-indexes it, it should resolve the redirects (replace with the right ones), correct? I hope I’m understanding this correctly. Thanks again for your help!

        1. If the pages are redirecting properly, then yes, having Google fetch and render them can speed the process up.

        2. Assuming they’re 404 errors, unless you setup 301 redirects for them, Google will continue to complain about them. Of course, you only want to setup a 301 redirect if a page on your current site directly corresponds to an old url (ex. contact.php is now contact/). If not, you can safely ignore them.

          1. Thanks Matt & Brian. What happened was I switched the hosting packages on BlueHost & the new package has a different directory where everything is stored. Google has the old address, but when I click on that old address, it automatically forwards to the new URL. I still see crazy # of errors in GSC (new version) though. Will that impact me negatively? Thanks again for taking time to answer my question.

    1. Thanks Rob. I saw that too. These changes always happen when I publish a new piece of content, LOL.

      Like many SEOs, I’m keeping an eye on how this shakes out. Did you add more text to your descriptions when they increased to 320 characters?

      1. Ha yep, standard, the same as any time you are our the office for one day or planning a holiday, etc. ah well!

        Thankfully not on all the sites we work with, but we were working towards these new guidelines with a lot of our high priority pages and any new pages that were being developed.

        Thankfully not gone too far with it, but the vague nature around the statements essentially saying “the length will vary depending on a number of factors” isn’t exactly the most useful.

        Something to just keep an eye on I guess, especially with regards to CTR optimisation.

      1. I really used to learn from your SEO guide! Today I’m (truly speaking) well trained through your guide. Your post “200 Google ranking factors” is still bookmarked on my chrome!
        Thanks to your efforts!

  21. Dr Brian,
    You have totally made me look so ignorant about the search google just after reading blog. I didn’t know that all long i have been a kid posing as an industry leader.
    Thank you for again putting in your time to put up this blog. Am sure it needed a lot of resources.
    Now, let me head straight to my gsc and i do as you say.
    Kudos Brain.
    Your content is always at the top.

  22. GSC helped me to check articles that are not indexed so I can update them or resubmit them. But I didn’t know that this can actually help me improve my blog! I did not regret reading this guide. It is very helpful! Thank you!

  23. Finally the search is over for a complete guide on Google Search Console. I thought of doing one but I’m just way to busy, I don’t know how you find the time. Thank you for all your hard work Brian.

    1. Thanks Paul. You’re not kidding: this guide was a BEAST to put together. As you know, there’s so much inside of the GSC to cover. But I’m glad it’s done because I think it will help a lot of people get more out of the GSC.

    1. Thanks Graham. A lot of work went into this guide, so I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed reading it.

  24. Seriously Brian, this was so f**king amazing. I’ve read sooo many guides stating stuff I already know, just with the hope of learning one new thing.

    This guide taught me so much – I’m absolutely flabbergasted.

    P.S. I’m also interested in a markup post from you – if you at some point want to dig into that.

    1. Hey Mads, happy to help. It was tough to write a guide that included material for people that are new to SEO and those that have been in the field for years. That’s why I included chapters 4 and 5. That way, people that are experienced (like you) can easily find some cool new techniques.

  25. Hi Brian,
    Another fantastic and highly informative piece of content. The whole guide was great but in particular I found Chapter 3 remarkable. My team and I will be be reviewing the Performance Report for all clients each month as a tool to increase Organic traffic. You set the bar really high, keep up the great work!
    -Brian

    1. Thanks Brian. Nice! The old “Search Analytics” was pretty cool, but the Performance Report is even more awesome

  26. In the section for “Identify Problems With Rendering”, you mention that “Today, you only get 10 individual URLs and 2 site recrawls”. Interestingly, we used to have limits on it, but it no longer shows those limits in the pop-up box. I also recommend submitting the “Mobile: Smartphone” version because of Google’s mobile index. If you don’t have GSC access, you can still get Google to crawl/index a page quickly by using this form (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url) or by Googling “submit url to google” and using the field at the top of the SERP.

    1. Thanks Justin. I noticed that too. I’m not sure if the limit still stands (I haven’t heard anything from Google either way).

      Re: mobile vs. desktop, I’ve tested that. And as of right now, desktop makes pages index faster (at least from the sites I’ve looked at). Although that will probably chance once the mobile-first index fully rolls out

  27. Hi Brian, so I submitted a comment and saw the “comment-page-4” part in the URL. That should only happen if you have “break comments into pages” enabled and I see no way to navigate to the earlier pages of comments. Also, the page seems to have too many comments already and it doesn’t seem you’re breaking them down. I even tried to edit the URL to reach page 3, but it seems to be still the same comments appearing up.
    Can you explain to me why it appears in the URL? Is this some sorta magic implementation?

      1. Well, is there a way to decided that on a post by post basis? Will be interested to know more about it.

  28. I always get jealous the way you write, LOL! You are such a mastermind.

    I like your “Pro Tip: Supercharge Key Posts With Internal Links From Powerhouse Pages” that always works for me because I don’t need to waste time on making backlinks every time, I can get link juice from the powerhouse pages: thanks to PageRank algorithms.

    But you have missed some important features of Google Console (I wish I could post images here).

    1. Change of Address. Sometimes you need to change your website address to someone else via 301. Google Console guides you well in 4 simple steps. It can be found in the top right corner of your screen as a wheel icon, below your Google DP.

    2. You didn’t mention; you need to add all the four versions of your site www, without www, HTTP, and HTTPS and set yours prefer domain that you want to show in SERP.

    3. From the Site Setting, you can change your crawl rate if you have a great server, and you have zillions of pages that you wanna index faster.

    But, Sir, I am not claiming to be a guru, may be, it is not the subject of your above post, but it can be improved significantly to make this guide the definitive and ultimate guide.

    Keep writing such articles; you are awesome.

    Love from Pakistan <3

    1. Hey Aamir, I’m glad to hear that you liked the guide. Even though this guide weighs in at 7k+ words, I unfortunately couldn’t cover absolutely everything in the GSC. So I tried to focus on the features that have the biggest impact.

  29. Wow great post as alway but i have one question sit “I read somwhere that after the recent update of google importance of backlink in Website ranking is decreased and now social signals make more impact in websites ranking.. Is it right???

  30. Hey,
    Good article on google webmaster tool. I am planning to remove bad links via Disavow feature..but I am afraid it may cause damage to the site. Can you recommend any youtube video or good guide about using Disavow for bad links? (looking for the detailed guide on this)
    Cheers

    1. Hey Cathy, that’s smart because the disavow feature can do more harm than good. I haven’t seen a great step-by-step post on that.

    2. Cathy,

      It’s actually pretty simple. Just create a text file with the domains that you want to disavow (one domain per line). Then submit that text file to their tool here:

      https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main

      But as Brian said, this can do more harm than good. I think I read somewhere that most of the time, this is a completely unnecessary step because Google generally ignores spammy links.

    1. You’re welcome, Marco. I don’t closely track how long I put into each guide (it’s an insane amount for sure). Plus, I had a lot of help for this one (especially from the super smart David McSweeney) who was a HUGE part of making this guide a reality.

    1. Thanks. The GSC (and technical SEO in general) can be super confusing for non-techy peeps. So I did my best to make everything easy to understand.

  31. one ques..you said if I update my old article, I should again fetch it to Google from search console? Right? Previously I thought when I update my old posts, I also update date for that article..plz explain this.

  32. Hey,

    This guide is awesome.

    But one complain, now you don’t show any strategy like previously. I think skyscraper technique and moving man method is great and I want more technique like this. Please consider to show new technique that quickly work like you previously published.

    Thank again and sorry If I cause problem

    1. You’re welcome, Khanna. I appreciate the feedback. I save most of my new strategies like that for students that are enrolled in my online curses.

  33. Whenever i receive your mail about any new updates i simply leave everything to read your blog post cause i know you will always a new and interesting thing to learn…

  34. Hi Brian. Great guide, learned a lot, thanks.

    I want to point out one sentence that doesn’t make sense to me.
    So you say: “It’s worth double checking these errors to make what your blocking is meant to be blocked”.
    I’m sure that sentence needs one “sure” and “you’re” 🙂
    Anyway, I noticed these errors as I was reading.
    So I read it and moved on, and realized- I suddenly don’t understand what I’m reading.
    This is the first time I noticed such a confusing error.
    In other words- keep up the good work:)
    Cheers, Brian!

    1. Hey Nikola, no problem. Happy to help. Thanks for pointing that out. That confusing is actually somewhat confusing even without the typos, LOL. I’m going to fix those typos ASAP.

  35. You had me until the end.

    “it could be that your title and description tags don’t appeal to mobile searchers. And that’s something you’d want to fix.”

    How do you suggest fixing this problem?

    1. Kelly, sometimes device=intent. Someone searching for “pizza” on a phone might have a completely different intent vs. desktop. Does that make sense?

  36. Hey Brian, you’re amazing man! Thank you very much for the useful article! I have watched your courses STW and FirstPageVideo. I learned so much from them.

    Have you thought about a course about the Technical part? Would you recommend me, someone?

    I really want to read the same article about Google Analytics.

    1. You’re welcome, Deyan. I know a decent amount about technical SEO, but I’m definitely not the person to create a course on the subject.

  37. Hi Brian,
    Fantastic read. Thank you. I have one issue when trying to find “Golden keywords”. When I try to layer on impressions I’m unsure what to enter “greater than” “less than” etc. Therefore the impressions layer won’t show. Any advice?

    1. Hey Jimmy, I wouldn’t focus on a specific number (it’s different for every website). You just want to sort by impressions (so more impressions are on top) and go from there.

    1. As far as I know you could never see those specific stats in the GSC. That’s from the Google Keyword Planner.

          1. Hi Brian.

            You’re gift from the God. I forget I was install extension Keywords Everywhere – Keyword Tool and remove it from my browser.

            This extension can show data by Monthly Search, CPC, and Competition inside Google Search Console.

  38. Hi Brain,
    Fantastic work as always! Thank you.
    Question: When you add the www and non-www domain and choose to set preferred domain as non-www cab I delete the www verified domain or shall I leave it?
    Thank for your work

      1. Thank you Brian, Also, I am using the https version but have both versions verified (https,http) shall I leave the http version as a property and don’t delete it and keep using the https version for sitemaps etc?
        Thank you

  39. Very useful and actionable as always 🙂 I removed lightboxes, attachments etc. from the sitemap and its much cleaner now and all the errors are gone as well. So, thank you for creating this GSC guide!

  40. Hey Brian,

    Such amazing detail here, really easy to follow…once again. I haven’t really looked into this much, but I thought you might know:

    If you’re trying to rank locally in Canada but the primary customers you’re targeting are in the US, what would you set your Target Country to? And if I made it US, would it affect my local ranking? All my servers are in the US, and using a .com.

    1. Hey Neil, hmmmm that’s a tricky one. In general, at least for the GSC, you want to focus on where your customers search for. I’m not a local SEO expert, but I think your actual location matters much more for Google+ local vs. “normal” SEO.

      1. Thanks Brian!

        I’ve actually never had any issues ranking customers locally before, and not even worrying about this targeting. As long as the G+, G My Business and all the information matches locally, with your site details that is.

        But everything G does throws in a bunch more questions!

        Also, I asked this question in the Webmaster’s Forum and got this response, please take it for what its worth.

        “Hi

        Not really – I use a dot com domain set to target US since that is the larger market.

        It is called ‘Targeting’, not ‘Restriction’. It doesn’t’ restrict a site only be visible in one country.”

        Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

        Keep the killer content coming…have a great day!

        Neil

        1. Hey Neil, that response is actually pretty spot on. I think most people see “targeting” as a restriction when it’s really a way to let Google know what country you serve most.

  41. Hi Brian, this is one of the best GSC guides what I have seen in my life. Loads of stuff what I do already, but you gave me some new hints and made attention to some things, what I know, just a bit put in lower priority. Thanks for this and refreshing my mind.

    1. You’re welcome, Gints. I tried to include the basics and also some cool advanced tips and strategies for SEO pros. That way, it’s a guide that anyone can use and get some value out of.

    1. Thanks Richard. I put a ton of work into this guide… so it’s nice to hear that you got so much value out of it.

  42. This guide told me that I am on right way. Thanks!

    My favorite sentence for business owners is: Lets introduce you how Google see your site 🙂 and welcome to my favorite tool Webmaster Tools or GSC 🙂

  43. Hi Brain. Thanks for such a detailed and knowledge-rich article on GSC. I learned a lot of new things. I will definitely experiment with them and see the results. I must say your SEO articles are a goldmine.
    Stay Blessed.

  44. Hey Brian – Gold Standard Content as always… A Month of research just goes to show the hard work that goes in to create such high-quality stuff – It’s not lost and much appreciated ……. Do they hand out black belts for SEO?

    1. Hey Stephen, not that I know of. But if they do I’ll be first in line to get my SEO black belt. Hiyyyah!

  45. Hi Brian,

    Perfect as always. Your content is alsways motivating me to optimize my sites.

    I think the new GSC is even more powerful than the old version. I love the new Performance Report and the 16 months option 😍

    FIrstly I will check my opportunity keywords and after that i try the powerhouse technique!

    Thanks a lot dude.

    I wish you all the best.

    Best regards,
    Burak

    1. Hey Burak, I agree. The GSC is still missing some features vs. the old one. But what they have so far are leagues better than the old GSC. And once they add the missing features, it should be a lot more useful than the old GSC.

  46. This is definately a definitive guide to search console… A great how-to article as always. I am so glad that Google updated the interface which to me makes it easier to extract the data webmasters need in order to make much better necessary changes to their site(s). When indexing I typically, in not always click “crawl this URL and its direct links”. Thanks for always providing great insight for any skill level to learn from.

    1. Hey Dariaus, you’re welcome. I’m glad too. The old GSC was pretty cool. But the new UI definitely shows off what the GSC is capable of.

  47. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the awesome information. Don’t have time to go thru all of it today but I checked the first 2 chapters and am sooooo happy you put this out there. Hope it is going to be there for awhile. I have to setup all of my sites this weekend and will need to reference this again.

    Thanks again!

  48. Brian! This is exactly what I need. 🙂 So much money leaving on the table without this GEM knowledge. A quick question on your example for pages that are ranking #5 or below. What does #5 means? Page 5 or position 5 in page 1 ?

    1. As long as you setup a 301 redirect from the www url to the non-www url, you shouldn’t loose any traffic or rankings.

  49. Hi Brain,
    I was just looking for a Google search console guide from your side and you just wrote it
    thanks a lot for the detailed guide

  50. Holy crap. Just went through GSC step-by-step as I read this (took half of the day), and discovered so many things I never knew…

    For example, my sites ceased to be verified (because I deleted the HTML verification file to save space — bad mistake). I also learn the two keywords which deliver the most impresions (deskmos and logarithm), and found out that mobile CTR is actually 70% higher than desktop!

    In short, I love GSC much better than Google Analytics, which I’ve always felt hard to navigate around.

    1. That’s awesome, Thomas. Unfortunately, most people skim a guide like this and never take action. It’s awesome that you implemented the techniques already (and that they helped you out)! Very cool.

  51. Hi Brain
    This is tutorial is a complete guide for all SEO learners and also for professionals. This is truly a definitive guide to Google search console.
    Thank you for all your time making screenshots with a detailed description and tips.

  52. Hey Brian,

    Great post! I love the way you have demonstrated everything about new GSC. I’d be honest with you I was confused when I saw it first because most of the new features was like flying over my head.

    Because I was quite familiar with the old Search Console. However, I knew Google would do something amazing that why they introduced the new GSC.

    Thanks to your guide my problem about New Search Console is almost solved.

    1. No problem. This guide will probably need a major update as Google rolls out updates. But for now, in my humble opinion, it does a great job of showing people how to get the most out of the new and old GSC.

  53. Hey Brian Dean,

    Great post as always! you nailed it again. This post will really helpful for beginners. I definitely going to share with my colleagues. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome. You’ll never find fluff or filler on this blog. My goal is for every single post to be EPIC

  54. Keenly implementing each and every steps you have mentioned.

    It is really a Gold Mine.

    Brian Dean – More power to you for letting know all these by your post.

  55. Hey Brian,

    again, nice work!
    When I set the filters as you suggest (4.9 pos), I also get results that rank well for their position. For example, if an Pos. 9 keyword has a CTR of 4%. That’s pretty good. Some people will now edit the metadata of this page according to your guide. I think it would make more sense to go through position by position and look at the keywords that, for their position, underperform.

    Cheers

    1. Hey Cristoph, thanks! You’re right: a 4% CTR at position 9 is excellent. So you make a great point: it’s more about looking at how each page is performing vs. automatically changing pages that are ranking at position X.

  56. I have a question regarding Targeted country. Currently iam getting most of the traffic from india. If I change the targeted country to USA really it make sense? I mean am I losing Indian traffic or overall traffic?

    and setting up language preference in Search console help us in SEO?

  57. Thank you so much for sharing this well-written and detailed report when it comes to Google search console.

    I know there many like me that have been looking forward to getting that something is well explained when it comes to this tool and we finally have it.

    All the time when I come to this blog there is something that really great to read.

    Thank you so much for taking your time and sharing this detailed posts all along.

  58. Hey Brian,

    I receive your mail about the new updates of GSC and I read your article carefully. It is very useful to us.

    I have one query that is:

    Can’t set preferred domain, tells me to verify the already verified site

    When I select “Display URLs as https://www.insightssuccess.com” and save, I get this error: “Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own https://nsightssuccess.com/. Please verify https://insightssuccess.com/.”

    But I verified it weeks ago and the verification page shows it’s verified.

    So, Please guide me for the same.

    1. Hi Prashant,

      I have a fix for you.

      You have to enter
      http://www.
      http://
      https://www.
      Https://

      I ran into the same issue. For whatever reason Google forced me to add all 4 variants. One I added all 4, then I was able to select preferred domain.

    1. You’re welcome, Akash. A LOT of work went into this guide. So I’m glad to see that members of the Backlinko community (like you) are getting so much out of it.

  59. Thanks Brian for this awesome post

    I learned a lot about Search Console today which i never focused on before.
    Now its time to work on my indexing, crawling & Structured Snippet

  60. You have me hooked every time Brian.

    Taking a seemingly simple toolset & creating a guide that rings true for beginners & still has more experienced users like myself hooked throughout.

    Question on crawl budget, specifically the parameter handling. Would you just trust the parameter tool alone? I like to take more steps to ensure the crawl can be optimised. Canonicals/Robots.txt/Using JS for faceted navigation etc.

    1. Cheers, Craig.

      To your question: in some cases, yes. But like you pointed out, there are times where you need to be more aggressive with steps to maximize your crawl budget.

  61. Great guides on the GSC.

    This is really useful, I’ve been looking for kind of this guide to share with everyone for a long time.

  62. Hi Brian,

    First of all, Im a huge fan of yours and STW (:

    I’d like to point out an image that doesn’t fit the content. Here it is:

    Chapter 3 => Find Pages With a Low CTR => Greater than 4.9 image

    Dont you think a screenshot of by selecting “Smaller than” option would have been a better fit?

    Here are the lines that I found confusing:

    “You want to focus on pages that are ranking #5 or lower… and have a bad CTR.

    So let’s filter out positions 1-4.”

    then…

    image showing “Greater than” text and then…

    “Now you have a list of pages that are ranking #5 or below.”

    You even have a paragraph saying “A list of keywords that are ranking 5 or lower AND have a CTR less than 4.35%.” so there has to be a screenshot with “Smaller than” option instead of “Greater than”.

    I may be wrong but just wanted you to double check on that (:

    Regards,
    Kushal

    1. Hey Kushal, thanks. I actually just tested it and choosing “Greater than” 4.9 shows pages/keywords ranking 5-10. Is that not what you see?

  63. Yahhh..!!! Brain
    Your awesome. Thank you providing awesome updated content about Google search console.
    Your articles are always bookmarkable, no one explained like you.
    I’m a big fan of your style of writing. 🙏

    1. Hi Raghav, good idea. I don’t know GA as well as the GSC, but I might learn more and write a guide on how to use it.

  64. Nice guide. Search Console is a must use tool, but lately it has become very slow. In some cases you have submit link many times before it gets crawled. Also the number on links (domains) can drop without any reason. Not sure if it’s to do with background data migrations of any sort.

    1. Hey Marcin, I’ve noticed that too. But the last 2-3 URLs I submitted were indexed really quickly. So maybe they fixed something.

  65. Great informative post!
    All in one article, must share, must read, SEO Bible!
    One question – Why we can’t we see all the back-links in search console?

    1. Good question, Niranjan. I guess Google doesn’t want to give us that data. Hence the need for 3rd party tools (like Ahrefs).

    1. Awesome, Prasanna. For most sites, crawl budget isn’t important. But once you hit XX,XXX pages or so, it actually stats to matter a lot.

  66. Wow, you did it again Brian.
    Amazing post once more, i love how your guides are always taking the user all the way.
    Just want to let you know that you are also getting alot of attention with shares on Linkedin here in Denmark 🙂

  67. Thank you for this Amazing guide! Can you cover something about Local Seo in another article? It would be very useful. Thanks Brian from Italy

  68. Brian, Nice post as always. I think this tool is underrated and certainly underused because it’s free so people don’t think it’s valuable. It allows us to see data that can’t be seen with other tools.

    1. I agree 100%. The GSC isn’t perfect, but it gives us data (like CTR) that no other tool possible could.

  69. Great piece, thank you! A few suggestions:

    I think the soft 404 section needs more clarification.

    My understanding is that Soft 404’s are typically when Google visits a page they feel should be a 404 but is returning a non-404 header (such as a 200, 301, etc). To fix this, you need to consider the following:

    1 – Is this a 404 page that returns the wrong header? If so, fix
    2 – Is the content on this page thin/worthless? If so, expand or delete
    3 – Am I redirecting this page somewhere that doesn’t seem relevant? Redirect to a more relevant page or simply mark as 404

    “Submitted URL not selected as Canonical” — Note if you use the info: command with the submitted URL, they will show you what they chose as the canonical, so you can compare and figure out why they think the pages are similar and correct it

    1. You’re welcome, Jake. My understanding is actually the opposite: that a soft 404 is a page that should be up (like a 200), but it’s 404ing for some reason. Like in the example, the page was up, but was showing a 404. And when we sent the crawler back to the page, the soft 404 went away.

      Is that what you mean?

      1. Jake is correct. A soft 404 is a page that returns a 200 status code, but Google feels that it should return a 404 status code (because it has an error message or minimal/no content in the body of the page).

        1. Thanks Matt. I wonder what was up in the example/case study from the guide (How to Fix “Soft 404” Errors). The page didn’t have any error messages and had some content (not a lot, but it’s an ecom site). Maybe the page was down when Google visited it.

  70. Thanks for another brilliant in-depth article on SEO. You are an inspiration to SEO community and makings tonnes of marketers life easier.

    Keep it coming!

    1. You’re welcome, Sanjeev. I hope you learned something new from the guide that helps you get higher rankings.

    1. Sounds good, Dominique. The GSC is a badass SEO audit tool. After all, the data in the tool comes straight from Big G.

    1. Hey Alexander, good question. Honestly: it’s not a big deal. But as Google considers them separate properties (ie. websites), it’s good to have both verified. It also helps you see if HTTP versions of your pages are ranking in Google for some reason.

  71. As usual, such a great article and full details on how to better use GSC. Unfortunately not much people are even aware of GSC and this is sad as it help understand way much better where you stand with your site and how Google see it.
    Thanks for such a nice article about GSC.
    Serge

  72. First, thank you for this incredibly in-depth and comprehensive guide, Brian.

    I esp. appreciated chapters 2 and 3. I’m not much of a technical SEO enthusiast, but I love how you laid it all out clearly and walk us thru it step-by-step.

    Most of all, I really loved the Performance Report insights in Ch 3 and your advice regarding Opportunity Keywords and improving CTR.

    This really is the ULTIMATE guide!

    1. You’re welcome, Heenay. I’m not very technical by nature, either. And that’s probably why I made sure everything was so step-by-step and in simple English anyone could understand.

  73. A comprehensive and overall awesome guide to Google Search Console. I’ve got this excellent reference bookmarked! A question for you. Is there a reason you do not submit SEO by Yoast sitemaps individually? For example, you suggested submitting the sitemap as “/sitemap_index.xml”. I’ve – for years now – have always submitted sitemaps individually (e.g. /page-sitemap.xml, /post-sitemap.xml). My methodology is that they are separate sitemaps so they should be treated as such. Also, it’s easier to identify individual sitemap issues in GSC. Can you offer any insight on why you prefer the method you’ve recommended vs. my GSC sitemap submission process?

    1. Hey Randy, there’s no real reason actually. My take: as long as Google finds all of your sitemaps, you’re set. Now that you mention it, it does make sense to submit them separately… but I just submit them in one go which also works.

    2. Yoast includes both sitemaps in one (ie. sitemap_index.xml), so there’s no need to submit both individually. But as Brian says, it probably doesn’t matter either way.

  74. Hey Brian, your site has only 2 sitemaps. They are post and page sitemaps. My site is simple WordPress site but it has 8… attachments, faqs, category, post-tag, faq-topics, and author – sitemaps.

    Do you think it is better to have only 2 of them? Post and pages?

    1. You’re welcome, Andy. That’s true: this guide was the result of WEEKS of work. But I’m happy with how it turned out.

  75. It’s interesting the keyword average rankings are lower than what my ranking tools are showing. Are you experiencing this as well? Obviously it’s an average of more than what my ranking tools are showing but do you think it’s taking into account rich snippets, and other noise on the SERPs? Awesome guide by the way. I’ve been digging into the new SC for the last 4 days because of this. Lots of fun!

  76. Thanks for an awesome post about search engine console. Learned a lot. My bookmark goes up 🙂 Explaining each topic with the screenshot highlighted is fantastic & very easy to follow.

  77. excellent as usual, will need and enjoy reading again. A small question if a site generates lots of internal links with no follow tags, is this spammy

  78. Very useful info. I’ve been using GSC for a while but wasn’t aware of every aspect of it, especially in the new version of it. Thanks.

    1. You’re welcome, Paula. I was the same way, actually. This guide forced me to get under the hood and learn how the new GSC worked!

  79. At first, I thought we were discussing Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) but I read on anyways to be blasted with an amazing article full of actionable directions to super tune my site with Google Search Console Google Analytics. Awesome article, the only thing that would make this read any better would be a glass of milk and some Girl Scout Cookies, I like the maple ones! Time to get to work and get some GSC 😉

  80. Thanks For post also Google Coming with new Features in Search Console is that true ?

    One more question Which Builder you use in your Post 😁

    Cheers,
    Hitesh Katara

  81. hello brian,

    this is really a helpful and very relevant article you got here. i must say, you nailed it all. however i can now operate and navigate very well on my google search console.

    thanks for sharing, it was really helpful.

    have a nice day sir.

  82. Hi Brian,
    Thumbs Up!
    I am big fan of you, I eagerly waits for your updates on both youtube and Blog. This is really an awesome post. I have been using GSC for years.This post would help me for sure.

  83. Awesome post as always 🙂
    How do you keep track of the keywords you edit? I imagine it could give you a headache, keeping track of what keywords you optimze for 🙂

  84. It’s me again. 🙂 I tried CTR method. Now, I am trying out the opportunity keywords. Say, we found one great opportunity, do we start a brand new page on this KW, or continue beefing the existing page ?

    1. Good question. It depends on the KW/page. If the page seems like a good fit for that keyword (it just needs to be keyword optimized) you can tweak the page. If not, I’d create another page.

  85. What an in-depth article about GSC!
    Thank you, Brian.
    Google Search Console is really a goldmine. I love using its “Performance” Report ( “Search Analytics” in the older version). Earlier I used to ignore Index Coverage report because of insufficient knowledge but now as I have bookmarked this post, I can refer to it again & again. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Shweta. I agree: the new Performance Report is much better than the old Search Analytics).

  86. Found this ultimate guide on a timely fashion. I was just fiddling around with GSC for my site and couldn’t find much action items. Boy, how wrong was I. There’s so many things to do!

    Thanks for the detailed guide, Brian 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Yuyu. Totally! The new GSC is still pretty limited compared to the old one. But the new features give us lots to do.

  87. As always another great post with real-life examples on how to do it. Hmmm…one thing stroke me when reading it rgd. country selection and reach. Can you only pick one country? E.g. in Europe or how do you cover all Europe. Have investigated before but never found clear answers? Your advice is appreciated, THX:-) Looking forward to your next post

    1. Hey Bruno, good question. You can only choose one country unfortunately. Google hasn’t said how your target country affects visibility worldwide, but I don’t think it’s a huge ranking factor. So I’d go with the country that makes the most sense and go from there.

  88. Hello,

    One of the best guide I ever read it took me 30mins. But so worth and clear my many doubts. But one question now a day’s my website indexing took long time can you suggest me any information what I need to do.

    1. Hey Ram, I’ve noticed that Google is slower to index pages. Your best bet is to submit a fetch and render and build some internal links to the page.

  89. Hi Brian,

    Yet another masterpiece of content. It really helps me.

    Can you write the same kind of content for Google Analytics & every Google Algorithm, their effects & many more?

  90. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for this great content!

    My question is, if I set my international targeting to Malaysia, does that mean I am only able to rank for say “b2b lead generation” or other keywords in Malaysia only? The language is English as well.

    The dilemma is, my local agency is based in Malaysia and I would like to rank for “digital marketing agency in Malaysia”, so the international targeting is set to Malaysia.

    However, I am still unsure if this country setting would affect the ranking of my blog posts, whether they will rank ONLY in Malaysia or worldwide as well.

    Big thanks!

  91. Excellent post as usual. One thing I didn’t get how can google help me out internal linking. I read that part 8 time still doesn’t get it.

  92. Very good info.

    Never used the interlinking feature of GSC, always use Screaming Frog for that.

    Curious.. for the Fetch & Render section you never explained why the images didn’t show up on desktop, but did show up on the mobile check.

    1. Yan, I think it stops trying to render after a certain amount of time (which is a lot for big changes). I’m also not sure why it worked with the mobile check.

  93. Hi Brian. Love your in depth posts!

    Not sure if I am missing something but referring to the “Check Indexed Pages For Possible Issues” section. My website has way to many pages indexed…115, yet it should read 16. How do I fix this please. That section of the post didnt dive into the fix, unless I missed something 🙂

    cheers
    Rob

  94. Wow thank you for this best post about seo realy is amazing.
    I have a question about international targeting, i have domain extention .to but google generate auto target to contry tonga, the problem is i cant change it to international targeting on webmaster tools, how can change it to international targeting ?
    thanks you

  95. Hey Brian,
    When clicking the URL parameters in GSC, I have this message from Google: “Currently Googlebot isn’t experiencing problems with coverage of your site, so you don’t need to configure URL parameters.”
    Do you think it’s still a good hack for optimizing Crawl Budget anyway?

  96. Hi Brian,
    Thank you for the detailed guide. It helped me discover the new Google console, and unlock cool features.
    I found that my blog’s posts are ranking much better on mobile (Av position 7.7) than desktop (Av position 23.7), would that be a good thing or an indication of a problem of my desktop website?
    Thanks!

  97. In the chapter 2,

    How to Fix “Warnings” In The Index Coverage Report

    there is a case of URL blocked by robots.txt & a requirement of not indexing it.

    You have give two options:

    1. Add the “noindex,follow” tag to the page. And unblock it from robots.txt
    2. Get rid of the page using the URL Removal Tool

    Is there anything wrong if I block from robots.txt instead of “noindex,follow”?

  98. Thanks for the guide and your efforts to help us all out and get to the next level.

    In the new console I get 0 errors but continually getting ?cat=115 type errors. I thought I read that the ?cat= types were AMP related but cannot find article. Wondering if you had any insight.

  99. Hello Brian and the amazing community out here.
    First an amazing article as always and always takes a few scrubs to really get the most out of these. As I was following along with my own site and the tools I noticed that my performance report results does not have the “Position” and “CTR” columns as part of the results. I tried (what I thought) is everything to get these to display.

    Anyone know how I can have these show up in my report?

  100. Finally had the time to read this through…

    Once again it was majestic!

    I’ve never used Fetch as Google before and it never occured to me to use it for new webpages. Will certainly be doing that next time we post a blog.

  101. Hi Brian,
    I noticed that you conduct case studies on your audience’s blogs. I have a blog “WinSavvy” with a DA of 10. Although I have guest posted numerous times, the posts have low PA although the DA of the sites are okayish. I was wondering if you would like to conduct a case-study on my blog by having me try your tips and provide you with feedback and the results!

  102. This was literally SO useful! I was looking to create a comprehensive checklist/audit for a few of the websites I managed, and by far this was the most helpful one!

    You didn’t just gloss over the setup process and basic features. You really went for it and gave explanation and what to do for different scenarios. I will definitely be coming back to this guide in the future. #Bookmarked

  103. Wow, this is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much. Google Search Console has been the “one door” I have been too scared to open. Now I feel I’ve got a roadmap.

    One question about the “Add a Property” part. Right now I only have only added ONE property for my website. Since I have an SSL certificate, I added the “https” version. I was nervous to add in the “http” version because I thought:
    #1. I might have to VERIFY ownership (and it was such a pain doing it for the https version)
    #2. I’m not sure if that also means submitting ANOTHER set of XML site maps (I am using the Yoast SEO plugin) and I’m not sure how to make those for the “http” property
    #3. Wasn’t sure how having only the ONE property is effecting my visitors and/or SEO
    #4. Kind of thought that since GSC seems so scary… “If it aint broke don’t fix it!’ But then again, maybe that is why the “i” comes up for a second or so, when you type my website URL Chrome’s search box?

    So I guess I’m wondering if you could clarity if this step is really needed. And whether you have to verify your site again. And, how to make the additional XML Sitemap.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback. This guide has been incredibly helpful.

  104. In the High Impression Keywords section, how do you get your query ranking position to show up? It’s the “build your own skateboard” picture.

    My mind is blown from this. Every time I read one of your articles this happens.

    Thanks for your content Brian.

  105. Hi and thank you for this guide! I added both http and https versions of my site to google console, but when I try to inspect URLs in my site from the new console page, I get a “URL not in property” error- any idea why? Thanks in advance!

  106. Great guide as always.

    The cool thing i like here is the URL parameters.

    GSC can be very helpful in our SEO journey if we know how to use it and here comes your detailed guide.

    Thanks again, Brian

  107. Hi Brian,
    I had already had a Property added in my google search console, but the moment I tried the second advice here, it asked me to re verify the site, which I couldn’t , so I added a new Property in GCE and then did the second advice and the complete instructions as in the chapter one here. My question now is I have 2 properties now in my GSC one with “www” with the preferred domain type selected as none(which I do not want) and another with the “non-www” my preferred domain type selected but this is the new one, is it going to harm me , shall I delete the older one, Is it going to harm me , deleting one , or leaving the two property as it is here ? lol.. confused now. Can i be helped in this..

  108. Hey Brian!

    I think that your help is needed now, I have many websites, I really don’t know what’s wrong on my google console but they all show a maximum of 999 KW.

    They all are actually stuck at 999 since forever and I always add new content!

    Have you ever had this problem?

    thanks

  109. Fantastic!!!
    This is a post that leaves you with your mouth open. Without a doubt the best GSC tutorial there is. I’ll keep it in my favorites for every time I have any questions.
    Thank you very much Backlinko 🙂

  110. An incredible guideline on how to use GCS which I never ever think of. I appreciate if you can point out on one section about checking internal link to make a proper internal link building as I am still unclear. Can you point out how to link it the correct way by using those report? I am not sure how u extract and those report and how to add link to it. thx

    1. Thanks Randy. The goal with this report is to make sure internal links are pointing to your highest-priority pages.

  111. If you did extensive keyword research (albeit with free tools) and your best keyword was ABC but the search console revealed that over the past 6 months, the best word order was BAC, would you trust the console? Would you change your homepage to read “BAC” rather than “ABC?” Thanks!

  112. Thanks for this great info!
    I use GSC a lot for tracking my keywords but I discovered some great features thanks to you. I was happy to see my average position and CTR is higher on mobile than desktop. Now I’m not surprised my mobile traffic is really higher than my desktop traffic.

  113. Incredible Post. Everything is covered in length about Google Search Console. I personally loved the “Live URL Inspection” feature Google introduced in new Search Console.

    Also Google tried to get Search Console UI in sync with their other products.

  114. Wow, Brian – fantastic info!
    You’ve just made me a huge fan of the new Search Console.
    But I’ve noticed this:
    I used the “Mobile Usability” report to compile a list of pages not listed as “mobile friendly”. Fewer than half the pages on one site were listed. I then checked some of those URL’s in the mobile friendly tool (they passed), fetched them using the Mobile:Smartphone bot and requested indexing. My Mobile Usability report shows an increase in the number of listed pages and amp pages, but my Valid page count in the Coverage Report decreases. I’m not sure what to think – maybe I’m duplicating the content, or maybe it’s a Mobile vs Desktop index issue., IDK.
    Anyway, I’ll be referring back to this guide for days until I’ve fully absorbed it all; thanks for this post!

    1. You’re welcome, Jim. I’ve actually noticed a lot of changes with the Mobile Usability report lately. We had a few pages listed as not mobile friendly (“Content wider than screen”) that are now listed as OK. Even though we made no changes.

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