Google Webmaster Tools A Beginner Guide For Newbies

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Google Webmaster Tools A Beginner Guide for Newbies. A Complete walk-through of Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard, Settings, Elements, Tools & Reports.

Hello, friends, I'm Babita Singh, Today I'm gonna be doing my Google Webmaster Tools tutorial for 2020 it was also referred to as Google Search Console now, but ultimately what its gonna do is allow you to track how your website is performing in the Google search results.

Google Webmaster Tools A Beginner Guide For Newbies
So if you haven't signed up for Google Webmaster yet, sign-up now it's completely free you can easily verify your website with Google Webmaster tool using Google Analytics, Google tag manager, or doing it directly where you have your domain name registered.

What is Google Webmaster Tools:-

Google Webmaster Tool is a web service developed by Google which allows webmasters to track your website performance such as indexing status and it optimize the visibility of your websites.

Google Webmaster Tools got its new name Google Search Console on May 20, 2015, and In January 2018, Google updated its user interface with a new version of the search console.

Webmaster tools and its reports help you analyze your Website, You can check its Search traffic and performance, you can fix issues such as links, breadcrumbs, AMP, Coverage, etc and help you to rank your site in Google Search results.

It provides you resources that analyze your website carefully and show you complete reports with all errors and valid points, and you can easily fix these errors using it's guiding tips.

Google Webmaster Tools Account Sign-up:-

If you have a Google account already then you can easily access Google Webmaster Here if not you just have to do a quick setup for your account and then you just sign in and all you need to do is add your website property and verify it.

Join Google Webmaster Tools Today
Creating your Google Account is just like creating a Gmail account, you can use an existing account or start with a new one. but it is compulsory if you want to use Google Webmaster Tools.

As you know, It's a Google product so you must create a google account for utilizing its all products and Google Tools.

Benefits Of Using Google Webmaster Tools:-

There are multiple benefits you can get by using google webmaster tools for improving your website strength and productivity.

The main thing you can understand where you are lacking behind, which issues you should fix, which keywords you should use, how much traffic you currently getting based on the month, week, and daily basis, etc. So let's take a deep look into its benefits and importance.
  • Improve your performance on Google Search:- Reports to measure your website's search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your website shine in Google search results so that's a high-level overview you can actually see, how your website is performing in the Google search results.
  • Optimize your content with search analytics:-You can see what's actual search queries or bringing people to your website. Analyze your website's impressions, clicks, position, and click-through rate on Google search.
  • Submit your sitemaps and individual URLs for crawling:-If you want to make sure that Google is completely up-to-date with all the pages on your website you can submit your sitemap and you can submit specific URLs if you just create a new page.
  • Get alerted on issues and fix your website:-Google will show you some of the technical issues with your website, some warnings that you want to fix, and then they'll actually show you errors as well.
  • Understand how Google Search sees your pages:- Detailed crawl index and serving information about your pages directly from the Google and Google search results from your performance. 
  • You can test your accelerated mobile pages:- Make sure your accelerated mobile pages don't have any errors or issues. mobile usability makes sure your website is completely usable on a mobile device.
  • Get rich results:- Your Rich results and your structured data are all appearing properly in the Google search engine.

Submit Your First Site To Google Webmaster Tools:-

When you first sign-up to Google Webmaster Tools you will be on Google Search Console Dashboard, where you have nothing to show yet.

For starting with Google Search Console, you need to submit at least one Website or Blog Url, so that Webmasters can track that site's performance from google.

Submit your site to Google Webmaster

Step1:- The first time you sign in to search console, you will see this screen, where you need to submit your Website URLs. Here you can use only domain names such as "passiveincomeideas.org" type this to right size box or You can enter complete URL with a prefix into the left box such as "https://www.passiveincomeideas.org", and click on "Continue" button.

Step2:- When you type your website domain name or URL and click on the "Continue" button another screen will pop up and with prompt "verify ownership".  here you have multiple ways to verify your property into google search console...
  • Upload an HTML File to your website
  • Add an HTML Meta tag to your Website's home page
  • Use your Google Analytics account
  • Use your Google Tag Manager account
  • DNS records configuration.
Verify your Website in Webmaster Tools

Step3:-  You can select any option shown in the screenshot, I prefer to verify my ownership at least 2-3 ways using "HTML Tag, Google Analytics, and Domain Name Provider DNS setting".
When you click on any of them using down arrow you will get proper instruction that how to verify your site in these ways.

For Example:- See Screenshot Below

Google Webmaster Tools for beginner

Step4:- By following all instructions provided under the down arrow of each method you need to click on the "verify" button. Also, consider one point it may take 5-10 minutes for configuring all data, so have patience and wait for a while.

My Recommended Ownership Verification Method:-

1. Verify Ownership Via DNS Records:-

  • Sign in to your domain name provider.
  • Select your Domain Name, if you have more then one and click on the DNS tab.
  • Copy the TXT record from Search Console at the domain name provider.
  • Paste it into DNS configuration under DNS Management & Save
  • Click on the "Verify" button on Search Console. 

2. Verify Ownership Via HTML Meta Tag:-

  • Copy HTML meta tag from Search console
  • Paste it before "</head>" on your website's theme section.
  • save the theme & verify it on Google Webmaster

3. Verify Ownership Via Google Analytics Account:-

  • If you have analytics already installed on your website log-in it or install it now.
  • On the home page click on the "Admin" tab.
  • Click on the "All Products" link under the "Product Linking" tab under the property section. 
  • Click on the "Adjust Link" tab Under "Search console".
  • Under Enabled Views, select "1 view selected"
  • Click on the "Save" button & verify it on Google Search Console.
Now your site connected to Google Search Console, and if it's not so it will give you an error that your website is not ready to collect data from the Google search console yet.

once you become a verified owner, you will get a new Google Search Console Dashboard with all google webmaster tools, settings, and performance tabs.

Also, you can use this same Google Account adding multiple sites for using search console tools. Hence you need not create multiple Google Webmaster tools accounts of each and every website individually.

Once you do that you're gonna start getting some data for your website, it might take a couple of days to start getting some data, it might take two or three days for that. now your new dashboard exactly looks like this.

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard Overview

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard Walkthrough:- 

Google Search Console's Overview Screen:-

When you sign-in to Google Search Console you look at an overview screen, where you see different reports such as performance, coverage, keep scrolling down & see some enhancements. This is where you can see some of your errors for your website, which should be fixed.

The main thing you can see how your website is performing, how your website is indexed, and then any enhancements with your indexing or with your actual website user experience is going to show up here.

Performance Screen's Data Analyzing:- 

When you click on the "Performance" tab on Search Console Dashboard, this is gonna expand this section and show you  "Search Type: Web, Date: Last 3 Months.

When you click on the edit icon under the Search Type Section, you can filter by Web, Image, and Video. Also, you can compare these types. Similarly, when you click on the edit icon under the Date Section, you can filter by different dates. and compare different dates for better understanding.
Webmaster Tools Coverage & Performance Reports
This performance report shows you how many Click, Impressions, Average CTR, Average Position you got in the particular time period, on your webpage, image, and video. 

As on this site, I got 29 clicks, 1.23k impressions, 2.4% CTR and 44 Average Position. As I am not working on this site for a long time so it is not impressive. but you got the idea.

When you analyze Google Search Console Performance Reports, always check on Average CTR and Average Position so that you can get complete data when you scroll down to the query section.

When you scroll down you can see Search Queries, So it's going to show you top search queries by clicks which help you to discover top search queries that are driving traffic to your website. You can see some of the search queries that your website's actually ranking for.

You can use this complete data for Improving your Website SEO, Also here you have many more useful data under different tabs such as Pages, Countries, Devices, Search Appearance, and Dates.  

Understand Your Webmaster Tools All features

If you click on pages here this will actually show you your top pages in the search results. the main things that you need to know are clicks impressions and average position and then average click-through rate.

Here you need to find the pages that are getting a lot of impressions where you can find some optimization opportunities by increasing my average position & click-throw-rate. Now what I like to look for is if  you can find something with a lot of impressions but not a lot of clicks

Here I know that there are search terms driving traffic to my page but not getting clicks so I should create a better page that gets may get lots of clicks. So I'll create a page specifically for that particular search terms.

So hopefully, that page starts to rank higher than this page and there are ways I can tell Google to rank my new page using a canonical URL but this is just one of the benefits of using the Google search console.

At the top filters, you can look at specific Countries, Devices, Search Appearance, and Dates so it's a great way to find a lot of different insights about your website. It really helps you to learn a lot more about your website especially as you continue to optimize for more and more keywords.

URL Inspection Tool:-

If you see that one of your pages is not getting any impressions or you just created a new page which is not submitted to google, you should just enter it in the search box and the Google Index will actually give us an inspection in real time of that URL and show us any errors that we have.

If it shows that "URL is on Google but has issues" it means the page is not indexed yet so you can request for indexing and we can test the live URL for inspection.

When you Inspect URLs, it may show you multiple errors on a particular page such as AMP, breadcrumbs, coverage, etc. You can fix these errors yourself with proper guidance given by Search Console.

URL Inspection Tool in Google Webmaster

But if you have large page size and multiple errors, I highly recommend hiring an expert from freelancing sites such as Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr.

When you believe you have fixed all the errors then click for validation and the Google search console will do an initial validation and if they need more time they're gonna continue to review this to see if I've actually fixed these issues on my website.

So as you go through into the enhancements section you can make sure that as you're making some of these changes. you can validate the fix as well in the google search console because you don't want to have these technical issues. So that's where you want to use the URL inspection tool for fixing errors.

Coverage, Sitemaps & Removals:-

Sitemaps:- Under the "Sitemaps" tab you can submit your website sitemap where you need to submit yoursite/sitemap.xml. Google Search Console crawler will crawl your web site's pages and index into Google Search results.

Submit Your Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools

You want to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console because then Google is able to actually look at every single page on your website, and see the structure of your pages and when you create a lot of new content they're able to easily see what content you created through your sitemap.

So this might be one of the first things that you want to do when you do create your Google Search Console account. In blogger, you can directly submit your sitemap with yoursite/sitemap.xml

But if you are using WordPress, you need a plug-in to do so. WordPress has a lot of different plugins but you can just use the Yoast SEO plug-in to enable sitemaps and then just submit it to Search Console.

Removals:- You can actually submit a request to remove your content from Google Search Console. So if you have an outdated page or if a page that you just recently deleted or anything like that you can just request to remove these pages from Google Search.
Google Webmaster Tool's Url Removal Feature

You can also do temporary removals if you want a page not to be indexed in Google search for whatever reason, you can just come into new request and enter the URL.

You can also do remove all URLs with prefix if you're trying to remove an entire category of products or something like that you can also clear cached URLs. In other words, you want to remove a URL from the Google Search Index, this is where you can do it with ease through the Google Search Console

Coverage:-  Google Search Console shows a Coverage Report which provides information that which pages of your website have been crawl, indexed, and listed in google search results.

Google Webmaster's Coverage Reports

Any page that has any problems while crawling and indexing by GoogleBot shows errors in this report. The coverage screen shows the URLs in your website grouped by status.
  • Error:- The page not indexed
  • Valid:- the page which is indexed
  • Valid With Warning:- The page, which is indexed but has some errors. 
  • Excluded:- The page not indexed because it is prevented by some rules, such as noindex tags, meta tags, canonical tags, etc.
When you scroll down, you gonna see detailed information about all issues and errors such as status, type, effective pages, etc.

Enhancements Reports:-

This is where you can find some of the issues with your website under different sections such as Speed (experimental), Mobile Usability, AMP, Breadcrumbs, and Sitelinks Searchbox

You might not have some of the sections and enhancements depending on your website. if you don't have AMP enabled on your site then you're not going to see this in your enhancements the same exact thing with products and with site link search box.

Speed (Experimental):- With the speed, you can see your slow URLs. It gonna split it by mobile and desktop. Under Speed Test, If your website loads slow, it gonna eventually hinder your rate rankings.

Essentially anything that takes longer than three seconds to load is marked as a slow URL so if you click here it's gonna pull up individual pages that are taking longer than three seconds to load, you need to improve those pages to improve your mobile speed and desktop speed as well.

Generally what you can do is to organize your code a little bit and minimizing it as well and then just finding areas where your website isn't loading fast enough.
Mobile Usability:-Here you can analyze multiple errors on your mobile device, such as...
  • Text too small to read 
  • Clickable elements too close together 
  • Content wider than screen
Sometimes you get these errors temporarily for your pages, so what you can do is to validate fix. You can always click on this and over on the right-hand side it's gonna give you exactly what the error is.

These issues "Content wider than screen, Clickable elements too close together" it could just be on several pages just the way those pages are, you can always review them individually as well, and make sure you don't have any issues with the code on those individual pages.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages):- If you already AMP enabled on your website, you gonna have complete AMP Report with all Valid, Warning, and Error Pages. You may have a lot of accelerated mobile pages errors and the main one is AMP HTML Tag.

AMP HTML Tag has an invalid layout specified by its attributes. so this report gives you the ideas of what is OK, or what you need to improve and fix.

Breadcrumbs:- Breadcrumb would actually be in the hierarchy of the page and it's gonna look at the overall structure on your website. It is the way you have categorized your website. It's important to have a good website structure because it's gonna impact how your website looks in the Google search results.

Logos:- Logo report shows that your Website Logo indexed by Google or not. here you need to validate your structure data if your logo not visible to Google Search.

Products:- If you have any E-commerce Website, you gonna see this tab in your Google Search Console under Enhancement Category.

Product Report shows you how your product pages indexed in Google Search Results. This report shows your Valid pages, Valid pages with Warning, and Error Pages with detailed insight pieces of information.

Here you gonna see different errors such as missing image, missing description, price issue, product review issues, etc. also this will show you the way of fixing these issues as well.

Sitelinks SearchBox:- It's a site link Search Box For Example:- If you search for Pinterest, it's gonna show the results from Pinterest.com. So right in the Sitelinks Section, someone can just search about something particular directly.

Security And Manual Actions:-

If your website has any error and you need to fix them by manual actions, here you make sure to fix those errors. and if you have any security issues you should fix those too. Generally, it's rarely used as there are multiple other ways available for fixing errors.

Legacy Tools And Reports:-

This Section actually gives you the tools for fetching and indexing your pages, correct your structure data, and other tools to link with your Google Search Console also shows some reports too. This will actually open up the old version of the Google Search Console.

International Targeting:- When you click on the "International Targeting" it's gonna open up the old Google Webmaster Tools, where you can set your targeted Country which should be prioritized in the Google Search Results, and also use it to monitor your hreflang errors under language tag.

Crawl Stats:- When you click on crawl stats, and you can see pages crawled per day, kilobytes downloaded per day, and time speed downloading a page.so you could just click here if you want to access some of these old reports that were available in the previous versions.

Google Webmaster Tools A Beginner Guide For Newbies

Messages:- This Tab show all notification and reminders about your Google Search Console errors, fixes, and updates. this helps you to know all about your google webmaster tools account with proper Gmail notifications.

URL Parameters:- URL Parameters are also known as URL Variables or aliases of query strings. This is a way to pass information about a click-through, the portion of a URL that follows a question mark.
When you insert URL parameters into your URLs you can track information about a click. These are made of a key and a value separated by an equals sign (=) and joined by an ampersand (&). Your first parameter will come after a question mark (?) in a URL. 

You can add multiple parameters to a single page using an ampersand. For Example... http://yoursite.com?product=1234&utm_source=google. There are two types of parameter 
  • Content-modifying parameters:- It passes information to the landing page and set in the final URL exclusively.
  • Tracking Parameters:- Here is two types of Tracking Parameters 1.Custom parameters 2.ValueTrack parameters
Web Tools:- Under Web Tools tab you will get different experience reports, tools, and useful links that can help you to further enhance your website performance, also analyze your ad experience on mobile and desktop. 
Google Webmaster's Web tools
 Here you can utilize different Google Webmaster Tools & Resources such as 

Google Webmaster Tools Links Reports:-

This links report give you more detail about your sites Internal links, External Links. the top content linked to your site. such as Top linked pages, Top linking sites, Top linking text, etc.

Basically, here you have two basic categories one is External Links, and Second is Internal Links. When you click on the "More" button, you will get more details on the link profile. here you can find all linking sites, text, and pages.

Also if you find any pages have no impressions that mean there must be an error or broken link, and you can fix this error with proper page linking.

Google Webmaster Tools Settings:-

When you add another website in Google Search Console by clicking on the drop-down link on the upper left side and then click on the link "Add Property".

Here you need to verify your New Website, and under the setting section, you have the "Ownership Verification" option for becoming verify owner. And the method will be the same as I already explained above.
Add Multiple properties in one Google Webmaster Tools account

After adding any new blog or website to Google Search, you need to go at the bottom, here you're gonna see settings tab, and once you're here you gonna see 3 different tabs
  • Ownership Verification
  • Users and Permission 
  • Change of Address
When you click on the right arrow links on each tab you gonna see further settings options under each tab with detailed info. here is a screenshot of this page.

Verify site ownership in setting tab in search console

Under the "Users and Permission" tab, you can add any additional Google Accounts to be able to access your account or to give the full control over your account. if you actually give them the authorization to make changes in your Google Search Console Account.

This is really useful if you're working with the team or clients and you want them to maintain ownership of all their accounts. you actually just get permission to access their account and then use that data for improving their Website SEO

Under "Change of address" you can actually move or redirect your site one domain to other by 301 redirects set up. very few people use this tool but it is useful if you want to change your domain name, hosting service, etc.

This was all about Google Webmaster Tools, but now the main part of this to use it for fixing website errors, analyzing website data, and utilize it for improving Website SEO. So, here get more out of this...
There's a lot more than you can do with Google Webmaster Tools, ultimately our goal is to drive more traffic & revenue to our business so it's the best Google Tool that you can use completely free. I would highly recommend connecting Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tool right away

If you have any questions about Google Search Console or Webmaster Tool please leave them in the comment section, I'll get back to you with the best answer possible.

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Babita Singh

Thanks, and make it a great day
Babita Singh

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Digital Marketing Tools:- Google Tools For Online Marketers: Google Webmaster Tools A Beginner Guide For Newbies
Google Webmaster Tools A Beginner Guide For Newbies
Google Webmaster Tools A Beginner Guide for Newbies. A Complete walk-through of Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard, Settings, Elements, Tools & Reports.
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Digital Marketing Tools:- Google Tools For Online Marketers
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