Google Search Console Tutorial [Updated Guide]

Google Search Console Tutorial [Updated Guide]

How to Use Google Search Console

In this post you will learn the basics of Google Search Console. It was formerly called Google Webmaster Tools and is a completely free tool.


Why is it such an important search engine optimization tool you must have and why do you need to use it?

To access your Google Search Console, first make sure you’re logged in to any of your Google accounts like Gmail.

google search console performance view

If when you’re through with reading this you feel you’ve learned something new, please post it in the comment box at the end of the post. I’ll reply your comment in 12 – 24 hours. Alternatively you can contact me on the contact us page if you need more help.

In our introduction to Google search console, we will look at the following topics:

introduction to Google seach console

You’ll learn how to read the search console data. I’ll show you that it’s actually a lot easier than you think.

If you follow this step by step tutorial closely, you should be able to set up your Google search console as we go.

The New Google Search Console

Google search console recently made some changes, literally like a few days ago, in terms of how to set a up a new site. So I’m really excited to share this update too with you.

Features of Google Search Console

Features of Google Search Console

Once you have search console all set up for your site, and you let it mature for a week or so, it will show what keywords your site is ranking for. That’s pretty awesome!

It also shows what position each keyword is on average and then it shows how many times your site has been shown in Google for that keyword. Cool, isn’t it?

The search console also shows how many clicks from search each keyword has.

In other words, as people are coming from Google search and visiting your site with their desktop or mobile devices, it tells you how many times they have clicked that keyword.

The console also allows you to submit all your posts and pages to Google just so that they know that they all exist, using the console’s sitemap feature. You can use this feature to announce your new page or post to Google.

This means every time you write a new blog post, you can go inside search console and let Google know about it. However, having a sitemap of your website indexed inside the console makes this action unnecessary.

Also know that you don’t have to wait until you have so much contents in your posts or pages before you create your sitemap. Even with a few lines of posts or pages, you can create and submit your sitemap.

Fetch As Google = Url Inspection

If you’re not sure if a post or page on your site is on Google, you can use this feature called Url Inspection (formerly called Fetch As Google).

search console Url Inspection or fetch as google

So if you want to find out if a url was submitted to Google or not, just type it inside the long search bar near the top of the page and press the enter/return key on your keyboard.

checking url in gogle index

Google will check your data (url) if it exists in its index. If your url has indeed been indexed by Google, you will receive the response “URL is on Google”.

url is on google

If your url has not been indexed, you get the response “URL is not on Google”.

URL is not on Google

This may happen for instance if you purposely exclude a page/post (such as an unimportant page of your site, or if you accidentally left it out when you were creating your website sitemap.

If the latter is the case just click on the TEST LIVE button to confirm availability of the url. A window will pop up showing “Testing live URL”. See the screenshot below.

Testing live URL on google console

When the testing is done, you will get a response like shown in the screenshot below if your url is confirmed absent on Google.

url is not available on google

After showing the above error screen, Google will tell you they will try to index your url soon. So you do not need to re-submit it a second time.

From my experience it takes only Google a couple of days to index a url. In this example, I purposely did not submit my Privacy page to Google in my sitemap because it’s not an important page (offers little or no value to my site visitors).

Google refers to non-indexed pages as “noindex”. Similarly you can ask Google to “noindex” or exclude unimportant pages like your Privacy Policy and Affiliate Disclosure pages.

It is on your website that such pages may be important but certainly not inside the search console.

Who is Linking to My Website?

Google search console also shows you who is linking to your website (backlinks), for example, if you’ve made any kind of effort you go out to comment on other people’s websites like blogs.

And within the comment form you leave your website address, you can see on the console if those other people’s websites are linking back to you or not.

If they are linking to you, this will help your awesome content to rank higher on Google search engine ( search engine optimization ).

Does My Site Have “Issues”?

The console also shows you if your site has any indexing or security “issues” as seen by Google. Now I put the word issues in quotes because I’m using it very loosely.

The reason is that the issues may be some false positives. Okay, before I forget, I’m going to mention something here about the way Google sees issues.

For example, I’ve been getting a couple messages from some of my subscribers saying…

“oh, I’ve been getting this error message from search console called no index. It says, my categories are no index” or “my tags are no index”.

Well, I tell them that’s okay because we don’t want categories and tags to be indexed. The reason is there’s no real relevant content in any of them.

For example, a category like https://prominentaffiliate.com/category/start-course/week-1/ is just a directory of some of my posts, and is the same thing with tags like https://prominentaffiliate.com/tag/seo-tutorial/.

Unfortunately, Google search console isn’t smart enough to say, oh, okay, that’s a category or oh, okay that’s a tag. It just gives you that warning (a false positive) because it’s just a robot.

So keep it in mind from now on that it’s okay you don’t want categories and tags indexed. Later in this post you will see how to detect and rectify other types of issues like security.

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12 thoughts on “Google Search Console Tutorial [Updated Guide]”

  1. Hello,

    I just learn a new thing about the google search console and its relevance and usefulness to one’s website. One thing that caught my interest is the fact that Google will check one’s data (url) if it exists in its index and if the l url has indeed been indexed by Google one will receive a quick response, which is quite a welcoming development. That’s a nice one. Thanks

    • You’re welcome Salim. Please visit again soon for updates on my Google search console tutorial.

  2. Good timing as I was looking at my search console to add an url inspection tonight I ran across your article. Very information. I do have a question about the site map how often should we submit that to search console or is the first time good enough? I use the url inspection or the fetch function is that better to do or should I resubmit a site map each time? 

    • Hi Cathy,

      You need to submit your sitemap only one time, unless you make major changes to your website like removing published posts or pages.

      What you need to do more often is updating your sitemap itself and submitting your new urls (formerly called Fetch as Google) in Google Console. This forces Google to crawl your new posts or pages

      If you have further questions please post it here again soon.

  3. Hi, I used to use the older version of Google Search Console until a few days ago, because I was a lot more familiar to it. So I preferred to keep using it. But I kept receiving notifications that the old one won’t be available for long, so I had to switch to the new one. So your post comes at the right time! Your guide covers every aspect of Search Console, which is so useful for someone like me. I was wondering, do you know if there’s a way to make it show you the data from the previous days? Mine only shows the data starting 3-4 days before, which is a bit frustrating sometimes. But I think that’s how it’s created, right? So that’s the data it shows to everyone… Anyway, I will get back to your post whenever I have a new issue with my Search Console, it was really helpful!

    • Google Search console shows your site data for all days since you installed it. The date you see inside the console is when your data was last updated.

      If you have more questions please post it here again.

      Thank you Ashley.

  4. Thanks for writing this lesson on Google Search console,reading through all this article I find each and every part of the article educative and informative.one of the things I like  about google search console is that is a no-charge web service by Google for webmasters.,you have said almost all things that is necessary about it and I even learn new things about it reading this article 

    • ok Afolabi. I’m happy you picked new things about search console from my blog.

      Please visit again soon.

  5. First of all, thank you for sharing this tutorial.

    I really haven`t understood the data search console has been providing until now.  I did not even realize that there are so much informations in there. I appreciate you for sharing all these.

    I also thank you for sharing how to add the sitemap, that was really very helpful.

    Having known all these about search console, i now can check my websites data, especially what keywords are really getting noticed in the search engines.  This will help me in my future writings of articles.

    All the best to you!

    • You’re welcome Hanna.

      If you need more clarification again soon about search console please post it here. I’ll be glad to help.

      Thank you.

  6. Thank you for giving such a complete understanding of Google Search Console. This tutorial is understandable, and complete with step by step directions. I think I’ll be able to get registered now. Linda newyou.siterubix.com

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