You own a website or blog and want to know how to use Google Search Console to track your site performance and analyze the data to improve for better SEO.
If Yes!!! Then this Google Search Console Guide is going to walk you through the basics and advanced topics from scratch.
Not to mention, every webmaster use this Google Tool to troubleshoot the issues they have with their site.
So Let’s start with the basics and then we will proceed further to the advanced topics.
We will start from the Introduction of Search Console then I will guide you on how to Set up Google Search Console for your site.
Moving further, we will explore the features of Google Search Console, detecting and troubleshooting the issues.
It includes optimizing your site for better crawling & indexing and much more.
Basics of Google Search Console
- What is Google Search Console?
- Benefits of Google Search Console
- Connect your Site to Google Search Console
- GSC Dashboard overview
- Submit a sitemap to Google
- Track Overall Performance of your Site
- Track individual keywords performance
- Manually Submit your Articles for Crawling & Indexing
- Remove URLs from Google Index
- Check Links, Linking Texts and Linking sites
- How to Add New Users?
- Understanding Errors, Warnings, Valid and Excluded
- Fix Coverage Issues (Examples with reasons & solutions)
- Fix Enhancement Issues (Examples with reasons & solutions)
- Disavowing Bad Backlinks
- Understanding & Utilizing URL Parameters
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmasters Tool) is one of the free Google Tools that helps you to track the performance of your site, identify the technical issues, and troubleshoot it.
Benefits of Google Search Console
There are plenty of benefits. Let me give you a quick overview.
- Track Performance of your Site
- Track Keywords & Rankings
- Submit a Sitemap to Google
- Monitor Links
- Finding Technical Issues of your Site
- Disavow Links
- Manual Indexing Request
- Remove Outdated Content URL from Google Index
- Add URL Parameters to Optimize Crawl Rate
- Check Crawl Stats
- Check Security Issues
- Check Manual Penalty
- & Lots more.
How to Connect Your Site to Search Console?
There are 2 options to verify the ownership of your site in Google Search Console.
- URL Prefix
1) Domain: If you connect your site using the Domain option, you will be able to track the performance of the whole site including the subdomains and different versions of your site under one place.
Google treats “example.com” and “www.example.com” as a different site. In the same way, Google treats “https://www.example.com/” & “http://www.example.com” as a completely different site.
Use this option, if you have sub-domains and want to track the performance of all the sub-domains, different versions of your site (HTTP & HTTPS), and the main domain in one place.
2) URL Prefix: If you want to track the performance of your main domain and sub-domain separately then you can use URL Prefix Method.
You need the “DNS Verification” if you are using the “Domain” option but if you use the “URL Prefix” option then you will get 5 different options to verify your site.
It depends on you, how do you want to verify the ownership of your site.
We’ve covered both the methods below.
1. Verify the site using the “Domain” option:
Here’s the step-by-step guide that will walk you through to verify the ownership of your site in Google Search Console using the “Domain” option
Step #1: Log in to the Google Search Console
Follow this link to visit the GSC About page and click on “Start now.”
Once you click on the Start now button, You will have to log in using your Gmail ID.
Step #2: Add the Domain name
Just add your domain name without HTTP or HTTPS under the “URL Prefix” section as shown in the picture and click on the “Continue.”
Step #3: Add TXT Record
Here’s the catch.
Google will ask you to Log in to your domain registrar account but if your site is connected to a different hosting provider then you will have to add the TXT record by logging in to your hosting account.
But if you’re using the same domain registrar and hosting provider then you can choose the domain registrar and login to your domain registrar account and follow the on-screen steps.
Or you can add the TXT record manually.
First of all copy the verification code showing in GSC.
Now Log in to your account then select your domain and click on Manage DNS.
Here you will find a TXT record file, simply click on add new.
Put “@” in the Host Field and paste the code provided by Google under the TXT Value Field and then simply click on create or add.
Step #4: Verify the Ownership
After adding the TXT File, come back to the Google Search Console and click on the “Verify” button.
Note: Do not remove the TXT Record even after verification.
2. Verify the site using “URL Prefix” option:
Now I am going to guide you, how to verify your site to Google Search Console using the “URL Prefix” option.
Step #1: Log in to the Google Search Console
Simply go to Search Console, click on start now and Log in to the GSC using your Gmail account.
Step #2: Add the exact URL of your site
Simply go to your site and copy the exact URL from the browser address bar once the site loaded completely.
then come back to the GSC and paste your site URL under the “URL Prefix” option.
Step #3: Choose the Verification Method
You will get 5 different options to verify the ownership. We recommend using the “HTML File” option.
Simply click on the HTML File option and download the HTML file.
Step #4: Uploading the HTML file to the root directory
To upload the file, just log in to your hosting control panel.
Once logged in, go to the file manager > select your domain (if you have separate folders for different sites) > Go to the public_html folder > Upload the HTML file you’ve downloaded.
Step #5: Verify the Ownership
Once the HTML file is uploaded successfully to the root directory of your site, come back to search console and press the “Verify” button.
Note For Blogspot Users: If you’re using the same Gmail account for search console and blogger then your blog will be verified automatically using Affiliate Product method.
Alternatively, you can use the HTML tag option to verify your Blogspot blog. Just copy the code and paste it in between <head> & </head> and click on the Verify option in GSC.
Google Search Console Dashboard Overview
Google Search Console has a pretty simple UI and anyone can understand the functionalities very easily.
Let me give you a quick overview of the Search Console Dashboard.
1. Search Property: At the left-hand top, you will see a drop-down option. Search Property helps you to switch between multiple verified properties in Google Search Console.
2. Overview: By using the Overview option, You can get a quick overview of the Performance, Coverage, and Enhancement section of your site.
3. Performance: This option allows you to check & compare the overall performance of your site. You can monitor the keywords that are ranking, Pages, Countries where the posts and pages of your site are ranking, and many more things.
4. URL Inspection: This option allows you to inspect any URL of your site to check the indexing status, Request indexing manually, Coverage issue & Enhancement of that particular URL.
5. Index: Under the Index option, you will get 3 different options (Coverage, Sitemap, Removals).
5.1. Coverage: This option helps you to check any coverage issue on your site. It includes Errors, Warnings, Valid & Excluded.
5.2. Sitemaps: Sitemaps option allows you to add a new Sitemap and check the status of any submitted sitemaps.
5.3. Removals: Under this option, you can remove the outdated content from Google SERPs temporarily, check the status of already removed URLs or new requests and you can also check the history of all pages that were reported by the users as an adult content under the “SafeSearch Filtering” option.
6. Enhancement: Enhancement option allows you to check many reports related to the Schema markup, Mobile usability, Speed, etc.
7. Security & Manual Actions: Under the security & manual actions option in the Google Search Console, you can check any kind of Security issues of your site or any Manual actions (penalty) taken by Google against your site.
7.1. Manual Actions: This is the option where you can find any Manual actions taken by Google against your site. i.e. Penalty for lots of Spammy Backlinks or Abusing the Schema markup, etc.
7.2. Security: The security option in the Google Search Console helps you to check if Google found any security issues on your site. i.e. Phishing site, Deceptive sites, etc.
8. Legacy Tools & Reports: Tools under this option are part of the old Search Console that you can now access through the new updated Search Console.
8.1. International Targeting: As the name suggests, this option allows you to target the users of any Specific country. But that doesn’t mean that Google will not show your site to the users in other countries.
8.2. Crawl Stats: The Crawl Stats option helps you to check that how many pages Google Bots are crawling each day on your site, How much bandwidth it is consuming & how much time it is taking the Google Bots to crawl those pages.
8.3. Messages: Here you can check all the emails that you’ve received from the Search Console related to your site.
8.4. URL Parameters: This option allows you to set URL Parameters to let Google know whether Google Bots should crawl a URL that contains the specified parameter or not.
8.5. Web tools: The Web tools option allows you to check the Ad Experience Reports, Abusive Experience identified by your visitors. Along with that, you will find Testing Tools (Structured Data testing tool & helper, Email markup tester), Links to other Tools by Google & Search Console.
9. Links: This option helps you to track the Internal Links on your site, External links pointing to your site (Backlinks), Top Linking Pages, Top linking Anchor texts in external pages & Top sites linking to your site.
10. Settings: Setting option helps you to to check the Indexing crawler, date when you added the property. And also it helps you to Ownership verification status, Verification methods used to verify the site, add new users, and change their permissions & notify Google if you change the URL of your site.
That’s it. As of now, you should be familiar with the Google Search Console dashboard.
Now let’s explore some advanced topics and features of the Search Console.
How to Submit a Sitemap to Google?
If you’re a WordPress user, You can create a Sitemap using any of the WordPress SEO Plugin.
If you’re using other platforms, you can use Sitemap generator tools to generate a free XML sitemap for your site.
To submit a sitemap to Google, simply go to Search Console then click on the “Sitemap” under Index option.
Now just add the XML sitemap URL of your site and click on “Submit”.
Many SEO plugins generate the URL that is https://wwww.yousite.com/Sitemap_index.xml
Simply paste the sitemap_index.xml in the Enter Sitemap URL box and click on the submit button.
Note: Keep in mind that you need to submit an XML Sitemap to Google. Google bots couldn’t fetch an HTML Sitemap.
Track Overall Performance of your Site:
In this part, we’re going to cover how you can track the overall performance of your site.
It includes the Keywords you site is ranking for, How many Clicks & Impressions your site is getting, What’s the average position of your site & the Average CTR of your organic impressions.
Let’s jump into it.
At first let’s understand the terms Clicks, Impressions, Average CTR, and Average Position.
- Clicks: It means how many times Searchers clicked on one of your pages after searching any specific query on Google.
- Impressions: Impression shows how many times your site appeared on Google Search Results.
- CTR (Click Through Rate): CTR refers to percentages of searchers clicked on your site after it appears on Google Search Results.
- Average Position: It refers to the average position for all the keywords that your site is ranking for.
Head over to the Performance report by clicking on the Performance on the left menu bar.
Here you can see the Total Clicks, Total number of Impressions, Average CTR & the Average position.
Just above that, you can see the “Search Type” option to filter the reports based on the Web results, Image & Video.
Web results mean pages/posts appearing in the Google SERPs.
Images option helps you to check how many times the images of your site appear in the Google Image Search results.
Video option lets you track the performance of the videos on your site.
Right next to that, you can see the “Date” option to filter the reports based on the range of selected dates.
By using the “New” option, you can filter out the performance reports for any specif query, country, page, device, or search appearance.
Track the performance of Individual Keywords
Head over to the performance section and scroll down the page to the bottom. Here you can see a few different options (Queries, Pages, Countries, Devices, Search Appearance, and Dates).
Queries: This option helps you to check the report of all the keywords your site is ranking for.
Pages option allows you to check the performance report of the individual pages.
Countries: Countries option lets you check the performance of your site in different countries.
Devices: This option helps you to check the performance of your site on different devices.
Search Appearance: You can see how’s the Rich Results, AMP Pages, etc. are performing on Google using this option.
Date: Use this option helps to check the performance of your site Date wise.
Here you can see the keywords your site is currently ranking for, How many clicks your site is getting from Google, Total Impressions of the different keywords, and the Average Position.
You can click on any of the keywords to check the performance report of that particular keyword.
Manually Submit your Articles for Crawling & Indexing
I personally use this method to Index my pages/posts as soon as I publish them or update them because nobody knows how much time it will Google to index those pages/posts automatically.
You might be wondering whether it’s safe or not to index your pages manually?
It’s 100% safe that’s the reason Google Search Console has this feature.
Now let’s jump into it.
To request manual indexing, Copy the URL of your site that you want to manually submit for indexing.
Now just go to the URL Inspection option from the left side menu in the GSC and Paste the URL in the URL Inspection box and hit Enter.
Now, wait for a few moments while Google is retrieving the data from Google Index.
Now you will be able to see “URL is not on Google” if it’s a new Post/Page. Simply click on the Request Indexing option.
But if you want to re-index an old content. In this scenario, you will be able to see “URL is on Google.”
No worries, Just click on the Request Indexing option.
Geo-Targeting using Google Search Console
Geo-Targeting helps you to target a specific country. It doesn’t mean that your site will not rank in any other country.
To set the country using the Search Console, simply click on the International targeting under the Legacy Tools & Reports option.
Then click on the Country option. Now check the “Target users in” box and choose the targeted country from the drop-down list.
How to Remove Outdated content URL from Google Index?
Prerequisites: There are some Prerequisites before removing any URL from Google Index.
- Only a verified owner of a site can perform this action
- Content should be removed or marked as noindex or blocked from Google bots using robots.txt
Procedure: To remove any URL from Google Index, simply go to the “Removal” under the Index option and click on the New Request.
Now enter the URL you want to remove and Remove this URL only and Click Next.
Now click on the “Submit Request”
Now within a few hours, the submitted URL will be temporarily removed from Google Index for about 6 months.
Check Links, Linking Texts and Linking Sites
Google Search Console is also helpful to check all the backlinks, internal links, most linked pages, and most used anchor texts for backlinks of your site.
To check all these things, just click on the Links under Legacy tools & reports option.
Here you will find some different options.
Top linked pages (External Links): It shows you all the pages with backlinks where the page with most backlinks appears at the top and pages with the least links appear at the bottom.
External Links are also known as Backlinks.
Top linked pages (Internal Links): It shows you all the pages in your site linked from other pages on your site.
Top linking text: This option shows you all the anchor texts that other sites are using to link your pages.
Detailed Guide: Backlinks: Ultimate Guide For Beginners
How to Add New Users on Google Search Console?
You can add a new user on the Google Search Console to share the access of your search console data.
To do so, Go to the Settings option from the left side menu panel.
Now click on the “Add User” button at the right-hand top of your Google Search Console.
And now enter a valid email address (Gmail only) of the new user and choose the Permission type.
If you want to share all the accessibility with the new user, select the Full option otherwise choose the Restricted option and then click on the Add option.
Errors, Valid with Warnings, Valid and Excluded Explained
1. Errors: It shows you the pages that can’t be indexed by Google due to some reasons.
2. Valid with Warning: It shows the pages that have been indexed by Google but have some issues or you did that intentionally to block those pages from Google to Index.
3. Valid: It means the pages appear under the Valid option have been indexed by Google without any issues.
4. Excluded: It shows the pages that have been excluded from Indexing. Maybe you did it intentionally by adding a nofollow tag on the page. Apart from this, there are many other reasons why a page has been excluded from the Google index.
To find the Coverage report, simply go to the Coverage option from the left side menu.
Identify and Fix Coverage Issues
There are plenty of Coverage Issues that prevents your site from appearing in Google. Let’s discuss the reason and solution for major ones.
1. Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt
Reason: The reason behind this error is you submitted a link for indexing but the robots.txt file is blocking that URL from indexing.
Solution: First of all use the robots.txt file checker tool by Google to find whether the URL is blocked or not.
If it’s blocked then the tool will highlight the disallow line in red color causing the issue.
So if you want to index that page then head over to your robots.txt file located in the root folder of your site and remove that disallow line.
And If you don’t want that page to be indexed, simply remove the disallow line from the robots.txt file and mark that page as “no-index.”
Once done, come back to the Search Console > go to the Coverage option > click on the error > then click on Validate fix.
Now Google will take a few days to validate the fix and the error will be disappeared automatically.
2. Crawled – currently not indexed
It simply means that the page was crawled by Google but due to some reason Google decided not to index that page.
Reason: This could happen due to various reasons. i.e. Duplicate Content, thin Content, 301 Redirects, Feed URLs, etc.
Solution: First of all, if it’s the URL is ending with /feed then you’re Good. No need to do anything.
If it’s not a feed URL then follow these steps.
Manually check the URL whether it is indexed on Google or not.
To check it manually, copy the URL of the affected page. Now go to Google and type Site:affected-URL.com (replace the URL) and hit enter.
If it is showing the page there means you don’t have to do anything. And if the search is returning 0 results, just move to the next step.
Now simply copy the URL and inspect that URL using the inspection tool in Google Search Console.
Once done, simply click on the Test Live URL. Most probably it will show you the exact issue that why the page is not indexed.
Simply fix the issue such as Mobile usability, Page with a redirect, etc. and validate the fix.
In our case, it’s Not Found (404) means the page is deleted from our site. So we can ignore this or if we want we can create another page with the same URL or we can also redirect (301) it to another page.
Useful Resource: Crawled but Not Indexed coverage issue solution By MOZ.
3. Page with redirect
Reason: The only reason behind you’re getting this error is the URL is redirected to another URL. i.e. you have deleted an article and redirected (301) the old URL link to a new related article.
Solution: Don’t need to do anything. This URL will be excluded by Google very soon.
4. Crawl anomaly
Reason: This usually happens when a page URL returns 404 or 500 status code.
Solution: Go to the URL, if it is returning 404: Page Not Found then you can remove the URL using the Outdated Content Removal tool or if it has backlinks then you should redirect the page to a relevant page.
And if it’s the Server error (500 Status Code), check if the server is down or misconfigured. Also, check if the page is loading properly or not.
Check the HTTP status code using any tool such as HTTPStatus.io and if everything seems OK, simply inspect the URL and manually index the URL.
Note: It may include URLs with URL Parameter. If that’s the case leave it as it is.
5. Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag
Reason: A page with a no-index tag causes the problem. no-index means you’re asking Google not to index that page.
Solution: If you did it intentionally, leave it. But if you want those pages to be indexed simply remove that no-index tag from the page.
If you’re a WordPress user, you can do it through your WordPress SEO Plugin (Yoast, Rank Math, All-In-One SEO Pack, etc.)
6. Not found (404)
Reason: The URL is returning a 404 error. In other words, the page is removed from your blog.
Solution: Either create a new page with the same URL or redirect that URL to any relevant URL.
If you don’t want to do either, just use Google URL Removal Tool to remove the URL if it’s still indexed on Google.
7. Blocked due to unauthorized request (401)
Reason: The page needs a valid ID and Password to access. It could be a User Login Page.
Solution: If it’s a login page then you don’t have to do anything. And if you want that page to be indexed, simply allow Google bots to access that page.
These are just a few errors that most of the webmasters face. You can read more about Index Coverage Report here: Index Coverage report by Google.
Identify and Fix Enhancement Issues
Enhancement issues are mostly related to Structured data or Mobile-friendliness. So without further ado, Let’s dive deeper and solve the issue.
To find these issues, simply select all the options under Enhancement option one-by-one.
This option will help you to check the Speed Report of your site.
As we all know slow loading speed can cause a loss in revenue, lower rankings in Google, and bad user experience.
So it’s important to have fast pages across the site.
If it shows you Slow URL error then there’s only one way to get rid of this error, Speed Up Your Website.
If you’re a WordPress user, here are some tips to Improve your Site Loading Speed:
- Use a fast Hosting service
- Use lightweight themes & plugins
- Use compressed images
- Use server-level caching
- Use caching plugin
- Use lazy loading for images, iframes, or other media.
- Do not directly upload video or audio files on your site
- Keep your site, themes & plugins updated
- Use the latest version of PHP
- Optimize your WordPress database
If you follow these tips, it will increase your site speed drastically.
2. Mobile Usability
This option helps you to check if any of the pages in your site is not Mobile friendly.
There are 3 major problems that we usually face in mobile usability.
- Text too small to read
- Clickable elements too close together
- Content wider than screen
Problem #1: Text too small to read
Reason: This error occurs when the font size (text size) is very small on your site and it’s hard to read in mobile devices. This could also happen if the stylesheet of your site is not loading.
Solution: Increase the font size of your site. If you are a WordPress user, you can do it by going to the customization option of your theme.
And if you are using another blogging platform or custom coded site then you can use custom CSS to increase the font size.
Once done, check the page URL in the mobile-friendly testing tool by Google to ensure that the Page is mobile-friendly.
If it shows you Page is mobile-friendly, head over to Google Search Console and click on the Validate fix option.
And if the font size is not the issue, check the solution of Problem #2 to sort this error.
Problem #2: Clickable elements too close together
Reason: Most probably there could be 2 reasons.
The first reason is you are blocking Google bots to crawl CSS files or Cache files and the second reason is some clickable elements, such as two buttons are too close.
Solution: To fix this issue, we need to find the exact reason.
To find the exact issue directly paste the affected URL in Google mobile-friendly testing tool.
Or directly go to “Google Search Console > Mobile usability under Enhancement option > Clickable elements too close together > Click on the affected URL > Click on the Test Live Page.”
It will take you to the Mobile-friendly testing tool and within a few moments, it will show you the result.
First of all look at the screenshot, if the site is perfectly loaded with proper styling then try to manually find the element by going to the affected URL.
In our case, we can see the site is not loaded properly and it is showing use Page is not mobile-friendly.
But when I’m opening that URL in a mobile device, it is working perfectly fine.
It means the stylesheet file is blocked for Google bots to index.
To confirm this simply go back to the mobile-friendly test report and click on the Page Loading Issues – View details.
Now scroll down the page and there you can see “X number of resources Resource couldn’t be loaded.”
Just check if any CSS file is there.
To confirm which line of the robots.txt file is blocking these URLs, simply go to robots.txt file tester tool and log in using the same ID that you use for the search console account of your site.
Once logged in, it will show you the robots.txt file of your site and at the very bottom, it will ask you to paste a URL.
Simply paste the CSS and JS file URLs that couldn’t be loaded in the mobile-friendly test one-by-one.
Note: Remove the main URL while pasting because it’s already there.
Once done, simply click on the red color Test button.
Simply head over to the robots.txt file (located in the public_html folder of your site) and remove that line.
Once done, check the affected page once again in the mobile-friendly testing tool, and most probably you will be able to see “Page is mobile-friendly.”
Now simply go to search console > the Clickable elements too close together and click on the Validate fix.
Problem #3: Content wider than screen
Reason: An element or some part of your site is going out of the screen.
The first reason could be the same as above two, stylesheet files are not loading and the second reason could be the theme you’re using is not responsive.
Solution: Follow the solution of Problem #2 to unblock the stylesheet file from Googlebot.
And if that’s not the case, check the page URL in a mobile device to find if any element is going out of the screen.
If you find any such element, such as iframes or images, consider removing it.
Once done, check the page using a Mobile-friendly testing tool and if everything looks good then just go to Google Search Console and click on the Validate Fix.
Note: It may take Google a few days to validate the fix. So, keep patience.
Disavow Bad Backlinks using the Disavow Links Tool (Old Search Console)
Disavow Links Tool is a part of the old search console (Webmasters Tools) and we can’t access it directly from the Google Search Console dashboard.
But we can still access it directly visiting to Disavow Tool Links or by searching it on Google.
This tool allows you to disavow links. It means you can tell Google that you don’t want certain links (bad backlinks) to be considered as a ranking signal for your site.
The recommended method to remove those bad backlinks is to contact the site owner and ask them to remove the link.
So use this method if you can’t get in touch with them.
What Google says about Disavowing Links?
This is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you only disavow backlinks if you believe that there are a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.
How to Disavow Bad Backlinks?
Follow the steps to disavow bad backlinks from your site.
Step #1: Make a List of Bad Backlinks
Use notepad to create the list because it only allows you to upload a .txt file.
Open the notepad and type down all the links you want to disavow. You could disavow all the links from any domain as well.
Here’s the example of how to make a list of bad links and spammy domains:
Use domain to Disavow all the links from a Domain pointing to your site and Use URL if you want to disavow a few links (not all) from any domain.
Just enter the spammy Domain and URL and save it as a .txt file.
Step #2: Visit Google Disavow Links Tool
You can search Google Disavow Links Tool on Google or you can follow this link of Google Disavow Tool.
Step #3: Sign in to your Google account
Sign in to your Google account (Gmail) and make sure that you’re using the same email that is associated with your search console.
Step #4: Choose the verified site and click on Disavow Links
Here you can see the drop-down list. Click on that and select the verified property for which you want to disavow bad links and click on disavow.
Click on disavow again.
Step #5: Upload the list and Submit
Now click on the choose file option and upload the list of bad linking pages and domains. Once uploaded, hit the Submit button.
Understanding & Utilizing URL Parameters
URL Parameters: URL Parameters are some dynamically assigned parameters in a page’s URL.
In the above example that “price” after the question mark is an URL Parameter.
URL Parameters option in Google Search Console
URL Parameters option lets you specify some parameters to indicate Google Bots to crawl your site more efficiently without wasting the crawl budget.
Now you might be thinking what the heck is Crawl Budget?
Crawl Budget means how many pages Google Bots crawls over a given period. And if your site is new, you will have very little crawl budget.
And if you have parameters on your site URLs, Google bots will crawl the same page again and again.
Why you should use URL Parameters?
Let’s understand it by an example.
Suppose, you have an eCommerce site where customers can sort items based on color, size & price.
Usually, the normal URL of a product page will look like this: https://example.com/product-1
But when the user will sort the product and use some filters, the URL will change automatically.
Let’s say the user has sorted the item based on price range low to high.
Now the URL will look something like this: https://example.com/product-1/?price=low_high
Have you noticed the change? Yes, now the URL contains a parameter “price=low_high.”
So when Google bots try to crawl your site, due to this feature they crawl the same page over and over again.
So it’s important to indicate Google bots that Do not Crawl any page that has any sort of Parameters in its URL.
And sometimes you need to specify if you want any URL with the same parameters to be crawled and indexed by Google Bots.
For instance, Your site has 10’s of hundreds of products,
Now the URL of the 1st product looks like this: https://demoshop.com/?products=home_decor
And the 2nd URL looks like this: https://demoshop.com/?products=electronics
As you can see the URL Parameters and the products & pages both are changing so you can specify that in the URL Parameters option so Google Bots will crawl both the pages.
But before adding the URL Parameters in the GSC just read the Important Note below.
Important Note: If you use it Incorrectly, It will de-index many pages from Google SERPs.
How to add URL Parameters in Google Search Console?
First of all, find out the URL Parameters.
Now head over to your Google Search Console dashboard. Now click on the URL Parameters option under the Legacy Tools & Reports option.
Now click on the Add Parameter option and type down the parameter name (case sensitive).
Now choose an option from the drop-down menu under “Does this parameter change page content seen by the user?” option.
Here you will get two options.
1. No. Doesn’t affect page content (ex: track usages): Choose this one if you are using URL parameters for tracking purposes and not to reorder, narrow down, or change the page content.
2. Yes. Changes, Reorders, Narrows Page Content: As the name suggests, use this option if the URL Parameter changes, reorders, or narrows the page content.
If you select Yes, it will give you a few more options.
How does this parameter affect page content?: Choose the reason how this parameter affects the pages on your site.
Let Googlebot Decide: This is the default option, Choose this option if you are unsure whether a parameter is changing the page content or not.
Every URL: This option will indicate Google bots that all the page URLs that contain the specified parameter are unique and the page content changes.
Only URLs With Value: Use this option if 2 or more different URLs with the same parameter contains the same content.
“https://example.com/?price=high_low” and “https://example.com/?price=low_high” contains the same content and same parameter.
So you can add low_high to indicate Google to crawl those pages whose URL parameter value equals the specified value.
No URLs: Use this option if you don’t want Google bots to crawl any URL that contains the specified parameter.
Now suppose we don’t want Google Bots to crawl any of the pages that contains the specified parameter.
So we will select Yes then No URLs and click on the Save.
Now you will be able to see that the URL parameter is added successfully.
We’ve tried to cover everything from scratch. Do you think we’re missing something? Comment below and let us know.
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- I am Rohit Singh. I am a Blogger, Affiliate Marketer & Founder of ProBloggingWorld.Read More
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