How to use the search console to monitor the website’s performance?

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Dec 05, 2022  . 6 min read

In this blog, we'll learn how to use Search Console to monitor your site's performance in Google Search. After finishing this blog, you should be able to find data to answer important questions about your site. For example, how often do people see your website in search results and click to visit it? What queries are used to discover your site's content? Which countries, search features, and devices work best for your site? These are just a few questions. Then, let's dive deeper and find even more exciting insights you can learn about your site's performance on Google Search.

The performance reports are divided into two sections- Search and Discover. All accounts have data on search. In addition, websites that have accumulated meaningful search traffic in Discover will see a report for it. In this blog, we'll focus on search performance as it is the most common use case. Before we go into the details of the report, let's discuss a few words about metrics and dimensions, which are fundamental concepts to understanding the data.

Metrics are quantitative measurements. They are the numbers you see for each of the columns of a table or in the chart. They usually describe how much and how often. For example, in the performance report, you'll find four metrics. Impressions, the number of times your site appeared in the search result. Clicks the total number of times users clicked from a search result to your website. The average click-through rate, or CTR, is the percentage of impressions that result in the click. The average position is the average position of your site in search results based on its highest position whenever it appears in a search result. Dimensions are attributes of your data. They describe who did what or where it occured. For example, the dimension countries indicate the country where searches for your site originated, like the United States or Japan.

The dimension pages indicate the page that was viewed on a search or was clicked by a user. Note that pages refer to the canonical page, which means that if you have duplicate pages, only one of them will be shown. The performance report is built out of three main elements- the filter bar, the chart, and the table.

Let's start with the chart, as it's the most beautiful visual element. An image is worth a thousand words. The first thing you need to know about the chart is that you can choose the metrics that you want to see, including impressions, clicks, average CTR, and average position. In order to see the trends for different metrics, you simply need to click the metrics themselves to add or remove them from the chart. Note that if you add or remove a metric, it will update both the chart and the table. The table element allows you to break down the metrics according to the possible dimensions that you can see just above the table- queries, pages, countries, et cetera.

You can click each of those dimensions to see a table with the metrics for that dimension. For example, if you click Countries, you will see a list of all countries where your site was shown in search results and how many clicks it generated. Here are four ideas on what to look for when analyzing your performance data. Low click-through rate. If the number of impressions is significantly higher than clicks or, in other words, if the click-through rate, or CTR, is very low for a query or a page, you might need to create better titles and snippets in search results in order to make your site more attractive to users. Missing search queries.

If search queries that you expect to see don't appear, your site might need more useful content relevant to those queries. Missing pages. If essential pages on your site are not in the pages list, there might be an issue with them. In that case, you should use Inspect URL to find out why it is happening.

Branded search queries. Check how many queries show your site when the user does or doesn't include a specific string, such as your site's name. These show interesting areas where people search for content directly related to your brand.

Those are just a few examples of what information you can learn from the default reports, but sometimes you need more than just checking the aggregate dimensions and metrics. Filtering data can help you find interesting insights about your performance on Search by allowing you to explore a more specific scenario. To do so, use report filters. You'll find them just above the chart. Alternatively, you can simply click a relevant row in the table, such as a specific country. Doing that will filter the data in all the performance reports to include only the clicked country.

Suppose you want to try a filter. All you have to do is click New on the Filter bar given above the chart. You'll be asked to choose a dimension for which you'd like to create the filter. You can currently add filters for each of the dimensions available on the tables and also search type and date. Check what queries or pages are bringing traffic through image search results by adding a search type filter and choosing Image.

All the tabs in the report will update to provide you only image search results. You can then review the queries, the pages, and the countries that are working best for image search. Check the trends for desktop and mobile by adding a device filter. Adding both devices to the chart and tables and allowing easy comparison between them, it might be interesting to look at the CTR comparison between mobile and desktop for queries, pages, and countries.

This information can help you understand your search audience better. Check where your site is trending upward and downward by adding a country filter. Visit the Countries tab of the report and click the country with the highest amount of traffic. This will filter the entire report to include only this country. Check the pages and queries most common in these and other high-traffic countries to inform your international targeting strategy and localization priorities.

Note that when filtering by queries or pages, the results shown in the chart might not add up to the total shown in the table. For example, if you create a query filter not containing your brand name and another one containing your brand name, they'll probably not add up to the chart total. The reason is that there are some queries that are anonymized by Google for privacy reasons when filtering. In addition, there is a limit to how many queries the table can show. See the documentation to learn more about this.

Another important detail about the data is that when looking at different parts of the performance report, part of the metrics is aggregated by site, and part is aggregated by URL. These can generate a few discrepancies.

We hope you learned a few tricks to understand and optimize your performance in Google Search. And this would help you grow your business more efficiently.