Google Search Console for Beginners

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Google Search Console for Beginners
By Mastering JS Weekly • Issue #63 • View online
Google Search Console is a powerful tool for anyone managing a consumer-facing website. If organic traffic is your goal, Google Search Console is where you start.
First, a sidebar on SEO. Backlinks are the single most important factor for SEO. A perfect website will always rank below a bloated clickbait if nobody links to the perfect website but nytimes.com regularly links to the bloated clickbait. Google Search Console won’t help you with backlinks, but it will help you make the most of your backlinks.
To get started with Google Search Console, you need access to the site’s DNS. Google will ask you to prove you own the site by adding a DNS record. Once you do, you’ll be able to see your “property” (website) on the top left.

My Google Search Console Properties
My Google Search Console Properties
Performance Tab
The performance tab tells you how your site is doing on Google search results in terms of clicks and impressions.
Mastering JS clicks and impressions
Mastering JS clicks and impressions
The performance tab also breaks down clicks and impressions both by search query and by page. This lets you know what keywords are driving the most traffic to your site, as well as which pages are responsible for the most traffic.
Knowing which queries and pages are performing well helps you know where to focus your efforts. Google Search Console is far from a fully fledged keyword research tool, but it at least gives you info on where your site is doing well.
Mastering JS top performing queries
Mastering JS top performing queries
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals is one of the ways Google measures how user-friendly your site is. The Core Web Vitals page gives you an overview of how many pages on your site score “Good”, “Needs Improvement”, or “Poor”.
Core Web Vitals scores a page on a 0-100 scale on 4 metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP), First Input Delay (FID), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). A page counts as “Needs Improvement” if it scores 50-89 on at least 1 of the 4 metrics, and “Poor” if it scores 0-49 on at least 1 of the 4 metrics.
Below is Mastering JS’ Core Web Vitals overview.
Mastering JS web vitals breakdown
Mastering JS web vitals breakdown
You can also drill down into usability issues. For example, clicking “Open Report” and clicking on one of the reported issues lets you see which pages are affected by a particular issue. In Mastering JS’ case, some of our pages have not-so-good LCP on mobile.
Clicking on one of the URLs and then clicking on “Pagespeed Insights” gives you a Lighthouse-like report on how an individual page scores.
Web Vitals scores
Web Vitals scores
The Pagespeed Insights tab is useful for showing you how your page is performing, and they do provide some basic suggestions for improvement, but it isn’t useful as a debugging tool. In order to debug why our mobile FCP is not great, we would instead use the web-vitals npm package.
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