Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tool, is a free web service provided by Google. This web service is of great use for web developers, business owners, designers and SEOs.
This tool helps you get a better understanding about your website’s performance and how Google sees your site.
With all the information provided by Google Search Console (GSC) you can maintain, monitor and manage your website in a better way, increasing its search ranking.
Now, there are certain aspects of GSC which are of particular importance for SEOs.
Performance reporting or Search Analytics provides the SEO information related to where, how and what traffic your website gets. This information helps SEOs increase their organic traffic by making their website search engine friendly.
This is why, understanding key factors of GSC like clicks, impressions and positions are essential for SEO.
To put it in simple words, when you click on a link which leads you to another page, which is not a Google Search Results page, it is counted as a click.
If you click on a link which leads you to another search results page, it is not counted as a click.
Also, if you click on a link which takes you outside of Search Results, return and click it again, it is only counted as a single click.
Clicking on Query refinement links also does not count as a click.
What is a query refinement?
A link within the search results which leads to a new query is a query refinement link.
For example, in the above image, the videos, top stories, even the ‘more images’ above the Wikipedia snippet, all are query refinement links. Clicking on any of these links will perform a new query. For all these query refinement links clicks do not count in GSC.
An impression is counted when a link appears on a result page. Whether the link is scrolled into view or not does not matter. Until the link is loaded in the search result page, its impression will be counted.
So, for any search which usually displays 10 links on the first result page, all ten links will get an impression even if they are not scrolled into view.
Now, impressions are either aggregated by site or by page. When a single page contains multiple links, impressions get counted by site or URL. So, all the impressions for the different links in a single page will be aggregated and counted as 1.
However, when the data in Analytics report is aggregated by page, all the different links in a page will get 1 impression each.
A Search Result page has a number of elements, including blue links, featured snippets, carousel, etc. All these elements hold a position value which determines where in the result page it will appear
Positions are calculated from the top of the page to the bottom. The page is also divided into a primary and secondary part. For languages which read from left to right, e.g. English, left side of the page is primary and right is secondary. This is opposite for languages which read from right to left.
In the above image, there are 3 blue links on the primary side of search result page having positions I, 2 and 3. The set of questions and videos are query refinement links. The knowledge card on the right is at position 4 according to the image.
The location of your website on the result page corresponding to a position may change according to the device, screen size, or search features.
Advertisements or any type of query refinement link does not hold any position on the result page. Unless your website gets an impression, its position will not be recorded.
These three aspects of GSC are of main concern for SEOs. The clicks, impressions and Google position all determine your website’s performance.
You can monitor all these GSC matrices through Google Analytics Report. Accordingly, you can update your website’s content and optimize it so that it gets more clicks, impressions and a more favourable result position.