Google Search Console Glossary

Written by Tiago Silva. Updated on 30, May 2022

This article makes up part of our Google Search Console tutorials and training section, make sure to check the others out.

A

Average CTR

The Average Clickthrough Rate is the number of times a Page got Clicked divided by the number of Impressions.

This metric is useful to help assess how the Page is performing for the number of times someone sees it.

Average CTR is highly debated in the SEO industry as some consider it a ranking factor, but Google says average CTR isn't a ranking factor.

Average Position

Google Search Results are dynamic. They change from one person to another, and it's complicated to determine because of Knowledge Panels or carousels.

That's why GSC displays Queries and Pages as an Average Position, not an exact position.

Advanced Mobile Pages (AMP)

Advanced Mobile Pages, most known as AMP, is an open-source HTML framework created by Google.

AMP's goal is to help mobile pages load faster, and it was a requirement for the Top Stories carousel in Search Results until May 2021.

Add a new Sitemap

Adding a new Sitemap is the field where you put the URL of your Domain's Sitemap for Google to consider using for Crawling.

It's located in the Sitemaps section of the sidebar.

All Known pages

All Known Pages is the total number of pages that Google knows about a Property. They can find these pages with different methods, including pages submitted in XML Sitemaps or other protocols (example, www or non-www).

All Submitted Pages

All Submitted Pages is the total number of pages that Google found in a Property Sitemaps.

This view is available in the Coverage report.

Alternate Page with proper canonical tag

Google recognizes a Page marked as Alternate Page with proper canonical tag as duplicated Page, and the canonical tag is pointing to the correct canonical Page. This means the canonical tag is working as intended.

Associations

Associations allow connecting GSC to different Google services accounts.

These are the accounts that can be associated with Search Console:

  • Google Analytics property;
  • YouTube channel;
  • Chrome Web Store account;
  • Android Play Store app;
  • Google Ads account;
  • Google Assistant Actions Console project;

B

Blocked by robots.txt

This Excluded status happens when a crawler hits a page blocked by the robots.txt file.

Even when a page is successfully blocked, it can still be indexed, even though this is rare). To ensure a page is not indexed, use the 'noindex' tag.

C

Canonical tag

A Canonical tag tells search engines what Page is the most representative of the content. This helps solve the problem of different pages having similar content or approaching the same topic.

The HTML is represented as rel="canonical" and will avoid Indexing of duplicated content, allowing the consolidation of only the most representative Page appearing on search results.

Change of address

This tool tells Google about a property's migration to a new domain or subdomain.

Google recommends using the Change of address tool before migrating the website. However, the tool can be used afterward. This tool aims to help keep the Search Results positions and Paged Indexed.

Chrome UX report

The Chrome User Experience (Chrome UX) Report uses a combination of real-world anonymized data to analyze the pages of a Property.

This report will then rate pages in the same categories as Core Web Vitals: Poor, Needs Improvements, and Good.

Clickable elements too close together

Clickable elements too close together is an Error status from the Mobile Usability Report.

This means mobile phone users will have difficulty clicking on elements like buttons or links without accidentally clicking on other elements. So the recommendation is to change the size of those elements and give more spacing to improve the usability on phones.

Click

A Click is when someone sees a link or image on the Search Results and decides to click on it.

This metric is used to help calculate the Average CTR.

Content wider than screen

Content wider than screen s an Error status from the Mobile Usability Report. These errors can happen when the CSS of the Page elements uses absolute values instead of relative width and position.

This issue is common when optimizing the content for specific screen size and not making it responsive or adaptable for smaller screens.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals is a report introduced by Google to measure what constitutes a good web experience.

Google says the metrics can change over time, and at this moment, the metrics include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint;
  • First Input Delay;
  • Cumulative Layout Shift.

Coverage

Coverage is the report where Webmasters can check the Indexing status of the Property's Pages.

The report will show pages with Errors, Valid with Errors, Valid, and Excluded Pages.

Crawl stats

Crawl stats is a Search Console report showing the statistics of Google's most recent crawling Property.

The report includes:

  • Number of Crawl requests;
  • Total downloadable size;
  • Server average response time;
  • Host name;
  • Page response codes (200, 301, 302, 404, etc.);
  • File type.
  • Crawler used.

Crawler

A Crawler is a computer program that scans the web following links from one Page to the other. These robots are also known as Spiders or Robots. The most popular Google Crawler is Googlebot.

Google uses various Crawlers with different purposes and User Agents identifications.

See User Agent.

Crawled - currently not indexed

These are pages Crawled by Google but excluded from the Search Results. There is no technical problem with a page marked as Crawled - currently not indexed. In most cases, Google considers this Page doesn't have enough quality for appearing on Search.

Countries

The Performance report will show the Countries where the Property is getting Impressions and Clicks from Search Results.

Cumulative Layout Shift

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of a page.

The CLS score will reflect unexpected changes happening during a session. Ensure the cumulative layout shift is less than 0.1 to get a "good" grade on the CWV report.

D

Devices

The Performance report will show the Device type to which the Property is getting Impressions and Clicks from Search Results.

Discovered URLs

Discovered URLs are the number of URLs that Google could find from a Sitemap submitted on GSC.

Discovered - currently not indexed

Pages that Googles knows about but haven't crawled them yet get the status "Discovered - currently not indexed". Common reasons for Google not Crawling these pages include the lack of crawl budget or missing internal links for the Page.

Disavow

Disavowing is asking Google to stop considering some links from other sites to your Property.

Reasons to ask for Google to Disavow links include getting hit by a manual penalty for violating Google Webmaster guidelines or being on the verge of getting hit by one.

Domain Property

A Domain Property is the root domain name without any protocol ( HTTP/ HTTPS) or path (not even the forward slash). Example: Seotesting.com.

This Property type will show and aggregate information for all the protocols and subdomains, including:

Domain Verification

Domain Verification is the process of proving ownership or access to the site.

A successful Domain Verification will turn an Unverified Property into a Verified Property that starts showing data in Search Console if there is any data.

Doesn't match RegEx

Doesn't match RegEx (also known as a negative match) is a filter in the Performance report that removes information based on the expression used.

For example, a Regex to target queries with the word "Dog" will remove all the searches like "dog food" or "Are dogs friendly" but will still show "food for cats" and so on.

See RegEx for Google Search Console for more examples.

Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user

This Excluded Status happens to pages marked with a Canonical tag. But in this case, Google believes this Page is better suited as a canonical for a different URL.

E

Enhancements

Enhancements tab report is related to rich results with structured data, like AMP pages, FAQs, among others.

Google has made a tool for testing and validating the rich results of a page.

Error

Errors happen when one Google crawler finds that something is not working correctly with a Page.

Some reports that can contain Errors are Coverage and Mobile Usability.

In the Coverage report, Errors will prevent the Page from getting Indexed and appearing in Google Search Results.

In the Mobile Usability report, Errors will show what Pages can be hard for mobile phone users to read and navigate.

In their help documentation, Google lists common issues leading to Errors and ways to fix them.

Exact query

An exact query is one of the filters available in the Performance report. This filter will only show the Clicks, Impressions, Average CTR, and Average Position for the exact text match without any variations. For example, an Exact query for "Dog" won't show other queries containing "Dog food" or "Friendly dog" as it only matches the word "Dog".

Excluded

Excluded is one of the Indexing statuses for pages in GSC. In the report, Google lists why the Page was Excluded.

Possible reasons for a page exclusion from Search Results:

Excluded by 'noindex' tag

Pages crawled by Googlebot containing a 'noindex' tag and no longer considered for Indexing on Search Results.

Export

GSC allows data exporting of some reports into a spreadsheet. Current reports that allow exporting are:

  • Performance;
  • Coverage;
  • Mobile Usability.

External links

The Links report will show the total number of External links considered by Google. This column contains Top Linked Pages, Top Linking Sites, and Top Linking Text.

Please remember that Search Console will only show a sample or the total links to the Property. In the past, Google employees said that links not showing up in GSC are primarily irrelevant because GSC shows "a relevant sample of the known links".

F

Failed

Failed is when you or other Property owners asked Google to Validate the Page, but the problem still exists, so the Page cannot be Indexed and has to be revalidated.

See Validate Fix.

First Input Delay

The First Interaction Duration (FID) measures the time between when a user first clicks on a page and when the browser begins processing the user input.

First Input Delay is one of the Core Web Vitals metrics.

A lower FID will mean a better user experience. To get a "good" result in the report, aim for lower than 100 milliseconds.

Filters

Filters are what allow to discover and compare the performance of the Property. These Filters are available in the Performance report.

It's possible to filter:

  • Queries;
  • Pages;
  • Countries;
  • Devices;
  • Search Appearance.

The Queries and Pages filter allows using RegEx with positive (matches RegEx) and negative match (doesn't match Regex).

G

Good URLs

Based on the Core Web Vitals report, a URL will be marked as "good" if it gets the following results:

  • Largest Content Paint: up to 2.5 seconds;
  • First Input Delay: up to 100 milliseconds;
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: up to 0.1.

Note: The lower score of the 3 metrics is how the URL gets labeled on GSC.

Googlebot

Googlebot is the most popular Google User Agent and crawls the web in desktop and smartphone mode.

The information about the crawler appears on reports like Coverage and Mobile Usability.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free software created by Google to help website owners to gain more information about how their website appears on search results.

This tool is a must-use not only because it's free but because it gives valuable info. Among a use range of features GSC is useful for:

  • Discover the performance of the site on search;
  • Pages with error (example 404);
  • Links from external sources to your site that Google knows;
  • Core Web Vitals performance;
  • Find indexing issues.

H

HTTPS

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a more secure variation of the HTTP protocol, making communication encrypted via TLS.

HTTP

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer protocol, and it is the foundation of communications done via the internet.

I

Impressions

The number of times a page from the Property appears in the Search Results.

Google counts this number based on the number of times the link to the Property was visible or scrolled to the user. For example, if your Page is ranked #9 in the SERP and the user doesn't scroll far enough in the Page for your result to be visible, it won't count as an Impression.

Google Maps listing doesn't count for the Impressions reported on GSC.

Index

Google organizes Search Results as an Index. After they Crawl a Page, they can decide to start showing it to users or not.

To check if a Page is Indexed on Google, use the URLs Inspection tool (on the sidebar or the search field at the top).

Indexed, not submitted in Sitemap

Pages that Google has found and Indexed on Search Results but don't exist in the Sitemaps submitted inside GSC.

Indexing Status

The Coverage report tab will show the Indexing Status of all the pages Google knows about the Property.

The possible states are:

  • Error;
  • Valid with Warnings;
  • Valid;
  • Excluded;

Inspect URL / URL inspection

This tool will show details and information about a page. Including:

  • Indexing Status;
  • Coverage status;
  • The Sitemap where it URL was detected;
  • Request Indexing button;
  • Possible Enhancements.

Internal links

Internal links take you from one Page to another on the same website.

The Links report in GSC shows the most linked internal pages and their total number grouped by Canonical URL.

J

K

L

Largest Contentful Paint

The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the loading time of the bigger element within the viewport.

To get a good LCP, make sure this image or text block loads in under 2.5 seconds when the Page is first loaded.

Legacy tools and reports

Search Console evolves, and the Google team works on adding new features and reports and removing others. This tab contains some of those tools and reports in the process of being replaced inside GSC.

Clicking on "learn more" takes you to the list of tools removed and allows you to use them before they are removed completely.

Links

Links report is where Google Search Console shows the External links considered by Google for ranking purposes. This report also includes the most mentioned Internal links in a Property.

Looking good

Looking good is when you or other Property owners asked Google to Validate the Page, and the previous problem seems fixed. There's nothing else to do, and the Page is on the verge of being labeled with Passed status.

See Passed status.

M

Matches RegEx

Matches RegEx (also known as a positive match) is a filter in the Performance report that indicates you want Search Console to only show information based on the RegEx entered in the filter.

See RegEx for Google Search Console for lots of RegEx samples.

Mobile usability Report

The Mobile Usability report analyzes the pages of a Property in mobile devices and defines them as Valid pages or pages with Errors.

Valid pages don't require additional work from a technical point of view and can be indexed.

Pages with Errors are the ones requiring attention. Some of the Errors can be:

  • Text too small to read;
  • Content wider than screen;
  • Clickable elements too close together.

N

N/A

Pages considered with N/A status are Valid Pages that previously Google had found an issue, but the problem got fixed automatically. There are no problems with these Pages, and they are ready for Indexing.

N/A is equivalent to Passed status. The difference is that with N/A fixed automatically.

New request

A new request is a feature of the Removals tool that allows a quick way to remove an indexed Paged from Search Results temporarily.

Noindex tag

The Noindex tag tells Search Engines the Page isn't supposed to be Index on Search Results.

When Googlebot finds this tag, the crawler will remove the Page from the Search Results.

Note: Don't add a page with 'noindex' to robots.txt to avoid Crawlers accessing the Page.

Not found (404)

A 404 error happens when Google crawlers can't read the content of a Page because it isn't available.

This Excluded status can help find broken links on a Property. If this error happens with a page that moved to another URL, use a 301 code.

Not started

The Not started status appears on Pages that contain Errors, and you or other Property owners never fixed the problem nor asked Google to Validate the Page.

See Validation

O

Outdated content

In the Removals report, the Outdated content shows the requests made for Google to remove Pages with content that is no longer considered up-to-date and you want to take away from Search Results.

This list will include only the last 6 months of requests.

Ownership verification

Ownership verification is the process for someone to prove they are a legitimate owner of a Property in the eye of the Google Search Console.

Overview

The Overview is the default page when opening Google Search Console.

It contains a summary of information and serves as a shortcut for other reports in Search Console.

P

Pages

Pages are the URLs from a Property.

Page experience overview

Page experience overview shows how the Pages of a Property perform in Core Web Vitals and Mobile Usability reports.

This section of GSC will show analysis for the Pages divided by Mobile and Desktop.

Page experience signals for desktop

Page experience signals for desktop is a summary inside the Page Experience report.

This section tells the status of Core Web Vitals and if the Property is using HTTPS.

Page experience signals for mobile

Page experience signals for mobile is a summary inside the Page Experience report.

This section tells the status of Core Web Vitals, the number of failing URLs in the Mobile Usability, and if the Property uses HTTPS.

Page with redirect

When a page redirects to another Page, Google shows this Excluded status and won't show them on Search Results.

Passed

Passed is when you or other Property owners ask Google to "Validate Fix" a problem, and it gets fixed.

There's nothing else to do, and the Page is now Valid for Indexing.

Performance

Performance is the report showing how a Property performs across Search Results and is a crucial report in GSC.

The report contains:

  • Total clicks;
  • Total Impressions;
  • Average CTR;
  • Average Position.

The Performance report allows to view information using filters, analyze by date, and even make comparisons.

Some filters include search type (Web, Image, Video, News), query, Page, country, device, and search appearance (good page experience, videos, Web Light results).

Also, some Properties have the Performance report divided into Search Results and Discover.

Permissions

Permissions are what determine what information Users get access to inside GSC.

The Permissions levels are:

  • Owner;
  • Full;
  • Restricted.

Poor URLs

Based on the Core Web Vitals report, a URL will be marked as "poor " if it gets the following CWV results:

  • Largest Content Paint: greater than 4 seconds;
  • First Input Delay: greater than 300 milliseconds;
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: greater 0.25.

Note: The lower score of the 3 metrics is how the URL gets labeled on GSC.

Primary crawler

Primary crawler is the main Crawler Google uses to crawl the Pages of a Property.

Google can decide to use the mobile or desktop crawler as the Primary crawler. For new sites, Google mainly uses the mobile crawler.

Property added to account

Property added to account is the date you added the current Property to your Google Search Console account.

Property

GSC allows two types of properties: Domain Properties and URL Prefix.

Depending on how you use your domain, you might prefer to aggregate all the information with the first or separate it with the latter.

Property Selector

Property Selector allows you to change between the several Properties added to your account. This allows more than one Property in the same account.

The Property Selector is located on the top left of the screen below the Google Search Console logo.

Q

Queries

Queries are the words or phrases that people use during searches.

You can see the Performance report to see the Queries generating Impressions and Clicks for your Property.

Queries containing

Queries containing is a filtering option in the Performance report of GSC.

This filter will only show the phrases containing the word (or words) used in the filter. For example, when using "good dog", the report will keep Queries like "good food for dog" or "good dog leashes".

Queries not containing

Queries not containing is a filtering option in the Performance report of GSC.

This filter will remove phrases containing the word (or words) used in the filter. For example, using "good dog" will remove Queries like "good food for dog", but not Queries with "best dog food" because it only removes literal queries and words in a specific order.

R

Removals

In the Removals tab is possible to check Temporary Removals, Outdated Content, and Safesearch Filtering for the last 6 months of a Property.

Regex

RegEx is short for Regular Expressions.

RegEx is used as an advanced filtering method for the Performance report in GSC.

Typical use cases for Regex:

  • Find longtail keyword questions;
  • Brand vs Non-Brand traffic;
  • Find after purchase queries;
  • Understand User Intent

You can learn more about RegEx here : Using RegEx with Google Search Console

Request Indexing

Request Indexing is manually asking Google to consider one Page to appear in Search Results. This process is useful when Google marks Pages as "Discovered - currently not indexed". Also, when you update the content of a Page is a good idea to Request Indexing, especially for Pages that are "Crawled - currently not indexed" is updated.

Robots.txt

Robots.txt is a file that contains a list of links that website owners don't want robots to crawl for appearing in Search Results.

S

Search Console Insights

Search Console Insights is a GSC report showing how a Property has performed in Search for the last 28 days.

This report shows the top and the most trending queries, which are helpful to pick up new queries becoming important for the Property.

Search type

Search Types on Google are:

  • Web;
  • Image;
  • Video;
  • News.

Search Appearance

Search Appearance gives context about the types of results showing the Search Results.

The Performance report gives information about the Search Appearance and divides it into Good page experience, Videos, and Web Light results.

Search Results

Search Results are what Google shows in their different services like Search, Discover, or News. This includes the text and image results after users type a Query on Google properties.

Secondary crawler

Secondary crawler is the secondary method Google uses to crawl the Pages of a Property. For example, if the Primary Crawler used is the Mobile, the Secondary Crawler is Googlebot for Desktop.

SafeSearch filtering

SafeSearch filtering is Google's attempt to remove explicit results from the Search Results for a user requests it.

SafeSearch's objective is to return more family-friendly results. Users can enable it on Google search settings.

Sitemap

A Sitemap is a file that contains a list of links from a Property. These links can provide information for pages, images, videos, or other files on the Property.

Search Engines use these files to discover and crawl the website more efficiently.

Each Property can have and submit more than one Sitemap in GSC.

However, Google can Crawl Pages or discover Sitemaps even if they aren't submitted in GSC.

Smartphone crawler

Smartphone crawler is a crawler by Google that navigates the web and sees Pages as if it was a mobile phone user.

Source

A source is the User Agent used to generate the report. This information is important because Google has several crawlers to perform different tasks, and their output can also vary.

The Source of the report can be found on the top right.

See Crawler and User Agent.

Status

Statuses are displayed on various pages/ tabs of GSC to indicate if there are errors, or the Page is valid.

Submitted and indexed

Pages found on a Sitemap, marked as Valid and currently present on Google Search Results.

Submitted sitemaps

Submitted sitemaps is the list of Sitemaps you or another website owner have introduced to Search Console.

See the list of Submitted sitemaps in the Sitemaps report.

T

Temporary removals

Temporary removals is a tool to take a page from Search Results for up to 6 months. This is done via the Removals tab in Search Console.

Follow Google documentation about when to use or not use this method or removal.

Text too small to read

Text too small to read is a Usability Report error in GSC. This means that users on mobile phones will have a hard time with the current size of the text on small screens.

Fix this issue by increasing the font size for mobile devices.

Top linked pages

The top linked pages are the Pages on a Property with more mentions (aka links). Search Console shows this statistic divided by External and Internal links.

Check the Links tab to access this information.

Top linking sites

The top linking sites are the external Properties linking back to your Property.

Check the Links tab to access this information.

Top linking text

The top linking text is the most mentioned anchor text from external Properties linking back to your Property.

This information is accessible via the Links tab.

Trend

The trend is the graphical representation of the evolution for each status in the Coverage report.

Total clicks

The number of times a Property was clicked in the Search Results. This number will vary depending on the Date range filter used.

Total impressions

The number of times a Property was shown in the Search Results to users performing searches. This number will vary depending on the Date range filter used.

U

Unverified Properties

An Unverified Property is a Property that was added to GSC but didn't successfully conclude the Verification Methods.

An Unverified Property will not display any data until it becomes Verified.

URLs need improvement

Based on the Core Web Vitals report, a URL will be marked as "need improvement" if it gets the following results:

  • Largest Content Paint: greater than 2.5 seconds up to 4 seconds;
  • First Input Delay: greater than 100 milliseconds up to 300 milliseconds;
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: greater than 0.1 up to 0.25.

Note: The lower score of the 3 metrics is how the URL will be labeled on GSC.

URL status

URL status are based on the results from the Core Web Vitals report.

The 3 possible statuses are:

  • Good;
  • Needs improvement;
  • Poor.

User agent

A User Agent "is any software that retrieves, renders and facilitates end user interaction with Web content".

Browsers and Emails Readers are examples of User Agents.

In Google's case, they use several User Agents to Crawl the web.

Each GSC report identifies the Source User Agent.

URL Prefix

URL Prefix is a Property type that will only show information from the same protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) and subdomain specified.

For example, submitting https://domain.com will not show data in GSC for www.domain.com or https://domain.com (non-HTTPS version).

So, this Property type gives less information than Domain Property but grants more granularity.

Users

It's possible to share GSC data with other accounts, and depending on the Permissions level, they can have access to more information.

V

Valid

Valid indicates a good Status for Indexing purposes where the Page is already showing on Search Results.

Validation

Google validates Pages before Indexing them in the Search Results.

Possible Validation status:

  • Not started;
  • Started;
  • Looking good;
  • Passed;
  • N/A;
  • Failed.

Validate fix

Validate fix is the button to ask Google to check pages with Errors and Warnings again. If the problems with the Page get fixed, and Google considers the Page as Valid, it is ready for consideration on Search Results.

Valid with warnings

GSC displays Valid with warnings when a page is Indexed, but there is something worth paying attention. This warning can happen when a page is blocked by robots.txt is indexed, for example.

The status serves to alert you of those issues so you can avoid Google Indexing pages you don't want to. See 'noindex' tag.

Verified Property

A Verified Property is a Domain Property that Google successfully verified with one of the Verification Methods.

After the Property is Verified, it can start showing information in the Search Console.

Verification Methods

Google requires you to use one of the methods from the documentation to prove ownership before GSC starts reporting information about it.

The current Verification Methods supported methods are:

W

Web Light

Web Light is a Google technology for mobile phone users on Android using Chrome on devices with a slow internet connection.

This technology makes web pages load faster and help save mobile data. Google says this uses 80% less data than regular browsing.

X

Y

Z