Why would Google Search Console be useful to Marketers? Too often I see this tool left out of marketing teams and only used for web site performance with a developer. If you don’t have an SEO resource in house this tool review will help provide an overview on Google Search Console for Marketers and how this data can help increase your organic search traffic.
Gaining search ranking advantages can have big impact to your lead volume and quality traffic which converts to revenue when the right strategies are well executed.
Search ranking is a moving target, but with the right content and SEO strategies in place your organic search traffic is one of the most valuable in your marketing mix.
Let’s dig into Google Search Console for Marketers, and how analyzing your existing search traffic and search keywords/queries and where to identify and ways to resolve website performance issues.
– What is Google Search Console?
-How do I Set up Google Search Console?
– How to Audit Your Google Search Console Results to Improve Organic Search
– Analyze What Query Terms (Keywords)
-What are your Non-Branded Organic Search Terms?
– What terms are you in position 1-10 (non-branded terms)?
-SEO Optimizations to apply to your website
– Website Performance Issues
– More Advanced Tips
Why focus on Organic Search?
First let’s be on the same page with how essential organic search traffic is. SEO-optimized keyword-rich content answers questions your customers need answers to. GSC provides valuable data that will help you to improve your website SEO and increase your organic search ranking.
Organic Search is necessary to reach your ideal customers online, as targeting in paid online advertising is only going to get harder. It is also a great tool to listen to your audience by seeing the words they use to answer their questions. How aligned is your content to this?
What is Google Search Console?
It is a free webmaster tool that every digital marketer should be tapping into. Google Search Console provides you with branded and non-branded search keywords, position in search and visibility on what keywords are not converting for you.
Tip: Always ensure your content is optimized with keywords to improve your Organic Search Results. If you are not sure how to check where to see your site SEO you can use Google Extension from SEMRush SEO quake or you can do deeper site wide view with the free version of ScreamingFrog, and SEO spider that crawls websites SEO.
Top Five Ways Google Search Console can improve your Organic Search
1. Push a new url to be indexed to verify once it’s crawled no issues and validating that your page, images, video, or news has been indexed. You won’t rank if up aren’t indexed or if you have issues.
2. Validate that the page is mobile-friendly and optimize any mobile issues.
3. Helps identify what search queries (keywords) people are searching for that lead to impressions on your website.
4. Determine what terms have high impressions but aren’t getting any clicks leading to your website.
5. Your click-through-rate (CTR) and Position in search also gives you a sense of how aligned your content is to what’s being searched.
Capitalize on these observations and create strong SEO-friendly content by reviewing and applying these insights monthly.
For instance, within your website, you can prioritize and optimize the terms you are getting impressions on, but no clicks. Once optimized, those terms will get a lift in organic CTR so more people will see your site more often.
Click to view full size Infographic
Regardless of if you have applied meta titles and descriptions (minimums for good SEO), Google will crawl your website.
It seems simple but gaining a strong ranking (position 1-10 landing you on page one) will take time and can be challenging. That’s where Google Search Console comes in to help.
How to Set Up Google Search Console for Beginners
Go to https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome and sign in with your Google account.
-Click the “Add a Property” button on the top left corner of the page.
-Enter your website’s URL in the field and click “Continue.”
-Verify your website ownership by choosing one of the verification methods suggested by Google. The easiest method is to select the “HTML tag” option and follow the instructions to add the meta tag to your website’s homepage.
Once the verification is complete, you will be redirected to the Google Search Console dashboard where you can start analyzing your website’s search performance.
How to Improve Organic Search with Google Search Console
Use Google Search Console to determine your rank position. It can show you the keywords your website is getting, or not getting, impressions on. This is valuable data that you can target and refine your content towards your potential audiences’ interests.
When we talk with marketers one of the first questions we ask is ‘Are you using Google Analytics?’ and ‘Are you using Google Search Console?’ Both are free and essential to understanding what you have already accomplished in terms of visibility, but like other digital channels, you need to see how they are working for you.
Here’s how you can perform an audit:
Analyze What Query Terms aka Keywords your site is already getting impressions on
First, an impression means your page title and description appeared on the search result screen. As a result of those impressions, how many clicks did you achieve? Position one in organic is the first spot on the first page.
-Log in to your Google Search Console account and select your website property.
-Click on the “Performance” tab in the left-hand menu.
-Scroll down to the “Queries” section. Here, you’ll see a list of keywords that users have searched for on Google that led them to your website.
-Review the list and identify the keywords that are most relevant to your website or business.
Click on a specific keyword to view the performance data for that keyword, including impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and average position.
Analyze the data to identify opportunities for improvement. For example, if you see a keyword with a high number of impressions but a low CTR, you may want to optimize your website’s meta description or title tag to make it more compelling.
Use the insights gained from Google Search Console to inform your keyword research and optimize your website’s content accordingly. Click on performance, it will default to the last three months.
You will see the Query in relation to Clicks, Volume of Search Impression.
Check the CTR and Position at the top. Note this data will not be retroactive, it will only begin tracking once you’ve completed your set up and then look back over time.
Sort by each one to stack rank top vs. bottom performance.
What are your Non-Branded Organic Search Terms?
Filter out your brand name to look at your non-branded terms.
Compare the last three months to the previous three months, or I go even bigger; this is your macro trend.
What terms are you in position 1-10 (non-branded terms)?
Sort on the clicks to stack rank clicks to see top organic keywords.
Sort on impressions to see what keyword trends are popular with your audience and which ones get clicks and which ones do not – those could be good words to optimize further on your pages.
Click on CTR (Click Through Rate) – a good CTR in most cases is 3%+
Sort on Position to look for single-digit results which are your top-ranked keywords.
Click over to Pages to do the same – understand which pages are ranking.
SEO Optimizations to apply to your website.
To optimize your website’s content, you should focus on creating high-quality, keyword-relevant content that is optimized for your target keywords and phrases. You need to write and create content that you are publishing content because you are an authority on that topic.
You can check your website’s page titles and meta descriptions with SEO Quake chrome extension on in your website editor you will have like SEO Yoast or another way to easily edit these for key pages that make sense to ranks. Not all pages on your site are rank worthy.
Title tag: Include the target keyword in the title tag of your page. This helps Google understand what the page is about and can improve its visibility in search results.
Page Meta Description: Write this front loaded with your keyword, like a headline with less than 155 characters.
On Page First paragraph: Make sure to include your target keyword in the first paragraph of your content. This helps search engines understand what your content is about and can improve your rankings.
Throughout the content: Use variations of your target keyword throughout your content, but make sure not to overdo it. Use the keyword in a natural and meaningful way that enhances the user experience.
Subheadings: Incorporate the target keyword in subheadings (H2, H3, etc.) within your content. This helps break up your content and make it more readable for your audience.
Image alt text: When using images in your content, include the target keyword in the alt text of the image. This helps Google understand what the image is about and can improve your rankings for image search.
Remember, the key is to use your target keyword in a natural and meaningful way that enhances the user experience. Don’t stuff your content with keywords or sacrifice the quality of your content just to include keywords.
Now more than ever Google wants to provide searchers with valuable content in the SERP result page so having quality images, videos, and news as content can all be signals that you have included content that includes the target keyword adding more valuable content that’s easy to consume.
Also having quality backlinks or internal links throughout your site makes sense to help navigate and structure your website content. Another strong signal is quality externals links from domains with higher authority. These signals tell Google you are a good website to refer searchers to.
Website Performance Issues
In GSC and your website mobile experience which are also important signals for the google algorithm to see you are maintaining your website and ensuring a good visitor experience. Don’t underestimate these as they will have a negative impact on your search-ability and ranking.
Here is a list of the performance areas you can see within the tool:
Mobile Usability Issues: If your website is not mobile-friendly, or if there are any issues with its mobile usability, then Google Search Console can help you identify those issues. It may suggest fixing the viewport, avoiding plugins that are not supported on mobile devices, and improving font sizes.
Crawling and Indexing Issues: If Google is not able to crawl and index your website’s pages properly, then Google Search Console can help you identify those issues. It may suggest fixing broken links, fixing crawl errors, submitting a sitemap, and ensuring that your website’s pages are not blocked by robots.txt.
Security Issues: If your website has any security issues, such as malware or hacked content, then Google Search Console can help you identify those issues. It may suggest scanning your website for malware, removing hacked content, and securing your website with HTTPS.
Structured Data Issues: If your website’s structured data is not properly implemented, then Google Search Console can help you identify those issues. It may suggest fixing errors in your structured data, adding missing data, and testing your structured data using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
Some GSC Limitations to be Mindful of
I really am passionate about the value and uniqueness GSC provides but sadly it does have it’s limits and it’s important to be transparent about the downside.
• Historical data: only shows data for the past 16 months, so you can’t view data beyond this timeframe.
• Data accuracy: may not be 100% accurate, as it’s based on Google’s estimation of search traffic to your website.
• Non-Google search engines: provides data for Google search, so you won’t get any data from other search engines.
• Real-time data: not real-time and is usually delayed by a few days, so you won’t be able to see real-time changes to your website’s search performance.
• Individual keywords: provide data for individual keywords that bring traffic to your website, instead it groups data by pages and queries.
Limited information on user behavior: While Google Search Console provides information on search performance, it doesn’t provide information on user behavior on your website, such as how long users stay on your website, which pages they visit, and which actions they take.
More Advanced Tips
What is the difference between Google Analytics Data and Google Search Console?
One of the most overlooked is connecting your Google Search Console with your Google Analytics as well as you Google Ads account to ensure that your can see your organic search data in context of both of these other Google properties, give you the most insights. You then have the powerful benefit of what keywords searchers are using to find your website but then in GA you are able to understand what the organic search visitor traffic is doing next. I can say if SEO is done with a strategy and well executed you can see high intent traffic and conversions from organic search.
One that is often not actually even used is adding new URLs to push Google to index that new page. The use of ‘Fetch’ tool is a great way to ensure that you have no page issues once you’ve published. Especially important if you are running paid traffic to a page that says doesn’t load well on mobile.
Also very insightful is to look at what/why/how/who/when in queries by filtering on these combinations to see top impressions and identify content gaps.
Google Search Console only shows you the keywords your website is currently ranking for, but you will need to dig into more keyword research as well as backlink audit tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush or Ahrefs, all more sophisticated tools to find new keywords for you to target and grow your SEO strategy.
For content analysis tools such as Yoast SEO or SEMrush to analyze your content and provide suggestions for improvement.
Next Step: Continue to Optimize your Website and Content and Audit your Performance
Based on your audit you can now optimize your keywords for non-branded terms. This will help you get a short-term boost in your organic search performance.
Take the time to prioritize key pages on your website by optimizing the page content and site metadata for category keywords or buying intent keywords.
Interested in digging in deeper into your SEO Strategy?
Ready to add Google Search Console and SEO strategy to your Go-to-Market plan?
From coaching to implementation, Snapdragon Marketing and help get your ranking trending up. Schedule a free consultation with Coach Kelly today.