Measuring the performance of your website can help you learn more
about what matters to your audience, how they find your content, and whether or not it appears in search results. Google Search Console is a free tool designed to assist website owners and SEO professionals in accomplishing this goal.
Google Search Console is one of the most powerful, free SEO tools out there. But most people never use it for anything more than checking vanity metrics like clicks and impressions. Ahrefs
In this article, we will show you how to properly use Google Search Console to improve your website SEO and get more visitors.
How To Use Google Search Console to Improve Your SEO
1. Finding Low-hanging Keywords That You Can Easily Rank
A lot of your pages may be ranking on page 2 or 3 of Google search results for different keywords. These are the keywords that you can quickly work on to rank higher and get more traffic.
Let’s find out what those keywords are:
In your Performance report, click on the filter icon and then select the ‘Position’ option. Next, you’ll be looking for keywords where the average position is higher than 7. (Make sure you have 'position' ticked in the top tool bar).
Only keywords with an average position of 7 or above will now be displayed in Search Console. To sort the list in ascending order, click twice on the position column.
As you scroll down, you will find tons of keywords that rank between 7 and 30. All these keywords are low-hanging fruits where you can easily rank higher.
When choosing the keywords to work on, you would want to choose keywords based on their number of impressions. Higher impressions mean more search traffic for those keywords.
Now that you have mined the low-hanging keywords with higher impressions, the question is how do you improve your rankings for those keywords?
Here are some tips to help you improve your rankings for those keywords.
1. Improve the content by adding more useful information
The main reason your page isn’t ranking for a keyword is that Google finds other content more valuable. To counter that, you need to review your article or blog post and add helpful content.
Look at the articles ranking on top five positions for that keyword and cover all the information that your article is missing in comparison to theirs. Not just more text, you need to make it more informative and useful!
2. Review your on page SEO
Go back to basics and check you have all the on page SEO elements covered i.e. improving the page by analysing the content, keyword density, title, meta data, readability, links, and more.
3. Increase time users spend on that page
Google considers it a success when users click on a search result and spend time viewing it. This means your content needs to be highly engaging and instantly provide users with the information they were looking for.
Here are some simple things you can do to increase user engagement
- Use images
- Use videos for a more interactive experience
- Share related blog articles
- Make it easier to read with short paragraphs
- Increase your number of internal links
- Add success stories or case studies
2. Optimise pages with high keyword rankings, but low CTR
Not every page that ranks #1 will get 30% of clicks. That’s just the average.
Some will perform better than average, and some will perform worse.
So what we can do is find the pages that perform worse than average, analyse why that’s the case, then see if there’s a way to boost their CTR to get more traffic.
Start by looking and the SEO title and description, to they match the search intent, are they describing relevant content. Does it look up to date? I often see title using the year. If you haven't updated the year the CTR will go down because it will look old.
Next have a look at the sites ranking above you, around you. What are they doing that you're not and see if you can optimise your title/description.
3. Improving Internal Links to Boost Rankings
Internal linking (linking your page to another page on the website) helps search engines understand the context and relationships among different pages on your website. It also helps them understand which pages are important based on how often you have linked to them.
This is why you should make internal linking a habit when writing new content on your website or blog.
Now let’s see how to use the links reports in Search Console to help you build internal links.
In Google Search Console, click on the Links report and then click on the ‘More’ link under the ‘Internal Links’ column. The report shows how often you have linked to other pages on your site.
Go ahead and click the filter icon and then select the ‘Target page’ option.
Search Console will now show you how many pages are linking to this page. You can now compare it with other pages and see whether pages with more internal links are ranking higher than posts with many internal links.
If that’s the case, then go ahead and start adding internal links to pages that you want to rank higher. Make sure you are only linking to the article when it makes sense. Adding links where they don’t make sense would create a bad user experience.
4. Use URL Inspection Tool in Search Console
The URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console provides information about a page if it’s on Google search results or not.
Use this tool to submit any new URL's (so Google knows to crawl the page) or if you have made any page updates. This will help Google to crawl the page quicker rather than wait for a schedule crawl.
5. Learn which content types and topics get the most backlinks
Google has told us this on numerous occasions that backlinks are an important ranking factor.
So getting more backlinks to your content should be a priority if you want more traffic.
But what type of content should you publish to attract backlinks? And what topics should you talk about?
The best way to answer this question is to learn from the content you’ve already published.
To do that, go to the “Links” report, then click “More” on the “Top linked pages” report under the “External links” subheader.
Here you will see what pages have the most backlinks and analysis if it is because of the type of content etc.
6. Update pages that are losing organic traffic
Most pages won’t continue to get organic traffic forever because rankings tend to drop as they become outdated.
Keeping the page updated keeps it relevant to users and Google will then boost the rankings again.
But how do you find pages with diminishing traffic in Search Console?
Go to the “Search results” report, then add a date range comparison to see stats for the past six months compared to the previous six months.
Sort the report by Difference in ascending order to see the pages with the biggest traffic drops.
Then review and updates these pages to try and boost rankings.
7. Find New Content Ideas
With the help of your Google Search Console Search results report, you can find new content ideas and get an idea of the type of content that you should be creating.
By looking at the pages that are ranking on Google, you can see which content performs well on search. This is usually a good indication of what kind of content your audience is really interested in. What kinds of topics can you branch off with?
The report also helps in repurposing your content. Take a look at your top-performing pages and think about converting them into different types of content (video, infographic, podcast, slideshow, etc.) for different platforms.
8. Complete Your Sales Funnel
You should also look for keywords that complete your sales funnel.
There are four types of keywords:
Navigational, where users search for a particular website.
Informational, where users search for the answer to a question.
Investigational, where users search for information that may eventually lead to a transaction.
Transactional, where users are ready to buy.
You need to make sure you have a good mix of keywords especially the ones at the end of the funnel.
Here is an example of they types of keywords that build the full funnel.
For instance, let’s say you’re a bakery. Our example from before, “how to make a vegan birthday cake” is an example of an informational keyword. An investigational keyword might be “what type of egg replacement do I use to make a vegan cake” and transactional would be “buy vegan cakes near me”
What’s the difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console?
Google Analytics is a reporting tool that helps you understand how visitors interact and behave on your website. On the other hand, Google Search Console is a tool for tracking your site’s performance on search engines.
Since both tools are by Google, many people think they’re the same. However, they’re used for different purposes.
With Google Analytics, you can see how many visitors are coming to your website, which source they came from (organic, referral, direct, etc.), which country they’re coming from, and more.
On the other hand, you can use Search Console for:
Making sure your pages are indexed in Google search
Fixing usability issues
Seeing which other websites link to your site (backlinks)
Seeing the search queries (keywords) visitors used to find your website
Submitting a sitemap
Identifying your top organic pages
Making sure your structured data (Rich Snippets) is working
Checking your Core Web Vitals scores
Read this article How to use Google Analytics for SEO to see how you can use GA reports to complement your Google Search Console reporting.
Make Using Google Search Console a Regular Habit
Google Search Console is a powerful free tool that shows a lot of data and insights about your website. If you only occasionally log in to your Google Search Console dashboard to see your overall impressions and clicks, you are unlikely to harness its metrics and tools to their full potential.
Every relevant keyword query represents a new opportunity for your business to earn real customers and clients. And when it comes to iterating on your own website and understanding whether your SEO strategy is on the right track, the accuracy and scope of Google Search Console’s data is unmatched by any other tool