How to Use Google Search Console to Improve SEO
This series of posts has been devoted to untangling the complexities of certain tools available for tracking site performance. It’s gone into the ins and outs of Google Analytics and how it can help you manage your website. It’s also started to scratch the surface of Google Search Console. Another element to learn about is using Google Search Console to improve SEO.
Google Search Console offers a range of benefits for anyone managing websites of all shapes and sizes. From domains offering free online content, to simple online stores, Google Search Console is invaluable. That’s because the data it provides helps site owners get actionable insights. Information about your site and its search presence can be used to boost performance.
Read on to learn how Google Search Console data can help you improve your meta-data and your keyword targeting. Improvements in both of those areas can have a profound impact on your site traffic. What’s more, Google Search Console can help you accurately track the impact of the changes you’ve made.
Previous posts in Google Search Console Series:
Data You Can Gain From Google Search Console
Google Search Console features a lot of different reports and features. It allows you to access a range of data about how your website is performing on Google. An earlier post in this series ran down the basic information you can get and where to find it on Search Console.
The most applicable report for improving site traffic is the Performance Report. Through this report, you can access a list of search queries used to find your site and/or a list of your site’s pages. There are then four principal metrics displayed for each query or page. Those metrics are as follows:
The number of times someone searching on Google clicked on one of your pages for a query. Or the number of clicks each of your pages received.
How many times your pages were featured in a Google search. Either overall or for a certain query.
CTR (Click Through Rate)
The percentage of all the searchers who viewed your page in a search result, who then went on to click the page.
Where in the search results your content appears for a search query.
Through those four metrics, Google Search Console tells you a huge amount about your site. You can use this information to get more traffic to your pages. There are a couple of straightforward ways to do this, which we’ll now cover in a little more detail.
Optimizing Meta-Data to Get More Clicks
Meta-data is an important aspect of any site’s SEO. It has two main purposes. Those are to let Google know what pages are about, and to give searchers a preview of what they’ll find on pages. Even with smart devices, Google can’t automatically understand your content. You need to give the search engine a little help. And making your meta-data relevant and informative is one way to do that. In concert with that, to get people to click on your pages, you need to make the content look interesting.
What is Meta-Data?
Meta titles are the blue titles that appear in the search results, and meta descriptions are the text underneath. Google Search Console can help you to identify the pages on your site where your meta-data can be improved. Those pages will normally have a high number of impressions but a low click through rate (CTR). That means lots of searchers are seeing a link to your page, but few choose to click it.
Optimizing your meta-data can increase the number of clicks your pages get. If the changes you implement make your content look more appealing then you will receive more traffic to your site. This is an easy SEO win to get more visitors to your pages. Easy wins like that aren’t common, so should be grasped when available. Especially when you consider just how much good SEO can cost any business.
What Makes a Good Meta Title or Meta Description?
The best titles are short, punchy, and specific. They catch the eye and tell searchers what the page is about, without being so long that Google cut them off. Such titles are most likely to pique a searcher’s interest and persuade them to read your meta description. Ideally, your headline should include the keyword or phrase you are targeting.
Your meta description should be clear and concise but create a sense of urgency. It’s good to end the description with a Call To Action (CTA), to make a person want to click on the result. If you need any guidance, Google offers a few of their own tips.
Identifying New Keywords to Target
A page-level analysis of the queries for which your site is ranking is another way that you can use Google Search Console to improve SEO. You can find out how well your pages are ranking for specific queries and keywords. This will give you some great ideas of new keywords you might look to target.
When analyzing this data you can see all of the keywords that you are ranking for on a page. Many of the keywords that you are ranking for, you will never have optimized your content to target. To review a page just click on a URL from the page tab.
Then follow these steps to improve your rankings for phrases you could rank better for:
- Identify keywords for which you are not ranking well. These will be keywords you weren’t targeting where your position is 10+
- Make a list of these keywords (you can always export the list)
- Insert these phrases into your content a couple of times in the page content
- Use those keywords as your anchor text for the links you create to that page in link building campaigns
By following the steps listed above you can increase the amount of traffic coming to your website. That is essential if you want to profit from your blogging efforts. These are easy ways to optimize your content in the search results that you can control.
Tracking Your Efforts
As you use Google Search Console to improve SEO and make changes to meta-data and content on your site, you will need to track the impact that it has on your search results. You can also do this with Google Search Console. All you have to do is to compare search results from before you made a change to after the change was implemented.
To do this follow these steps:
- Click on the page that you want to track
- Click the Date button, which appears on the menu above the graph
- Press the compare tab on the lightbox and select your preferred date range
You can find a screenshot below of the compare tab.
The final step is to click apply and then head to the queries tab. The table and the graph will reveal how your search rankings, CTR, and other metrics that Google Search Console measures have changed over time. If your metrics have improved, then you know the changes you made had a positive impact. If the metrics worsened, you will need to think about how to improve your results.