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Building a website for your business or brand is one thing; making it rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs) is another.
For the uninitiated, SEO is where your site and search engines converge. It’s the continuous process of helping search engines (especially Google) discover your site content and rank it higher in their result pages.
It’s a lengthy process and, to a point, a complicated one, with 200 plus tools at your disposal.
Each of these tools has its own data set, comprising of a few unique data points or metrics — and just to remind you, most of them are paid.
Of the 200+ SEO tools at your disposal, there are a few that you cannot do away with. Top among them is the Google Search Console, and by a unanimous vote, one of the best free SEO tracking tools you’ll ever come across anywhere.
What’s Google Search Console
Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster, is a free SEO tool from Google that lets you troubleshoot and monitor your site’s performance on Google search results.
It’s designed to help you know the indexing status of your website, as well as the SEO-related improvements to make. You can use it to identify and fix technical SEO errors on your site, submit sitemaps, view backlinks, and so much more.
Brief History of Google Search Console
Google Search Console was first launched on 20th may, 2015, to replace Google Webmaster.
In January 2018, Google announced that they were releasing a new search console version. This would see to it that the interface receives a complete overhaul.
In September 2019, Google decided to remove the old search console reports.
Consequently, all the homepages and dashboards in the old search console were removed completely.
Why Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a tool for anyone who owns a website.
You’ll be doing your business (leave alone your website) a massive disservice by not using this free tool.
It would help if you had the tool to monitor your web traffic, make data-driven business decisions, and, most importantly, optimise your website for a better ranking in the SERPs.
That being said, the tool has been designed to help you out with the following reports:
- Confirmation that your website can be located and crawled by Google
- Fixing indexing problems
- Sending re-indexing requests for new and recently updated content
- Analysing your Google search traffic
- How frequently does your site show up in the Google search results? Under which search queries does your site show?
- How often do online searchers click through those results? And much more
- Be notified when Google spots any indexing, spam, and any other black hat concern on your website
- Show you a list of websites with links pointing to your website (or the backlinks you’ve so far managed to garner)
- Troubleshoot AMP issues, mobile usability, and any other search-related feature on your website
Who Can Benefit from Using Google Search Console?
- Anyone with a website: It’s simple; anyone with a website has a lot to benefit from using the Google search console.
- Site Administrators: Site administrators can use Google Search Console to monitor your site, solve site loading problems, and resolve server issues like malware or hacking.
- Web developers: Web developers will write your website’s code, but they need Google Search Console to find out if there are any code or markup problems or to find out if there are any data structure issues with their site.
The benefits we’ve just described skirt around how Google Search Console can help you improve your website’s performance in the SERPs.
To put it quite simply, Google Search Console is here to help you out with your SEO campaign. It’s a simple tool designed to help you view your website the same way that Google and its bots do.
How to Set Up Google Search Console
First, you have to sign up for a Google Search Console account. Follow this link to get started.
You’ll be provided with two options on the page that opens up.
Select the first one and enter your domain name minus the HTTP or HTTPS protocol (just your domain name and TLD extension, something like abcdef.com).
Hit “Continue” after you’re done.
The second option works great if you want to restrict your data to a specific URL path, like https://www.abcdef.com/blog
But if you want Google to provide you with a more holistic analysis or overview of your website’s performance in the SERPs, we suggest you go with the first option.
Note that you can still add both the domain name and URL prefix of the same site.
After you click on “Continue,” you’ll be directed to the next page where you’re to verify your domain name in the Google search console.
How to Verify Your Domain Name in the Google Search Console
Google is smart enough to know that some people would want to use its search console to spy on their competition. So, it’s only natural that they would want to verify if you’re indeed the site’s valid owner.
The verification process will differ depending on the property type you selected.
The Verification Process for Domain Property (First Option)
Next to “Instruction for,” hit the dropdown menu to determine if your domain name registrar is among those listed.
The Verification Process for a Listed Domain Registrar
If so, just select the registrar and hit the “Start the Verification” button to proceed. Remember to follow the instructions provided to complete the verification process.
In most cases, you’ll be taken to a page where you’re to sign in to your registrar account and follow the instructions provided to verify your ownership.
Once done, Google will send you a message confirming your ownership verification.
Here’s a message you’ll receive if the verification process is successful:
The Verification Process if Your Registrar Isn’t Listed
The odds are pretty good that your registrar won’t be among those listed, especially if yours is a local domain.
In that case, you’re to select “Any DNS Provider,” the top-most option in the dropdown menu.
Next, in a different tab, sign in to your domain name registrar (such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, Bluehost, and so on). Now go ahead and look for your domain name and the option for managing your Domain Name Server or DNS.
Choose the option to “add a TXT record,” after which you’re to copy the record from Google Search Console and paste it here.
After you’re done, you can go back to Google Search Console and Hit “Verify.”
If the verification returns an error message or fails, keep on trying until it goes through.
The Verification Process for a URL Prefix (the Second Option)
The verification process for a URL prefix is slightly different from that of a domain property.
First, Google provides a few options on how to go about it.
Their default or most recommended verification method involves uploading the HTML file provided to your website. All you have to do is copy the file and paste it on your website, and Google will do the rest.
However, on our end, we suggest that use the domain name provider route. Just head to your domain name registrar, choose your domain, and look for the DNS management option.
Now copy the Search Console text and paste it into the Add TXT record, and that’s pretty much like it.
How to add your website to Google Search Console
Log into your Google account. Take heed to utilize your business (not personal) account if featuring business related webpages.
Enter Google Webmaster Tools editing.
Click “Add a property.”
Select “Website” within the drop-down menu and type in URL of respective webpage. Take heed to utilize the precise URL which displays in respective web-browser strip.
Choose methods to authenticate your ownership of your webpage (HTML document up-load, domain server tag, HTML label, GA tracking coding, or GTM holding segment).
Assuming your webpage allows both http:// and https://, include these as distinct pages. You could additionally include separate domains (for instance, danielfooddiary.com, blog.danielfooddiary.com, or www.danielfooddiary.com).
Google begins tracking data for your site upon your instant inclusion of it within GSC – independent of your verification of your site ownership online.
It provides data analytics to compact business administrators revealing detailed reports of search queries which are pushing users to the website and you might thus access tracking of search visualizations and review clicking and rankings for specific phrases. Content optimization ensures content is organized to connect to widest possible targeting.
Receive alerts and reports from Google: The search console functions as an effective method to connect with Google, because you subsequently get alerts linked to indexing, spam, and alternative problems related to your website. Open Campaigns > Email Notifications. Click the Add Alert button. Click Edit icon to moderate Alerts.
Services: Alerts, updates, reports, indexing, spam
Google can crawl your sitemaps and URLs, accelerating the full search indexing, recording, registering, recording, archiving, cataloguing, reserving, categorizing, grouping, preserving, storing process, progress and making sure that the foundational and pertinent, relevant pages are being indexed within google searches and crawling, reach spanning across the world wide web sphere.
Services: Indexing, archiving, cataloguing, registry, crawling
Improve Search Appearance
One key component to your digital marketing strategy is making use of Google Search Console to improve search appearance of your website. With this tool, you will see how your pages appear in Google’s search engine results page. Improving appearance of websites, it is important to access how results look.
Services: Search appearance, website presentation, page preview, website preview, website cache
Increase Organic Search Traffic
Many small businesses using Google Search Console have a common goal, which is to increase their website traffic. There is a whole section of this free tool specially targeted to search traffic. You will have access to insightful reports that will provide understanding on ways people visit sites via searches.
Services: Increase search traffic, organic search traffic, data optimization, content optimization, target audience
Optimize Content with Search Analytics
Google Search Console offers several distinct statements revealing full, statistical analysis of your website’s rankings, in Google search. You gain details of the actual keywords that have drawn organic traffic to your webpage and detailed Google search rankings. Analytics tell you which queries are trending, and content prevailing in searches.
Services: Search analytics, content optimization, data analysis, data optimization, search rankings
Trouble Shoot Indexing Errors
The index coverage report is another crucial feature of the search console, as it allows you to find and resolve any errors regarding indexing and crawling. Google Search Console enables you to analyse your webpages’ indexing status and troubleshoot any errors its bots have found. This ensures your content’s visibility.
Services: Indexing errors, diagnosing indexing errors, indexing status, site visibility, resolve indexing errors
Get alerts when site issues arise
After you have registered your website with Google Search Console, you will receive alerts for any Google manual penalties or security issues. Once the necessary corrective actions are taken, you can let Google know it has been resolved through the security issues report, upon diagnosis.
Services: site issues alert, manual penalties alert, security issues alert, corrective action, resolve security issues
Use the URL Inspection tool
The URL inspection tool is one of the most popular uses of the Google Search Console and allows you to troubleshoot errors when needed. It is not difficult to use; you simply need to enter your URL and you will see all the relevant information about that specific page, profiled.
Services: URL inspection tool, troubleshoot errors, URL error check, URL site diagnosis, URL site profiling
Analyze your link profile
Another important feature is the Links report, where you will see all the links Google know about, including internal and incoming links. You can also use the disavow tool to get rid of any bad backlinks from Google. Get statistics of backlinks for URL, path, domain, domain hierarchy with subdomains.
Services: Analyse link profile, internal links, incoming links, backlinks, URL links report
Troubleshoot AMP and Mobile Friendliness Issues
A mobile friendly website is not only useful for SEO, but also for an amazing user experience. Google Search Console has mobile usability tools which you can use to troubleshoot any errors relating to Accelerated Mobile Pages and your mobile site. Top view shows AMP pages with issues on site.
Services: AMP issues, mobile friendliness issues, mobile usability tools, troubleshoot errors, mobile site issues
Add and Verify Your Site
Make sure you enter your site’s URL exactly as it appears in your browser. If you support multiple protocols (http:// and https://), or multiple domains (example.com, m.example.com, and www.example.com), make sure you add each as a separate property. Once your site is added, Search Console will begin collecting data, profiling.
Services: Verify site, add site to google crawl, google search reach, google search indexing, data collection
Indicate a Preferred Domain
Indicating a preferred domain tells Google whether you want your site listed as https://www.example.com or https://example.com. Choosing one over the other is not going to give you any kind of advantage in organic search; however, you do want to make sure you choose one or the other, indicate preferred domain.
Services: Preferred domain, site listing, URL listing, URL naming, URL indexing
Integrate Search Console with Google Analytics
Analytics gives you traffic and conversion data; Search Console gives you a look at the causal search factors underlying that data. Linking the two gives you a huge boost in reporting. To link Search Console and Analytics, head to the admin panel at the bottom left of your Analytics dashboard.
Services: Google analytics, traffic data, conversion data, data analytics, conversion data
Submit a Sitemap
Not sure if you have a sitemap? Head to example.com/sitemap.xml. If there is nothing, you do not have one. Naturally, you need to have a sitemap if you want to submit one to Search Console. To let Google, understand, the content your site consists of you must submit to Console.
Services: Sitemap, google indexing, google site indexing, sitemap submission, sitemap crawl
Fix Site Errors
The old Search Console housed the Index Status report in Google Index tab; the new Search Console is in dashboard. Error: Runs through all potential site errors so you can go through and make fixes. These could include server errors, redirect errors, robot.txt errors, 404s, and a variety of others.
Services: Index status report, google index tab, diagnose site errors, server errors, redirect errors
Basically, all the metrics that you see in Analytics when you link to your account to Search Console come from the Performance Report. The Performance Report replaces the “Search Analytics” report in the old Search Console. Besides tracking metrics in Analytics, you can look for opportunities to improve, optimize performance.
Services: Metrics, performance report, search analytics, tracking analytics, search optimization
Boost Specific Pages
Boost specific pages using your most linked-to pages. The most linked-to content on your site is where the most link equity lies. Linking internally to pages you want to boost from those equitable pages is a great way to increase rank. External links section allows sorting number of referring domains.
Services: Boost pages, linked to pages, linking internally, boost ranking, sorting referring domains
Head to “Top linking sites” in your Links Report overview. Expand the list and you can see all the domains linking to your site. Add any low-quality or spammy domains to the file you will upload to Google’s disavow links tool. Per Google, only disavow links you know are toxic.
Services: Reduce spam, disavow links, cut spam domains, remove spam, control spam
These concepts and reports make up the main purpose of Search Consoles utility as an SEO tool. Still, you can of course proceed further. After applying the above steps, you master the Google Search Console. These concepts, reports make up the main thrust of Search Consoles utility as an SEO tool.
Services: SEO tool, Google Search Console, SEO optimization, data optimization, search optimization
Authenticating your Site within GSC
As GSC grants you viewership of sensitive data about a page or app’s statistics (including tracing of how Google reaches that site or app!), you need to authenticate your ownership of page or app initially.
Authentication grants an individual user rights for an individual webpage. You need ownership of minimally one authenticated site-owner per GSC website.
Additionally, notice that authenticating your website does not modify PageRank or its statistics in Google crawls.
Certainly, with extra content volume on the website, capacity for achieving good rankings rise exponentially – however merely including your webpage in GSC will not necessarily elevate your site rankings significantly.
GSC authentication modes
HTML document upload: Upload an authentication HTML document to a particular address for your webpage.
Domain name server: Log inside your domain server (example: GoDaddy, eNom, or networksolutions.com), and authenticate your webpage immediately with GSC or add a DNS TXT or CNAME registration.
HTML label: Include a <meta> tag to the <HEAD> area of a certain page’s HTML composition.
Google Analytics tracking data: Replicate the GA tracking data that you utilize within your webpage. (You require “edit” access in GA for this feature.)
Google Tag Manager holding fragment data: Replicate the GTM holding fragment data affiliated with your webpage. (You require View, Edit, and Manage holding-level access in GTM for this selection.)
Google-hosted pages, covering Blogger and Sites websites, gain instant authentication.
WWW domain or not?
Right or wrong: danielfooddiary.com and www.danielfooddiary.com are exactly similar domains.
The solution? Wrong! Every domain denotes a distinct server; such URLs could appear relatively alike, however viewed from technical angles, they’re two distinct domains.
Still, assuming you enter “danielfooddiary.com” within your web-browsing strip, you’ll link to “www.danielfooddiary.com”. How does this occur?
Assuming you withhold disclosing GSC which domain you select, Google could process the www and non-www copies of your domain as distinct — dividing those page views, backlinks, and traffic into two. Disappointing results.
(Presently you could link to a 301 redirect from your non-preferred domain to your favored site.)
How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Google Search Console
An XML sitemap tells Google bots how to locate and crawl your website content.
Submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console is something we’d recommend for every website owner out there to do.
Technically, you’ll still rank even without submitting it, considering Google will still crawl and index your webpages even with you doing nothing on your end. This happens naturally for a small to medium sized website, albeit slowly.
However, there’s no downside to submitting one.
And sadly, we cannot say the same about large websites, with hundreds of webpages. Submitting a site map can save your site from unreliable indexing, having some of your webpages accidentally dropped from Google’s index, and dealing with non-indexed pages.
4 Reasons for Submitting Your XML Sitemap to Google Search Console
Here are four proposed help guidelines from Google to find out if the idea of submitting your XML sitemap to their search console makes sense:
- If Your Site is Large: Google bots can easily index a small site without missing a single page. But larger sites such as marketplaces and e-commerce stores tend to be a little problematic for them. You may find that they missed indexing some of the pages or accidentally dropped some of them. It’s your job to prevent this from ever happening by ensuring you’ve submitted your XML sitemap to GSC.
- If You Have Archived Some of Your Content Pages: You should submit your XML sitemap to GSC if it turns out you’ve archived some of the pages, have isolated pages, or have pages that aren’t linked together.
- If Your Website is New: If your website is relatively new, and you have yet to build many backlinks, we suggest you submit your XML sitemap to Google Search Console the first thing your site goes live.
Reason being: Google bots often rely on links to locate pages, and the fact that you haven’t begun building these links means they’ll have a hard time getting your website indexed.
- Your Site Features Multi-Media Content: If the bulk of your website’s content consists of videos, images, infographics, or any other type of media content, then it’s only wise that you’d want to submit your sitemap to GSC.
That’s the only way you can be sure Google will be able to index every single piece of content on your site.
How to Add Your XML Sitemap
Adding your XML sitemap to Google Search Console is a no-brainer.
Go to the left sidebar of your Google Search Console’s dashboard and click on “Sitemaps.”
Next, you’re to copy your sitemap and paste it in the box labelled “Add a New Sitemap.” Hit “Submit” once done, and that’s pretty much like it.
You should receive a message from Google confirming that your sitemap has been successfully submitted.
How to Add Users to Google Search Console
Users are the people that you’ve granted access to your Google Search Console’s data, partially or fully.
There are three types of users you can add to your Google Search Console:
- Owner: You’re the default owner of your Google Search Console account. That means you have full control over your search console property. You can add users or remove them.
There are two types of owners: delegated and verified.
- Full User: A full user will be granted access to all the data in a selected property. They can view it and take necessary actions.
- Restricted Users: A restricted user can only view a specified section of your data, with restriction to view some of it.
So, how do you add a user to Google Search Console?
Simple: Go to Google Search Console ~> Choose a Property ~> Settings ~> Users and Permissions ~> Add User (at the top-right corner of the dashboard).
Next, enter their name, email address, and select your permission (full or restricted).
Also, if you’d want to revoke the permission or change it, all you have to do is return here.
GSC users, owners, and permissions
There are dual GSC role-types. I perceive you could exert strain to reach to the relevant content (reveal relevant information) however it is essential to perform precisely .
Owner: A site-creator has complete power over their webpages in GSC.
They may include and delete other users, edit the settings, view complete data, and utilize all tools.
An authenticated site-creator has finished the webpage authentication procedure, whereas a delegated owner has been included by an authenticated webpage. (Designated owners can include other designated site-creators.)
Site-creator: A site-creator may access complete information and perform certain editing, without including fresh profiles.
Complete site-creators could access almost all data and perform certain editing, whereas confined site-creators could merely access major data.
Consider carefully about who may be granted access.
Granting all complete access can turn fatal – you seek no intruders to randomly switch essential settings.
Try to grant your team members as much access and privileges as they require and no further power.
Do you require a site map?
A site map is not essential to turn up in Google search results.
So long as your webpage is arranged precisely (ensuring pages are rationally connected to separate pages), Google has stated that its web crawlers will usually locate majority of your sites.
However there exist four exceptions in which a site map will enhance your site’s accessibility:
It is truly vast. The more pages you have, the easier it is for Googlebot to ignore any edits or enhancements.
It has many “isolated” sites. Any site that has less internal links referred from other pages is harder for a web crawler to locate.
It is novel. Newer sites have few backlinks (links from other sites) rendering them less accessible.
It utilizes heavy media material and/or turns up in Google News.
In these cases, your sitemap renders it effortless for Google to organize and reveal your webpage in search.
Upon your complete construction of your site map, publish it with the GSC site maps manager.
GSC site maps report
After Google has delivered, ranked your site map, it will appear in Site maps report.
Google Search Console: Functional Use
Search console essentially helps SEO professionals and developers track and manage website performance or issues.
Google Search Console has a free version and does not offer a free trial.
How to Connect Your Google Search Console Account to Google Analytics
The process of connecting a Google Search Console account to Google Analytics is simple:
Just head over to the Google Analytics dashboard, and on the left sidebar, click on “Admin.”
Next, click on “Property Setting” ~> “Adjust Search Console.”
On the next screen that pops up, go ahead and click on the “Add” button. You’ll be directed to your Google Search Console account, where you’re to select the website to link to your Google Analytics account.
Hit save after you’re done, and that’s pretty much like it.
That will allow you to view your Google Console data from your Google Analytics dashboard (under the “Acquisition” report).
Google Search Console Vs. Google Analytics: What’s the Difference?
What’s the difference between these two helpful Google tools?
These two tools serve two entirely different functions that we’d like to assume you’re already aware of.
For starters, Google Analytics was designed to provide you with essential data points on your site’s performance, like:
- Who’s using your site?
- And how did they find it?
In which case, Google Analytics will be providing you with the following information:
- The number of people who are visiting your site
- Where are these people visiting your site from?
- How much time are they spending on your site?
- What’s the nature of their visit?
On the other hand, Google Search Console was designed with SEO in mind. It’s less about the traffic coming in, and more about helping you optimise and improve your site’s performance in the SERPs.
It was, therefore designed to provide the following information:
- Which sites are linking to your site?
- Is there any technical error on your site?
- Important information on keyword queries
Therefore, it’s safe to say that Google Analytics is a must-have tool for any website owner, while Google Search Console works specifically for SEO marketers.
What Google Analytics Tracks Vs. What Google Search Console Tracks
What Google Analytics Tracks
Bounce Rates: The number of people that visit your website and leave without checking out any other page or post. They’ll visit your website, read the article they came to see, and leave almost immediately.
Audience Demographic: What kind of people visit your site? Where are they from? Their profession? And what’s their age and gender? The point is to help you understand your audience to know how to speak to them.
Acquisition: How did your site visitors come to find about you? Did they visit you directly? Were they referred to you, or did they come from social media or via email?
Landing Page Performance: Google Analytics will help you understand how your landing pages are performing.
Time spent: How much time are your visitors spending on your site
And so on
What Google Search Console Tracks
Here are seven metrics you can use Google Search Console to track today:
Search Analytics: Google Search Analytics will provide you with helpful information about your website’s performance in the SERPs.
It will break down the following information for you:
- Queries: what keywords are your visitors using to find your site?
- Clicks: The number of clicks that your site managed to attract on Google Search.
- Impressions: The number of people that saw your link on Google search results
- Click-Through Rate: the number of clicks your link got divided by the total number of impressions.
- Position: The average position of your links on Google search results
Links to Your Site: GSC will also show you the number of external links your site has attracted.
Internal Links: This section of Google Search Console will help you make sense of your site’s links and how Google bots are crawling them.
Mobile Usability: If there’s an issue with your site’s usability, Google Search Console will be showing them here.
Top Keyword Queries: The keywords that online searchers are querying into the Google search bar.
Index Coverage Reporting: Google Search Console will also provide you with a report on your sitemap issues.
7 Ways Google Search Console Can Help You Improve SEO
All excruciating details about Google Search Console aside, let’s focus on a few actionable ways can use GSC to improve SEO.
Improve the Ranking for Underperforming Keywords
Underperforming keywords refer to all the keywords you have yet to rank for in position one or two.
They’re underperforming because most online users habitually click on the first two results and ignore the rest. Nearly half of online users don’t even bother clicking on any other result.
Meaning, you’re losing a good chunk of traffic by ranking in a lower position.
Google CTR: Rank Position Vs. CTR
You can see a #8 rank on Google search only attracts a 3.3% Click Through Rate on the graph.
Only 3.3% of searchers will click on your link.
Now, try bumping that keyword rank to position 2, and your Click Through Rate shoots to 17.1%. Let’s not even get started to what happens when you get it to position 1.
Any keyword that falls below position two on Google search is underperforming. Google Search Console offers to help you identify all underperforming keywords on your site to improve their SEO performance.
Here’s a real-time example of how this works:
Assuming the monthly search volume of the keyword in question is 1000.
By ranking at position 8, that means only 33 people out of 1000 will visit your website. But by propelling your rank to position 2, the number of people visiting your site shoots to 171. That’s five times the traffic you’re getting.
Finding underperforming keywords on Google Search Console is a lot easier than you think.
All you have to do is head to Google Search Console and click on “Search Results,” and toggle the “Average CTR” and “Average Position.”
Now scroll down to the queries report and set your rank position filter to “smaller than 8.1.”
You also want to set the results to show in descending order.
Take note of all the underperforming keywords on the list, those whose rank range between 3 and 8.
Next, choose one keyword and click on it to go to its page tab and see how you can optimise it to rank better. First, you have to make sure the page covers the same topic as the keyword. If not, then you might want to revise the page content or consider writing an entirely new copy from scratch.
From there, you’re to perform an internal analysis of the page and see if there’s anything you can do to improve the page’s position in the SERPs. That might mean working on your on-page SEO, getting more backlinks, adding relevant page links, improving the page’s loading speed, and so on.
The point is to look for keywords that have great potential. You know, the type of keywords that, despite ranking poorly in the SERPs, they have still managed to attract a decent number of clicks.
Optimise Pages that Rank High but have Poor CTR
Rank #1 on Google doesn’t always translate to 30+ clicks. That’s just the computed average.
Some of the links will perform better, while others will perform poorly.
Again, you have to analyse your keyword data and optimise all the keywords that rank high but have low CTR.
Again, you’re to head to your GSC Search Results and toggle “Average CTR” and “Average Position Data.”
Next, filter the keywords with an average ranking of 3.1 and below. These are all the keywords for which you’ve managed to rank for in the top 3 positions.
You can rearrange the keywords in ascending order and look for the keywords that have the most impressions but low CTR.
The next thing you want to do is Google for this keyword to see what you can do to improve its CTR.
You’ll know what to do.
Win a Featured Snippet
If one of the results above it features a snippet by any chance, that may mean optimising your page to steal the featured snippet spot.
Rank a Video to Appear in the Video Carousel Section
If one of the results on top of you is a video carousel, then take it as an opportunity to also rank a YouTube video on Google.
The trick is to learn from the links above you.
Run a PPC Ads
If the links above you are mostly ads, that means the keywords have a commercial intent. The best course of action for this would be to run a Google Ad for this keyword.
Fix Sitemap Issues
If there’s an issue with the sitemap that you submitted on Google, then expect it to cause serious SEO problems or even trigger crawling issues.
You could be wasting your time and resources churning out content when, in reality, Google bots are finding it hard to crawl and index your pages.
To find out if there’s any issue with the sitemap you submitted to Google, head to Google Search Console and click on “Sitemap” ~> “See Index Coverage.“
You’ll be provided with a few tabs showing you the number of warnings, errors, excluded URLs, and valid ones.
Click on each tab to fund out more about the issue listed and a few pointers on how to get it fixed.
Note that excluded pages are standard with GSC, and they don’t necessarily translate to an issue. However, warnings and errors always indicate more serious issues calling for your immediate attention.
Find Out Which Topics and Type of Content Attracts the Highest Number of Backlinks
Backlinks are one of the top-ranking factors, next to content quality and freshness.
Google has talked about this, not just once but on numerous occasions.
They should be at the top of your priority list.
You should analyse your content and the topics you’ve covered to find out which ones among them attract the most backlinks.
To do that, you’ll have to click on “Links” ~> “More” ~> “Top Linked Pages” (found under “External Links”).
You can sort the links in descending order to start with those with the highest number of backlinks.
Be sure to study the pages that have attracted the most backlinks and find out what they all have in common.
It could be that pages with original content, videos, or infographics attract the highest number of backlinks.
This should give you an idea of what type of content to create for your blog.
Find out Which Pages Could Use Some Pruning or Need More Internal Links
Imagine having two or more pages with similar content on your site. It helps to link these pages so they can feed off each other.
There are two benefits to this:
- The links might help the newer page get indexed faster.
- It’s an excellent way to transfer your page rank to newer pages so they can rank better.
Look for posts and pages with few internal links on your site. It’s either they’re old or forgotten. So, you’re better off just deleting them since they aren’t adding so much SEO value to your site.
To find pages or posts with fewer internal links, head to Google Search Console and click on “Links” ~> “More” ~> “Top Linked Pages” (Under “Internal Links.”
To look for older posts or forgotten ones, you’ll have to sort out the pages in ascending order
If it’s no longer in-line with what you’re currently publishing, then it’s much better to just delete it.
A quick note, though: Before you delete any page or post on your website, you have to make sure it’s driving little to no organic traffic.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to use a different tool for that. Instead, head on to “Search Result” and filter for that particular URL to check the total number of clicks the link is getting.
If you find out that the link drives a decent amount of traffic, then perhaps you should consider doing the following:
- Adding more relevant internal links to it
- Updating the content by making it more relevant
Update All the Pages that Are Losing or Not Getting Enough Organic Traffic
Pages have expiry dates.
A page might drive a heavy flow of organic traffic up to a certain point, after which the traffic may start to drop.
In most cases, it’s because the content became outdated.
So, what do you do?
You update it.
Go to Google Search Console and click on “Search Results” to find it. Remember to add a date range comparison to see how the traffic stats compare in the past six months.
The only thing we’re interested in finding is the percentage number of clicks.
So be sure to toggle the “Total Impressions” data to clean things up.
The next thing you want to do is to click on pages.
You can sort the differences in ascending order and analyse the links one-by-one.
If it turns out a particular page has received more than 30% less traffic than it did in the last six months, then that shows there’s something amiss with that post and that it could use some polishing.
It could be that the post is no longer relevant and that it could use some little pruning.
Set Your Target Country
If your business targets users from a specific country, you can use Google Search Console to inform Google about it.
All you have to do is head to Google Search Console, and under “Search Traffic,” click on “International Targeting.”
On the page that pops up, go to the “country” tab and select the country that you’re targeting.
However, you have to keep in mind that selecting a country doesn’t necessarily mean your site won’t show up in other countries’ search result pages.
If Google still finds a page to be relevant to users of another country, you can bet they’ll still show it to them.
However, setting your “target country” will inform Google that you’re targeting an audience from a specific country. This may get Google to consider bumping your local SEO score even by a few notches.
Connect Google Search Console (GSC) to Google Analytics (GA)
We suggest you connect your Google Search Console account to Google Analytics to analyse your GSC data in GA.
This should provide you with some new perspective on your best-performing keywords and content.
If you haven’t done so already, you should consider installing Google Analytics (preferably Monster Insights) on your WordPress site.
By doing that, you’ll be able to view your best-performing keywords from GSC directly on your WordPress dashboard.