Among the several free tools created by Google to help businesses succeed in the digital landscape, Google Search Console is another popular choice used by many business owners. It lets you optimize your website for a search engine and gives you a plethora of information vital for stellar SEO. Some aspects Google Search Console can help you with are:
- The keywords your website is ranking for
- The organic search position you’re achieving with these keywords
- How often people click on your website after typing in a query
- Other websites that are linked to your website
But apart from these factors, Google Search Console can help you go through your website’s potential problems. For instance, it can tell you about crawl errors (the pages Google can’t access on your website) or a manual action (if Google has penalized your website because it doesn’t follow the guidelines set by them). Moreover, it can also tell you whether your website is optimized for mobile or not. As a result, Google Search Console is vital for your SEO toolkit. However, while several people know the importance of Google Search Console, few understand how to use it.
Here’s how you can use Google Search Console to improve your SEO strategy.
1. Find the Keywords You’re Ranking For
Google Search Console has a performance report with several free bits and pieces of information that you can use when devising an SEO strategy for your business. One of these key performance indicators is the keywords that your website ranks for. To see this, you’ll have to click on the “Queries” tab.
To see the keywords you’re ranking for, click on “Performance” and then scroll down. Keep scrolling, and you’ll see every keyword that you’re ranking for and every keyword that has shown up when anyone looks for a product or service related to yours.
2. Go Through Your Performance Report
The Performance report you can find on Google Search Console is a lot similar to the one you can find on Google Analytics. Apart from the keywords you rank for, you can also use this report to find out your prospective customers’ organic search behavior and in-depth insights about your ranking.
The goal of checking this report is to look for any red flags – inappropriate keywords and pages that users aren’t likely to click – so you can optimize those pages and improve the organic rank for your website. You can also see how your changes affect your website over time because Google allows its users to track data from the past 16 months. Go through this report repeatedly and use it to get more clicks and improve your ranking.
3. Keep an Eye On the Index Coverage Status
The Index Coverage option on Google Search Console will show you the pages on your website that can’t be indexed. It lists the number of pages that are indexed on your website and will also alert you to the errors that came up while indexing. For most SEO experts, going through the index coverage status will only take a few seconds. That is because as SEO experts start posting more content on their websites, the index coverage status keeps changing.
So, even though the information this feature can provide to you is brief, it is incredibly useful. Some red flags that can be included in this report are:
- Changes in formatting or tagging that can cause a spike in indexing errors
- A significant reduction in the number of indexed pages without indexing errors, which can happen because noindex pages or robots.txt are blocking crawlers from the Google search engine
- Low index rates – several SEO specialists figure out that the pages they once thought were visible aren’t even indexed with the help of the Index Coverage status!
An indexing problem often means that your IT department has their work cut out for them. Complex problems like these can take a day’s work to solve. Another thing you could do is check this report repeatedly and move on when every page has been indexed, listed and is reportedly healthy.
4. Optimize the Meta Descriptions and Titles on Low-Click Pages
Getting caught up in several complex metrics that begin to pop up slowly is easy when your SEO strategy starts to expand. However, you must maintain a growth mindset that focuses on consistent improvement. This will save your website and your business from plateauing as several golden opportunities pass by.
For instance, check the pages on your website that have low click-through rates but high impressions. This means that you’re ranking well for these pages, but no one’s clicking on them. What’s the point of ranking high on Bing, Google or Yahoo! if no one’s clicking your website?
To prevent this from happening, take out time to review the meta descriptions, titles and other SEO elements on these pages. You can improve your SEO in just a few seconds by adjusting the meta’s content in the SEO plugin on this page. When the click-through rate improves, it will immediately improve your ranking – or at least stop Google from letting you drop in the rankings if users stop clicking on your website.
It may also increase revenue for your business!
5. Check if Your Website Has Any Penalties
If Google thinks that your website is violating any guidelines, it may issue manual action on your website. Because of this, your website may get removed from the search engine’s index. Typically, this happens if you’re buying backlinks, stuffing your content with keywords, posting low-quality content, or have sneaky redirects on your website.
Whether you’ve hired someone for your website’s SEO or are doing it yourself, you should check if Google has issued a manual penalty against you. That said, you can also be given a manual penalty for the things that other people have done to your website. If Google believes that your website was hacked, it can be removed from its index. This can also happen if your website is full of misleading comments that forced the visitors to redirect to different websites.
Hopefully, manual penalties won’t be a serious concern. The only time you should check them is when your website traffic drops drastically suddenly, and you aren’t sure why it’s happening.
6. Track the Performance of a New Website
When you have a new website, it’s not going to have a lot of data and won’t necessarily get a lot of traffic, but you can still learn a lot by checking the impressions on your website with the help of Google Search Console. If your website’s impressions are improving, it means the keywords you used are working, and your website is moving up in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Down the road, this will eventually translate into more clicks and increased traffic on your website.
But if the impressions are starting to flatten out and traffic is going down to zero, you may have to try a different strategy to boost your SEO.
7. Monitor Issues Pertaining to Mobile
Monitoring mobile pages can seem like a chore. It’s time-consuming, and it can be difficult to make standard web elements work swiftly on a mobile’s GPU. But on the other hand, we don’t feel the need to tell you how important it is to optimize your website for mobile. Experts once considered traffic from mobile to be the “wave of the future.”
But if you’ve been attentive, you’d know that the future is already here, and it’s knocking on our doors. The blazing-fast growth of mobile data and smartphones, in general, has changed how we use the internet on the whole. According to research, most of the traffic on websites globally now comes from mobile devices. Desktops no longer rule, so adapting to the new rhythm isn’t just a good practice anymore – it’s a necessity.
To ensure you’re ready, click on “Mobile Usability” and see if there are any usability issues that are impacting your performance. Ensure that you keep tabs on this page. It’s where most of your traffic comes from!
Google Search Console is a powerful free tool that can greatly improve your SEO strategy. It shows in-depth insights about your web pages and the data on them. But the biggest limitation is the fact that SEO is a multi-player game. Businesses that reach the top spot understand how all elements combine and they know how to analyze these different metrics.
So even though you have all kinds of information at your disposal, how will you know how to use it? We rely on research and strong market analysis to help your business stand out from the competitors.