Using Google Search Console to Improve Your SEO

Google Search Console (GSC) (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a free online resource of tools and reports that Google makes available to users to help them improve their websites and optimize them for search. If you have a website, you should be using GSC—or using an agency that can help you uncover valuable insights to help improve your website performance.

The Big Benefits of GSC

Why do you need to use GSC? Because it’s a powerful and comprehensive source of information about how your website is performing. GSC works to both help you improve the things that are working well for your site and uncover (and fix) the things that aren’t. GSC can help you find ways to drive more traffic and eliminate errors that are limiting your traffic or, in essence, causing you to be “hidden” from Google bots.

In addition to monitoring metrics about who is visiting your website, the devices they’re using (e.g., laptop, tablet or smartphone), which pages are visited most, and which pages keep people engaged the longest, GSC will also help you find and fix errors that might be impacting your website’s traffic and performance. While there are a variety of other tools (some free, some requiring a purchase or subscription), GSC is a powerhouse that every website owner can have access to—at absolutely no cost.

How GSC Helps You Improve Your SEO

There are a number of things you can do (free) through Google Search Console to improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Whether you’re a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) organization, these tips can help you build traffic, engagement and downstream sales.

Improve rankings for underperforming keywords.

What keywords are driving traffic to your website? Google Analytics used to provide that data, but stopped doing so some time ago. With GSC, though, you can drill down to find out the keywords driving traffic to your site. Then, after analyzing that data to identify the best performing keywords, you can then incorporate those keywords into your content to help boost performance.

Optimize CTR on pages with lots of traffic.

With Google Search Console you can generate a list of impressions and CTR for your website ranked in order of number of impressions. Then identify pages that are not performing well by looking for those with a lot of impressions but low CTR. Improve those pages by making sure that your most important keywords are showing up in the right spots – e.g., in meta descriptions and title tags, for instance, or by adding relevant internal links or backlinks.

Fix sitemap issues.

Your sitemap is an important tool that allows Google (and other search engines) to understand what’s on your site so they’re better able to “crawl” the pages of your site. This will boost the odds that your website and its pages show up in search results (and hopefully higher in SERP). All too often, though, sitemaps have errors that keep them from being crawled. GSC will help you identify and fix those errors. Just go to the Sitemaps report and you’ll see tabs that will show you errors, warnings, valid and excluded URLs.

Discover topics and content that gets the most backlinks and create more.

Analyzing your backlinks (incoming traffic from other sites that link to you) can give you some good insights that you can use when creating new content. You’ll be able to identify the sites that link to you and the keywords that are being used by these backlinks. Some links are better than others—and some are simply spammy! GSC will help you identify links that come from suspicious or downright spammy places so that you can disavow those links—basically letting Google know that you do not support the link.

Optimize pages that are losing organic traffic.

When we think optimization we often think about text-based content. There are other types of content to think about these days, though—like visual content and voice search, for instance. Evaluating trend data from GSC can help you identify pages that are losing traffic giving you the opportunity to consider new ways to get those numbers back up again.

Discover your mobile keywords.

Mobile is big and getting bigger. According to comScore, 50% of all searches will be done via voice by 2020. Understanding how users are searching via their mobile devices can help you discover keywords to optimize that traffic.

Pinpoint security issues.

There are bad players in cyberspace and your website is continually at risk of those players hacking your site, introducing malware or scams that can give your site a bad name. GSC will flag any security issues and help you address any issues that emerge.

To check if pages need to be indexed or reindexed.

If you’re adding content to your website (and you should be doing this on a regular basis), you’ll want to ask Google to index new pages and/or reindex pages that have new content. Through GSC you can ask Google to recrawl your URLs to ensure that they’re ready to be found.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the type of information that you can glean from GSC to help you improve website performance and SEO. But these are some of the most important areas to focus on and a good starting point. Of course, small-business owners are understandably focused on their unique business demands and often don’t have time to learn about new tools—even free tools like Google Search Console that can help build business by boosting SEO.

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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