Did you know there is a treasure trove of data in your Google Search Console? This data can help you double your traffic to your website. But before we dive into that. Let’s take a step back and look at what Google Search Console is, how it works and check that you have it installed.

You can use the links below to jump to the section you want to read. Plus there are video explainers throughout.

If you’re already in the know then you can jump right to the treasure trove section.

What is Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service from Google. It helps you to monitor and maintain your website. It also allows you to troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.

Remember Google Search Console is a tool and has no correlation to whether you rank or not. It is merely a tool. 

Difference between Google Search Console and Google Analytics

If you were wondering what the difference between these two tools is, it’s simple. Google Analytics is a tool that is user-orientated. It provides you with data that is related to users that have visited and interacted with your website. Whereas Google Search Console is a search engine-focused tool. Gives you insight into your visibility and presence on Google.

What does Google Search Console do?

Installing Google Search Console

Start by heading to Google Search Console https://search.google.com/search-console/about. If you don’t have an account click Start now.

Next, you’ll be taken to the login screen

Please note that for this step you’re going to need a Google account. Don’t panic it doesn’t mean that you’ll need a Gmail. 

Once you have created an account and logged in you’re ready to create your first property. On the left-hand side of Google Search Console, you’ll see a drop-down. Once you’ve clicked here you will see Add Property.

Setting up URL prefix

There are two ways you can add a property. In the image, you can see there are two types of ways to add a property. One of the ways is adding a property for each of your URL prefixes. For example, a website can have a number of URLs. Here are some examples of our website.

  • http://purplesmudge.com/
  • http://www.purplesmudge.com/
  • https://purplesmudge.com/
  • https://www.purplesmudge.com/

This would mean that you would need to set up four properties.

Setting up Domain

In recent years Google has been kind and provided a way to register a property for your domain. Meaning this will capture all variants of your domain and you only have to set up one Property.

Verifying Google Search Console

Once you have selected which option you want to go with, you will need to select one of the options to verify. Then select Verify when you have made your selection. This will then tell you whether the verification of ownership was successful. 

Woohoo, you have created and verified your Google Search Console account and property.

How to get valuable data from Google Search Console

Now let’s look at how we can start mining valuable data and turning this into traffic increases. Check out this clip from the webinar I presented – SEO Essentials: Double Traffic with Google Search Console. Where I dive in and discuss how to take data from GSC and make actionable decisions to optimise content.

In the following, we will look at Google Search Console and how we can extract data from there to optimise your onsite content.

Start by logging in to Google Search Console.

Then select your property on the left-hand side of the navigation.

Now select Performance on the left-hand navigation.

You will now be presented with the following page.

How to interrogate data in Google Search Console

Here you can interrogate your data in a number of ways, which we will detail below. On this page and under the wording performance on the main screen, you will see you have click, impression, average CTR and average position. Currently, without putting any additional filters in place this data is for the whole of your website.

Step One – Sorting Google Search Console Data

You can interrogate the data in a number of ways now.

Search Type

Firstly you can change the Search Type to specifically look at Web, Image, Video or News. 

We will be looking at Web whilst looking at data in Google Search Console. This is because we are not an image or video-driven website, also we’re not a news website either.

Date Range

Then you can filter by date range. It is automatically set to 3 months. You can see from the screenshot below that this can be changed to look at different date ranges. When looking at data to optimise your onsite content I would recommend looking at the past 6 months.

Additional Filters

Then lastly you can look also add additional filters to check your data. Example in the screenshot below.

Please note that if you select the first two filters; Search Type and Date you can look at your whole website data.

Below are the filters you will see in this table. Here you can view all the Queries, Pages, Countries, Devices, Search Appearance and Date for the website.

What are clicks and impressions in Google Search Console?

You can then jump into Queries for example. Then you can filter the data by clicks or impressions. Clicks represent how many times someone has clicked on your website in Google Search Results. You can also filter by Impressions. This shows you how many times your website has been served to people in search results and they have seen the URL to your website but not clicked.

Here is a great start and see what Queries are getting impressions (people seeing the site) and how many clicks you are getting to the website from those impressions.

One tactic you can take here is to see how many Queries get impressions but little clicks. You can then see where you could start to close the gap. Which of these pages are these clicks and impressions linked with? Do these pages need optimising to increase the use of these Queries on the page?

Also, you may see Queries that are getting impressions and little clicks, you may see that you don’t really cover these Queries and topics on your page or website. This is a great way to start optimising.

Taking this further you can run the same process but this time looking at Pages and not Queries. Which pages are getting good impressions and a little number of clicks? How can these pages be improved upon?

Optimising content with Google Search Console

In this first example, we are going to look at a specific page and see what search queries are associated with this page.

Firstly set your search type, date range and the page you want to look at.

We will be looking at the following page https://purplesmudge.com/keyword-hero-unlock-not-provided-data-in-google-analytics/. 

This page over the past 6 months has seen 27,9k impressions and only 1 click through this webpage. Yikes, there’s room for improvement.

Now you have locked in the page and other filters, you can click Queries

This will let you see all the Queries that are associated with this page. Currently, at the time of writing, there are 184 Search Queries associated with this page. 

Now you will need to see what Queries have been used, discussed and covered on this page. Are there any in this list that hasn’t been covered that the page would benefit from having added and strengthened the topic and SEO of the page? You may also find associated keywords that don’t fit on this page and therefore you may need to ignore these or if appropriate add these to a new page if you feel they are relevant in bringing traffic to the website.

Question-based search queries

Something really interesting that you might find in your search queries list is question-based search terms. These will be searches that start with what, where, how, who etc. If you are seeing these and they are related to your product and business, look to see where you can add these to your current content and/or any new content. We turn to search engines to answer questions, so why not be there with your website to answer these and get ranking?

Optimising Title Tags & Meta Descriptions to increase click-through rate

In terms of optimising, it is recommended that you take the optimisation in a couple of steps. One is that you want to get people to click from search results to your website. This may need you to change and update the Title Tag and Meta Description. These are seen visually from Google Search Results. 

Both of these elements can be used to encourage people to click through to your site to find out more. Here is when optimising these come in. Ensure you test improving your click-through rate from SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

Also, think about what are your competitors doing and track what changes you make to see what is working and what is not.

Title Tags are still ranking factors

Please note that Title Tags are a ranking factor that Google takes into account. Meta Descriptions are not ranking factors anymore, but you can see they still play a big part when it comes to encouraging people to click through to your website.

Secondary to this is looking at the specific keywords that a page is associated with and then seeing what you cover on the page. Can this be improved upon to increase the relevancy of the page but also give the user what they want and expect when landing on the website?

Happy optimising folks!