Google Search Console or what it was known as Google Webmaster Tools is your Go-To Tool for managing and improving your SEO scores. If you are not yet using GSC (Google Search Console) you should read this guide to setting up Google Webmaster Tool
How does using Google Search Console help you?
Using the GSC helps web owners in the following ways by telling them:-
- How people are discovering you on Google Search
- Which geography you are being searched from
- Which specific pages are being discovered on Google
- What specific page position you are being ranked for across search queries
- What is the rank position for the pages on search.
- It gives you an indication of how well your off-page back linking is working
- And lastly if there are any issues in the way you are managing your website
In short, the google search console pretty much gives you an understanding of how your SEO is working and an insight into what you need to do in order to improve your SEO rank position
Let’s take a closer look at the Search Console. This is how your Google Search Console Dashboard looks like. Notice the Yellow Highlighted segment.
The Search Traffic tab should be one of the most visited tabs when you are analyzing your SEO efforts to how your SEO is improving
Search Analytics Tab on Google Search Console Dashboard
The Search Analytics provide for exhaustive information that can be used to check the effectiveness of your On-Page SEO. You can use this guide to set up your On-Page SEO. Using the Search Analytics you can do the following by selecting the appropriate check box.
But first lets understand what these terms mean
Clicks – It indicates the click through that a user has made based on a search query.
Impression– It shows for what specific query or page your website has come up on Google Search
CTR:- stands for Click Through Rate which is calculated as Clicks over Impression as a percentage
Position: That tells you what exactly is the Google Rank Position in which you were shown
While studying your data, you can use the above 4 check boxes to look at each of your data points differently to get better insights.
This gives you detailed information of the specific queries that people have used for which your website has been shown. By selecting Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position, you can get a complete view of each of the query, the number of clicks it got, the number of impressions, its CTR % and above all its rank position
How do you use this information?
Firstly you can determine whether the search queries you are being shown in are the relevant search queries or not. If not, you would propably need to go back and re-do your on-page SEO. If you are using an SEO plugin like Yoast, this would be an easy way to do on-page seo
Secondly, you can check to see which queries are giving you the highest impressions, which are giving you the best CTRs and which queries are giving you high impressions but a poor rank position. A poor rank position means that you’re CTR’s are likely to be low.
You will then need to work on your off-page SEO, improve your On-Page SEO for that query to push up your rank position
Like queries, checking on pages allow you to see which pages from your website came up on search and what specific search queries led that particular page to come up. Again you can select Clicks, Impressions, CTR and position to view the full results as shown in the picture
How do you use this information?
Find out which of your pages have the highest impressions and what position they are in. Remember there are 10 search results on each page of Google. Hence a position like 27.4 indicates that your page is coming up on page 3 of Google Search towards the bottom of the page.
Use this information to improve your Off-page SEO by bringing in more backlinks from high Domain Authority sites and other off-page seo factors can help improve your rank position so that you get better CTR’s and hence better organic traffic.
You can go on step further and check what specific queries were made to show up a specific page on google search.
Select the page you want to do a deeper dive on and then select queries. You will see a chart like the one shown here
This shows for a particular page which came up in search results 3442 times , the specific search queries that resulted in the page coming up.
This is very useful information to better understand if your keyword research has been optimal in terms of the content that you are publishing. Keyword Tools like Google Keyword Tools give you enormous advantage in finding out what people are actually searching for so that you can build your web content around them. You can use this guide to learn how to do keyword research
Another piece of really useful information is to understand is to figure out how you are coming up on search results by geography.
How do you use this information?
You can better understand how your content is stacking up in individual countries. Are most of your search impressions coming from your targeted country?
Again you deep dive into specific country results to see the entire data from the perspective of what queries came up in that particular country. Use this information to see whether the search queries were relevant or not. You can also check the impressions of various pages for that particular country to understand what is working and what is not.
The Devices functionality is fairly straight forward. You can choose to view all the data and better understand which device was being used by the user to discover you on Google Search- Web, Mobile or Tablet
The default setting is turned to show you web only search result data. However you can view the results of Image Search or Video to see how your site is being discovered
This is another very useful feature in Google Search Console as it allows you to look at data points over different periods of time. The default setting is always set to the last 28 days.
You can however choose to view the data over a 90 day period or create your own custom period to see how the data has moved over time for a specific time frame.
The best feature of this section is your ability to compare data points across two time frames like shown in the picture
How is this information useful?
Using the comparison chart you can understand trends much better. For example in the table, comparing last 28 days vs the previous 28 days, one notices that in the United States, the number of impressions have almost doubled, CTR % has increased leading to much higher clicks and overall the position of the site in that country has marginally improved.
You can view this kind of comparison data for queries or for pages, allowing one to get powerful insights on whether you are doing all the right things wrt to your SEO or not.
Links to your Site
One very useful feature of the Google Search Console is the ability to understand how your website is linking into from external domains. One of the important factors that influence off-page SEO is backlinks.
The Google Search Console allows you to keep a track of this through the Links to your Site Tab.
Who links the Most – Shows you the various domains from where you are getting your backlinks from. Click on more to view the full list. It also shows you how many links you have from that particular domain and the number of pages from your website that are linked from that domain
Your most linked Content– This on the other hand shows you pages from your website that have backlinks as shown in the table. Notice that the home page has 40 links coming from 19 different domains.
Obviously the more source links that your pages get from multiple domains the better will be your SEO. You can use the above two information to better plan your off-page back linking strategy.
How your Data in Linked– Show you the anchor text that is there on your backlink. You can use this information to better understand whether these anchor texts truly contextually reflect your content or not.
Internal linking is another critical activity in SEO which can be better understood while reading this guide on SEO . Creating a matrix of inter-links of your various pages contextually helps in boosting your SEO as well as helps to keep users on your site longer.
Clicking on this link shows you
One can see the number of links for each page on your website. The number mentioned indicates that there are these many links across your website that lead to this particular page.
Google Search Console is by far one of the most effective and must-use tool for being and doing effective Search Engine Optimization. Use it, play with it and become a better SEO specialist.