One of the questions our clients ask all the time is:
“How can we increase our organic traffic?”
Most of them have heard of search engine optimisation (SEO) and know that it can help them rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs.) However, they don’t know what they need to do to get there. Some of them think it all goes down to grinding: working hard for months on end and hope to see some significant results in the end. Others, decide to tackle this problem by throwing money at it and investing in state of the art tools that give them valuable insights about every metric on their website.
The reality is that SEO takes a lot of hard work and a few sophisticated tools can definitely make the job easier. But, what matters most is how you put those tools to work to benefit your long-term growth strategy.
Take Google Search Console as an example. It’s a prime example of a powerful tool used poorly. Although GSC can give rich data regarding a website’s performance, most people use it solely to check vanity metrics like clicks and impressions. We get it, seeing one of your blog posts getting traction can provide a deep sense of accomplishment. But, these numbers don’t tell the complete story, and focusing on them won’t help you improve your SEO.
In this guide, we’re going to show you how to use Google Search Console to get the most out of your SEO efforts.
You might also be interested in HOW TO IMPROVE AN SEO RANKING IN ONE DAY
What Is Google Search Console?
Previously known as Google Webmaster, Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to track a website’s search engine performance. You can use this tool to find and fix technical problems, submit sitemaps, tweak structured data, and find new opportunities for SEO growth. Simply put, GSC is there to show you how your web pages are performing and what you can do to improve them.
Here are some of the benefits of using the Google Search Console to its full potential:
- Ensure that Google will access your content;
- Discover which queries have propelled your web pages at the top of the search engine results pages;
- See what pages have linked to your site;
- Index new content;
- See if some keywords are performing better than others;
- Monitor and fix technical problems;
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
How to Use Google Console to Improve Your SEO
One of the things we love most about SEO is the wealth of data available at our fingertips. Just by logging into the Google Search Console, we can get a comprehensive view of how a website is performing and what we need to tweak to get more search traffic.
Here’s what you should pay attention to if you want to improve your SEO.
Look for Underperforming Keywords
Most business owners know that internet users rarely click on the second page of search engine results. However, few of them are aware of the massive difference in clicks between the first ten pages on the first page of Google search results.
Here’s a breakdown of the numbers.
According to one study that looked at over 80 million keywords and billions of search results, the first organic result in Google has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 28.5%. The second and third positions have an average CTR of 15% and 11% while the tenth position only gets 2.5% of clicks.
So, while you may be happy that a page on your site is among the first ten results, the harsh reality is that most users don’t look past the first two or three results.
Google Search Console can help you identify the keywords that perform well, but not well enough to get your page among the first results.
Here’s what you need to do.
Go to the Search Results results and toggle the average CTR and average position tabs. Next, go to the Queries report and set the average ranking position to 8 to get a list of the keywords that are in the top 8 results, but not high enough to boost your CTR.
Here’s an example. Let’s imagine that you go through the performance report and notice that “second-hand strollers Sydney” is a good keyword for you, but it’s only ranking 5th and getting an average CTR of 2.4%.
So, you go to that page and see what you can do to improve its SEO. You add some more relevant internal linking, optimise the images, update the content, and so on. All these tweaks can help you improve your ranking and get more clicks to your page.
Look for Sitemap Errors
Most people think that keywords are the most important ranking factor, but the sitemap is equally valuable.
Opp A sitemap lists the most important pages on your website, making sure that Google can find them and crawl them.
Just ask yourself this: how is Google finding the pages that offer the best answers to a search query?
It uses bots to crawl pages, analyze the content, and decide where to display it in the search engine results. The problem is that sometimes, these pages have broken links or errors that make it difficult for Google to find them.
Google Search Console will show you all the sitemap errors that may confuse Google, causing you to rank lower.
Go to the Sitemap report, click on the button next to the sitemap, and then hit the See index coverage tab. There you can see the errors and the pages that are being excluded. Click on their errors to see which pages are affected and how.
For example, if you’ve moved a web page to another URL address, but didn’t take the necessary steps to ensure that your visitors will get to the right page, then this error will show up in your GSC report. You can fix the problem by using a 301 redirect to (1) indicate crawlers that you’ve permanently moved a web page to another location and (2) redirect visitors to the right content.
Take a Close Look at Your Internal Links
It’s common knowledge that backlinks are an essential ranking factor. The logic goes: if other websites link to your page, then it must mean that your content is helpful and relevant.
But, it’s not only the backlinks that can help your SEO. Your internal linking can make a big difference too in how well your site is performing.
That’s because internal links help Google understand your site’s structure better. They can help you establish a hierarchy and tell the search giant which are the most important pages on your website.
So, if you’ve just published a new article about “how to prune roses” and you already have a page about “roses pest control,” then it would make sense to link the two pages for two important reasons:
- It will help the page get indexed faster;
- Google will transfer page rank to the new page, which may help it rank higher in the search results.
Besides making sure that new pages are linked, you should also have a look at old, forgotten content that doesn’t have any internal links. You can either update this content or delete it altogether as leaving it there will only affect your SEO.
From the GSC dashboard, go to the Internal links report and click on More under the Top linked pages tab. There you can see which pages have no internal links, what you can delete, and what needs improving. For example, if you find pages with little internal linking that are still performing well, see what you can do to optimise it better. You could, for instance, update the content and add more relevant links to the page.
Optimise the Pages That Are Losing Organic Traffic
SEO requires ongoing work. If you published an article that is performing well now, it’s not a guarantee that it will get the same organic traffic a few months down the line.
Google Search Console can help you find these pages and update them so that they remain relevant.
In the Search results tab, add a time frame to compare results and see how your website is evolving. You can, for example, compare the last six months to the previous period to see the difference in organic traffic that your website is getting.
Let’s imagine that you’ve written an article about “the best SEO strategies to drive organic traffic” that received quite a lot of traffic. However, your ranking for this article has been dropping significantly over the past six months. The problem is that you’ve published this article over two years ago and some of the tips you’ve included are now outdated. So, it may be worth it to update the article with the latest news in SEO and see if you can rank high again for your keywords.
Do You Need Help with Your SEO Strategy?
We like to think that search engine optimisation is ultimately about humans. Yes, most of the tweaks in this article are meant for robots, but the ultimate goal is to improve the user experience and offer your target audience the best answer to their queries.
Google Search Console is a powerful tool that can offer rich results regarding your website’s performance. But, don’t get stuck in the numbers. If despite all the modifications you are making, you still can’t see any results, then it may be time to revise your content. Because, in the end, if your content is weak, then no amount of SEO will make people want to read it.
Do you need help getting more organic traffic to your website? Then, our experts at Australian Internet Advertising are here to help you. Our SEO packages are designed to help businesses get at the top of Google search results, get you more customers, and increase sales. We can help rank in Google within 60 days or we will work for free. That’s our guarantee.