Over the past year I’ve come to realize how much value Google Search Console brings. Search Console allows you to see if and how people are finding your website through organic search. You can see what search terms they used to find your site and which pages they clicked on. I’m going to show you how to get Google Search Console setup and the key pieces of information you can get out of it.
- How to setup Google Search Console
- “Impressions” vs “Clicks” – understanding your data
- How to Drive more traffic to your website
How to setup Google Search Console
Let’s get your website setup with Google Search Console. Notice that this will depend on how/where you have your website hosted. Navigate to the Google search Console dashboard. In the upper left corner you will see a dropdown menu. Click that and click “Add Property”.
You’ll see a popup that asks you whether you want to verify a url or a domain. Ideally you will want to verify the domain, if you own it and have access to the DNS records (this is usually through a provider like godaddy, Google Domains, or gandi.net). Google will give you some instructions on how to insert a custom domain name record:
If you don’t have access to the DNS records for your site, well, that’s not ideal. But Google will give you several ways to upload some HTML code so that you can verify that way – including through Google Analytics, Tag Manager, or just a good ol’ HTML tag. Keep in mind that you’ll have to create separate ‘sites’ for http vs https if you do it this way.
Once you have your site verified (which you can either do immediately or come back to later), you are up and running. Google Search Console will start collecting data. Depending on how much traffic you have, the Google bot will start to “crawl” your site every few days.
What Impressions and Clicks tell you
Impressions: Whether your website was shown in someone’s search results. This measures whether they scrolled by the search result for your page or not.
Clicks: Whether someone clicked on one of the “impressions” that they scrolled by.
Since you can’t have a click without an impression, this leads us to our next metric:
CTR(Click Through Rate): The percentage of times that when a user sees an impression of your page that they actually click on it.
These values are going to give you an idea of how your site is performing in organic search. After you have been collecting data for a while, you may notice that when your “Total Impressions” goes up, your “Total Clicks” will also go up. Makes sense, right? The more people see your page, the more likely it is that at least someone will click on it (hopefully).
Driving more Traffic to your Website
One of your goals is to make that “Average CTR” go up. If you notice that a particular page is getting a lot of attention, then put that page in the running for getting some SEO love ( I use Yoast SEO) . You will want to make sure that it has great snippet text. If the page has a review of a product, put review schema on that page so that google will give it more pizazz in search results:
By keeping a watchful eye on Google Search Console, you can figure out which pages are getting more attention. That will help you focus your SEO efforts or even content revision efforts to get more clicks and thus more traffic on your website :).
BONUS: The “Average Position” will get better as your SEO gets better
You may be wondering what the “Average Position” tells you. Well, at a surface level it may seem obvious: that’s the average rank of your website in all the search results that have displayed your site. What’s less obvious is that when Google does a search, it sorts what it thinks is most relevant to what someone searched each time. And each time it’s going to be a little different, because each time a users’ search terms are going to be a little different.
If you are doing all the SEO and content for your website solo, just know that the average position will be impacted over time as you improve your SEO. The more you invest in getting those “Total Clicks” up, and the more you make your content great, the more it will help your average position. When you’re ready to up your game and get serious about your digital marketing, shoot me a message on Linkedin!