So whats your plan? – To just keep on writing posts without actually knowing how well these posts are performing? – Well if that is the plan then you better don’t write at all, because at the end you are loosing out of a great traffic source due to poor optimization strategies.
Before now you would probably have to pay for a premium tool to give you these figures but you can now get this values right in your search console totally free of charge. is it a new feature? No – we just didn’t figure it out on time.
SEO in 2018 is no joke, I have seen top blogs begging for traffic, If you can’t go along with the latest practices then you are going to lose a portion of your traffic to someone who cares.
If you don’t want to beg for traffic, then you need to start making use of SEO tools.
Introducing Google Search Console the right tool to analyze the performance of all your posts based on top ranking keywords, posts clicks, impressions, Click through rate (CTR) and SERP position.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console formerly known as Google Webmasters is a free tool provided by Google to webmasters (site owners, bloggers, developers etc) to provide the right data needed to analyze the performance of a webpage, blog or website in terms of traffic, indexing and errors.
With the Search Console, webmasters get a full access to what errors their site is encountering, which posts have been indexed, how posts are performing, etc.
You also analyze AMP pages and rich snippets displayed in different sections of your blog. The search Console is really powerful and I have been a crazy fan of it for years now. Technically, all bloggers should be.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all the practices that help you rank your blog for a specific keyword, The Google Webmaster tools take part in SEO by helping you analyze the performance of your blog.
The only way you can actually improve your SEO strategies is to get an analyzed data of your ranking performance. Maybe before now, you were getting this data on your site traffic dashboard.
But then, it doesn’t provide all the needed data such as SERP position, clickthrough rate, impressions and with these values, you can boost up your organic traffic.
How to use Google Search Console
The google search console is completely free for all bloggers but first before you start using the webmaster tool, you need to 1. Own a blog and 2. Have a Google account.
I believe, you already own these two requirements. Next, is to integrate Google search console to your blog. This will help google fetch out useful information from your blog.
what is google search console integration
Google Search Console integration is a very simple process of connecting your blog to Google search console, Integration should take you less than 5 minutes to carry out.
#Step 1 – Go to Search Console Dashboard (if you are not signed into your google account, use the blue button at the top to sign in)
#Step 2 – After login, The above section will come up. Input the URL of your website and click on “Add a property” – If your site has various versions (https://www, https://, http://www and http://) then you need to verify all of them.
#Step 3 – On this page, Click “Alternate Methods” >> “HTML Tag”. (there are other ways which are listed to verify it, choose whichever one you prefer, but in this post, we are using HTML tag). Copy the HTML code, visit your website dashboard and place it just below the <head> tag and save.
#Step 4 – Wait for a few minutes (max 5) and click on the “Verify” button on the search console page. Hopefully, if you did everything well, your site should get verified ASAP.
That’s all for integration, Next is to submit your blog Sitemap.
What is a site map in SEO?
A sitemap is a list of all your blog posts, pages, products etc links in form of an XML file. The Sitemap help to improve SEO, by helping the search console fetch your blog posts quickly.
These posts are then submitted for indexing, saving you from the stress of manually doing it, or waiting for Google to take months in discovery each of your posts individually.
How to Add Sitemap to search console
Select your site from your Google Search Console dashboard.
Locate & Click ADD/TEST SITEMAP.
Type sitemap.xml after your domain name.
Info: It will take Google Webmaster a few days/weeks to analyze your blog and bring all the data to the dashboard. For now, you can not use it to improve SEO.
I recommend you wait for a few days/weeks till after all your data have been synchronized in that way you can get full access to what you need. Once your data comes up, just continue with the below tips.
Search Console Tools to Help Improve SEO.
Google Search console is divided into sections, and we are going to use these sections step by step in other to take full advantage of the service and not confuse ourselves.
Navigate to Search Analytics
#Section 1 – Search Analytics
The search analytics is one of the most useful SEO tools in webmasters console and unfortunately, many bloggers still don’t have an idea about it.
In here, you get all your traffic details (CTR, Impressions, SERP position, Clicks and top ranking keywords). With these details, you can improve on your SEO tricks based on pages not doing well and pages doing extremely well.
By default, it shows posts with Clicks only, So let’s make it show both impressions, CTR and position in the SERP your post is ranking for that keyword.
Select the options as shown in the image above. And let it reload.
That was simple right?
Now, a list of the keywords your blog posts are ranking for, its impressions, clicks and also it’s position in the SERP will be displayed.
Good one right?
Well, it doesn’t stop, apart from viewing your keywords, you can also check out your blog posts themselves, see which posts are getting the highest clicks, which countries they are coming from etc.
How to see which post is getting the highest clicks.
Google Analytics also makes this easy to do, in the same dashboard where you checked for keywords, you can also check for individual posts.
As shown in the image, above instead of Queries, select “Pages” and let it reload. Google search console will now display a list of your posts URLs, their clicks, impressions, CTR, and position in the SERP.
Another good one right?
How to know the countries majority of your traffic comes from
Next tip, is to actually know what percentage of our website traffic is coming from various countries based on search queries.
This, in turn, tells you the countries where your blog posts rank well in the search engine results.
What is the need for this data?
The countries you rank for determine a lot about your blog, which includes your AdSense CPC. Using CPC (Cost per click) to analyze other aspects.
Different countries have different CPCs. Countries like the USA, UK etc have a very high CPC even up to $50 depending on the value of the keyword you are ranking for.
While some other countries such as Nigeria, India etc have very low CPC, therefore, for the same keyword where you would earn $50 per click for a US visitor, you could earn $0.03 per click for that same keyword.
This is where the location of your visitors matters a lot, and with this free tool you can easily check it out and optimize your site based on the countries bringing you traffic.
If you get a majority of blog traffic from Nigeria, then advertising a local product might earn you more money from blogging.
Hopefully, you understand the need for this data. So let’s continue.
On the same dashboard, instead of “Pages” click “Countries” to display the list of countries your blog posts are being displayed on search queries.
See what devices your visitors are using
Why would you need to know this? – Knowing the device your visitors are using will help you optimize your website for better traffic and leads.
If a high percentage of my visitors are using Mobile phones, then in other to improve my Earnings (Adsense, affiliates, products etc) I would have to make my site more optimized for mobile in terms of responsiveness, ads placements etc.
To see which devices your visitors are using, Click “Devices” and a list which entails Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile will be displayed with values you need.
See how your AMP pages and Rich Snippets are doing
In my recent post, I talked about AMP pages and how well they are bringing in traffic for those that moved. Now, this section helps you see if truly your AMP pages are driving traffic.
Google search console, will actually compare the 3 data (AMP pages, Rich snippets, and AMP non-rich snippets).
How does this data help? – Google always want you to know whats working well for you, and also as a blogger, you should strive to know because, by analyzed data, you can you prove on your old tactics.
Rich snippets in case you don’t know what it means, are those star ratings you see below posts especially products on search results. There are various types of rich snippets e.g product, review, article etc.
If you opted-in to use these rich snippets and AMP pages then your intention is either to increase SEO or improve CTR.
So, Google actually provides these data for you, to help you see which is better for you, is it AMP or non-AMP, rich snippet or non-rich snippet.
To get this data, just click on “Search Appearance” and your information will be displayed. If you don’t use either AMP or rich snippets then you no data will be displayed.
We have talked about devices, keywords etc. The last part we will talk about is date!. This section is really powerful.
What if I said, you can see how your blog posts performed for each day, week and month? – Cool right but then that isn’t my favorite part of it.
What I love most is the date comparison option – More like this week vs last week, last month vs this month etc all in terms of CTR, impression, Clicks and SERP position. These data can really help you improve your SEO. If I find out that last week performed better than this week, then something is going on and I need to optimize.
If last week earned higher impressions, it gives me two questions 1. are my posts dropping in SERPS? and 2. has the search traffic for this keyword reduced? – which will determine my next step.
These data can so much improve your blog. Without these data, you would just keep on writing and won’t have an idea about how your posts are performing.
To set the date range
Click “Dates” and use the filter below it to search for “set date range”. You can get values for a week, month and also set your own value using custom.
To compare dates.
Click “Dates” use the filter below it to access “compare date range” and choose between comparing last 7 days (a week) or last 28 days (a month). You can also choose a custom date.
Getting all those data was easy right?. would you like to download them?
How to download Google Console data
I really don’t need to explain the reasons to download such data to an SEO expert but I will explain it to you.
Keywords are the backbone of your traffic stat because they are what you rank for. If you have a good knowledge of the keywords you are ranking for then you can drive in more traffic.
You could decide to work on the posts giving you low traffic, by writing good meta tags, writing a better title etc.
Also, with the data, In another post, we are going to check out the competition for these keywords and also how much we are likely to earn per click for Adsense users.
To download these keywords, Click on “Queries” >> Scroll down and hit the download button. Do same for all the data you wish to download.
Hope that was easy?
What to do with these data?
Assuming, you found a post with high impression but low clicks thereby causing a CTR drops (let’s say 12%), what you then need to do is to, visit that post and find out what is wrong with.
It could also be that the post is well optimized but its competitors are taking all the clicks with tools such as rich snippets, AMP and even jump to paragraph links.
This tells you only one thing, to improve the structure of your posts, either by also moving to AMP, enabling rich snippets or add the TOC widget to your blog which displays optimized title links below posts in the search result.
One other problem could be that the position your post is being ranked for is low, let’s say 6th position, therefore it is not exposed for clicks.
One solution is to edit the entire posts, if it was less than 1000 words, add more relevant information and increase it to about 2000 words.
What if that doesn’t work, you will have to work on getting backlinks for that post and not just that get more social shares for that post.
Hopefully, the above solutions should have you archive about 26% increase in organic traffic. Though you might not see an increase at all because some of these keywords could be extremely low in traffic which brings us to keyword research.
#Section 2 – Links to Your Site
Google decided to show that of a truth, that Backlinks are important for SEO and ranking by adding a section to it’s console to display the number of links directed to your blog.
This platform displays all links both the do-follows and no-follows to enable get proper insights.
Backlinks in SEO
In the recent SEO research by Yoast, Backlink was listed as one of the top criteria to rank. Why backlinks? – Backlinks initially are supposed to act as a reference made, credits are given etc.
Coming to common terms. If friend 1 tells you, Blogging Prince, is good, and another friend says the same, then it likely you will assume Blogging Prince is Good. right?
That’s the same with links. Backlinks are attribution points and this is why Google places so much value on it.
Knowing that let’s see how many backlinks are directed to your blog and how to add more.
How to check the number of backlinks.
Checking the number of backlinks can be done with Moz tools, Semrush and we can also do it with the Google Search console, all you need to do is Click Search Trafic >> Links To Your Site.
Links to your site will be displayed, all your most linked content will be displayed and so also will the value in which your posts are linked into.
One fall back, of this tool, is that it doesn’t tell you which link is no-follow and which link is do-follow.
Knowing this is very important since do-follow backlinks are way better than non-follow. Good tools for this are Semrush and Moz open site explorer.
So how many backlinks do you have? – Low? – Then you need to improve it by commenting on other blogs, guest posting, participation in forums and Q&A sites etc.
#Section 3 – Internal Links
What the difference between backlink and internal links? just as explained backlinks are links from other sites to your site while internal links are links from one section of your blog to another section in your blog.
I have personally seen internal links to be extremely powerful. To an extent, internal link decides which posts or pages to show as Google Sitelinks ( i will talk more in another post).
Internet links have a very high SEO value and also brings the connection between all your posts. More like if one of your posts have a high Page rank (PA), linking from that page to another page, will help pass that ranking juice to the next page.
does that sink in?
So if you have been neglecting internal linking you serious need to start practicing it.
If you have ever checked your site on Alexa, you would see a section that displays time spent on site.
Well, internal linking is the best way to increase that value.
Why you should check which posts have the highest internal links.
Assuming you have two posts related to Affiliate Marketing, and whenever you want to link to a topic on affiliate marketing, you link to one.
Now, checking for internal links helps you know, the posts already having high links, so you will focus on the posts with lower internal links. One thing is you should carry all your posts along and don’t inter-link one more than rest.
This will improve the Page Rank of all your pages, and you won’t end having 2 posts performing well while others are zero in traffic.
How to check for interlinks on your blog.
To check for interlinked pages, Go to Search Traffic and below it, you will find the “Internal links”. You can also search for specific posts using its URL.
Hope that was easy?
Google wants better content to display to its users, and one way to do this is to show you how to rank your contents hereby explaining in detail how your published posts are doing.
While you as a blogger is looking for ways to improve SEO and get more organic. Which then makes Google Search Console a must use tool for you.
The same figures and values you will get on the Google Search Console are being monetized elsewhere. Services like Semrush provide you with just a little bit detailed data and they charge huge money.
Start using the Google Search Console today and improve your SEO.
Ultimate Guide To Improve SEO Using Google Search Console
See how to improve your blog's SEO practices in 2018 with organic search traffic data from Google Search Console.