Time and again, the SEO gods at Google have provided us with tools to track and analyse data that can be used to improve business.
Previously known as Google Webmaster tool, the Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the most powerful SEO tools that are essential to increase website visitors- especially organic traffic.
Giving Google Analytics a run for the money, GSC shows you advance data like the search query terms used by your website visitors to find your website in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), where your visitors are coming from (desktop, mobile or tablet) and more.
If increasing website traffic is a goal then it is essential that you use this gold mine of data effectively.
In this guide, I am going to break down the basics of Google Search Console to increase your traffic step by step.
Before that, let’s understand a little about this tool.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free service by Google that tells you a great deal about how your website is perceived by Google crawlers and gives you visitor insights that enable you to optimize your SERP ranking
It includes features like site performance reports, referring domains, search queries, pages, fetch as Google and many other functionalities that can help you monitor your website’s performance.
Personally, I call it a data tool for SEO experts as it helps us analyze the data and determine if the website is working well or poorly.
If you haven’t set up Google Search Console for your website, do it now, it only a few minutes.
How to add Google Search Console to your website?
- Go to Google Search Console Click on the Start button
- Sign into your Google account
- Add your “Website URL” in the field and Click on “Add Property”
- Next, you have to verify Ownership by choosing a verification method.
- HTML File
- HTML Tag
- Google Analytics
- Google Tag Manager
- Domain Name Provider
- Once you select and add the required information, click on Verify
- Voila! You are all set
Make sure you submit your website’s site map, once you have access to your search engine console.
The sitemap is a collection of URLs which informs Google about the number of pages you have on the website and that Google can crawl all those pages periodically.
It’s not mandatory but it’s always good to do as it helps with SEO.
You can explore the plethora of options in Google Search Console- access data on the search performance, coverage, sitemap, mobile usability, links and more.
Additionally, you can start playing around the data and get comfortable with the tool. Once you are good to go, here are some tips that will help you increase your website’s organic traffic.
Performance Report to optimize your web page for organic traffic
Head over to the Performance Tab in your Google Search Console. This tool will show you the overall performance of your website with accurate data.
This includes information like the number of total clicks, impressions, average Click Through Rate (CTR) and average position.
Here are the exact steps which will help your drive insights from this report and improve your website SEO. (I learned this strategy from SEO guru Neil Patel and applied it to one of my client’s web page. With this, we were able to increase the traffic by 34% for that page
First, go to Performance Tab then click on the Queries Tab and check all the keywords for which you are ranking.
The default setting shows the keyword with most traffic on the top.
Moreover, you can filter the list by Impressions, so the queries with the highest impressions will be on top.
Now click on the most popular keywords (queries).
You will be redirected to the Pages Tab which will show you all the pages that drive traffic for the selected keywords.
You have the top keywords and pages that drive the most traffic to your website.
You can take that keyword and find out all other relevant keywords or long tail phrases for those keywords from any other keyword research tools like Ubersuggest or Google Suggest
Google Suggest means, the other search terms that the search results suggest along with your input search term.
You can also use other keyword research tools like Ubersuggest that also gives keywords from Google Suggest.
You will also get all the long tail phrases of those keywords.
Do remember, as long tail keywords are less searched for, they are easier to rank for as compared to the short keywords.
So next step I want you to do is this-
Collect all the long tail keywords from that tool and try and use them in the content of your web page. I suggest you add a paragraph or two to use those long tail keywords into web copy.
Although, don’t stuff them and over do it, make sure the content flows smoothly. As I have said it before, Google doesn’t take keyword stuffing very kindly.
Next, you can take your major keywords or targeted keyword and try to use them into Meta title and description tag. This will enable you to improve your overall ranking for those keywords.
Following that, submit your newly optimized page to Google for the crawlers to take notice.
You can do it via Fetch as Google option in Google Search Console.
Repeat the same process for all your pages and you will see the results within 3 or 6 weeks.
Improve your CTR
Click Through Rate(CTR) is the percentage of the number of clicks you get out of the total impressions (number of times your website is viewed on the SERP). There is no doubt that CTR is one of the key ranking factors for Google.
There are are a number of ways you can use the Google search console to improve your web page CTR.
Step one, get a list of all the pages:
In the performance tab, select the CTR and the Position so that you can check out that information in below listing.
Now, locate the CTR lower than 5% and the Position is in the top 10.
This means, that query is ranking in the top 10 on the first Google SERP but the CTR is less than 5%.
Once you have finalized the query, click on it and go to the Pages Tab to see the pages.
Here you have the page with a low CTR that needs to be optimized.
Click on the page and you will find all the keywords for which this page is ranking.
Next step is to optimize your title and description tag that will help increase your CTR.
You can modify your keyword in the title tag.
However, don’t get carried away and make sure that your title is sensible and resonates correct information about the web page.
Here are a few tactics that you should try while updating your title and description tag-
- Use digits for numbers to get attention
- Add a time limit to an offer to create urgency
- Use action and authoritative words like today, fast, step by step, guide etc.
- Use your keyword in or as your URL
- Try A/B testing
Fetch as Google
Fetch as Google is the ultimate way to easily index a new or updated web page.
Whenever you publish a new page on your website, follow the steps below to index your page.
- Log on to Google Search Console and go to the Fetch as Google
- Add the page URL in the box and click on the Fetch button. The system will automatically fetch the desired page
- Post that, click on the Request Indexing option
- You will have to carry on a standard human verification
- Next, select crawl only URL and hit Go
- Repeat the same process for the mobile option as well
Once you complete this process, Google spiders will start crawling your page instantly.
You can also make most of the content relaunch strategy.
A vast number of people, update, improve and enhance their old content to get better search ranking. It is a useful way to not only to increase traffic but also keep your web page from giving a stale and outdated user experience.
Keep in mind, whenever you update your content, you should repeat the process of indexing the page as shown above.
If you don’t do this, it can take days or weeks for Google to crawl this page and you may miss out on a lot of leads during that time.
The demand for everything mobile is at its all-time high. Google now implies Mobile websites as a core element for search engine ranking.
Google’s mobile-first-indexing only considers the mobile version of the website to determine the search ranking.
This means your website must be responsive and mobile optimized and must be seamlessly accessible from any devices.
So, how do you ensure that your website is completely responsive for mobile usage?
Well, Google search console to the rescue again as it has a very good mobile usability report which shows all the errors exactly and the valid pages of your website.
Additionally, it will also show you how to fix those problems.
One of the coolest features of GSC is that it will immediately notify you via email if there are any issues with your website.
You can also use the Google Page speed insights tool to check your website performance and optimize it for mobile.
Similarly, if you have an Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) version of your website, you will see one more option of AMP in GSC. This will also show you the errors, valid with warnings and the valid pages.
Google Search Console is a distinguished tool to increase your website traffic. I rely on this tool quite a lot when it comes to SEO for my or client’s website.
It helps you identify the problems in your website and also offers appropriate solutions to fix them. You can further find new search opportunities from this tool.
Play around the performance report and apply the tactics that I provided earlier to find out more opportunities for your web pages.
Find out the pages with lower CTR and improve it by updating your title and meta tags as shown above.
Overall, this tutorial is to help you learn and get familiar with Google search console from creating an account to how to use this tool to increase the website’s organic traffic.
I would love to hear which one of these strategies are you planning to apply to your business from the above tutorial?
Leave a comment below.