In January 2018, Google updated its Search Console and started rolling it out for beta testing. Over the past six months, the new system has gained traction as more people take advantage of the updated tools. Google’s Search Console was previously known as Google Webmaster Central and then Google Webmaster Tools. It provides educational resources and insights for SEO professionals to take control of their web presence. This is an essential resource if you want to grow your organic traffic and develop a clear picture of your search presence.
The best part of this tool is that you don’t need to spend all day in Google’s Search Console to find value in it. By taking just 10 minutes each morning, you can improve your website’s SEO and develop a clear plan for improvement. Take these steps within the Console to start your SEO growth plan off on the right foot.
Check Google’s Search Console Messages
Even if you feel like you receive enough emails and messages throughout the day, you just signed up for one more. Google’s Messages section is basically an inbox where the search engine will alert you to any problems with your rankings. The good news is that Google will also typically provide resources to repair the problems.
Starting your day with errors and alarm bells is never fun, but the sooner you review Google’s messages and take steps to repair the problem pages, the better.
Review Your Performance Report
For years, SEO professionals begged Google to give them access to more data, and the search engine has finally agreed. The performance report looks similar to those found on Google Analytics and provides insights into rankings, organic search traffic, and user behavior. A few of the features you can check in Google’s Search Console performance report include:
- How your organic rankings change over time.
- Which search queries are most likely to show your site.
- Which pages have the highest and lowest metrics on your website.
The goal is to look for any red flags — like inappropriate keywords or pages that internet users are unlikely to click — so you can adjust those pages and improve your SEO traffic. You can also see your efforts improve over time (Google allows users to track the past 16 months of data) as you watch your SEO efforts yield better rankings and clicks.
Monitor Your Index Coverage Status
Your index coverage shows the pages on your website that can and cannot be indexed. It lists the number of indexed pages on your website and alerts users of any errors related to indexing. For most SEO professionals, checking the index coverage status will only take a few seconds, as the number of indexed pages is only likely to change when they publish more content.
While this report review is brief, it’s still valuable. A few red flags that this report can find include:
- Spikes in indexing errors, which could occur due to changes in site formatting or tagging.
- Drops in indexed pages without corresponding errors, meaning robots.txt or noindex pages are blocking crawlers.
- Low index rates to begin with. Many SEOs discover pages they thought were indexed weren’t visible at all.
Indexing problems often mean more work for your IT department. Complex problems could take over your day, or you could simply check this report and move on when all of your indexed pages are listed clearly and reported healthy.
Identify Pages to Link Internally
Google’s Search Console isn’t just a reactive tool, it also has proactive uses. Strategic SEOs use the search console to identify pages that have high ranking potential to create content that supports them. Consider selecting a few relevant links that you can add to your next blog post for an internal linking boost, or use a high-ranking page to brainstorm supplemental content ideas. You might create three or four pieces that point to your top content to improve those results.
Optimize Titles and Meta Descriptions on Low-Click Pages
It’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics, especially as your SEO efforts start to grow. However, maintaining a growth mindset with a focus on improvement can prevent your website from plateauing as unused opportunities pass by.
For example, Brittany Laeger recommends looking at pages with high impression numbers but low click-thru-rates. You likely already rank well for these pages, but people aren’t clicking on your website — which is the whole point of ranking on Google, Bing, and other search pages.
Take a few minutes to review the title tag, meta description, and other SEO elements of these pages. You could improve your SEO just by adjusting the meta content in your SEO plugin. Increasing the CTR of your listings will also increase your ranking position, or at least prevent Google from dropping your rankings as users stop clicking.
Compare How Rankings Compare to Content
Almost anyone who has worked in SEO for more than a few months has seen an “accidental ranking,” where a page gets a ton of traffic for a secondary concept other than what you planned. There’s occasionally a disparity between what you plan to rank for and what you actually rank for.
In some cases, this is an opportunity. Look for mismatched listings and optimize those pages for what they rank for. Google has already decided that the content is relevant and valuable, you just have to make a few adjustments to prove to readers that it is.
Request an SEO Audit to Improve Your SEO
The first few times you use Google’s Search Console, you will likely feel overwhelmed by the work that you need to do. From fixing noindex pages to improve meta tags for improved rankings, there’s plenty of work to keep SEO professionals busy. However, as you work to improve your SEO rankings, these steps will take less and less time.
The first step to improve your rankings is to conduct an audit. Trinity Insight offers a 20-point SEO audit to review how your search listings can improve and the steps you can take today. If you’re not happy about what Google’s Search Console has to say about your rankings, we can help. Set up an appointment to review your website and take steps for better rankings.