Use Google Search Console to Increase Traffic
Google Search Console is an incredibly powerful tool to effectively optimize your SEO. If you're anything like me, I knew Google Search Console existed out these in the internets. I also knew, somewhere in my heart, that I should be paying attention to it. Quite honestly, it overwhelmed me. There is a lot of data and it just was too much for me. However, recently, I learned about the capabilities and my eyes opened wide.
You have to pay attention to Google Search Console. It is a rock solid tool to get more traffic to your site, more sticky traffic to your site, and to ultimately be successful as a blogger.
Steps to Using Google Search Console Analytics
- Open up Google's search page
- Type in “Google Search Console”
- Click on your Property. If you need to add your property, click over to the right on the red square. When you add your property, make sure you copy and paste your URL directly (I made that mistake the first time and it added the “www” and I didn't get any data).
- Click on the URL, then you'll be on the Dashboard
- Add your sitemaps. You really only want to include the site map that has your posts in it, not the categories, not the tags. From what I understand, this is because if you put the site maps for all three of those sections, the posts, the tags, the categories, for example, you will have to duplicate content and Google does not like duplicate content.
- Over on the left-hand side, you have several areas to dig into.
- Click on Search Traffic > Search Analytics
- Check the boxes for clicks, impressions, and click-through rates
- Choose date & look at a longer time period, such as 90 days to get a lot of data
- Choose queries (literally the words people are inputting into Google Search)
- Sort by Impressions. Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed as a Google Search result). Not landing on my site, but my site is landing within that search.
- Analyze impressions, clicks, and click-through rates (a decent CTR is 15% or above)
- Consider all of this data within the context of your blog niche
How to Analyze Google Search Console Data
Analysis #1 – As you can see for “cat eyes”, that's a little funny to me because I do have a couple of posts on why cat's eyes glow, so that's great, I suppose, that I'm showing up there. I have a ton of impressions but I only have 28 clicks. That gives us a really low click through rate.
My question is what do I do with that information? Chances are when people type in cat eyes, they are not looking for a learning activity about why cat's eyes glow. To be quite honest, even though this is my top impressions, it's not something I'm worried about because it's not relevant to my niche.
Analysis #2 – If we looked at the query “how to make a pulley”, I have a very specific post on how to make a pulley with kids. I'm getting some good impressions here, but a low click through rate. So, I looked at this post. The only thing I can think of is that people are really wanting to make a pulley for work around the house, a construction site, or wherever ,and it's not necessarily a kid's activity.
What I did in that situation is I went back into the post and I made certain that the title was optimized, the headlines are optimized. I got all the green lights on my Yoast plugin. I had a really solid meta description, which is your last marketing effort to call someone to click through to your site. Everything, honestly, really checked out. I'm going to also let that one go. I've done everything I can. Just so you know, a decent click through rate is above 15%. That is not good. Again, I've just started making adjustments on a daily basis so I think, over time, it'll be interesting to see over the next month how these numbers change because I do think they will.
Analysis #3 – A third example is “friction experiments”. I'm getting a lot of impressions and a lot of clicks as well as almost 20% click through rate. That's really great but it could be even better because you know what? I have really great friction experiments on my site. It's within my niche and I have a specific post on it. It is totally relevant to my site. While 19% is great, and maybe not a high priority, I can go back to that post and see, “Okay, what is it that I can do to get someone to choose my post in order to get him to click through to my post?” “When they click, when they're searching friction experiments, how can I entice them? How can I draw them into my site?” That's where the art comes into it.
Analysis #4 – “Daily schedule for kids”. I have a fantastic roundup that is routine charts for kids. I will say this, there are a ton of posts out there for daily schedules and you can see, even here, morning chart, and there's daily routine chart, morning routine chart. It's something that people really are looking for often. I have a roundup post on routine charts for kids that does very, very well, but here's the deal, none of those posts within the roundup are mine, okay. I put “no follows” into that post, so perhaps Google will like that a bit better and bring me higher in the search, I'm not sure. We're just playing around with it. There is a big element of experimentation.
The other thing is I went back into the post and I made sure that morning chart was included in the content, as well as the meta description. Same with “daily routine chart” and “morning routine chart”, I wanted to use the same exact words that people were looking through and then optimizing from that marketing strategy standpoint to see if we could get this click through rate higher.
Analysis #5 – Another example is “Montessori books”. My blog is a Montessori living and learning blog, right? I got some good impressions here, good clicks, but I'm only getting a 3.59% click through rate. So what the heck is going on there? Really, that is super relevant to my audience. I have several posts on Montessori books for parents, for homeschoolers, and so on. I should be not only coming up in that search, but I should be getting a click through rate.
If I go over to Google and search for “Montessori books”, I get a ton of Montessori books, loads of opportunity for readers to click through to another site way before they hit my blog post. There's so much opportunity for people to click through on these before they even see anything that comes up in the search. My post is quite good and comes up third but way after Google lists Montessori books with visuals. I'm happy about that result, but again, the click-through rate is pretty low.
How can I make this stand out a bit better? What I can do is I can change this title, this SEO title, to say, “My favorite Montessori books for parents,” or, “The only Montessori books that you need to know,” as an example. I could also update the post, generally, so it's a more updated post. Some people might look at that and be like, “Oh, that was over a year ago, I want something that's a little bit more relevant, more recent. Who knows?” You need to go in and make those changes and see what happens.
Analysis #6 – “Open-ended questions for kids.” I have a very specific post on “open-ended questions for kids”. The results don't make me happy because the post literally has the title “open-ended questions for kids”. So,what can I do? Go to Google and search “Open-ended questions for kids”. My post comes up but at the bottom of the first page. I don't even see it immediately. I notice something right away. I started the post title with “Inquiry-based learning: Open-ended questions for kids.” “Inquiry-based learning”, what? Doesn't that sound fancy? Probably not what someone is going to search for in Google. Someone is going to search for “open-ended questions for kids”.
I could move the words “open-ended questions for kids” to the start of the title. I could also make sure, again, that this meta description really screams, “Come click on this post!” Then compare it for here, “20 open-ended questions for kids.” I could write 25 open-ended questions for kids and someone would be like, “Okay. I like that.” Or I could figure out, I could add a few more so I could get 40 questions to ask your kids. By the way, this is a great post if you guys don't know it.
Analysis #7 – “Essential oils in the classroom”. I have a post on that exact topic. I don't have many impressions but I have a great click through rate at 35% click through rate. What this tells me, the action I need to take is to promote the post better because the post is landing in the search. People are clicking through to the post, but I'm not getting impressions. That tells me that my SEO could use some work to get people to my site.The Google Search Console analytical process is an art and a science. Click To Tweet
I could go on and on. The biggest takeaway is that the Google Search Console analytical process is an art & a science . You have to patient and play around with the numbers to see what works.
Good news! I created an action guide for you all, based on clicks, impressions, click through rate and the relevancy within the context of your blog. As I mentioned, here, cat's eye, cat eyes, right? I got high impressions. I got a low click through rate. It's not relevant, so what's the action? Do nothing. Friction experiments, that's a decent click through rate. Let's prioritize another one. Let's prioritize that Montessori books. I've got decent impressions, I've got okay clicks. I've got a pretty low click through rate and the relevance is high. What are the things that I can do? I can go back and make sure that that SEO is optimized. I can make sure the meta description is looking good. I'm getting good impressions, so arguably I've promoted it well, but that's also something that you can consider doing once you've made the upgrades to the SEO.
I created a little cheat sheet for you that includes different scenarios and the actions that you should take.
I hope that you find that useful, I hope you found this overview useful. Please get in touch with me, I am more than happy to work with you on your analytics. We're in this together and I am learning quite a bit here with you all as I go along. That's the way it works, folks. I would love to hear what you have to think! I will be in touch with you soon.