How to use Google Search Console to Increase Web Traffic

Google Search Console Tips

Google Search Console should be your first tool when auditing a website’s performance. The free tool is a goldmine of information that can help you understand how your website is performing on Google search.

I’m going to assume you’ve verified your domain on Google Search Console and have enough data to start optimizing your website. If not, I’d suggest you first verify your domain and wait at least a few weeks to start seeing enough data.

Maximize organic coverage using Google Search Console

When you click on ‘Search Results’ under the ‘Performance’ tab, you will see all of the search terms that your pages are ranking for. This allows you to understand the different KWs for which your website is being shown in the results page.

Your main goal here would be to understand the no. of clicks and impressions that your pages are getting for different KWs. Impressions refer to the number of times your page was shown on search result page, while the definition of click is obvious.

It shows the number of times your website’s pages were shown and clicked on the results page for each KW you’re ranking for. This allows you to check if your website is ranking for right, targeted KWs or not. For this task, let’s focus on

  • Identifying the KWs we need to rank for
  • Determining how many clicks are we getting for these KWs, and
  • how to maximize the number of clicks

The number of clicks you get for the KW is directly proportional to your position on the search result page. Higher the rank, more the number of clicks. This study estimated that the click-through-rate for the No. 1 search result is about 40%, is 18% and 10% for No. 2 and 3 slots, respectively.

That means for every 1000 impressions, if you’re ranking on the first slot you will receive an approx. traffic of 400.

Now, let’s export all the KWs by clicking on the ‘Export’ button on top. Select your filters and download the KW list in .csv file format or as a Google sheet.

Using tool like ‘Free Keyword Volume Checker’, you can get the search volume, ranking difficulty for each of the KWs you’re already ranking for.

How do Search volume, Keyword Difficulty Metrics Help?

It gives you good indication of the possibility to increase your rankings for these KWs. Ideally, you would want to target the KWs that have low difficulty and more search volume.

But don’t take these metrics too seriously as well. As long as you add a lot of value in your content, while including some the targeted KWs, Google should understand the intent of the content.

On a sidenote, here’s a list of SEO myths Google’s John Mueller has debunked.

Continue to monitor your rankings, impressions/clicks for these KWs on GSC periodically. Over time, you will start acquiring more KWs. Repeat the same process for the new KWs.

Optimize Images using Google Search Console

Google Search Console can also provide information about your organic coverage for images. Images are underutilized sources of traffic – you’d be surprise to know the amount of traffic you can generate by ranking well on image search.

Images aren’t crawled as frequently as text content so it’s important to optimize your images well for the targeted KWs. To identify the KWs that you’re ranking for, click on ‘Search Type’ and select ‘Image’.

The layout should be familiar by now. It shows the number of clicks and impressions that your images are receiving for the KWs.

Identify the images that are ranking by clicking on the ‘page’ tab. Find the opportunities by identifying ones that are ranking but not getting enough clicks. Optimize the images using some best practices suggested by Google.

The basics of image optimization include:

  • Ensuring the images you upload have the right title, alt txt.
  • Uploading the images in the right format, dimensions
  • Making sure the URL structure is logical and 301 redirecting broken links

Checking website coverage using Google Search Console

This should be one of the first steps you do when you audit a website. By clicking on the ‘Coverage’ section under the ‘Index’ tab, you can see if there are any errors that Google is seeing on the website.

What is an error?

When you see a page URL under the ‘Error’ tab, it means Google hasn’t indexed the page. Here’s a look at the different types of coverage errors and what they mean.

It is important to note the type of error and make an action item accordingly.

A few of the actions might require a developer’s help – like removing noindex tag, updating robots.txt, etc. A detailed list of errors and the actions items to fix them are listed on the URL I’ve shared above.

For the purpose of the auditing the website, you will want to check if the pages you had published are not indexed or not. Head to ‘Excluded’ section.

According to Google, the pages listed under ‘Excluded’ are the ones not indexed – because they’re either duplicates, blocked from indexing or for other reasons.

You’d want to look for pages that are ‘Discovered – currently not indexed’. These are the ones that Google knows exist but hasn’t crawled it yet. If you see pages are not getting indexed within a reasonable amount of time – it’s time to take some action.

Seeing pages that are no indexed?

Some tactics that are proven to speed up indexation of pages are:

  1. Interlinking them with other high-traffic pages on the website
  2. Adding the page to the homepage, indicating to Google the importance of it
  3. Ensuring there are no useability issues on the page

Once you’ve checked the page is eligible to be indexed using the inspection tool, send a request to Google to get in indexed.

It’s not enough to just publish the page. You will need to follow up to check if the published pages are indexed and starting to rank for the targeted KWs.

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