Outside of SEOs, most digital marketers are unfamiliar with Google Search Console. Previously Google Webmaster Tools, the Search Console has managed to stay one of Google’s best kept secrets, despite its usefulness for Content Marketers.
What is Google Search Console?
Every wonder what keywords people are using to find your website?
Not the keywords that users are likely to use in theory, but the ones that people have used in practice. Unlike Google’s Keyword Planner, the Search Console works retroactively, pulling information from the behavior of users who found your site via Google.
Specifically, this free tool allows you to actively monitor your site’s presence and position on the Google SERP. On your dashboard, you can get a quick analysis of how your site’s content is performing on Google.
How Can Content Marketers Use Google Search Console?
Content marketers have to be more than bloggers. The internet is proliferating with content at an exponential, and overwhelming rate. Because of this, SEO knowledge is no longer a bonus, but a prerequisite for content marketers.
Google Search Console gives content marketers the ability to analyze the search behavior of their target audience. Knowing these behaviors allows you to fine tune your content to reach the audience it is intended for.
Here are five steps for content marketers to use Google Search Console to update their articles.
1. Getting Started with Google Search Console
To get your website set up, start by signing into the search console with a Gmail account. You’ll be prompted to add the homepage address of your property (your website or Android App).
Once you’ve added your property, you need to verify your ownership of the website. There are several ways to verify your website, including:
1) HTML file upload
2) Domain name provider
3) HTML tag
4) Your Google Analytics tracking code
5) Google Tag Manager container snippet
6) Verify automatically using a Google Site
7) Using your Blogger account
If you are using Google Analytics to track your site’s traffic, the easiest of these methods will be to verify your Analytics tracking code. To do this, you will need “edit” permission for your Google Analytics property.
2. Determine Your Best Performing Content
Once you’ve set up your property, Google will begin extracting data about your website. The Search Console compiles information such as the number of backlinks to your site, number of internal links within your site, and your overall performance on Google Search.
To find specific data about keywords and page content, go click on the Search Traffic tab and go to Search Analytics. In the Queries view, you will find data on all keywords for all pages. The keywords are listed automatically by number of Clicks, but you can add other comparison metrics including Impressions, CTR, and average organic Position on the SERP.
By default, Search Analytics will display data from the last 28 days, but you can set your desired date range using the “Dates” button on the right.
To find the keywords for specific content (in this case, blog articles), set the view to Pages. Here, you will see all your search data organized by webpage. Like in Queries, you can list your pages based on listed by number of clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position. You can view just one, or combine these metrics to understand which blog content is the highest performing.
This information provides insight into the searches your target audiences are actively performing and the topics that they are most interested in. Use this as evidence for coming up with subjects and blog titles for your content strategy.
3. Identify Your Most Valuable Keywords
You’ve gathered some very useful data thus far, but content marketers shouldn’t stop here.
Click on one of your top performing blog posts. From here on, all your data will be filtered using this page as a parameter. If you click on the Queries view again, your data will now be organized by keyword.
Choose your view based on Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and/or Position and break into a happy dance because you’ve just uncovered an SEO goldmine.
What you are seeing is the list of exact keywords that searchers used in the past 28 days to find this blog post.
4. Use These Keywords to Optimize Your Content
Now that you know your most potent keywords, you can compare them to the keywords in your article. Take a look at the keyword you originally intend for when you wrote the article. How similar or different is it from the ones you discovered in Google Search Console?
Optimize your article by redefining your target keywords and increasing their density. If you are not already, use an SEO tool for your CMS that measures keyword density in your blog posts (for WordPress, we recommend yoast).
Swap out your old keywords with your new ones from the Search Console. Good places to incorporate your new keywords include:
• Blog Title
• Headers (H1)
• Sub-headers (H2’s and H3’s)
• Alt-Tags of Images
Places to avoid adding keywords:
• Where it doesn’t make semantical sense.
Any change to the URL will cause you to lose all traffic history of that post, making it counterproductive for SEO.
5. Strike A Balance Between Search Engine and Reader Friendliness
Only update your keywords where it makes logical sense to a reader.
Remember that at the end of the day, it is not just Google who is reading your article. Keywords are important, but it’s their meaning, and the value it provides to a reader that matters most.
For more tips on content marketing, check out these articles.