Google has a number of a tools to enable companies to drive the highest possible traffic to their site. One of the most important of these tools is the subject of this month’s column. It’s called Google Search Console, GSC for short. You may have known of it as Webmaster Tools, but it’s been renamed.
It’s hard to understate the importance of Google Search Console. And you don’t have to be a geek to get it. We’ve used it to drastically increase the traffic to our clients’ websites with just a few tweaks.
Let’s dive into the two parts of the GSC that are most important for the purpose of increasing traffic to your site. These are the Search Analytics section and the Search Appearance section.
Search analytics is a way of seeing, in one interactive graph, all the different times that someone entered a search into the Google search bar and Google thought your website would be a good resource to show in the results. It gives you lots of juicy data:
• It shows you what phrases the searchers entered into the search bar.
• It shows you how many people clicked on your site among all the different sites that showed up in the search results.
• It shows you what ranking (or “position”) you had in the search results.
• It shows you the number of impressions of your listing (which is equivalent to the number of times that this search was entered).
• It gives you the click-through-rate (CTR) for your listing, meaning the number of times that searchers clicked on your site versus the number of times it appeared.
Looking at this graph you can glean some pretty incredible insights about your organic traffic and you can make corrections to your site that will better direct visitors there in the future.
With all the options for data selected, go through the list carefully and look for the search queries that have high impression counts, but low CTR and low clicks. These are the queries that have high potential to bring more traffic to your site. Once you’ve identified a few of them, then use SEO techniques like title tags and blog writing to signal to Google that you should be ranking higher in these powerful search results pages. You’ll have a real leg up on the competition because you’ve seen the data.
The next section of GSC to check out is Search Appearance. Think about what happens when you search Google for something like a new movie title or a recipe. In these cases, Google modifies the results for you: for recipes, it will actually list a recipe in a “featured snippet;” for the movie title, it will list show times at a local theater. These sorts of “special results” are how Google predicts search intent and then delivers the most useful results. And they all depend on the information listed in the Search Appearance tab within GSC.
One example of a simple way to use the search appearance tab to increase traffic, is by using the “data highlighter.” If you have an event that you want to be findable, then use the “data highlighter” to tell Google the details of your upcoming event. Google can then deliver tailored results when people search for your event, or events like it. It’s a win-win for searchers and for you.
Take advantage of the tools within the giant Google tool called Search Console. No technology gee whiz is necessary; just common sense.
Laurie Macomber is owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing. Reach her at 970-689-3000.