10 Ways to Use Google Search Console to Improve your SEO | Varn

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10 February 2023

10 Easy Ways to Use Google Search Console to Improve your SEO

Google Search Console is a powerful, free tool that can be harnessed to improve your website’s SEO, rank well on Google, and ultimately gain more organic search traffic. You don’t need to be a Search Console expert either; once it is up and running it is very easy to start to pull useful data from the interface. Here are 10 quick and easy GSC wins to try:

1. Discover Low-Hanging-Fruit Keywords

Google Search Console can help you to find search keywords which your site already has the potential to rank well for. In the ‘Performance’ area, filter the results to look at queries with an average position of 10-20 and a good number of impressions. This will allow you to create a list of low-hanging-fruit search queries and corresponding pages on your website – pages with the potential to move relatively easily up to the all-important first page of Google. Select the pages which are most important for your business from the list, and optimise these by ensuring they are following SEO best-practices and using the identified keywords where relevant. Need more help optimising your content? Get in touch with the search experts at Varn.

2. Check and Improve Mobile Usability

These days, Google prioritises mobile users first and foremost. Websites which are easy and quick to use on a mobile will generally perform better on search engines in comparison to sites which are slow and clunky for mobile. GSC has a quick and easy tool (located under ‘Experience’ then ‘Mobile Usability’) to allow you to check whether Google considers your site to be mobile friendly. Any page with mobile usability issues will be flagged as ‘not usable’ alongside details of the specific problems to be fixed. Improve the noted issues to make your landing pages easy for both Google and your website visitors to use. Win-win!

3. Track Page Performance over Time

Perhaps you created a new page a few months ago and you want to see if it has started to perform for SEO. Or you have made improvements to a landing page and are hoping it is attracting more organic traffic. Maybe you have noticed a drop in visitors to a particular part of the site and want to find out more. Use the Performance tab on GSC to view how impressions, clicks and average position have fluctuated over time. This will help you to benchmark, review and analyse the impact of your organic search optimisation work on your website. 

4. Pick up Internal Linking Opportunities

Links help Google to understand which pages on a website are the most important. Pages with many links pointing to them (both internally and from other websites) are considered to be most significant. Take a look at the ‘Top Linked Pages’ on Google Search Console to see which pages on your site Google will consider to be the most important, with potential to rank well on search engines. If there are important search landing pages which are not on the list, consider adding links to them from some of the top linked pages. However, make sure you only use internal links where they will seem natural and useful to users, utilising easy-to-read anchor text. 

5. Check and Improve Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics which Google uses to judge the performance of a webpage. They look at how quickly and fluidly a page loads for the user, which is a key factor in the user experience associated with the page. Search engines will prioritise pages which score strongly for Core Web Vitals. In Google Search Console, select ‘Experience’ and then ‘Core Web Vitals’ to see how your site fares. For any pages judged ‘Poor’ or ‘Needs Improvement’, there will be recommendations for how they could be improved. Make these changes to speed up your site, improve user experience and help your SEO performance all at once.

6. Find out the status of a specific page with the URL inspection tool 

If you are working on optimising a specific page on your website, use the URL inspection tool to check that it has been indexed by Google. Indexing is an essential step to getting your page to rank on the search engine results pages. You can also use this tool to ‘request indexing’ to submit new pages to Google or to ask Google to consider updates and changes you have made to an old page. 

7. Make Sure your Sitemap is Correct and Submitted

Your website’s XML sitemap is a very useful tool for Google. It literally acts as a map for Google’s crawler bots to follow as they navigate their way around your website, making it easier for them to find their way to every page on your site. Crawling is the first, key step to seeing these pages appear in Google’s search results. Whether you manually create your sitemap or use a tool to automatically generate one, make sure it is up-to-date and has been submitted via Google Search Console. You can do this in the ‘Index’ part of the interface.

8. Troubleshoot Indexing Issues and Errors

The ‘Index’ area of Google Search Console allows you to see a list of all the pages on your website which have been indexed, alongside those which have not. If a page has not been indexed, it will never appear on Google’s search engine results page. It is therefore useful to look through these lists to make sure there are not important search landing pages which should be indexed but have not been. Remember that there are many legitimate reasons for a page to not be indexed; it may be a duplicate page, it may no longer exist, or it might be purposefully blocked because you don’t want it to show on search engines. If you’re not sure about which pages should be indexed or how to interpret the information on these pages, get in touch with the team at Varn who can help you investigate. 

9. Compare Country Performance

Take a look at the ‘Countries’ tab in the ‘Performance’ area of GSC to see how Google impressions, clicks, CTRs and positions differ from country to country. You may discover opportunities to expand into new markets here, or find that a business-critical location is currently under-optimised for search. You can also look at the organic search queries your content ranks for in each country to discover the different ways that potential customers are talking about your products, services or industry in different locations. 

10. Combine Learnings from Google Analytics

If you are working on improving your website SEO, you are likely already familiar with Google Analytics and using this to investigate traffic coming to your site from organic search. (Incidentally, if you haven’t already set up GA4, now is the time to do so!) Take a look at GA’s landing page reports – focusing on organic search traffic – to identify pages which are important to your business but not receiving high levels of SEO traffic. You can then investigate these pages in Google Search Console to discover more about how Google views them; if there are errors to be fixed or relevant queries which the pages could be further optimised to target.

We hope we have inspired you to make a start with Google Search Console – an easy to use, free tool for improving the SEO on your website. If you have any questions on GSC, other Google tools, or search marketing in general, do get in touch with the search marketing experts at Varn!

Article by: Helen, Senior Technical SEO Manager More articles by Helen

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