Google Search Console:
All You Need To Know
Over the years one of the biggest surprises to us, when we start SEO for a client, is how many do not already have Google Search Console – it’s close to 90%.
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool offered by Google that allows users to monitor the overall function and health of their website and alerts them to potential issues that might be hurting their position in search results.
How Does GSC Work?
Google Search Console works by collecting site data and conducting regular audits to assess factors like your site’s load speed, mobile usability, security issues and more. All of this information is presented to you in a number of dashboards when you log in to GSC (once you have set up an account by adding code to your website), which you can filter depending on what you want to know. The image below shows what the GSC sidebar looks like and some of the options available to you.
At A Glance - Understanding Website Performance With GSC
One of GSC’s most basic functions is to assess your site’s performance in Google search results, including metrics such as your number of impressions, clicks, and what queries (search terms) it appears for – the image below shows how this is presented.
As you can see, Search Console allows you to filter the data by search type (web, image, video etc) and a number of preset or custom date ranges, enabling you to track exactly when and where your website traffic is coming from. While this is valuable in understanding the reach of your site generally, it also allows you to benchmark how your digital marketing is performing and whether it is providing a good return on investment.
Another major strength of Search Console is that it provides accurate keyword data via the ‘Queries’ metric, showing you exactly what visitors to your website have searched for on Google to visit your site. You can see this in the image below, which shows both the total number of searches (impressions) this site appeared on and the number of clicks that resulted from those search queries.
This metric allows you to see both branded (searches for the brand name), the non-branded queries (e.g. scooter).
In the above, we can see that we are appearing a large number of impressions (7,147) for the query ‘Vespa Helmet ’ but this business is getting few clicks (180). They are currently ranked at the bottom of Page 1 (average position 10). The advantage of understanding which non-branded queries are bringing visitors to your site is that they can be used, either by you or an SEO professional, to develop a keyword list and inform a broader SEO strategy. In this example, we can see the potential for the term “Vespa Helmet” and can start working on the page and term to move it up page 1 (Position 10 on page 1 gets about 3% of the clicks Vs position 1 which gets 30+%)
This report also serves as a quick and effective way of gauging brand awareness – how often are people searching your brand name.
Below is an example of Brand terms. Here we can see for this brand, Brand equity is increasing. We are also able to match the spikes in searches on their Brand Terms to new Facebook campaigns and bursts on TV.
(This has been graphed using looker studio – if you need custom dashboards please contact Retain Media).
This data is something that is especially valuable if you have engaged in advertising channels such as TV or radio or indeed Facebook. You can check here for spikes in searches for your brand name around the time the campaigns go live. It is also good for measuring the effect beyond the click when doing Facebook advertising (we normally see a lift in brand searches when a client starts Facebook advertising).
More Powerful Than Anything Else On The Market
When combined with the insights that it offers into your site’s functionality and usability, Google Search Console is unmatched by anything else currently on the market and is one of the most powerful and effective digital tools at your disposal.
Despite this, it is either unknown to or massively underutilized by most businesses we speak to, and its benefits are sorely missed. True success in the digital space is only achieved by combining a functional website with a clear plan of attack for targeting potential leads, and without access to the kind of data that Search Console provides, you cannot hope to do both.
If all of this has been news to you, it’s time to speak to the professionals. At Retain Media, we use Google Search Console in conjunction with a number of digital tools to develop digital strategies that deliver results. As automotive industry specialists, we know what success looks like for your business and offer a broad range of services that help make success a reality.