How to Use Google Search Console and Analytics Data for SEO Improvements
One of the best tools any SEO master uses include Google Search Console and Google Analytics. But just because you’re using both, does it mean you know how to use Google Search Console and analytics data for SEO improvements?
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console (GSC) is a free Google service that manages a website’s search function. From generating complete reports about the number of visitors to telling you about the devices they use to visit your website. It’s helpful for solving crawling issues.
And then there’s Google Analytics. It’s another free service by our favorite search engine. And it’s useful for gathering real-time data related to the performance of your website in search engines. You use it for discovering what needs improvement and to see which pages are better than others.
Now, how do you use data provided by each of these tools for SEO improvement?
How to Use GSC for Better SEO
Only when you have your Google Search Console all setup and verified will you be able to use GSC effectively to improve your SEO. And for this, we’ll have to to look at GSC’s four main menus.
#1 Search Appearance
The function of Search Appearance is to show the webmaster how his website is set up and how it looks like in search results. In addition, the website’s appearance also depends largely or rich snippets, rich cards, and frameworks. Case in point, accelerated mobile pages, and other HTML corrections.
After that, the menu is further subdivided into five components.
In a nutshell, structured data lets Google categorize URLs for better indexing. Google uses structured data to show results that show a site’s votes, reviews, ratings, etc.
For SEO improvement, developers can create rich snippets with all of the pre-mentioned features present in a website. But if as a webmaster, you need better help, you can check schema.org for added help on code snippets.
Rich cards work like structured data, but instead, they create more appealing visuals for the purpose of better user engagement. In turn, this increases site’s traffic and sales.
Much like creating rich snippets for structured data, web developers can create rich snippets either for providing movie information, recipes, or for corporate contacts. You can also use it to show information like the preferred site name, breadcrumbs, logos, books, events, social profile links, and local business.
Data highlighters don’t need developers for coding snippets in HTML. That’s an upside to it. The downside is that the tool has limitations and asks users to include individual tags for every single URL. It’s not the proper choice if a website has thousands of URLs.
These don’t involve writing codes, but you need to follow a couple of steps to incorporate data highlighting into your website. In GSC, simply click on “start highlighting” to start.
Afterward, a popup will appear where you can paste your site URL and choose the data that you would want to highlight. Data that can be highlighted include local businesses, events, reviews, products, articles, events, movies, and TV shows.
This is a report from GSC that talks about problem areas that Google has detected while it was indexing/crawling your site.
HTML improvements can flawlessly find too short, too long, or duplicate meta descriptions. It also finds duplicate, missing, long, or short title tags, as well as content that can’t be indexed by Google.
To improve SEO using this report, you just need to fix the issues that Google enumerated in the report.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
If you didn’t already know, AMP is a technique used to build fast-loading JS and HTML pages. It’s for faster rendering on mobile devices. For this reason, Google introduced the AMP HTML to help web managers remove pages that load slowly on mobile devices.
In general, using AMP for SEO involves the following steps:
- Create a webpage that meets AMP specification.
- Host AMP at a relevant URL in the main website.
- Test the URL via an AMP testing tool for proper validation.
- Markup content with structured data.
- Monitor AMP report for errors in GSC.
#2 Search Traffic
The second important GSC menu is Search Traffic that gives webmasters a deeper insight into site keywords, ranking, backlinks, Google penalties, and the mobile usability and compatibility of your site.
In the SEO side of things, this is perhaps your most useful menu because of its steady focus on SEO. Much like the first one, there are six components to you need to consider:
- Links to your site: Reports the site’s total number of backlinks, and also the keywords used for the backlinks.
- Manual actions: Manual penalties incurred are more severe compared to algorithmic penalties and requires the penalized party to take extensive actions. This is a report that lets you know about Google penalties incurred through overlooked black-hat techniques.
- Internal links: The total number of internal links to a webpage lets Google rank important pages in a website. In turn, that increases search engine ranking. So meticulously check links pointing to internal pages to make sure they’re still working. And if not, use a 301 redirect.
- Search analytics report: This is a report that gives you details on how often a site URL appears in the search results. It also shows keywords’ click-through ratio, and how they rank geographically.
- International targeting: This helps you attract viewers from other geographies. The feature is useful in case your website contains translated or modified content for several regions or countries.
- Mobile usability: This Search Traffic menu feature identifies the problems users might be experiencing as they view your site on mobile devices. You get reports about content and images wider than the mobile screen, overly close elements, and prompts on whether the text is too small for reading.
#3 Google Index
This menu in the GSC tackles the total number of indexed pages that a website has. Reports generated show a site’s indexed URLs, blocked URLs, and URLs which have been removed.
Information like this helps you resolve indexing issues and remove blocked URLs from appearing in searches.
- Removed URLs: In developing a website, sometimes there are web pages that you need to keep private. Like your demo page. In the “temporarily hide” field, indicate links that would want to remove from search results or from cache.
- Content keywords: You already know that keywords play an important role in indexing and SERPs. You also get reports that pinpoint pages that are ranked low. This is you know which content requires on-page SEO optimization.
This is a GSC menu that shows how often your website is being crawled by Google’s bots, broken files, and pages on a website, the last time Google crawled your site, sitemap robots, and URL parameters.
- Crawl statistics: This is a report that shows crawled pages, page load time, and kilobytes downloaded. Webmasters can use it to improve site performance and site speed.
- Crawl errors: Identifies crawl errors; like soft 404 errors, server errors, URLs leading to a nonexistent page, and blocked URLs for Googlebot-Mobile.
- Fetch as Google: This is a tool that lets you see how Google fetches and renders your URL. It fetches pages on all devices too, fixes errors, and submits them to Google for indexation.
- Sitemaps: The feature fine-tunes your sitemaps.xml while confirming that all the URLs are indexed.
- Robots.txt tester: Reports on the errors and warnings that allow you test blocked pages.
How to Use Google Analytics to Make SEO Improvements
One of the biggest reasons why the best SEO companies use Google Analytics is because they use it for analyzing traffic and making decisions that have the potential to improve a website’s ranking position in the search engines.
#1 Referral Traffic
If you’ve been at your site for a while, and you already have referral traffic going to your site, you can monitor these links for better link building opportunities.
In locating the referral traffic report, simply go to Acquisition, and then All Traffic, and then Referrals.
#2 Landing Page Reports
Analyze organic landing pages from a Google search result, and check it for issues that keeps them from navigating to other pages. And to find the organic landing pages report, you can go to Acquisition, and then Search Console, and then Landing Pages.
In doing so, you get a clearer picture of how your visitors are actively engaging with your site and how they’re doing as they navigate through. And on that note, keep a close eye on engagement metrics too, so you can boost search rankings.
#3 Site Speed Reports
Site speed is a crucial factor that makes or breaks your website’s success. And over the years, everyone knows how site speed has been heavily emphasized in their algorithms. But site speed also affects how your target audience thinks of your online brand.
To access your site speed report, navigate to Behavior, and then Site Speed, and then click the Overview.
With these reports, you can see which pages take a lot of time to load and on which browsers your site is performing the best and the worst.
#4 Queries Report
Google Analytics’ queries report can help you better understand searcher intent. In fact, doing so is said to be the heart of search engine optimization. This is a good tool to look at before you do any further keyword research on the newest venture. You need to make sure that your website delivers the right traffic to your site as well as to your target audience.
Experts at Practical E-commerce have identified four types of keyword intent. And they are:
- Informational: This is when users are searching for the answers to a couple of questions.
- Navigational: Your target audience is looking for a specific website.
- Investigational: This is when users look for information with intentions to purchase.
- Transactional: Your target audience is ready to purchase from you.
Basically, if you want to attract qualified buyers and generate sales, there is a need to understand keyword intent, so your visitors can achieve what they want.
#5 Custom SEO Dashboard
By creating a custom SEO dashboard, you get a quick overview of your SEO statistics at a quick glance. It’s designed for saving time. And with Google Analytics, you can create new custom SEO dashboard or import existing ones and make necessary tweaks.
In using both properly, these free tools by Google can provide you with data that is massively helpful for how you manage your website. Learning how to use Google Search Console and Analytics data for SEO improvements is crucial to meet the success you want in the online world.
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September 9, 2019
September 5, 2019