In our previous SEO post, I had given some guidelines for the strategic use of Google Analytics to choose web pages for optimization so that you maximize the impact of your efforts. In this post, I’ll give some tips for using Search Console, another excellent Google tool that can help you enhance your strategy. Though the uses of Search Console within the context of SEO are abundant, this post focuses on the execution of ongoing keyword optimization using the tool.
While well-performed initial keyword research is essential for designing a search engine optimization roadmap, the ongoing tuning and optimization of keywords are one of the cornerstones of the long term SEO success. The first thing to do is to use the Search Console for identifying the relevant keywords for which you already rank high on the SERP. Here your objective is identifying what you already do well- that is, what pages of your site are more competitive for certain keywords, how relevant are these keywords and which ones attract your current searchers.
The three metrics worth considering first are the positions, clicks, and CTR (click-through rate). Remember:
- The higher the position the better.
- The more clicks the better
- The higher the CTR the better.
It’s important to also look at positions over time.
The keywords with downward trending positions might indicate the entry of a competitor for the product, or service with which the given keyword is associated. On the other hand, the keywords with un upward trending position stats might indicate an untapped opportunity.
Understanding the metrics is important, but this makes sense only if you analyze them keeping in mind the context and your business goals. For this, it’s useful to also consider the customer journey stages prior to coming up with the list for keywords for optimization. From the business perspective, the terms that are in the final stages of the customer journey (that is, closer to conversion) have more strategic importance. Hence, when choosing the keywords to include in your content and for on-page optimization it makes more sense to focus on the end of the customer journey keywords. After finishing up the aforementioned analysis; choose the keywords which have top ranks, many clicks, high CTR and are in the decision phase of the customer journey. At this stage, do not restrict yourself in numbers- choose as many as you think to make sense for your specific case.
After choosing the initial keywords consider search volume. One tool that might come handy here is Google’s keyword planner.
- Enter the search terms from the web report in Google’s Keyword planner
- Specify the geographic, temporal and other relevant characteristics of your target market.
- Analyze the numbers.
At this point, your goal is to identify the high search volume keywords, since you already know that you have high rankings and competitive advantage for these keywords. However, do not completely overlook the competitiveness score assigned by the tool: the lower the competition, the easier it is to rank for it.
Once you are done with preparing your up-to-date list of keywords for optimization, you should start identifying which keywords are important for which page, so that you can optimize these pages. This is the place to use the insights from our previous blog post about the strategically chosen pages once again.
Go to Search Console → Go to Pages → Choose the page you want to optimize → Go to Queries for that page → Sort by Impressions
Identify search terms from your keyword list prepared in the first part of the analysis with Search Console that are listed as search terms for the particular page of your interest. Concentrate on the ones that are relevant to the goal of the specific page and that have an adequate number of impressions. Incorporate the keywords of your choice in the content of your page and add them in the meta descriptions and title tags of these pages. However, make sure not to engage in keyword stuffing, which can damage the trust score of your site. For in-text use (page copy), consider using the semantic equivalents of your keywords as the recent search bots that use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms in a whole new way are pretty good at assigning relevance scores based on broad context.
*Pro Tip: If the website is too big and has too much traffic for many search terms, you might even go as far as to conduct statistical tests of significance to see if the number of impressions is significant enough and spending time on the specific keyword is worth it.
Similar to the GA (Google Analytics) dashboard, our DTeam has also developed a dashboard to facilitate the process of analysis suggested above and to prepare transparent monthly reports for our clients. Out interactive dashboard not only combines GA and SC (Search Console) data, but it also fetches the data from the keyword planner to make the overall process of keyword research and analysis smooth and fast for each and every one of our clients.
In summary, remember that SEO is a long-term effort that requires consistency and a lot of on-going effort. However, if well-executed, it’s a business impact in the form of organic traffic and conversions is worth the effort. Getting back to our ongoing keyword optimization, once the changes in the content are made, resubmit your website to Search Console so that the crawlers get notified about your website updates and index it with its freshly optimized content.