Google Search Console is like Google Analytics’ less popular, nerdier cousin.
Instead of telling you what is happening on your website, it tells you what is happening on search – and it is therefore an invaluable resource in terms of finding out how well your site is doing in terms of appearing in search engine results pages (SERP) at Google, how many clicks you are getting and, most importantly of all, what search terms are putting your website in front of customers.
At a minimum, make sure you can:
- Access Google Search Console
- Get a list of search results, clicks, and search engine position
- Filter this report to your country
That third point is of crucial importance. Google presents a different search index in different countries but, weirdly, aggregates that data in Search Console into a single value. You will (or should!) always rank best on your “home turf” so make sure that you filter the data you are looking at to the country you are based in.
Where to focus in Google Search Console
The vast majority of clicks go to the first few results on the first page of Google’s results. After that, the number of clicks drops precipitously. In fact, a lot of people will try a different search instead of going to page 2.
The last time I had to go to page 2 of Google’s results I felt as if I was walking down the alleyway where Batman’s parents got shot. If you want to hide a dead body, hide it on page 2 of Google’s search results.
So, if you are looking for “bang for your buck” when it comes to changes to your website, look for search terms or pages that are lurking just off the front page (position 11 and onwards, usually). Getting a page from page 2 to page 1 can have a serious impact on your traffic.
Equally, pages that are lurking low on the first page can become superstars if you can just give them a little boost. Positions 1 to 3 are the holy grail. And, as an added bonus when you get there, you probably knocked one of your competitors out of there as well!
“Schadenfreude is so nutritious.”Will Self