Episode #288: How to Use Google Search Console
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 288 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about how to use Google Search Console. On to the episode.
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Hey, welcome to Episode 288 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I’m your host, Taylor Bradford. I’m excited to dive into Google Search Console. This is another nitty-gritty episode and you’re gonna want to take notes, and come back to this. Google Search Console has so much goodness in it and I’m legit gonna just cover the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more that you can dive into, it gets super nerdy in there, and some of it is a little out of my scope. But a lot of this is super easy to find and use and will help you with your content planning but also help you see what’s just going on out in the world of Google search. Before we dive in, I want to let you know that we are getting super close to the end of December 2020, which means the doors of Inner Circle are closing. They will close on the very last day of this month at 11:59pm Central time and they will not reopen until April of 2021. So if you have been wanting to get yourself involved in the Inner Circle community, this is the time. Now is the time because the doors will be closing. You can get access into the Inner Circle for as little as $10 a month. Visit bossgirlcreative.com/innercircle. I promise you the experience is going to be worth it. What I have planned for the Inner Circle, once we step into January, is to help you with your implementation. We can all create goals, but the implementation part is the hardest part. And I’m in the business of helping you move forward in your business and achieving the life you want to be living. And that’s what we’re going to be doing, which is why the doors are closing. So if you want in, you need to get in before December 31. So don’t delay, don’t wait. Pop over to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle.
Alright, so let’s talk about Google Search Console, which is another free tool from Google. So if you’re not using it, you definitely need to be using it. Google Search Console helps you monitor and maintain your site’s organic search presence. So not paid search that would be running Google ads. This is organic search presence. So if you haven’t set this up yet, go to Google Search Console, you can google it to get there. And you’ll need to add your sites and we’ll ask you and walk you through steps to verify that it is your site that you want to be monitoring.
I encourage you to submit your sitemap if you’re through WordPress, grab the Yoast SEO tool and set up your sitemap. I’ve talked about this in the past, but the two main things that you want Google crawling for sure, or your posts and your pages. And then depending on what the other content, or what you have, the remaining content on your site will depend on whether or not you want Google crawling the rest. But for sure you want posts and pages to be in your sitemap that you can submit to Google Search Console. And the other thing that you want to do is to make sure you grab all variations of your website and what I mean by that is the www version and the non-www version. You can always tell Google which one is the one that’s the most important. That way it knows to track that data. But you want both versions of your site. So within Google Search Console – and I say that because there are times when I’ve gone out to websites, my city’s website is the prime example. If I typed in www.Cleburne.net, which is the city’s website, it would take me there, if I didn’t add the www, it wouldn’t take me there. So that tells me that somebody is not paying attention at the city, and they need to rectify that, but that’s neither here nor there – so that is why it’s important for you to go claim both versions of your site and to tell Google which one’s the most important, or the one that you want actually returning results for you. So if you type in your URL into the search bar, and hit enter, then go back up, and highlight and copy put it into a Word document to see which one Google thinks is your website. And that’s the one that is primary, but you still need the other version as well.
Okay, so let’s talk about a few things within Search Console. So in your dashboard, once you get verified, and you’re looking at your stats, if you’re doing this brand new, you’re gonna need to wait three months before there’s really any good data in there to analyze. But within a couple of days, Google will have sent its robots to crawl your website and you’ll start seeing results trickle in. But good analysis doesn’t take place until about three months, you can do some analysis at 60 days, but for real three months is going to give you a better picture. And like I mentioned in the analytics episode, using, you know, quarters to analyze your data using six months using a year, looking at trends based on seasonality, all of that same thing within Search Console. Okay, so we use Google Search Console to find the queries or the keywords or keyword phrases that people use in a search result. That will help us determine how we can drive more traffic and improve rankings for our underperforming keywords.
Okay, so when you’re staring at your dashboard, on the left-hand side is a navigation tool that will get you from report to report to the various things within Search Console. So you’re going to see overview and when you click on overview, you’re going to see three different sections. And there are reports that you can click into to get more information. So you’re going to see the performance report, the coverage report and the enhancements report. And it defaults to showing you three months of data at a time or roughly three months of data at a time. Performance is where we’re going to live in this episode. And when you click on the performance report, you can either get to it in the left-hand sidebar, or you can actually click open report on the main overview area. And it’s going to default to your search type and the last three months of data. Those are the two filters that it’s going to default to you can adjust them. But that’s what it’s going to default to. So it’s going to show you a graph. And there’s going to be four colors in the graph. And it defaults to showing you total clicks, and total impressions. But I also want you to checkmark, the average CTR, which is click-through rate. And checkmark the average position I want all four colors clicked so that you have all of that data showing in the graph. And then also below, which is where you start getting into the rows of data. So under the graph, there are various headings, there’s queries, pages, which again, I talked in last week’s episode and Google Analytics pages in Google’s eyes is a URL. So that’s either a page or a post on your website. It also shows you countries devices, search appearance, and dates. So it’s going to default to queries, which is where we want to spend some time and it’s going to show you your top 10 queries. Now at the very bottom right-hand corner, you can adjust this to showing you top 25 Top 50 I always like to see top 50. But this also depends on how old your website is. So top 25 might be a good place to start or even top 10 might be a good place to start. It just depends on your site’s age in relation to the data that you’re going to be seen in there.
Okay, so I first started out as I was taking notes within Boss Girl Creative’s data, and so my first – my top 10 queries for Boss Girl Creative are as follows. Boss Girl Creative, three words. Boss Girl, two words. Bossgirl, one word, Boss Girl podcast, Boss Girl Creative/unconventional business wisdom, Boss girl 88, Boss Girl Creative podcast, the boss girl, brand brilliance, #bossgirl. And then I added another one that shows up in the number 11 spot within my data. And it’s Vilma Iris, who actually was an interview several years ago in my Nitty Gritty series. And I want to talk about that particular number 11 in just a second. So I have my clicks, my impressions, my click-through rate and my position turned on, because that’s what I just told you to do prior to scrolling down and seeing your results. So clicks is the amount of clicks your blog post or page was actually clicked out of search result, impressions is how much or how many times it showed up in search. So as somebody was scrolling, your website was an item to select within search results. Click-through rate is the percentage between clicks and impressions. And then position is where you show up in Google. So position one is in the number one spot, position two is the second spot on page one. If you get to position 11, you’re on the second page of Google search results. Sometimes you’re going to see like a 6.6 or a 4.1 or just a decimal number and that’s the average spot. So I have 6.6 as one of my positions. So on average, I am landing in the sixth spot, but it could be five or it could be eight. But on average, I land in the sixth spot for a specific phrase.
So with the very first phrase Boss Girl Creative, which is obviously my business name, I have in the last three months 57 clicks on that phrase, or that was what was googled, and 73 impressions on that keyword phrase. 78.1% click-through rate, so that’s telling me somebody keyed in Boss Girl Creative and then 78.1% that is what they clicked, which would have been my website and I’m showing up in position one. You hope that you’re always showing up for position one in your own business, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, depending on how other people are using SEO in their favor, which is where I’m going to get to with Vilma in just a second. So I don’t know what boss girl 88 is, but I get nine clicks. I have 60 impressions. 15% click-through rate and I’m showing up on average in the 1.9 spot. So on average, I’m either position 1234 I don’t know what Boss Girl Creative is. And – but evidently, I’m showing up for that in search results.
Okay, so with Vilma, Vilma was a part of my Nitty Gritty Blogger series and it was an interview that I did with her, and so people are googling her name, Vilma Iris, and in the last three months, I have shown up 50 times in search results, I’ve had two clicks on Vilma’s episode. That’s a 4%, click through rating and on average, I show up for Vilma’s name, her episode, shows up in the number seven spot on the first page of Google. Okay, so this tip coming up next is a super-powerful tip for you when you’re writing content. This is why collaborations have so much weight. For somebody else’s name, I show up in the first page of results in Google, when they search that person’s name. That gets potential eyeballs on my business. That is why collaborations are key. Because you can rank for somebody else’s name or for somebody else’s business if you do business features. When I first launched Sugar Creek, I did a business feature to help support my vendor friends, but I had ulterior motives and they’re not bad. This is just strategy I wrote about one of my friends, and I show up for her business name, even still to this day I show up for her business name, before her website ever shows up in search result. That is the power of collaboration. So if you haven’t been collaborating, that’s why, like, if you’re a book blogger, and you write about an author, and you write about their books, you have a strong chance, because a lot of authors aren’t really good at SEO, they’re not writing blog posts, they just have landing pages, book pages, their Goodreads profile, their Amazon profile, wherever there, they have profiles, but they don’t typically keep active blog posts going on their website. So you stand the chance of someone finding your business, your website, your blog, because you wrote about that person. So collaborations are key, because it will only help you or potentially help you in search results.
Okay, so according to Ahrefs, which is a website that has a keyword planning tool, if you rank in position eight on the first page of Google, you are roughly going to get 1.8% of the searchers clicking on your website. But if you bump that ranking up to the number two position, for example, your click through rate is going to jump nearly to 14%. So just moving six spots up the ladder in a Google search result will allow you to capture from 1.8% clicks to 14% clicks. So if we actually did the math, and we said, your website or a keyword on your website that you’re ranking for, and the number eight spot is getting 1000 searches a month, you’re going to get 18 visits based on this mouth. If you move yourself up to position number two, now you just added 160 visits, so you went from 18 to 180, which means more pageviews, which means your ads are going to pay out more. This is why it’s important to take a look at this data by jumping six spots you nearly eight times your traffic to your website.
Okay, so we can also look at in Google Search Console still in the same area, we can look for underperforming keywords. So the ones that are sitting in those three to eight spots, nine or 10 as well. But looking at getting your click through rate up so you can focus on these keywords first, to grow up in the position or get yourself higher up in the rankings. So Boss, Girl Creative is not a really great website for me to look at the data behind because it’s podcasts related, and show notes related. I’m not actually writing blog posts to get rankings. So my top 10 – even actually my top 25 – is all related to the words boss girl. And that’s not actually me selling content per se. So if I go to TaylorBradford.com which actually I’m rebranding into TheHouseofSugarCreek.com The website is live I’m actually waiting on a fix for something on the homepage. And I’m slowly moving blog posts from Taylor Bradford.com to TheHouseofSugarCreek.com and then Taylor Bradford is just going to be kind of my calling card my resume and not where a blog lives. So the blog is moving to TheHouseofSugarCreek.com. But as of right now everything – or I say everything. About everything but book blog posts are over on Taylor Bradford. Actually, I’ve got some duplicate content because I have moved some blog posts related to books over to The House of Sugar Creek but that’s neither here nor there. I will get that fixed soon so that books don’t live on Taylor Bradford anymore. And when you’ve written a blog since 2011, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of content to go through and it has to get rebranded and rewritten and yay fun times. But it’s what I need to do, so that’s what I’m doing.
So using Taylor Bradford’s Google Search Console account, and I went through to look for an underperforming keyword. Something that’s like in the position of three to eight to figure out how I might be able to get it to perform better. So I found the keyword phrase ‘lemon body scrubs’. So I actually have a blog post called DIY Lemon Body Scrub. Now, okay with your underperforming keywords, based on impressions, based on click through rate, based on position – so with lemon body scrub, I’m sitting at the 8.8 position, my click through rate is .1%. That’s terrible. But there’s 1081 impressions, so I’m getting seen, but people aren’t clicking through because I’m too far down in the results. But you want to see what you’re competing against. And unfortunately, Google seems to have taken this next part away. So you just have to open up another tab and go to Google and type in the phrase yourself. So lemon body scrub, I put that into the Google and it gave me the results. So I am also looking to see when I look to see what the blog post was that I was ranking for. So in your Google Search Console in your query area, for the underperforming keyword that you’re wanting to analyze, you need to actually click that, so it’s the only data showing once you’ve done that. So I clicked the word, lemon body scrub and so it was the only thing showing and then I went to pages. So I told you at the beginning, right underneath the graph, there were different filters, query pages, and so on. So now that I have actually clicked to the query, and now I have the option to adjust to the page, which tells me what blog post or blog page is ranking for that phrase, I know for a fact that it is my DIY lemon body scrub. The intent matters. So if you were to find a phrase, that didn’t make sense, and you click to the page to see what blog post is ranking for that random phrase, it may not make sense for you to do anything further because you don’t really want to be ranking for that phrase. So if this were coffee hand scrub, but my lemon body scrub blog post was ranking for that, there’s no – like, there’s no – the intents not the same and I don’t know why Google would have ever shown my lemon body scrub. I’m making this up, but I don’t know why lemon body scrub would show up for somebody looking for a coffee hand scrub. So you get the point, you want to make sure that the keyword matches the intent of your own blog post, and then go out to search results to see the intent of the actual search itself. So I did that.
I double checked, and yes, my DIY lemon body scrub is what’s attached to that keyword that’s ranking. And so the next step is to perform an analysis on the actual page, the blog post itself, and how my SEO is on that page. I can add some relevant internal links, I can add a few more keywords that makes sense to add without stuffing the blog post, I can get more backlinks to that blog post, I can improve my page speed, etc. So I need to analyze the blog post itself to see if it’s up to snuff. But I need you to use common sense at the same time. Is it even going to be effective for you to make changes to the blog post based on what you see out in Google search results? So I went out to Google search results to see if it was even feasible for me to get any higher than the eighth position, and when I google lemon body scrub, first I have ads selling things related to lemon body scrub. So right out of the gate, Google is trying to sell me something and sending me back – well, Google’s not – but sending me back ads for product placement, people that have spent money to try to get their products sold through Google search result. The next thing that I see is recipes. So these are considered SERP features, which is – SERP stands for search engine results page – but it’s a feature that allows you to trump the top spots in an organic search and sometimes that’s going to be hard to tackle when there are that many features. So I just said that Google is serving up shopping ads trying to get me to buy a product. Underneath that is a recipe SERP feature that lists three different recipes. And then there are questions that people also asked. Questions comes next, so I haven’t even actually gotten to the organic search results yet. So now we have people also ask questions popping up Then we get to the top three organic search results, which happened to be the recipes that were featured in the second spot or second area in this SERP page. And then after that, we get a map of stores where I can go potentially shop for a lemon body scrub. And then YouTube returns three videos that teach me how to create a lemon body scrub. So again, at this point, there are a ton of SERP features before you ever get to the top three organic spots, who also have the recipe SERP feature, which is great for them, and then you finally get to the other organic search results, which become spot 7, 8, 9, and 10. Number seven is a homemade lemon body scrub by I Heart Recipes. Number eight is my DIY lemon body scrub. But do you see how much work it would take for me to even get higher than that? There are too many SERP features that I’d have to overcome, I would have to figure out how to capture the recipe spot to potentially gain more traffic or get more click-throughs. Because again, I’m I’m showing up on page one of Google in on average and the number eight spot but I have too many SERP features to compete against to potentially get any higher, which can be a little frustrating. It’s doable if those bloggers aren’t updating their websites that I might be able to overtake them. But at the end of the day, do I really want to be known for lemon body scrubs? That’s another question you have to ask yourself. If your website is all about body scrubs, then yes, you would want to do everything in your power to get yourself up, at least into that recipe area because the recipe area means just based off that one keyword, those three that have recipe cards. And Google rewards that obviously they are the top three spots, and they’re showing up right underneath the ad product placements as a SERP feature that’s super powerful.
Okay, the other thing that you can do and you want to do with Google Search Console is optimize your pages with high keyword rankings but low click-through rate. So you’re looking for keywords with lots of impressions, but lower than average click-through rate, I could use that lemon body scrub as an example, considering that I was. Let’s see, let me go back to my notes. I was getting .1% click-through so that would also fall in line with trying to figure out how to boost that higher but again, after that lengthy analysis of is this really possible? If I was all about body scrubs? Yes, I could work my tooshie off to get higher up in the results. But again, you have to look at what is the intent of your content? What’s your content all about? What do you want to be known for? All of that plays a key role in content creation.
Okay, so I went and found just to talk about this, optimizing pages with high keyword rankings but low click-through rate, I found another one. A full-body workout. So back in the day, I used to write a no excuses workout series with a friend. And this makes sense why I’m showing up for full-body workouts. But full-body workouts is the phrase, but I’m getting zero clicks. But look at the impressions. While you can’t see I’m going to tell you 5600 impressions 5667 impressions on the word full-body workouts. But I’m getting zero, click-through rate. And my average position is 4.3. So I actually went out to Google to see what the page would return on that search term. And it’s not my blog posts. It’s actually a graphic. And this is why images and the titles of your images matter. So when I go out and I google, the first thing that pops up for full-body workouts is people also ask questions. The second thing that pops up is a SERP feature. It’s images for full-body workouts. I can see my graphics in there they are bright pink and turquoise they stand out. This is why I’m showing up on average in the 4.3 position over the last three months, but I’m not getting any click-throughs because I’m giving away everything in that graphic. They don’t need to come to my website to actually take part in the workout. They have the graphic. The graphic lists the workout so it makes sense. Under the images, it’s the first organic search result from Men’s Health. It’s full-body workouts. The second one is active.com, the seven best exercises for a full-body workout. And then it’s another SERP feature. It’s videos from YouTube. And then there are five more organic search results. And then at the very bottom, people also search for. So the fact that there were not any ads, nobody is running an ad for a full-body workout. So if you are in the fitness world, you could run an ad, and basically show up above all of that, for full-body workouts to get people to get to your website, actually find that very interesting that there were no ads served up for me in my market. For the phrase full-body workouts. That was super surprising, especially because we are leading up into the busiest time of the year for the health and fitness industry.
So food for thought, there is so much information you can get by analyzing your analytics. Like I mentioned earlier with the lemon body scrubs search features can steal clicks from you, which is why you might try going down the road of being one of those SERP features or getting yourself into one of those SERP features, you want to try and win them. So I hope this gives you a great starting place in how to tackle Google Search Console. There’s so much data in there. Once you get your site connected. And some of its irrelevant, some of it you won’t act upon but a lot of it especially if you’re trying to build authority on something, a lot of it will be super valuable information for you.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. Again, shout out to today’s show sponsor, which is Gusto. Test it out, run your first payroll, get three months free. Go to gusto.com/bossgirl. Do not forget doors are closing at the end of this month December 2020 for the Inner Circle. It will not reopen until April 2021. You do not want to miss out. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. And until next week, I hope you have a great rest of your week.