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SEO 101 - Google Search Console Explained


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In our third SEO 101 lesson, we discussed how we can use Google Search Console to earn more organic traffic. During this webinar we gave a high level overview of each section. We went into more depth during the Search Analytics section.

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SEO 101 - Google Search Console Explained

  1. 1. 2016 SEO Best Practice Series: Lesson 3 – Google Search Console Join us again for lesson 4 on August 16th! Register Here:
  2. 2. Agenda Overview of Search Analytics Demo For How We Use It Overview of Crawl Section Questions
  3. 3. Quick Recap From Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 3 Win at SEO by focusing on your users and the outcome you want them to take on your pages. If you build it they will come. If you build it slow, they won’t stay. Watch Lesson 1: Watch Lesson 2:
  4. 4. Why Use Google Search Console? 4 1. Monitor your site's performance in Google Search results. 2. Ensure Google can access your content. 3. Submit new content for crawling and remove content. 4. Maintain your site with minimal disruption to search performance. 5. Monitor for errors and resolve malware or spam issues so your site stays clean 6. Discover how Google Search—and the world—sees your site: 7. Learn which queries caused your site to appear in search results? 8. Are your product prices, company contact info, or events highlighted in rich search results? 9. Which sites are linking to your website? 10.Is your mobile site performing well for visitors searching on mobile?
  5. 5. How To Access Google Search Console 5 Go to Click Add property Follow instructions for verification *Tip – Check out the Alternate Methods tab. If you have the new version of Google Analytics installed in your site, that’s good enough to verify your site.
  6. 6. The Side Navigation 6 For today we are going to discuss the Search Traffic and Crawl sections of Google Search Console Search Traffic – This is where you can spend time reporting for meaningful optimizations. Crawl – To monitor and configure how Google will crawl your site.
  7. 7. Search Traffic Section Let’s start with a DEMO
  8. 8. Search Analytics 8 Get there: Search Traffic > Search Analytics This is where you can view which search queries or landing pages are bringing you traffic and how you can optimize them for more. Using the filters is really how you narrow in to see the data for where you should optimize. Clicks – Traffic metric for how many clicks you’re getting from organic search. Impressions – How many times did one of your organic results display on someone’s screen? CTR – Click through rate is the click count divided by the impression count. Position – The average position of the topmost result from your site. So, for example, if your site has three results at positions 2, 4, and 6, the position is reported as 2.
  9. 9. Using Search Analytics Filters 9 In this example reef is the brand name, so I wanted to see what were the non branded mobile search queries bringing traffic to the pages where the url contained /shop/women. With this data, I am able to fine tune our title tag to improve our click through rate (ctr) with the phrasing that makes the most sense. The radio button will display the dimension for the data you want to see. TIP* You can still use the filters from another dimensions to really narrow in on the data you want to see.
  10. 10. Finding pages with a below average CTR 10 Search Traffic > Search Analytics So you can sort by traffic, select Clicks and CTR. 1) Take note of your AVG CTR above the graph. 2) Identify pages that are below average. 3) Export the list. 4) Revisit your meta title and description for the page. Bonus points for filtering by device type.
  11. 11. What To Look For? 11 Once we identified a page with a lower than average ctr, I’ll switch the dimension to show me the queries. From there I’ll learn exactly how our audience is landing on the page and work towards optimizing the page (or creating a separate one) to better align with that message.
  12. 12. Deciding which Phrasing to use? 12 Once we are narrowed in, you can get a feel for the queries that are bringing in clicks to the page. This is the knowledge that will allow you to optimize your title tags for phrases that your audience would most likely click on. Existing Title: Women's Surf-Inspired Sandals | Reef Women's Sandals Better Title: Reef Women’s Flip Flops & Sandals
  13. 13. Links to Your Site 13 Get there: Search Traffic > Links to Your Site Here you can view and download lists for which domains are linking to you, the anchor text they’re using, and which pages they’re linking to. This data is valuable to monitor for abnormalities. Each of the sections will let you narrow in to see more data.
  14. 14. Internal Links ref_topic=4617161 14 Get there: Search Traffic > Internal Links The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page. If an important page does not appear in this list, or if a less important page has a relatively large number of internal links, you should consider reviewing your internal link structure. Are your most important pages internally at the top? This report will help you learn how Google is seeing that.
  15. 15. Manual Actions 15 Get there: Search Traffic > Manual Actions The Manual Actions report lists instances where a human reviewer has determined that pages on your site are not compliant with Google's webmaster quality guidelines.
  16. 16. International Targeting 16 Get there: Search Traffic > International Targeting International Targeting will allow you to indicate to Google which country you would like to target. A tip for this section is that if you have a subdirectory or section your site that targets a specific country, you can set up a Google Search Console Account for that Section. You can add up to 1,000 properties to your account, including both websites and mobile apps. This means you can set up and geotarget your subdirectories like or
  17. 17. Mobile Usability 17 Get there: Search Traffic > Mobile Usability The initial screen shows a count of pages exhibiting specific mobile usability errors, grouped by type. Click on an error type to see a list of pages affected by the chosen error. Click on a page URL to get a list of instructions on how to fix the error. Tip: Check out Google’s Web Fundamentals guide for tips on how to remedy any of these issues.
  18. 18. Crawl Section
  19. 19. Crawl Errors ef_topic=4610900 19 Server error Googlebot couldn't access your URL, the request timed out, or your site was busy. Soft 404 A soft 404 occurs when your server returns a real page for a URL that doesn't actually exist on your site. 404 Googlebot attempts to visit a page that doesn't exist—either because you deleted or renamed it without redirecting the old URL to a new page, or because of a typo in a link. What if there are a lot? Check the top-ranking issues, fix those if possible, and then move on. Access denied In general, Google discovers content by following links from one page to another. To crawl a page, Googlebot must be able to access it. If you're seeing unexpected Access Denied errors, it may be for the following reasons: Get there: Crawl > Crawl Errors
  20. 20. Crawl Stats 20 The Crawl Stats report provides information on Googlebot's activity on your site for the last 90 days. 1. Pages crawled per day 2. Kilobytes downloaded per day 3. Time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds) Get there: Crawl > Crawl Stats
  21. 21. Fetch as Google 21 Get there: Crawl > Fetch as Google Fetch as Google tool enables you to test how Google crawls or renders a URL on your site. See whether Googlebot can access a page on your site, how it renders the page, and whether any page resources are blocked.
  22. 22. Robots.txt Tester 22 This shows you whether your robots.txt file blocks Google crawlers from specific URLs on your site. Important Tip! As of October 2014 Google needs viewable access to your page’s css and javascript files. “Disallowing crawling of Javascript or CSS files in your site’s robots.txt directly harms how well our algorithms render and index your content and can result in suboptimal rankings.” More info here: our-technical-webmaster.html Get there: Crawl > Robots.txt tester
  23. 23. Sitemaps 23 A sitemap is a file you create for web crawlers, such as Googlebot, that gives them a list of web pages to crawl on your site. Although most web crawlers can explore and discover all the files on your site the sitemap serves as a helpful guide for which pages to crawl (and how often). In Google Search Console you can view, add, and test sitemaps using the Sitemaps report. Important Tip! You want your sitemap to be as close to perfect as possible. Get there: Crawl > Sitemaps
  24. 24. URL Parameters 24 You can use the URL Parameters tool to indicate the purpose of the parameters you use on your site to Google. For example, maybe all the urls containing color=black are duplicate urls. If so, then you can set preferences for how Google might crawl the URLs that contain those parameters. Important Tip! This is a strong clue to Google. However, ultimately you will want your on page directives to be correct. Get there: Crawl > URL Parameters
  25. 25. Search Appearance Section 25 While I won’t be going into detail on this section of search console today. It generally goes over the appearance of search results. In here you’ll find ways to see if your structured data and accelerated mobile results are functioning properly.
  26. 26. HTML Improvements 26 Title problems: Potential problems with the title tag on your pages, such as missing or repeated page titles. Meta description problems: Potential problems with duplicate or otherwise problematic meta descriptions. Non-indexable content: Pages containing non- indexable content, such as some rich media files, video, or images. Get there: Search Appearance > HTML Improvements
  27. 27. Any Questions?
  28. 28. Please Join Us Again On 8/16/16! 28 In our next lesson we are going to cover more of the tools we like to use! Please join us! Sign up now!