Every day, Google ranks millions – if not billions – of websites and pages for many key search terms. But even if your 'successful' pages are targeting some of the most highly-ranked keywords, you probably not ranking well for all of the keywords relevant to your site – or even the best ones for your marketing – from search engines.

There is a free tool that can help you see where your content stands in search engine rankings: Google Search Console.

This free tool from Google can help you identify these 'hidden' keywords, so that you can further optimize your content. How?

Well, in this article, we'll show you the 5 simple ways that you can use Google Search Console to develop an effective search engine optimization (or "SEO") strategy that could bring in thousands more visitors than in the past.

Know The Big And Little Picture

When viewing the overview screen on Google Search Console, click on the 'Performance' tab in the left column to see an overview of your site's performance. This section includes:
• Total clicks
• Total impressions
• Average click-through rate (CTR)
• Your site's average position (based on highest search position that it's ever appeared in).

Then, looking at the default view of the graphic below (which includes only total clicks and impressions), you can see the average CTR and average position in the graph by clicking on its corresponding box above.

Below the overview graphic is a table with the site's individual pages, which provide valuable insights about your content.

The following tabs allow you to analyze the data points (clicks, impressions, CTR, position) in various ways:
• Queries are all your ranking search terms.
• Pages are listed on your site.
• Countries indicate the origin of visitors on your site.
• The Device tab shows how people interact with your site across mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.
• The Search option includes elements (i.e. snippets and accelerated mobile platforms (AMPs))

Look At CTR of Keywords

Google Search Console can show you the click-through rate (CTR) of different keywords your site is ranking on.

This data, in turn, shows you which keywords need improvement. First, look for keywords that:
• Rank on the first page
• Get many impressions, but also
• Have low click count and CTR.

Those keywords can get more traffic in an instant if people click on your link.

With this report, you can see your top search terms along with clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position.

After finding your keywords with low CTR, work on boosting the clicks they get by implementing some of these strategies:
• Add effective keywords to your titles
• Make your titles within the recommended character limit
• Keep meta descriptions descriptive and engaging
• Use readable URLs
• Capture the featured snippet on the search term (if applicable)

Export And Analyze With Spreadsheets

To get a better understanding of which keywords will rank your content high, it's important to review each page's analytics individually.

You can do this by first selecting the Pages tab, and then exporting the data to Google Sheets (or any other spreadsheets application that you prefer using).

Now, if you're using the sort feature in Google Sheets, identify which pages have the biggest impact on traffic:
1. Highlight columns A to E.
2. Click 'Data' in the menu.
3. Select 'Sort the range.'
4. Click 'Data has header row.'
5. Select 'Impressions.'
6. Select columns Z to A.
7. Then click 'Sort.'

The top pages have the most potential to bring more traffic with further optimization. Now, when looking at your top pages, select only the top 20 by impressions, and then analyze the keywords for each.

You can analyze those pages by going back to Google Search Console and collecting this data:
1. Click 'New' and select 'Page.'
2. Paste the first URL into the light-box, and then click 'Apply.'
3. Select 'Queries' from the table menu, and then click 'Export to Google Sheets.'

In your exported Google Sheet, sort queries by impressions, and then repeat for each of the top 20 URLs.

Now, your master Google Sheet should have 21 tabs. If desired, apply conditional formatting to your spreadsheet. Conditional formatting is a set of rules that you can use to analyze spreadsheet data.

As such, you can use this format to identify important keywords by formatting to a column or a single cell. Just select 'Format' on the main menu, and then choose 'Conditional formatting.' This has the spreadsheet display your keyword and content opportunities using traffic-signal colors – the 'green' opportunities are first; the 'yellow' are second; and the 'red' last.

Come Up With New Ideas

So, now that you've got the formatting and analysis down, you can now use your Google Search Console Performance report to find new content ideas – that is, the type of content that you should be creating, the type that will get good viewership.

For example, if you see that certain pages are performing better in rankings than other pages, then the better-scoring pages have themes and keywords that should be implemented more in your content. In other words, for pages that are successful, you can create similar content to grow your traffic.

In addition, the report helps you repurpose your content by taking into account your top-performing pages. Just convert your successful pages into different types of content for different platforms to double your traffic.

Update Content And SEO Plans

Finally, be sure to update your metadata and existing content to incorporate the high-ranking terms that you've found. While updating old content and improving its metadata can be an ongoing process, it's important to get into the habit of reviewing the impact of your post-analysis changes.

Here's an ideal time-frame for both metadata and content:
• Review website two weeks after you update a metadata description.
• Review website three months after you change the existing content.

You can review both the metadata and the content by going to Search Console, and then choosing a page to review. Then, select 'Date range,' followed by 'Compare.'

Conclusion

So, if you want to continue driving traffic to your website with SEO, then take the time to look at your content – see what works and what doesn't work – and double-check your pages' keyword rankings. By using Google Search Console, you’ll see how your pages rank for certain keywords, and you’ll learn how to better optimize them to get more SEO traffic.

Lauren Groff is a writer and editor at : CV Service. As a freelance writer, her writing topics revolve around marketing and graphic design.


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