Whenever I’m reviewing a client’s website, whether I’m looking for fresh content ideas or attempting to find content or pages that aren’t quite performing as well as they should be, one of my first ports of call is the Search Analytics dashboard in the Google Search Console.
This is where you can review the most popular search queries driving people to your site. You can also measure clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and search positions.
These factors can let you know if you’re reaching enough people and if they’re clicking on your results, which can help you develop a search strategy around topics that will resonate with your audience. On top of this, understanding your website’s most popular search queries can also help you develop fresh content ideas, targeting users who have specific questions.
In this blog post, I’m going to show you three quick and easy ways to mine the available data to enable you make informed decisions.
1: Looking for New Content Ideas
To find the Search Analytics data, assuming that you have already added your site to the Search Console, go to your main dashboard and select ‘Search Analytics’ from the Search Traffic option:
You want to get as much data as you can, so make sure you select clicks, impressions, CTR and position. Then select ‘Last 90 days’ from ‘Dates’:
Next click on Pages:
This will give you a list of all of your top pages over the past 90 days. You can now sort this list by ‘Impressions’ and choose the page you want to see search queries for. In this example, we’re going to look at the homepage, so just click the link:
Then click on queries:
You’ll now be presented with a list of the keywords driving traffic this page.
We’re going to look for the phrases that cause your website to show, but do not drive any traffic. So look for high impressions and a CTR under 1%. These are queries that are not directly related to the content on your page and could therefore be a new content idea.
For example, if the landing page we are reviewing is about how to change a tyre, and the queries with 0 clicks are about how to pump up a tyre, then you could create some new content around pumping up a tyre.
2: Looking for Content to Revise or Update
Queries where your site generally appears on the first page, but the click through rate is under 1%, could indicate that the page title or description might need to be rewritten to make them more engaging.
For this report, I recommend that you use Excel because you’ll be able to use its powerful data filtering and sorting tools.
First, reset your report if necessary. This option is available if you click on Queries, Pages, or any of the other filters. Then select Queries:
You then need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and select ‘Download’:
Then open in Excel and apply the data filter option:
Sort this list by largest to smallest Impressions, then use number filters to select positions on the first page, 1-10, and CTR under 1%:
You’ll then have a list of keywords in top positions, getting impressions but not receiving clicks:
Say, for example, that one of the queries was ‘organic dog food’, and your site is ranking on the first page but your CTR is under 1%. The next step would be to review how your page looks in Google by running a quick search for that query.
Compare your page title to that of your competitors. Why do you think other sites look more appealing than yours? Are your page titles and descriptions engaging or enticing enough to encourage clicks from Google? If you’re getting impressions but nobody is clicking through to your site, then it’s likely that they’re not. Simply updating them could make quite a difference.
3: Build on Content That’s Already Working
Next, look at what is already working – these are the content ideas that you can build upon.
You can use the same Excel file as before, but this time you want to sort by ‘Clicks’ and then use number filtering to select a CTR of over 20%:
Is there a recurring theme that performs consistently well? Is there more content you can create around that particular topic? Using this data you can either re-purpose successful content or create a series of blog posts or pages around popular content.
As you can see, the Search Console has a wealth of actionable data readily available to website owners, and these are just a few ways that you can use it to make informed decisions about your current and future content.
Have a go at exploring the Search Analytics dashboard yourself and see if there are any good content opportunities for your site. And if you need any assistance in getting your site set up in the Search Console, just contact us for help.