Google Search Console: Most Forgotten Tool for Content Creators

How do I come up with blogging ideas for my nonprofit website or my online business? A question that is often asked. When you put this issue in the Google search box, you’ll find about 197,000,000 results. One answer for you: Search Analytics in the Google Search Console

The most forgotten tool for content creators is Google Search Console. About a year ago Google renamed it from Webmaster Tools as an attempt to get non-techies to pay attention to the information it uncovers.

Yes, there is a lot of techie stuff there, still. But one section is pure gold when looking for inspiration on what to blog about next. If you write for your nonprofit’s website, you need a report on the site’s position on the result pages. A report on monthly activity will work for most occasions. If it’s a new site, use the last 90 days to compile the list.

What can you learn from the Search Analytics?

It lists all keyword phrases your website was relevant, in Google’s mind, for its search pages.

For each keyword phrase in the list you can see:

  • Number of clicks
  • Number of Impressions
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Position

Let’s take it one at a time:

Number of Clicks

People saw one of your pages listed, found it worth checking out and clicked to pull it up in their browser. If they didn’t lose patience while waiting for the page to come up, they landed on your website.

By the way, those are the visitors and sessions you see in your Google Analytics under “Organic search.”

Number of Impressions

Search Console Help states: “A link URL records an impression when it appears in a search result for a user.”

Every time one of the web pages from your site was included in the search results it counts as an impression. Google also notes that the URL does not have to be scrolled into view for it to count. It does not mean the user searching has seen the web page. What you can now see is how many people have searched for the keyword phrase.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

You can calculate the click-through rate by dividing the Impressions by the Number of clicks. It gives you a relative measure of your web page’s’ performance.

Average Position

The last number is average position and identifies the spot on the search result pages. The goal, of course, is the number 1 spot. Ranking number one for your brand is easy. If people search for your company, your site should come up on the number one or number two spot.

Apart from that, to rank high enough to get to the top spot, your content needs to hit the keyword phrase exactly. The web page needs to cover the topic deeply and exhaustively. Most of the time that’s not the case.

A lot of different ranking factors go into the algorithm determining the placement of a web page. All you can aim for is close to the first page of the search result pages.

How do keyword phrases in Google Search Console help you create better content?

You look at the keyword phrases with a high click through rate. Decide for yourself, if it’s a keyword phrase, that is relevant to the goals of yours. Relevancy is key. Sometimes we find surprises in the Search Analytics. For instance, our website ranks high for “pardon our dust.” A phrase placed on our site before we had any content. A person searching for this phrase is not interested in nonprofit technology topics.

Next, to the keyword phrase you see a gray arrow in a square. If you click on this square, you will see an example of Google search page for the keyword combination.

Take a look at the sites listed on the first page. Now asked yourself, if you can’t do a much better job writing about the topic than they could. Your next blog post will be about this subject. Combine it with a series of other blog posts, make an ebook out of it and use it as a lead magnet. Invite an expert and interview her on this topic for your next video. Repurpose the audio of the video and publish it as a podcast. It’ll be a lot of work, but it will be worth it.

What’s a good read for people is good enough for Google.

This approach should drive your editorial calendar. Do this for twelve more keyword phrases, and you improve your average position. To get to number one spot might take a few months. And you will generate more clicks to your pages along the way.

How long should your blog post be?

Well, you can aim low and go for 300 to 600 words with a nice graphic to attract readers on the social webs. If you want to hit a homerun, you need to take a big swing, though. Go for the long form content.

Back in 2012, I was doing some research for myself and our customers to select the best blogging tool and work through all the necessary features to use it as the central hub of an organization’s online communication. The research for the post took me quite a while to make real apples-to-apples comparisons, and test each of the 17 features in four blogging tools.

When you search for “compare blogging engines” the article is still listed on the first page, five years later. It doesn’t perform as well anymore because in the last five years a lot has happened in that landscape. You can imagine that on top of my to-do list is to update the post with new information, make the overview table responsive to mobile devices, and then it will drive more relevant traffic to our website again. Studies show long form content outperforms shorter content for the long tail and both have their places in your content marketing strategy and search engine optimization activities.

Give people what they need, and they will reward you with their clicks.

Resources for your Content Production

Now when you write, you would need to make sure you do your onsite search engine optimization. More about Onsite SEO on our podcast episode #4.

Yoast, developers of Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, just added another free feature to their plugin, called Cornerstone Content Analysis.

NewsCred’s managing editor, Heather Eng, wrote about their internal Content Quality Checklist every piece of content needs to pass. It should get you started to formalize quality standards for your content producers.

Book: They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan

Send your comments, questions or suggestions by commenting or via email birgit.pauli@nptechprojects.org