Article originally published on BestCompany.com, written by, Aljaz Fajmut.
Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of Nightwatch — a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out Nightwatch blog for SEO and marketing tips and follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut
Want more traffic than your rivals? Want to implement tactics they haven’t thought of? It’s time to use Google Search Console for maximum effect.
Google is the world’s biggest search engine, which means that most of your customers use it. If you optimize your site properly, they will find you.
Google also provides you with free tools to optimize your site, including Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console.
Google Search Console is often overlooked by newbie marketers for its ability to help them drive traffic. But because it literally shows you how users are finding your pages, it should play a key role in your traffic-driving strategy as you move into 2019.
If you’ve never used it before as a way to grow traffic, we’re going to show you six ways Google Search Console can make you more visible to the right people.
1. Drive more traffic to relevant pages
Let’s say you’ve got a few pages that make up most of your traffic, as well as a handful of pages that only a few people visit. If so, what should you do with the latter? You could improve their search visibility, or you could save time and energy by deleting them and 301 redirecting people to a more relevant page.
A 301 redirect adds more value to the page the user is being redirected to, as well as more traffic. However, it’s important that you don’t create a redirect chain. This is when a 301 redirects to another page which then redirects to another page. With each 301 redirect, around 10% of a page’s value is lost.
Meanwhile, to find irrelevant pages with low traffic, open up Google Search Console, go to Search Analytics and then click ‘Pages.’
Then, check your Position, CTR, Impressions, and Clicks to see the information. Sorting by Impressions will then show you which pages have the least impressions. These are the ones you should consider deleting and adding a 301 redirect to.
2. Improve your CTR rate
If your visibility is good but your CTR rate is poor, it means that your title tags and meta descriptions aren’t compelling enough to convince users to click on your pages.
In your Google Search Console, take a look at the click-through rate on the pages and queries that you’re ranking for, and then assess what you can do to improve the situation. Most of the time, CTR rate is down because the meta description, URL, and title tag all need to be more enticing.
It’s a good idea to take a look at rival pages that are ranking around yours. Are their title tags and meta descriptions stronger? What can you learn from them to make your content more appealing to the right reader?
3. Improve your AdWords campaign
If you need better keyword ideas to turbocharge your AdWords campaign, open up your Google Search Console, and then click Search Traffic, followed by Search Analytics. Check Impressions along with Clicks and Queries and set the date range to the last 90 days.
Sorting by impressions will show you the search queries that have had the most impressions over the last 90 days, and this will give you more keyword ideas for your next Google Adwords campaign.
4. Jump from page 2 to page 1 of Google
It’s always a pain when your page is on page 2 of Google instead of page 1, but you can use Google Search Console to get it up to page 1. Here’s how:
Take a look at your graph and click the “Position” box, which you’ll find at the top. Those keywords that have good impressions but which are on page 2? They’re the ones you need to focus on.
With this information, you’re essentially in a position to stop wasting time on keywords that are never going to drive more traffic. Instead, you’re focusing on prime keywords that are going to boost your traffic and ranking.
5. Use the index coverage tool to boost traffic
Sometimes you’re losing traffic because of canonicals. But what if you didn’t even know this?
Google Search Console was updated for 2018, and a key part of its update was an improved index coverage tool.
The great thing about this tool is that it now shows you which pages were not indexed — as well as why.
This is key because you can now rectify any errors that are preventing you from growing your traffic immediately. Some pages might not have been crawled, others might have been excluded because of robots.txt, while others might have been eliminated due to canonicals.
Use your index coverage tool to find out which pages are been excluded and why — and then fix the errors as soon as possible.
6. Improve the user experience
If your pages are slow to load, unresponsive or their elements don’t fit the page, you’ll struggle to rank and your traffic will be down. Not cool.
The great thing about Search Console is that it helps you improve the user experience by showing you which pages have which issues.
Once you’ve highlighted the issues, you can fix them and then re-submit them to be indexed.
Mobile search will continue to grow in 2019, so it’s important to use Google Search Console to grab as much mobile traffic as possible.
These six tips for using Google Search Console to grow search traffic in 2019 can be your secret weapon. The free tool is a treasure trove of SEO hacks that, once implemented, will boost your traffic in ways you previously hadn’t thought of.