Even with all the paid tools out there, Google Search Console and its free-ness is still the one SEO tool that I consistently use daily. While there are many ways to use it, for this article, I am only going to focus on how to do keyword research with Google Search Console.
Find out how to improve your existing content, or even find new content ideas to help your website grow in organic traffic!
The first thing you will need to do is go to PERFORMANCE > SEARCH RESULTS in your Google Search Console account. By default, you will see data for the last 3 months for impressions and total clicks. You can change that using the date selector at the top of the page.
If you are not familiar with the colored filters above the graph, they are:
- Total clicks are the number of clicks Google has sent your way in your selected timeframe. (3 months by default)
- Total impressions are the number of times searchers have laid eyes on your URL out in the wild. This could be images, map packs, organic results, or other Google search type.
- Average CTR is the click-thru rate average for all the keywords Google currently shows you ranking for.
- Average position is an average that is based on your highest position during the time frame selected. This can be positioned in images, featured snippets, etc. This is not an exact metric – but an average over a some time.
The top of the page shows the metrics for the entire website. But in the table below, you can see these metrics on a per page or per-query basis.
How To Do Keyword Research With Google Search Console
Google Search Console keyword research is super simple but will take some thought and investigation in the SERPs. I advise clients to start looking at pages that are either falling in traffic or money pages they want to improve to get the most out of this tool.
Below is a step-by-step guide to help you understand how to maximize this tool for quick keyword ranking wins.
Choosing A Page To Analyze
Click the PAGES tab below the graph.
You can access the page you want to analyze in 2 different ways.
- Go to the table below, click PAGES, and find the page you want to analyze.
- Click NEW above the graph section, click the page filter and then add the URL you want to analyze. Make sure the URLs containing or Exact URL are selected.
Once you have added your URL, you should see a page like the one below.
Ensure all 4 colored blocks are checked to have all the data you need to do proper analysis!
Finding Keywords The Page Ranks For
Now you can click the queries tab, which will show you all the keywords that rank ONLY for this page.
The table below shows several columns, and data is for the time frame you selected at the top of the report. Remember, it is 3 months by default.
- The keyword that is ranking
- Number of clicks that keyword has brought to the site
- How many impressions the keyword has had
- Click thru rate for the keyword – of course, higher is better
- The average position for the keyword
Evaluating The Keyword Metrics
First, make sure you sort the CTR column to see the highest CTRs first.
Then you can start looking for keywords that are showing high impressions and low click-thru rates.
This means the keyword is being seen somewhere out there, but there are not many (or no) clicks happening. This can mean title tags or meta descriptions are putting people off. Or maybe our page intent is just not right.
EXAMPLE: In the screenshot above, I am immediately drawn to 2 terms, “what do capital goods jobs pay” and “how many jobs are available in capital goods”
Why do these seem interesting to me? The post I created is about whether or not a career in capital goods is a good one. So it talks about what the industry is, common job types, and possible opportunities. I know I do not speak at length about either of these two keywords, but I might mention them briefly.
- How many jobs are available in capital goods is showing a lot of impressions, and an average position of 9, so it would be weird to have no clicks at all.
- What do capital goods jobs pay shows decent impressions and average position but low clicks.
So, now I need to find out my options are for these keywords. Do I add them to existing content – or is it better to create new content.
Google SERP Analysis
When doing a SERP analysis, I look at the following:
- Do I actually rank anywhere close to what Google Search Console tells me?
- What are the top-ranking pages, and can I beat them based on authority?
- What do the title tags look like for the top-ranking pages?
- Does my current page intent align with those shown in the search results?
Let me walk you through an actual review I would do.
I am going to use “What do capital goods jobs pay ” as my sample term for this analysis.
- I use incognito mode and enter the keyword I want to look into.
- I look to see if my page is on page 1 or 2 for the existing page I have been analyzing.
- I review the top-ranked pages and look at the title tags. I find “best paying jobs in capital goods,” “what do capital goods jobs pay,” and other titles that perfectly match the keyword intent.
Now, what to do with this data?
Deciding What To Do With The Keywords
In my example above, I would create a new page! Google is clearly showing us that the page should be unique to the intent of that keyword and would not do well on my existing page.
Here is a rundown of what to do when.
Create New Content
- If your existing page does not rank in the top 30 or so positions.
- If the top-ranking pages are all showing similar intent of their articles which is much different than yours.
Optimize Existing Content
- If your page currently does rank in the top 30 or so positions.
- If your page intent matches most of what is shown on page 1.
How To Improve Existing Content
If you feel confident that a keyword you found would do best in your existing content, here are a few ways to incorporate them.
- Add the term to your content
- Incorporate it into your title tag
- Revise your meta description to include it
- Add it to your header tags (H1, H2, H3)
- Add a link from another page to this page with the keyword as anchor text
- Acquire backlinks from other websites with the keyword as anchor text
Doing even a few of these tasks should help move that organic traffic needle for the keyword!
Check out Query Hunter too which will bring all of your GSC data right into your WordPress dashboard for each post!
Below is a video of all of the above! I am all ears if you have suggestions or comments to make these tutorial videos better.
So, are you using Google Search Console at all?
Do you love it? Have a terrific or unique way of using it?
Go ahead and spill it here!