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9 Essential Steps In Building A Winning SEO Strategy

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9 Essential Steps In Building A Winning SEO Strategy


Online shopping has taken over the world.

While people still run to the store to pick things up, the allure of buying just about anything from the comfort of your home is unstoppable.

From plumbing fixtures to pizza rolls, if you want it, you can get it delivered with the push of an app – without leaving the house.

And even if your business sells services, rather than products, there’s an incredible chance that the majority of people are shopping for it online.

This means ecommerce should be a focus for every company that’s selling something. And that means you need an increased focus on web traffic.

After all, you could have the best website in the world, with cutting-edge design, optimized for ideal user experiences, and copy that would make David Ogilvy gnash his teeth in envy, but if no one ever sees it, it’s not doing you an ounce of good.

You need to get found. And that, of course, is why SEO is a crucial part of any modern marketing plan.

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You want to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs), so you get found organically by your targets.

However, this is much easier said than done. But don’t fret, we’re here to help.

Whether you’re an experienced professional looking to brush up on the fundamentals for a client or a complete newbie trying to figure out how this whole SEO thing works for your business, you’re in the right place.

Here, we’ll walk you through the steps of creating, implementing, and optimizing an SEO campaign that will have your site shooting up the rankings in no time.

What Is An SEO Strategy?

You’ve probably already figured out that an SEO strategy is your plan to make your website or landing page more appealing to Google and other search engines

The goal here is to rank higher and drive more organic traffic (and hopefully conversions).

It sounds simple enough, but there’s a big catch: Search algorithms are always changing.

As Google seeks to enhance the quality of its searches and provide users with better solutions to queries, its algorithms are updated several times a year.

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What that means for SEO is that you can’t just set it and forget it. Every search engine optimization needs iterations.

You need to regularly analyze and course-correct to ensure you’re taking advantage of the latest best practices and strategies.

That’s good for SEO professionals – otherwise, we’d be out of jobs rather quickly

But it means a bit of a commitment for you.

To stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the world of search, you need to regularly consult with reliable sources (like this one).

Luckily, there are a wealth of resources you can mine for quality information. Whether you prefer articles, webinars or podcasts, there’s SEO content available for you.

Do You Really Need SEO?

Right now, some of you contrarians are sneering at your screen and asking if you really need SEO to find customers.

You have somebody handling paid search or affiliate marketing for you, so you’re not sure there’s much of a benefit to investing all this time into organic search. Don’t fall into that trap.

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Organic search is what drives more than half of all website visits and should be an important part of any organization’s digital marketing strategy, whether you’re a multinational mega-corporation or a mom-and-pop shop.

And it’s especially important for direct-to-consumer sites. By providing useful content, you’re not only building trust, but you’re matching your website with customer intent, which means higher quality leads.

And even better, you’re not paying for every click, which means a lower cost-per-conversion.

So, even if you have the world’s best pay-per-click (PPC) and affiliate marketing campaigns routinely driving motivated customers to your site, you’re still only fighting half the battle by ignoring organic search.

Creating An Effective SEO Strategy: 9 Fundamental Steps

Though SEO requires a comprehensive strategy, you can break it down into several manageable steps.

1. Align SEO With Business Goals & Define KPIs

First things first, you need to know where you currently stand, where you want to go, and how you’ll measure success along the way.

You’ll want to begin by performing an SEO audit.

This is the roadmap that will guide you throughout the entire optimization process and allow you to benchmark against your current site.

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You need to examine a variety of aspects, including:

  • Domain name, age, history, etc.
  • Page factors like headlines, keyword & topical targeting and user engagement.
  • Content organization, content quality, and the quality of your images (no one trusts stock photography).
  • Duplicate content.
  • Website factors like architecture, schema, markup. and click-through rate (CTR).
  • Past and upcoming website updates.
  • The quality of inbound links.
  • On-site factors like sitemaps, image optimization. and robots.txt.
See also  How to Build Links Using Q&A Sites

For a step-by-step guide on how to perform this audit, we have an excellent series that will guide you through it.

Once you know where you’re starting from, it’s time to plan your timeframe and allocated budgets and resources.

This is yet another area of life where you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for fast and cheap, you’re not going to get the results you would by investing more time and money.

Obviously, your budget and timeframe will depend on your company’s unique situation, but if you want good results, be prepared to pay for them.

For an idea of how much you should be spending, consult this article.

During this step of the SEO process, you’ll also want to define your key performance indicators (KPIs).

This is how you’ll measure the success of your new implementations and figure out what’s working for you and where you need to make adjustments.

Some of the KPIs you should be tracking are:

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  • Organic sessions.
  • Keyword ranking increases.
  • Leads and conversions.
  • Bounce rate (keep i mind that bounce rate is an internal metric and  is 100% dependent upon the events you set up on your pages and will be phased out in GA 4)
  • Pages per session.
  • Average session duration.
  • Page load time.
  • Top exit pages.
  • Crawl errors.

For more information on what these are and why they’re important, be sure to read this piece on top SEO KPIs.

2. Perform Keyword Research

Search engine rankings are determined by an algorithm that evaluates a variety of factors to decide how well a website answers a particular search query. And a huge part of that is the use of keywords.

From single words to complex phrases, keywords tell search engines what your content is about. But adding keywords isn’t quite as simple as just plugging in the name of the product or service you want to sell.

You need to do research to ensure keyword optimization, and that means considering the following:

Search Intent

The beauty of the English language (and the bane of SEOs) is in its richness.

But words often have multiple meanings, which makes it crucial to consider search intent, so you don’t attract an audience that was searching for something else.

For example, if you’re trying to attract customers to a haberdashery, ranking highly for [bowlers] may attract people who want to roll a few frames instead of those looking for a new hat.

Relevant Keywords

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Once you’ve identified your targets, you need to figure out which keywords are important to them.

It’s usually best to target only a few keywords, as targeting too broadly will make it difficult for the search engine to determine what your pages are about.

Keyword Phrases

These are short phrases consisting of two or more words that people type into search engines to find specific content.

For example, someone looking for dance lessons may ask Google for [tango classes near me].

Keyword Research Tools

The brainstorming process is a great place to start keyword research, but to ensure you’re attracting the right audience and proving your value to search engines, you should utilize a research tool.

Most SEO professionals use Google’s Keyword Planner for this, but it can be a bit frustrating to use, so you may wish to consider other options.

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Long-Tail Keywords

These are specific search terms people use to find an exact match for their query.

They tend to be longer and are more likely to be used by people who are closer to making a purchase.

An example of this would be [vegetarian restaurants in San Antonio], which would most likely be used by someone with a craving for a plant-based meal.

Search Volume

This will tell you the number of searches for a particular keyword over a specified timeframe, giving you an overall idea of the term’s value and competitiveness.

See also  Google Discovery Ads Dos and Don'ts For More Successful Campaigns

[Christmas lights] is going to get a lot more volume in November and December than it will in July. A lot of terms are seasonal, keep this in mind.

Likewise, [used cars] is going to have more competition than [2006 Volkswagen Passant].

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Funnel Keywords

These are keywords targeting users at various parts of the sales funnel.

People at the top of the funnel are more likely to be attracted by more general terms like [Cancun vacation], whereas those who are nearer to purchasing are comparing prices and brands and will more likely be attracted by things like discounts or hotel names.

Keywords are as much about your audience as they are your content.

For a more detailed explanation of every part of keyword research and optimization, we have a detailed ebook on the topic.

3. Define Your Most Valuable Pages

Every team needs an MVP, and in the case of your website, that’s your most valuable pages.

These pages are the ones that do the bulk of the heavy lifting for you.

For non-ecommerce sites, these are usually things like your home page, your services pages or any pages with demos or other offers.

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These pages are also likely MVPs for ecommerce sites, but will also be joined by category and/or product level pages.

To find which pages are your site’s most important ones, you should consider what your organization is known for.

What verticals to you compete in? What pain points do you solve? Define these or add more based on the high-level keywords you came up with in the previous step.

Once you’ve identified the category and product pages that bring in the most visitors, you’ll be able to focus your strategy on improving them and increasing your organic traffic.

Read more about how to find your MVPs here.

4. Conduct A Competitive Analysis

If you didn’t have any competition, there would be no need for SEO. But as long as other companies are manufacturing refrigerators, Frigidaire needs to find ways to differentiate itself.

You need to have an idea of what others in your industry are doing, so you can position yourself for the best results.

You need to figure out where you’re being outranked and find ways to turn the tables.

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You should know which keywords are most competitive and where you have opportunities.

You should have some understanding of the opposition’s backlinking and site structure, so you can optimize your own site for the best possible search ranking.

Learn more about how to perform this analysis and develop a template for it by reading this piece.

5. Plan For User Experience & Technical SEO

Don’t overlook the importance of how your site is structured, both technically and how users interface with it.

The best content and keyword strategy in the world won’t lead to a single sale if your site is constantly broken or is so frustrating to use that people close your page in disgust.

You should carefully consider your site’s architecture and user experiences to ensure people are taking the desired actions.

Likewise, you should find and fix any technical issues like broken links, slow load times and bad site schema.

There are a number of free tools you can use to ensure your site is working optimally.

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6. Consider Your Resources

SEO doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it impacts many other parts of your organization, including marketing, sales, and IT.

If you’re looking for the budget to perform SEO, you may find some of your employees are already well-qualified to help.

For example, your sales team probably knows which products people are most interested in.

Enlisting them in your SEO strategy development will help with lead generation and find new targets who are already qualified.

Similarly, SEO can tell your marketing team what types of content resonates best, so they can fine tune their campaigns. And your copywriters and graphic designers can develop the type of content that will help you shoot up the rankings.

Your IT team probably already has control over your website.

Your SEO strategy should be designed around their expertise, to ensure website design and structure, development cycles, data structure, and core principles are all aligned.

See also  How to Improve Your Google Rankings (Without Getting Penalized)

And these are just a few ways you can integrate SEO into your existing workflows.

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Others exist if you look closely and it’s very unlikely that you’ll need to start completely from scratch.

Evaluate your existing software, technology, and personnel, as there’s a good chance you have some of the pieces already in place.

And if you need to scale production up, you may find the budget already in place in existing departments.

7. Align Your SEO Strategy With Your Customer Funnel

At the end of the day, sales are the name of the game. Without customers, there’s no revenue, and that means no business.

To aid in the sales process, your SEO strategy should align with your customer funnel.

Sometimes described as the customer journey, your sales funnel is a summation of the touchpoints customers have with your company as they go from awareness to post-purchase.

SEO fits neatly with every stage of this cycle:

  • Awareness: In the modern world, many customers first hear about your business online. Through a Google search, for example.
  • Interest: This is where customers start doing research. And what better place to do research than your website?
  • Decision: The customer wants to buy and is deciding between you and the competition. Your meta description mentioning free shipping could be the thing that sways them.
  • Purchase: Ecommerce continues to grow. Having a search engine optimized point of sale makes it easy for people to buy.
  • Post-purchase: Customer reviews, either on your website or on a third-party site are a great way to build trust and increase your relevancy for keywords.

8. Report And Set Realistic Expectations

Reporting is essential. You need to be able to effectively measure and report on the progress you’re making.

Reporting allows you to establish consistent, accurate data that earns trust.

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It helps you understand the factors behind your ranking and identify areas where you could improve, and not least of all, it proves the value of SEO to the organization’s decision-makers.

One of the most common mistakes people unfamiliar with SEO make is expecting overnight results.

And because of the variables involved with competition, inbound links, and the content itself, it’s nearly impossible to provide a definite timeframe.

You need to go into the process with an understanding that SEO takes time and the more competitive the keywords you’re going after, the longer it will take to climb to the top.

This needs to be conveyed to stakeholders from the start, to ensure expectations are realistic.

For a guide on how to create impactful reports that generate quality insights, read our guide here.

9. Measure And Document Your Strategy

Congratulations on making it this far, but you’re not quite done.

After you’ve generated the reports on how your SEO strategy is working, you need to track the metrics and prove its impact.

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Some of the most important metrics you’ll want to consider include organic sessions, bounce rate, top exit pages, and crawl errors.

By identifying all of these, you’ll get a better idea of what you customers are looking for – and what’s driving them away.

For more information, read this article on top SEO KPIs.

There are a variety of both paid and free tools available that you can use to measure and track conversions, and compare them weekly, monthly, or by another timeframe of your choosing.

Simply find one that works for your budget and needs.

Conclusion

No one ever said SEO was easy, at least not anyone who has done it. But it’s a vital part of any modern organization’s business plan.

However, with a solid strategy, a willingness to learn, and a little old-fashioned elbow grease, even a complete beginner can send their website to the top of the SERP.

In this piece, we’ve given you nine steps to take to get your SEO strategy off the ground. But of course, this is just the start.

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You need a unique plan that will work for your industry and your needs.

Luckily, Search Engine Journal can help with this too.

Download our ebook on SEO strategy with a full-year blueprint for an easy-to-follow 12-month plan you can use to develop a solid strategy, track your progress, and adjust to changing situations.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Lena Noir/Shutterstock

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SEO

A Complete Google Search Console Guide For SEO Pros

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A Complete Google Search Console Guide For SEO Pros

Google search console provides data necessary to monitor website performance in search and improve search rankings, information that is exclusively available through Search Console.

This makes it indispensable for online business and publishers that are keen to maximize success.

Taking control of your search presence is easier to do when using the free tools and reports.

What Is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free web service hosted by Google that provides a way for publishers and search marketing professionals to monitor their overall site health and performance relative to Google search.

It offers an overview of metrics related to search performance and user experience to help publishers improve their sites and generate more traffic.

Search Console also provides a way for Google to communicate when it discovers security issues (like hacking vulnerabilities) and if the search quality team has imposed a manual action penalty.

Important features:

  • Monitor indexing and crawling.
  • Identify and fix errors.
  • Overview of search performance.
  • Request indexing of updated pages.
  • Review internal and external links.

It’s not necessary to use Search Console to rank better nor is it a ranking factor.

However, the usefulness of the Search Console makes it indispensable for helping improve search performance and bringing more traffic to a website.

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How To Get Started

The first step to using Search Console is to verify site ownership.

Google provides several different ways to accomplish site verification, depending on if you’re verifying a website, a domain, a Google site, or a Blogger-hosted site.

Domains registered with Google domains are automatically verified by adding them to Search Console.

The majority of users will verify their sites using one of four methods:

  1. HTML file upload.
  2. Meta tag
  3. Google Analytics tracking code.
  4. Google Tag Manager.

Some site hosting platforms limit what can be uploaded and require a specific way to verify site owners.

But, that’s becoming less of an issue as many hosted site services have an easy-to-follow verification process, which will be covered below.

How To Verify Site Ownership

There are two standard ways to verify site ownership with a regular website, like a standard WordPress site.

  1. HTML file upload.
  2. Meta tag.

When verifying a site using either of these two methods, you’ll be choosing the URL-prefix properties process.

Let’s stop here and acknowledge that the phrase “URL-prefix properties” means absolutely nothing to anyone but the Googler who came up with that phrase.

Don’t let that make you feel like you’re about to enter a labyrinth blindfolded. Verifying a site with Google is easy.

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HTML File Upload Method

Step 1: Go to the Search Console and open the Property Selector dropdown that’s visible in the top left-hand corner on any Search Console page.

Screenshot by author, May 2022

Step 2: In the pop-up labeled Select Property Type, enter the URL of the site then click the Continue button.

Step 2Screenshot by author, May 2022

Step 3: Select the HTML file upload method and download the HTML file.

Step 4: Upload the HTML file to the root of your website.

Root means https://example.com/. So, if the downloaded file is called verification.html, then the uploaded file should be located at https://example.com/verification.html.

Step 5: Finish the verification process by clicking Verify back in the Search Console.

Verification of a standard website with its own domain in website platforms like Wix and Weebly is similar to the above steps, except that you’ll be adding a meta description tag to your Wix site.

Duda has a simple approach that uses a Search Console App that easily verifies the site and gets its users started.

Troubleshooting With GSC

Ranking in search results depends on Google’s ability to crawl and index webpages.

The Search Console URL Inspection Tool warns of any issues with crawling and indexing before it becomes a major problem and pages start dropping from the search results.

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URL Inspection Tool

The URL inspection tool shows whether a URL is indexed and is eligible to be shown in a search result.

For each submitted URL a user can:

  • Request indexing for a recently updated webpage.
  • View how Google discovered the webpage (sitemaps and referring internal pages).
  • View the last crawl date for a URL.
  • Check if Google is using a declared canonical URL or is using another one.
  • Check mobile usability status.
  • Check enhancements like breadcrumbs.
See also  Google’s John Mueller On Link Velocity and Penalties

Coverage

The coverage section shows Discovery (how Google discovered the URL), Crawl (shows whether Google successfully crawled the URL and if not, provides a reason why), and Enhancements (provides the status of structured data).

The coverage section can be reached from the left-hand menu:

CoverageScreenshot by author, May 2022

Coverage Error Reports

While these reports are labeled as errors, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. Sometimes it just means that indexing can be improved.

For example, in the following screenshot, Google is showing a 403 Forbidden server response to nearly 6,000 URLs.

The 403 error response means that the server is telling Googlebot that it is forbidden from crawling these URLs.

Coverage report showing 403 server error responsesScreenshot by author, May 2022

The above errors are happening because Googlebot is blocked from crawling the member pages of a web forum.

Every member of the forum has a member page that has a list of their latest posts and other statistics.

The report provides a list of URLs that are generating the error.

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Clicking on one of the listed URLs reveals a menu on the right that provides the option to inspect the affected URL.

There’s also a contextual menu to the right of the URL itself in the form of a magnifying glass icon that also provides the option to Inspect URL.

Inspect URLScreenshot by author, May 2022

Clicking on the Inspect URL reveals how the page was discovered.

It also shows the following data points:

  • Last crawl.
  • Crawled as.
  • Crawl allowed?
  • Page fetch (if failed, provides the server error code).
  • Indexing allowed?

There is also information about the canonical used by Google:

  • User-declared canonical.
  • Google-selected canonical.

For the forum website in the above example, the important diagnostic information is located in the Discovery section.

This section tells us which pages are the ones that are showing links to member profiles to Googlebot.

With this information, the publisher can now code a PHP statement that will make the links to the member pages disappear when a search engine bot comes crawling.

Another way to fix the problem is to write a new entry to the robots.txt to stop Google from attempting to crawl these pages.

By making this 403 error go away, we free up crawling resources for Googlebot to index the rest of the website.

Google Search Console’s coverage report makes it possible to diagnose Googlebot crawling issues and fix them.

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Fixing 404 Errors

The coverage report can also alert a publisher to 404 and 500 series error responses, as well as communicate that everything is just fine.

A 404 server response is called an error only because the browser or crawler’s request for a webpage was made in error because the page does not exist.

It doesn’t mean that your site is in error.

If another site (or an internal link) links to a page that doesn’t exist, the coverage report will show a 404 response.

Clicking on one of the affected URLs and selecting the Inspect URL tool will reveal what pages (or sitemaps) are referring to the non-existent page.

From there you can decide if the link is broken and needs to be fixed (in the case of an internal link) or redirected to the correct page (in the case of an external link from another website).

Or, it could be that the webpage never existed and whoever is linking to that page made a mistake.

If the page doesn’t exist anymore or it never existed at all, then it’s fine to show a 404 response.

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Taking Advantage Of GSC Features

The Performance Report

The top part of the Search Console Performance Report provides multiple insights on how a site performs in search, including in search features like featured snippets.

There are four search types that can be explored in the Performance Report:

  1. Web.
  2. Image.
  3. Video.
  4. News.

Search Console shows the web search type by default.

Change which search type is displayed by clicking the Search Type button:

Default search typeScreenshot by author, May 2022

A menu pop-up will display allowing you to change which kind of search type to view:

Search Types MenuScreenshot by author, May 2022

A useful feature is the ability to compare the performance of two search types within the graph.

Four metrics are prominently displayed at the top of the Performance Report:

  1. Total Clicks.
  2. Total Impressions.
  3. Average CTR (click-through rate).
  4. Average position.
Screenshot of Top Section of the Performance PageScreenshot by author, May 2022

By default, the Total Clicks and Total Impressions metrics are selected.

See also  Free AI Content Optimization Tool by MarketMuse

By clicking within the tabs dedicated to each metric, one can choose to see those metrics displayed on the bar chart.

Impressions

Impressions are the number of times a website appeared in the search results. As long as a user doesn’t have to click a link to see the URL, it counts as an impression.

Additionally, if a URL is ranked at the bottom of the page and the user doesn’t scroll to that section of the search results, it still counts as an impression.

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High impressions are great because it means that Google is showing the site in the search results.

But, the meaning of the impressions metric is made meaningful by the Clicks and the Average Position metrics.

Clicks

The clicks metric shows how often users clicked from the search results to the website. A high number of clicks in addition to a high number of impressions is good.

A low number of clicks and a high number of impressions is less good but not bad. It means that the site may need improvements to gain more traffic.

The clicks metric is more meaningful when considered with the Average CTR and Average Position metrics.

Average CTR

The average CTR is a percentage representing how often users clicked from the search results to the website.

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A low CTR means that something needs improvement in order to increase visits from the search results.

A higher CTR means the site is performing well.

This metric gains more meaning when considered together with the Average Position metric.

Average Position

Average Position shows the average position in search results the website tends to appear in.

An average in positions one to 10 is great.

An average position in the twenties (20 – 29) means that the site is appearing on page two or three of the search results. This isn’t too bad. It simply means that the site needs additional work to give it that extra boost into the top 10.

Average positions lower than 30 could (in general) mean that the site may benefit from significant improvements.

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Or, it could be that the site ranks for a large number of keyword phrases that rank low and a few very good keywords that rank exceptionally high.

In either case, it may mean taking a closer look at the content. It may be an indication of a content gap on the website, where the content that ranks for certain keywords isn’t strong enough and may need a dedicated page devoted to that keyword phrase to rank better.

All four metrics (Impressions, Clicks, Average CTR, and Average Position), when viewed together, present a meaningful overview of how the website is performing.

The big takeaway about the Performance Report is that it is a starting point for quickly understanding website performance in search.

It’s like a mirror that reflects back how well or poorly the site is doing.

Performance Report Dimensions

Scrolling down to the second part of the Performance page reveals several of what’s called Dimensions of a website’s performance data.

There are six dimensions:

1. Queries: Shows the top search queries and the number of clicks and impressions associated with each keyword phrase.

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2. Pages: Shows the top-performing web pages (plus clicks and impressions).

3. Countries: Top countries (plus clicks and impressions).

4. Devices: Shows the top devices, segmented into mobile, desktop, and tablet.

5. Search Appearance: This shows the different kinds of rich results that the site was displayed in. It also tells if Google displayed the site using Web Light results and video results, plus the associated clicks and impressions data. Web Light results are results that are optimized for very slow devices.

6. Dates: The dates tab organizes the clicks and impressions by date. The clicks and impressions can be sorted in descending or ascending order.

Keywords

The keywords are displayed in the Queries as one of the dimensions of the Performance Report (as noted above). The queries report shows the top 1,000 search queries that resulted in traffic.

Of particular interest are the low-performing queries.

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Some of those queries display low quantities of traffic because they are rare, what is known as long-tail traffic.

But, others are search queries that result from webpages that could need improvement, perhaps it could be in need of more internal links, or it could be a sign that the keyword phrase deserves its own webpage.

See also  Organic Marketing vs. Paid Marketing: What's the Difference?

It’s always a good idea to review the low-performing keywords because some of them may be quick wins that, when the issue is addressed, can result in significantly increased traffic.

Links

Search Console offers a list of all links pointing to the website.

However, it’s important to point out that the links report does not represent links that are helping the site rank.

It simply reports all links pointing to the website.

This means that the list includes links that are not helping the site rank. That explains why the report may show links that have a nofollow link attribute on them.

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The Links report is accessible  from the bottom of the left-hand menu:

Links reportScreenshot by author, May 2022

The Links report has two columns: External Links and Internal Links.

External Links are the links from outside the website that points to the website.

Internal Links are links that originate within the website and link to somewhere else within the website.

The External links column has three reports:

  1. Top linked pages.
  2. Top linking sites.
  3. Top linking text.

The Internal Links report lists the Top Linked Pages.

Each report (top linked pages, top linking sites, etc.) has a link to more results that can be clicked to view and expand the report for each type.

For example, the expanded report for Top Linked Pages shows Top Target pages, which are the pages from the site that are linked to the most.

Clicking a URL will change the report to display all the external domains that link to that one page.

The report shows the domain of the external site but not the exact page that links to the site.

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Sitemaps

A sitemap is generally an XML file that is a list of URLs that helps search engines discover the webpages and other forms of content on a website.

Sitemaps are especially helpful for large sites, sites that are difficult to crawl if the site has new content added on a frequent basis.

Crawling and indexing are not guaranteed. Things like page quality, overall site quality, and links can have an impact on whether a site is crawled and pages indexed.

Sitemaps simply make it easy for search engines to discover those pages and that’s all.

Creating a sitemap is easy because more are automatically generated by the CMS, plugins, or the website platform where the site is hosted.

Some hosted website platforms generate a sitemap for every site hosted on its service and automatically update the sitemap when the website changes.

Search Console offers a sitemap report and provides a way for publishers to upload a sitemap.

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To access this function click on the link located on the left-side menu.

sitemaps

The sitemap section will report on any errors with the sitemap.

Search Console can be used to remove a sitemap from the reports. It’s important to actually remove the sitemap however from the website itself otherwise Google may remember it and visit it again.

Once submitted and processed, the Coverage report will populate a sitemap section that will help troubleshoot any problems associated with URLs submitted through the sitemaps.

Search Console Page Experience Report

The page experience report offers data related to the user experience on the website relative to site speed.

Search Console displays information on Core Web Vitals and Mobile Usability.

This is a good starting place for getting an overall summary of site speed performance.

Rich Result Status Reports

Search Console offers feedback on rich results through the Performance Report. It’s one of the six dimensions listed below the graph that’s displayed at the top of the page, listed as Search Appearance.

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Selecting the Search Appearance tabs reveals clicks and impressions data for the different kinds of rich results shown in the search results.

This report communicates how important rich results traffic is to the website and can help pinpoint the reason for specific website traffic trends.

The Search Appearance report can help diagnose issues related to structured data.

For example, a downturn in rich results traffic could be a signal that Google changed structured data requirements and that the structured data needs to be updated.

It’s a starting point for diagnosing a change in rich results traffic patterns.

Search Console Is Good For SEO

In addition to the above benefits of Search Console, publishers and SEOs can also upload link disavow reports, resolve penalties (manual actions), and security events like site hackings, all of which contribute to a better search presence.

It is a valuable service that every web publisher concerned about search visibility should take advantage of.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: bunny pixar/Shutterstock



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