What is Google Search Console?

How to set up and use GSC

The words and phrases your customers use when looking online for your products or services are a massive source of valuable information. They can help you understand how your marketing efforts translate into performance as well as how you can better serve your customer’s needs.

Almost ten years ago, in 2011, Google Analytics stopped displaying keyword data from search engine traffic, as part of an apparent attempt to protect consumer data. At the time it was seen by some as a way to encourage marketers and business owners to use Adwords, Google’s paid advertising platform, which does give access to keyword data. Since then, people have been using multiple tactics in an effort to discover the kind of language their customers are using. Without the keyword data from Analytics, it can be a complex and not always precise process.

One of the simplest ways is through Search Console. Google’s Search Console is an underused, free resource that gives you access to tons of data. It is easy to use and covers everything from keywords through to technical fixes, providing insights that can really help improve your site’s performance. Quietly tucked away in there is a treasure trove of keyword-level data about individual pages on your site, including organic rankings, click-through rates and clicks. Unlocking this will help you measure your site’s search engine performance and give you insights for creating content or campaigns in line with what your customers want.

It is not always easy to find time for data when you are at the forefront, running a business, so we have put together this short tutorial to help you get started with Search Console and add another tool to your marketing toolbox.

Access page-level keyword data

Once you have set up and verified GSC, you will see the homepage which displays an overview of your account and a series of graphs. The first graph, labelled ‘Performance’, is all about search engine performance, this is where you’ll find the keyword data. Click ‘Open Report’ in the top right hand corner.

On the next screen, select ‘Average CTR’ and ‘Average position’ to include click-through rates and rankings in your data. Below the graph, click ‘Pages’ and a list of URLs will appear. Select the URL of the page you want to find out about.

The list of URLs will disappear, leaving just the one you selected. Next, click on ‘Queries’ in the options and you will be shown a list of search queries relating to the selected page. You can export the data as a CSV or Excel file and work on it in a spreadsheet or open it in Google Sheets.

With this information, you can check the performance of specific pages for specific keywords. You can also see if pages are competing for the same traffic or discover common customer queries to add to an FAQs page. You could even combine it with traffic data from Google Analytics to get an extra layer of insight about the organic traffic your site is getting.

As the saying goes, if you can measure it, you can manage it.

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