It used to really frustrate the fuck out of me when I logged onto Google Analytics to look at my blog stats, only to find that the majority of my keywords were marked as ‘not provided’ .
Google did this back in 2011 for privacy reasons.
Ever noticed how sometimes in your browser, a website starts with https:// and others drop the ‘s’: http:// – well the ‘s’ means that it’s a secure search. It basically encrypts everything you do. I won’t go too far into it as it’s not the main point of this blog post!
This is where Google Webmaster Tools comes into play and I’m going to show you how I use it to optimise my future content, and also optimise my current content to get it higher in search engines.
We need to make one thing clear before we start:
When you optimise your content, you must ensure you are doing it for the correct keywords for the correct post.
There is no point in optimising your content to hit high in search engines for something like ‘how to lose weight quickly’, for example, just because you think it’s a highly searched term.
If your post has nothing to do with the search term. It will just piss off anyone that visits your blog and you’ll end up with a bounce rate sky high as they leave you blog in three seconds flat.
People aren’t as stupid as you think they are. They are also impatient and wanting to get information fast. You’ll have around 3 seconds to impress them enough to encourage them to stay. Otherwise they’ll close the tab and never visit your blog again.
The reason you want to optimise your content for search engines is to get TARGETED traffic. This is to ensure that the people who are looking for information that you are providing, will find it and benefit from it. THIS is what encourages subscribers, loyal readers, engagements and social media shares.
There are many different uses for Google Webmaster Tools but I’m going to focus on the keywords and searches.
Your Most Searched Terms
If you log into Webmaster Tools and click your site, you will then see two tabs. ‘Search Queries’ and ‘Top Pages’. We’ll be focusing on ‘Search Queries’ in this post.
This is the page:
I have blocked out the figures, but as you can see, you can see the amount of queries, how many ‘impressions’ and how many ‘clicks’ your blog/site has had. You can also change the to and from date so you can analyse whatever timescale you want.
The amount of search terms people have typed into Google to get to your site/blog.
The amount of times you have shown up in a Google search
The amount of clicks from Google search to your website you have had.
Below the graph, you can view the following breakdown.
You’ll see the impressions, clicks and, the CTR (click through rate) and also the average position you come up in Google for that search term.
You can click each option to show it in ascending or descending order. In the example above, I have the ‘Clicks’ in descending order.
This tool gives you a real insight into what people are searching and how high you rank with certain keywords. It is a great way of looking at what topics you may want to talk about in the future and what keywords to use, or what posts are worth editing to optimise them better for Google.
If you click on each keyword, it gives you an even greater breakdown around your rankings and which rankings have gotten a higher CTR, as well as tells you exactly which of your blog posts have shown in the search engines with those keywords.
Using Webmaster Tools for SEO
The next part isn’t rocket science. Now you have learnt how to navigate webmaster tools and see what keywords certain posts are ranking for, you are able to make sure the page has the best chance at getting on the first page or Google search results.
We know that the lions share of traffic goes to the top 3 websites that come up in the search. The percentage then declines dramatically (and depressingly) the lower down the page you are.
You might want to:
See which posts have the most queries and attempt to optimise those posts to bump them higher in the search position.
See which posts have the highest click through rate and get them higher so they benefit from the most clicks.
Ensure the posts that already rank high in search positions have the most enticing and relevant title and first paragraph to gain curiosity and clicks.
Ensure the posts that already rank high in search positions are optimised towards the relevant keyword to ensure the keep their current high position.
How to optimise your post:
Make sure your posts actually contains those keywords as well as variations of those words.
Ensure you have edited the ‘alt text’ of any images of on the page to include the key words.
The first paragraph of your blog post holds most importance – are you using the correct words?
Post titles matter for search results – as your post title will show in your search. Is it inciting? Does it contain the correct keywords?
Words in subheadings, bold and italics will also hold value in Google search.
Interlink your content within your site as this will help you rank higher.