Three Important Questions You Can Answer In The Search Console Reports
Understanding your users’ behavior is key to a successful online marketing strategy.
It’s not just a key, it’s THE key. It’s the one of the most important things you can do as a digital marketer. When I work with clients, 90 percent of the time their problem is they don’t fully understand their user. Only about 10 percent is actually a problem with execution.
So I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.
The good news is we have an abundance of data given to us directly from the user that will tell us what they like and dislike about what they’re searching for.
The bad news is you’re probably not looking at any of that data because very few digital marketers remember to pay attention to Google’s Search Console.
More good news, if you keep reading I’m going to change all of that and let you know exactly what you should be looking at.
I’ll show you how I use Search Console report in Google Analytics and the 4 most important questions you can answer with the report.
Search Console In Google Analytics
Search Console was designed by Google to give webmasters, SEO’s or anyone that wanted to look more information about what actually goes on in a SERP.
It’s such an important tool that Google has even been kind enough to integrate it into Google Analytics. It has it’s own report and everything. Doesn’t that just make you all warm and fuzzy inside? Well if not, then it should because the Search Console report is one of the most powerful tools we have.
Before we go any further, go to your Google Analytics account and make sure your Search Console account has been linked to GA. It will be under the “All Products” tab in your property settings. If done correctly it should look like the picture below. Run along now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
For those of you who don’t have a Search Console set up at all, visit this link.
Once this is set you’ll have your Search Console information linked to Google Analytics. This means you don’t just get what goes on in the search results, you get what happens after that. Seeing the whole process start to finish will arm you with the information you need to make buckets of money.
What Are My Potential Customers Searching For?
You want to know everything about how your potential customers are motivated to search for your product. You want to know what they type into the search bar,
how they get to your site and what they do when they get there. But as bad you want to know, your boss REALLY wants to know. That’s where you come in. Mastery of Search Console will set you apart and make you an invaluable piece of your company.
If that’s what you’re searching for, you’ve come to the right place. The landing page tab of the Search Console report will give you most of what you need to know. I say most because as of right now, they won’t tell you exactly which keyword led to which conversion, but there’s still a lot of quality information we can get out of the report.
Let’s take a look at the search queries that led to my blog post about psychographics.
In the report you’re going to see a large number of results come up as “Other.”
According to Google’s website:
“To protect user privacy, queries that are made infrequently or that contain sensitive or personal information are grouped together as (other).”
Other is the devil. It’s an evil thing that you should eliminate if you can. A lot of the time this is a result of incorrect categorizations. You won’t be able to get rid of all of it because some is a legitimate ‘other.’ But the less of it you have the better.
Anyway, back to psychographics.
I picked this post because here we have opportunity. Over this time period we had 10 conversions to this blog post, about a 5 percent conversion rate. Clearly once we bring users to this page they’re getting what they want. But we’re missing opportunity.
With such a low CTR on the Google page, it’s clear that I’m not presenting the user with the appropriate information up front. This is a perfect place for me to go back and optimize the metadata with perhaps a stronger CTA or something more relevant to the search.
Remember, your users are giving you feedback every time they click or don’t click. What this is telling me is I need to be more relevant to my user. This is just one example of how I might look at the report, but Google Analytics can give me much more.
Is There Bad Traffic Coming To My Website?
We get to know our users through our data and if our data is skewed or incorrect, it can throw the whole thing off. Making good decisions based on bad data has ruined better companies than yours, so we want to make sure our data is pristine.
When we think about driving traffic to your site, you don’t just want to drive anyone and everyone, you want to drive the right traffic. People who are legitimate leads with the possibility of turning into sales. With the landing page report in Google Analytics, we’ll be able to evaluate our users.
Simply click on the landing page you’re interest in and the Search Console report in Google Analytics show you every organic keyword for that landing page.
Let’s take a look at a blog post I did called Live Chat vs. Pop-ups: Which one generates more leads and sales
What is concerning is the second keyword that shows up “ups chat.” It has 2,233 impressions on Google and an average position of 8.8. I’m appearing on the first page of a pretty heavily trafficked keyword.
A little digging and you’ll see that UPS chat is a benefit offered by the United States Postal Service to get in touch with customers. I may get lucky and find a fellow conversion optimizer who used UPS and is having issues delivering their package, who then sees my site and converts, but the odds on that seem pretty long.
Over this time period I did get lucky and nobody has clicked on my site. But if they had I would be getting a rush a poorly-qualified people perusing the site. The average SEO may cheer the bump in traffic, but there won’t be any conversions and conversions are the only thing that really matters.
These are the kinds of keywords you need to watch out for. They’ll lure you in like a siren, as you celebrate your victory at achieving more and more useless traffic. Be on the lookout and don’t get fooled.
If you’re feeling really creative, you could even write a filter that would keep traffic coming from those bad keywords out of your datasets.
Am I Optimized for Mobile?
Google announced back in 2015 that mobile searches had overtaken desktop as the most used platform to search on. Since that time the gap has only widened. Mobile isn’t the wave of the future, it’s the wave of the present.
If you’re behind on mobile, you’re behind everywhere. This is where the devices tab of the Search Console report in Google Analytics comes in. You can look on a high level for immediate issues or you can dig down in the weeds and compare the desktop and mobile results to each of your articles.
Let’s start with the high level.
A report like this can be an immediate red flag. Every website is different, but if optimized correctly, we expect mobile and desktop to at least be comparable. One may do better than the other, but we don’t expect to see desktop killing mobile as we do right here.
A little more digging shows that mobile is showing up for 3,271 queries, while the desktop is showing for 19,935 queries.
It’s pretty clear just at a high level that this site has an issue with mobile optimization. Now we get to do some real digging and see what the issue is. It could be pagespeed, the site could just not be mobile friendly or their user base might just not use mobile devices. The point here is that we looked and were able to quickly identify something that seems off. You won’t know what to optimize until you start to look.
If you want to granular, you can hone in on an individual landing page. Let’s look at an example from JeremySaid. On the left we have the mobile report, on the right we have the desktop.
One thing that jumps out is the frequency of the word “Influence” for our mobile users. Six of the top nine results (disregarding ‘other’) include “influence” in the search query.
If I were optimizing for mobile users, I would take note of this fact. As I went back through my title tags, H1s, body copy and meta descriptions I may use the word more frequently in an attempt to boost the mobile presence of this article.
If I were attempting to capture email addresses I might use the word ‘influence’ in a mobile pop-up. The possibilities are endless, but you have to know where to look and what to look for.
Every time your user takes an action on your site they’re giving you feedback. The same is true of Google searches and luckily for us, Google makes that information available.
We’d be fools not to look at the reports Google has been so kind as to provide us with. They’re doing us a big favor by making these reports available.
Use them to understand your customer. Figure out what they want, how they search and what you can do make them happier.