The Google search algorithm is constantly evolving. While it can be hard to keep up with all the changes, one thing that you can do to stay ahead of the game is to master the key features of the Google Search Console.
This is a free tool made available to all webmasters so you can quickly identify the keywords that are driving the most search traffic to your club's website.
Now, while the Google Search Console can be used in many different ways, there are five easy-to-implement best practices that'll help you keep your site ranking high in search results.
In this article, the final module of the series, you will learn how to take advantage of these SEO pro tips so you can get the most out of the Google search algorithm.
Signing Up for the Google Search Console
To set up the Google Search Console for your site, click the link below:
Then click the "Start Now" blue button, choose the Google account you want to use to manage your website, when prompted enter your club’s domain name and verify ownership of your website following the onscreen instructions (this article shows you the step-by-step process).
Once you're set up in the Google Search Console, submit your sitemap following the steps in this article.
Now you're ready to start using this powerful webmaster tool!
Five Google Search Console Tips to Help You Keep Your Rankings Sky High
The Google Search Console is the central repository of your club’s search data.
Whenever a Google user searches for a keyword that your club's site is ranking for, you'll be able to see the number of times your web pages appear in search results, the number of times people click through to your pages and your pages’ positions on search results.
This data is captured by Google minute by minute, allowing you to easily identify what keywords are driving search traffic to what pages so that you can then make informed decisions as to the areas you need to optimize and the areas you can safely ignore.
To help you achieve this in a systematic way, the 5 tips below will show you the process you need to follow to optimize your content in a way that's data-driven and results oriented.
Tip 1: Identify the low-hanging fruit
Your first order of business is to find the low-hanging fruit, that is, those pages on your site that get the most clicks.
Since these pages are getting the most love from the Google search engine, your job is to spread this love across other pages that are not getting as much attention.
The idea is to add relevant internal links from your high-interest pages to the other ones with the use of internal links.
Now, always make sure that you link to pages that are relevant to your readers and that provide content that builds on the original page, perhaps drilling down on a subject or providing more details that’ll help visitors get more out of your ranking page.
To find your low-hanging fruit pages, make sure all reporting boxes in the Google Search Console are selected (i.e. Total Clicks, Total Impressions, Average CTR, Average Position):
and then sort the resulting report by Clicks in decreasing order:
Finally, go to the top page displayed in the report and add your internal links, followed by the second, third, etc.
Tip 2: Find the pages that get you the most impressions
Next, you need to re-sort your Google Search Console report by impressions to find those pages on your site that are appearing the most in search results, but may not necessarily be driving the most traffic:
Here, you can see that page 1 appears much lower in search results than page 2 yet it ranks for terms that are searched for a lot more.
The reason page 1 is not getting more clicks is simple: its title and description are not alluring enough, at least not in comparison with results from other competitors ranking for the same search terms.
See, when people search Google all they’ll see at first are page titles and descriptions — more specifically, the meta titles and meta descriptions (see Module 4 for more details).
So, your pro tip here is to improve the marketing appeal of your meta content to compel Google users to click on your site instead of others.
A good guideline is to do a Google search for the same keyword that triggered your page to appear on search results and have a look at the titles and descriptions that appear on the first page of results.
Then, use that information as inspiration to come up with better versions for your own pages.
Tip 3: Find the content that ranks on pages 2 and 3 of search results
Next, sort the Google Search Console report by page position (last column), with the goal of identifying those pages on your site that appear on pages 2 and 3 of search results. Page 2 will typically show search positions 11-20 and page 3 will show positions 21-30. Here’s an example:
The first 3 pages in the above report appear on page 2 of search results (positions 18.9-19.7) and pages 4-8 appear on page 3 (positions 21.2-22.6).
Here you’ll find pages that get a significant number of impressions but are not getting a lot of clicks. Your job now is to make the content of those pages better to get them ready for when they begin to naturally rank higher as your site ages.
A time-saving note: don’t waste your time improving the content of pages that rank below page 3 of search results because virtually no one is looking at them.
Tip 4: Expedite Google search re-indexing
The next tip is simple and doesn’t require a lot of work on your part, but it’s nonetheless very important.
Google is constantly crawling web pages to add to their index, but this is a very slow process because there are over 5 billion pages on the world wide web that are indexable.
So, if you make changes to your existing pages and you don’t want to wait for the Google crawling bot to take its sweet time to re-index them, there’s a way to expedite this process.
In fact, Google Search Console offers webmasters a great shortcut to jump the queue.
To access it click “URL Inspection”:
Enter the full URL of your changed page to get the following message:
Then, click “Request Indexing” to expedite the process. Now, instead of taking days or weeks to reindex your pages, Google will do it in a matter of hours (this shortcut is limited to 10 requests per 24 hours.)
Tip 5: Fix any core web vitals problems
Finally, click on “Core web vitals”:
and check for any errors.
The desktop and mobile reports shown in this section will let you know if there are any pages on your site that offer a poor user experience to your visitors through slow page-loading times, sudden content shifts, large images, and so on.
Google is very concerned with slow websites taking a long time to load pages on user devices because it reflects poorly on them as a search engine.
So, to ensure websites comply with their requirements they’re continuously testing them to see if they pass or fail their speed thresholds. If websites fail this test, they’ll get pushed down in the search rankings.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to your club’s site check the desktop and mobile reports in this section, and if there’s a failure install a high-quality caching plugin on your site to speed up your website’s core web vitals.
A good free choice is WP Super Cache (it requires some tweaking in the settings for optimal results) or if you want to get excellent results right out of the box, I highly recommend the paid WordPress plugin WP Rocket.
Congrats, you’ve made it to the end of the series!
You now have all the tools you need to take your club’s search traffic to the next level.
Having said that, keep in mind that when it comes to search engines your SEO work can never be a once-and-done kind of thing because search algorithms are constantly evolving.
Your job is to treat your club’s website as a living and breathing document that needs to be tweaked in line with changes to Google’s search algorithm.
It’s been a pleasure teaching you SEO and I wish you the best of success driving traffic to your site and increasing your club membership through the power of search engines!