Knowing for which user searches and in which page of the search results your website is ranking, is vital information to evaluate and optimize any digital strategy.
Here’s how you can find this information in 3 simple steps. Before you begin: make sure you have a Google Analytics account configured for your website, as it will make your Google Search Console setup easier!
Step 1: Register Your Website On Google Search Console
First, you will need to visit the Google Search Console website and login with your Google account; preferably the same account that you already use for Google Analytics, as it will make it easy for Google to verify you are the owner of your page.
Once you are there, Google will ask you to add a property (namely your website).
At this page it is important to use the full URL of your website, exactly as your visitors see it. For example, if all of your trafic goes through a www. subdomain and through https, it is important that you add your website as: https://www.example.com .
Otherwise, if you add a property that is not possible for a user or googlebot to visit, it will be added successfully but you won’t see any traffic on the console for that property.
Step 2: Moving On To The Verification Stage
After completing the first step and adding your property on the Google Search Console, you will be asked to verify that you own the website. There are a few differrent ways to do this and the easiest one is to use your Google Analytics account.
Alternatively, you might need to either create a txt record (you can do this through your domain name provider), upload an html file on your website directory or add a meta tag inside your website’s code.
Using Google Analytics to verify your ownership has the added benefit of being able to see Google Search data inside your Google Analytics view, so we recommend this method. If you used a different verification method, you should still consider linking these two services at a later time.
Once your site is verified, you will have access to the full functionality and intelligence of the Google Search Console, for example you will be able to test your robots.txt file, submit and test your sitemap, identify potential SEO problems and of course see the search traffic and search queries that your website ranks for on Google.
Step 3: Using The Search Console To Uncover Your Search Queries And Rankings
Once everything is set, you can click on the “Performance” tab and then scroll down to the “Queries” tab, in order to access some of the most important Google Search information.
Perhaps the data you would like to dive in right away are the search queries for which your website ranks for on Google. Once you are in this tab, you can immediately see the number of impressions and clicks that you got for each of the displayed searches during a time period.
And if you click at one of these search queries, the graph located above those tabs will update from displaying the average metrics for all your search queries, to displaying the metrics for the specific search query that you selected.
You can immediately view the total impressions, clicks, click-through-rate (CTR) and average position of your page for that seacrh query.
Step 4: Evaluating The Data
If you own a small business website which has also a blog with a few articles about your product or service, you might notice that the biggest search traffic generators are search queries that include the name of your business.
These are called “Branded Queries” and generally indicate strong brand recognition, but you might want to consider a more wholitic SEO and content marketing approach that will allow people to find you for searches related to your product or service.
As an example, at Studio for Digital Growth a branded query would be “Studio for Digital Growth” or “Studio for Digital Growth Krakow”. Although this is important, we have dedicated a lot of energy and time to rank for searches such as “Growth Marketing Agency” and “Marketing Agencies in Poland”.
For most of website owners, finding the searches and keywords they rank for on Google is the “aha” moment that drives them to experiment with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and strive to succeed in organic search.
Google Search Console is a great tool and it’s being used by SEOs all over the world – beginners and professionals alike, and we believe that setting up the console for your website is perhaps the single most important step to success.