Ahh, that eternal process of understanding your customers. As marketers, business owners, or just people, we spend a lot of time trying to work out what makes others tick – why they skip past sponsored posts, why they prefer the red car to the grey one, why they skim past introductions like this one to get to the juicy bits of the blog post.
If you can drill down into why people make the decisions they do, you can create client-facing content that:
This means any tools that help you gain insights into what your customers are thinking, feeling, doing or wanting are handy to have around.
So how can Google Search Console (GSC) assist with this? Let us count the ways:
That’s right – you get a cool list of phrases or words that, when searched, your website appears on the results pages for.
It tells us what people are looking for when they stumble across your brand. If you offer a window-decorating service, your customers might want to know everything from window installation tips through to legal requirements for windows in houses.
If you are showing up for these queries without having specific information to answer those questions on your website, people are either going to bounce away from your site very quickly, or they will not click at all. If these queries are unlikely to generate any business ever, then that’s not a big loss. But if there is potential to convert those readers into leads, ensuring your site answers all their questions quickly and easily is a great way to build a relationship with them before they even view your service offering.
GSC allows you to put CTR and search queries next to each other. This gives an idea of whether elements like page titles and meta descriptions are joining the dots between what users are looking for and what a specific page gives them.
If you’re finding CTR is hit and miss, it may be worthwhile looking at a successful page next to one that isn’t as popular. This may give you some hints about what users are looking for, and you can make any adjustments you feel may appeal more to people seeking your service.
To continue on with the window decorator example: let’s say you have a page on best-practice window decorating techniques and why they are crucial, and this page has a high CTR. You also have a page on why window decorating is important, which leads directly to your sales information page, making it valuable for your site, but the CTR is much lower and people just aren’t seeing the information it contains.
Compare the page titles and meta descriptions for these pages. Do you notice any points of difference? For example, the technique page may have a meta description that is closely related to the search query, while the page on the importance may just have a random snippet drawn from the content. If something sticks out, you can have a go at changing the titles or meta descriptions to inspire readers to click through.
Use the ‘Dates’ function to get an idea of queries, impressions and CTRs over certain periods of time. If you have a seasonal product like gift packs or a service like Christmas lights set-up, you will likely see spikes in the relevant periods.
If you can identify seasonal trends within user behaviour, you can optimise your site to meet their needs! When you know that people want to know what the best Christmas lights are in November, you can create a page or blog to target that query ahead of time, and amplify that page as necessary to build its authority.
When you understand what people want and when they want it, you can give them a valuable experience that both meets their needs and builds their trust in you as a provider of products, services or information.
Pro tip: that’s not all you can use GSC for – download the data and track over time to gain insights on things like how CTR can impact rankings for queries or keywords. When it comes to making data work for you, there are (figuratively) countless ways to use the tools at your disposal.