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How to Check Your Keyword Rankings with Google Search Console

How to Check Your Keyword Rankings with Google Search Console

Keywords are the backbone of any successful SEO strategy. To check your keyword rankings, Google Search Console (GSC) is a valuable and free resource. GSC allows you to monitor and manage your website's presence in Google's search results. And it provides you with invaluable insights that can help improve your SEO performance. Let's take a closer look at this tool, how to use it, and how to make it a part of your marketing strategy.

Why Use Google Search Console for Keyword Ranking?

The effectiveness of Google Search Console (GSC) extends beyond being a tool - it serves as a channel for communication between your website and Google. Meaning, GSC relays important notifications concerning technical glitches, penalties, or any factors that could influence your website's visibility in search results.

However, one of the most useful features of GSC lies in its capacity for keyword ranking analysis. By navigating to the 'Performance' report, you will see the keywords for which your website has been ranked, their specific ranking positions, and the frequency of their appearance in search results. This shows you the performance of your keywords and can highlight areas for optimization.

Additionally, GSC is an instrumental tool in uncovering potential opportunities for keyword enhancement and improving the quality of your content.

Setting Up Google Search Console for Your Website

To use Google Search Console (GSC), you first have to integrate it with your website. This process begins on the GSC homepage, where you'll find the 'Start Now' button to initiate the setup.

Your next step involves adding your website or, as referred to in GSC, a property. Verification of this property is essential and can be accomplished in two distinct ways: Domain and URL prefix. Opting for Domain verification ensures all associated subdomains, paths, and protocols for your website are included within the scope of GSC's oversight. On the other hand, choosing URL prefix verification will only cover the specific URL you've entered. It's crucial to select the method that best aligns with your needs to fully maximize GSC's capabilities.

Navigating the Performance Report for Keyword Rankings

Once you've set up Google Search Console and added your website, take time to look at the Performance Report. This is your go-to resource for comprehensive keyword ranking information. To get there, simply look to the left side of your dashboard and select the 'Performance' option.

When you click on 'Performance', you'll see an overview of key data relating to your site's search performance. This data includes metrics like total clicks your website has received from Google search results, total impressions or the number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results, average CTR (Click Through Rate) which reflects the percentage of people who click on your site after seeing it in search results, and the average position of your top-ranking page in search results.

Each of these metrics provides a different lens through which you can view and assess your keyword ranking performance. For instance, the total clicks and impressions give you a sense of how often users are coming across your site in their searches and actually clicking through. Meanwhile, the average position provides a direct indication of where your pages typically rank in search results.

What's more, this information is not just raw data. You can adjust the date range, compare data, and filter the results to gain more specific insights. You can see how your data changes over time and understand trends that are crucial for your SEO strategy.

Remember to interpret this data in the context of your broader SEO goals. It’s all about getting the full picture and making informed decisions.

Interpreting the Data: What does it mean?

Understanding the data from Google Search Console goes beyond just glancing at the numbers. There’s more to analyze.

In the 'Queries' section, you'll find a list of search terms or 'queries' that users typed into Google that displayed your website in the search results. The keywords or phrases listed here are crucial indicators of your website's visibility in relation to specific search queries.

GSC provides additional details for each query such as clicks, impressions, CTR, and position. Clicks and impressions are straightforward metrics indicating how many times a user clicked on your site and saw your site in search results, respectively. CTR, or Click Through Rate, is a ratio that shows the percentage of impressions that resulted in a click.

On the other hand, 'Position' refers to your website's average ranking for that particular query in the Google search results. If the position number is low, that means your website ranks higher in search results for that query, which is desirable.

Interpreting this data can uncover opportunities to refine your SEO strategy. For example, a high impression count coupled with a low click-through rate might suggest that while your site is visible, it may not be engaging enough to entice clicks. This could be a sign that you need to improve your metadata or content to be more appealing.

Remember, these insights are not just numbers. They represent the behavior of real users interacting with your site through their searches. So, understanding and using them wisely can help steer your SEO strategy in the right direction.

How to Improve Your Keyword Rankings

Struggling with lower-than-expected rankings? Don't worry; there are effective strategies to climb the SERPs ladder. Begin with content optimization. Ensure the use of relevant keywords not only in the body of your content but also within your titles and headers. Including these key phrases in your meta descriptions can also enhance visibility and attract more clicks.

It's also worth noting that in this digital age, the majority of search queries come from mobile devices. So, a mobile-optimized website is not just a bonus but a necessity. A mobile-friendly interface improves the user experience and gives you a boost in Google’s rankings.

Another consideration is your website’s security. With cyber threats on the rise, Google rewards sites that take security seriously. By securing your site with HTTPS, you're assuring your visitors that their data is safe, and Google will take note.

A slow-loading website can be a visitor's nightmare and a direct ticket to lower rankings. Therefore, enhancing your site speed can significantly improve your keyword rankings. It not only improves user experience but also signals to Google that your site is user-friendly.

Also consider backlinks. Backlinks are a crucial factor in Google's ranking algorithm. When high-quality, authoritative sites link back to your site, it signals to Google that your content is valuable and trustworthy. So, investing time and resources into acquiring these high-quality backlinks can greatly improve your rankings.

Utilizing Additional Features of Google Search Console

Beyond keyword ranking, Google Search Console (GSC) is loaded with additional, helpful features. One is the 'Coverage' report which provides insights into your website's indexing status. With this, you can uncover and address any errors that might be affecting your site’s visibility in Google's search index.

Similarly, the 'Sitemaps' feature supports the better indexing of your website. By using it, you can directly submit your sitemap to Google. This allows Google to more effectively understand your site structure and subsequently crawl and index your pages more efficiently.

We discussed mobile optimization above. GSC has a 'Mobile Usability' feature that pinpoints any potential problems affecting your site's mobile compatibility, helping you provide a seamless browsing experience for your mobile users.

And then there's the 'Links' report. This important feature provides a detailed overview of external websites that link to your site, as well as the internal links within your website. This can help you understand your backlink profile, which is a crucial factor in Google's ranking algorithm.

All in all, GSC is a multifaceted tool that, when used effectively, can significantly enhance your website's SEO performance.

Need help to get started? Don’t have the time to monitor your keyword rankings on your own? Let’s connect.