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Leveraging Google Search Console to Improve Your Keyword Targeting and Monitoring

Posted by
clock-iconFebruary 10, 2019

Google Search Console (GSC) is a powerful tool that allows website owners to better understand how Google sees their websites.

It's one thing to understand how search engines work but another to get an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Some businesses have linked their websites to the Google Search Console but have yet to effectively use its full potential.

Use the Google Search Console to your advantage.

Set up right, this powerful free tool from Google can increase website traffic.

This article will take a deep dive into using the console.

  1. Google Search Console overview
  2. Keyword impressions
  3. Using GSC and some vital features<ol>
  4. Increase traffic using GSC
  5. Index coverage report
  6. Performance report
  7. Fetch as Google</ol>
  8. Mobile analysis
  9. Optimize technical SEO using GSC

What Is the Google Search Console?

Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, this search console gives you the ability to monitor your website. This then allows you to maintain its strong presence in Google search results.

That is, you get a picture of how Google crawls and indexes a website and then displays it in search results.

Monitoring your site's presence is made more productive by the essential marketing data that the Google console provides. It will show you any issues and problems that can affect your website’s search rankings. These include security issues, indexing problems, and other errors.

Basically, the GSC is a suite of Google webmaster tools and it comes with several useful features:

  1. Monitor site performance in search results
  2. Check on content accessibility
  3. Set alert for malware and spam issues
  4. Insight into penalties and the solutions to fix them

What Are Keyword Impressions?

You can't talk about ranking in search engine results without talking about keywords.

After all, they are the terms that people use when searching for a product or service that your website might provide. One of the most important features of the Google console is to provide data for keyword performance analysis, including data on impressions.

The number of times that your website appears for a particular keyword is what are called impressions. The higher the impression, the more search traffic for the said keyword. And you will get all the data you need to identify your website’s average impressions for a particular period of time from the search console.

In fact, the GSC is where you can mine keyword data and get a good picture of whether or not you need to go back to the drawing board and run another search using the keyword research tool.

If impressions are low, it is possible that you're using the wrong keywords or that you're not using them in a meaningful way. You can then use the keyword data from the GSC to perform keyword analysis and roll out fixes to increase impressions.

For example, look for low-hanging keywords, or those where your site appears on an average position between seven and 30 and come with a good number of impressions. You can easily rank higher when you work on these low-hanging keywords.

Start by adding more useful information on content where the keyword is used. Make it more comprehensive, informative, and useful.

Basic Overview of How to Use the Search Console

To start using this powerful Google webmasters tool, you need to add your site to the search console.

  1. Using your Gmail account, log in to the Google Console and click on Add a property.
  2. On the website field, paste your homepage URL.
  3. Then, verify your site. There are several ways to do this but the three easiest ones are:<ol type="a"><li>Uploading a unique HTML file to your site</li><li>Adding a special CNAME or TXT record to your domain settings</li><li>Uploading a small snippet of code to the `<head>` section of the code of your homepage</li></ol>
  4. Setting a preferred domain to tell Google whether to use the www or non-www version of your website. Note: You can choose not to set a preferred domain but Google will treat www or non-www versions of your website as two separate domains. This will have an impact on the power of your site's backlinks.
  5. Set your target country to show Google which country your site is targeting and to provide you with the appropriate data. <ol type="a"><li>Under Search Traffic, click the International Targeting Link > Country tab. </li><li>Check the box next to Target Users and then choose your target country from the drop-down menu. </li></ol>

Then, you're all set.

What Are Some of the Important Features in the Google Search Console?

Index Coverage Report

An overview of your site’s performance. Image Source: Backlinko

It's a new feature that replaced the old search console Index Status report.

Here you will find four tabs: 1. Error is where you will see technical issues that prevent pages of your website from getting indexed. These include:

Here you will find four tabs:
1. Error is where you will see technical issues that prevent pages of your website from getting indexed. These include:

  1. “Submitted URL seems to be a Soft 404”
  2. “Redirect error”
  3. “Submitted URL not found (404)”
  4. “Submitted URL has crawl issue”

1. Valid with warnings tell you that a page is indexed but may be blocked for a variety of reasons. For instance, the URL is blocked by robots.txt.

1. Valid is where you will see the number of indexed pages and whether or not it has dropped or increased.

A drop may happen due to a noindex tag added by mistake or the Googlebot is blocked by a bunch of pages.

1. Excluded is where you will find pages that are not indexed by search engine but should have been. The page, for instance, may have duplicate content, thus the exclusion.

Performance Report

In the old search console, this used to be called Search Analytics report.

This is where you'll see the overall search performance of your site in Google. Here, you will find data on Total Clicks, Total Impressions, Average CTR, and Average Position.

From the data, you'll know which pages with low CTR that you can supercharge, keywords that you can get more traffic from, all the keywords that a page ranks for, and other vital data.

From the performance report, you will find:

  1. Gold nugget keywords that rank greater than 7.9
  2. Opportunity keywords with higher impressions
  3. Keywords that rank five or lower and a CTR of less than 4.35%.

You can then optimize these keywords to improve your site's overall performance. And if you can’t find such search terms, find new ones using the keyword research tool.

Fetch as Google

In the old version, this tool is used to test how Google renders or crawls any URL on your website. Simply submit a page for testing and Google will send a robot to crawl the page.

You will then receive details/codes on the search engine’s understanding or ability to visit the page you submitted.

  1. Partial As the name suggests, Google was only able to crawl a part of the website with no issues but experienced errors at certain parts.
  2. Not found/Not authorized Google can contact the site but can't find the page submitted for testing or that the page is blocked.
  3. Unreachable/Temporarily unreachable Google can contact the server, but the page itself is not reachable. This may be due to a server timeout.
  4. Error Google can't fetch the page, which is usually a sign of 404 error issues.
  5. Blocked Google is blocked from reaching the page successfully by the robots.txt file.

Mobile Analysis

In this section, there are two important features: Mobile Usability and AMP.

Mobile Usability

This section in the search console shows any errors that might affect the mobile experience.

  1. A page is not considered mobile-friendly because the clickable elements are too close together.
  2. The text is too small to read.
  3. Content is wider than the screen.


If you're leveraging AMP, you will receive an AMP report that outlines errors, warnings, and successes of any AMP page.

How to Use GSC to Grow Traffic

The secret is to take advantage of the keyword research tool and find the right search terms that users use. After a month, you can then mine keyword data to:

Find low-hanging keywords, usually on pages that rank page two or three on the SERPs and then work to boost their position.


  1. Add more useful information to improve a page’s content.
  2. Evaluate on-page SEO and make improvements.
  3. Increase user engagement so they will spend more time on the page. Use videos and/or images and make the text more readable.

How to Use GSC to Optimize Technical SEO

Use the Index Coverage report to identify the things in your website that went wrong. From the Errors tab, choose one page from the list of pages with a particular problem to fix.

Got one with a soft 404 error?

Click the affected URL on the lists.

From the side panel, click Fetch as Google. This will return a status of 404 “Not found.”

Based on this information, you then have two options to fix the problem:

Leave it as it is if you no longer wish to use the page and just wait for Google to eventually deindex it.

Redirect the page to a working page, such as a similar blog post, category page, or a product page.

There’s More…

This powerful suite of Google webmaster tools can do more than just help you identify errors and mine data you can leverage.

With a bit of research, you can use it to optimize articles, fix penalties, and so much more. You or your trusted team of website managers can then move towards a better website, a stronger online presence, and image

Use the Google Search Console to your successful digital marketing strategies](