The late, great Yogi Berra had a famous saying: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else,” which was never more true than when it’s applied to Internet marketing.
As with any business plan, insight is key.
You have to know where you’re going before you can plan to get there, right?
While Samson Media provides in depth reporting to our website development and online marketing clients so we can track the progress of their SEO and marketing campaigns, you can get much of the same data by setting up your own Google Search Console account, which is free. You have to jump through a few hoops to verify that you are the owner of the website you want to monitor but once that’s done you can see some very useful info that can help you make informed decisions about what type of content generates traffic to your website. You’ll also learn that certain keywords and topics that have NOTHING to do with your business and are far afield are sending you bad or worthless search engine traffic.
You can learn how to install Google Search Console HERE.
Here’s a look at one of our recent Google Search Query reports:
As you can see in the above screen capture of the Search Query page in our Search Console account, this is set for a 3-month date span and shows how many searches triggered our pages to appear in a Google search and how many times our result was clicked within that search.
Our name, Samson Media, was searched and clicked on the most, which is not surprising, but you can also see the second most popular search that generated measurable clicks to our site was “remote video capture” which is a service that we offer, which is what we want.
But on the second page of this report, which is not shown here, is the keyword “crib world,” which is sending us essentially worthless traffic based on a blog post we wrote years ago about work we did for a company, “Crib World,” a retail business that went out of business a long time ago. So, some recent searches for “crib world” led to our blog post where we mentioned Crib World.
THE TAKEAWAY LESSON: The Search Query section of the Google Search Console is filled with clues to show us how our site is and is NOT being perceived by the search engines.
While you may think it’s obvious to YOU what your site is about, Google may have an entirely different interpretation. The point is —- don’t you want to know what that is?
TAKING ACTION – A CASE STUDY
The gist of this post is really about divining the clues that you’ll find in the the Search Query section of your own Google Search Console. The search query terms will show you:
- Some primary keywords that are driving relevant traffic
- Worthless keywords that are driving non-relevant traffic
- Middling phrases that are triggering your pages to come up in a Google search that are generating little to no traffic —- but you wish they were.
It’s #3 that we want to focus on.
Let’s say you are a dog walker and pet sitter and see some search queries around “dog nutrition” that are triggering your website to come up in a search even though you don’t sell pet food although the topic IS somewhat related. How can you take advantage?
First, let me qualify, that a search query that triggers your site in a search could mean page 5 or page 50. No way to tell. BUT, the point is, your site IS coming up SOMEWHERE related to that search.
Turning back to our pet food/dogwalker-pet sitter example, even though you do not sell dog food, your audience is the same: dog owners who care about their dogs!
A great way to turn this to your advantage and attract “dog nutrition”-related searches is to throw some gas on the fire and write and post some content about dog nutrition!
The trick is to provide some genuinely useful information in your blog post or webpage about dog nutrition that will attract those searches to your site PURPOSEFULLY and NOT ACCIDENTALLY. Once people arrive at your site after searching for dog nutrition they will be exposed to your primary offers — dog walking, pet sitting, etc.
One important thing to keep in mind is that “dog nutrition” is 100% relevant to dog owners. It’s not like you were getting search queries for how to change a flat so you wrote content about changing flats. Dog nutrition is a great lead-in to your other services. You could easily write about how to read dog food labels and how a healthy diet makes dogs more regular and predictable in terms of going out. The point being, it’s totally related to what your customers and potential customers care about and will lead new prospects who are searching for that topic to find you and your services.
GET A CLUE…or TWO
Google Search Console and Google Analytics are the one-two punch for learning about your website visitors and traffic to your site. Both are free to install and provide a wealth of additional information such as what type of devices people are using to access your website. Again, you may think it’s mostly via desktops when it’s actually via their phones. Or visa versa!
If you would like to get a sample of your own website traffic as well as the keywords more popular with your competitors, be sure to check out our $99 site audit here.