Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

5 Ways to Use Google Search Console (Like a Pro)

Google Search Console is a fundamental tool for every successful SEOs toolkit.

The best part?

It’s free!

In this guide, I’ll show you how to use Google Search Console to improve your SEO performance, so you can get more traffic, leads, and customers from organic search.

Let’s jump in.

Before I show some cool tactics, I need to cover the basics.

How to Set Up Google Search Console

1. Go here and enter your email address.

Google Search Console Homepage

2. Click the dropdown on the upper lefthand side.

Step 1

3. Click “Add Property”

Step 2

4. Select the “Domain” option and enter your root domain (example: gotchseo.com). Then click “Continue”.

Step 3

5. Copy the txt record and sign in to your registrar (where you purchased your domain).

Step 4

6. If you’re using GoDaddy, click on “My Products”, look under the “Domains” section to find your domain, and then click on “DNS”.

Step 5

7. Click on “Add” under “Records”.

Step 6

8. Select “TXT”. Enter “@” under “Host”, enter the TXT record you copied from Google Search Console under “TXT Value”, and click “Save”.

Step 7

9. Go back to Google Search Console and click “Verify”. You may end up seeing the “Ownership verification failed” message like this:

Ownership Verification Failed Google Search Console

10. Google recommends waiting a day and then trying to verify again. In most cases, you’ll see the “Ownership auto verified” message like this:

Ownership Auto Verified Google Search Console

The last step is to integrate Google Search Console data with your site’s Google Analytics data.

How to Integrate Google Search Console Data with Google Analytics

1. Go to Google Analytics and click on the target website. Then click on “Acquisition”, “Search Console”, and then “Landing Pages”.

Step 1

You’ll see this screen (click “Set up Search Console data sharing”):

Step 2

If you don’t see your domain on the list, then click on “Add a site to Search Console”.

If you dont see site

As of right now, this is a glitch.

For some reason, when you add a site on the new Google Search Console, it doesn’t add to the old version. Google Analytics is integrated with the old version, so it’s causing some issues.

That said, add the target site to the old version and then go back and refresh the page. It should be showing now.

Select it, make sure it matches the “Web Property” at the top, and click save.

Select site

Click “OK” when you see the “Add association” pop up.

Add Association

Go back to Google Analytics and refresh the page. It should now be integrated.

Integrated

Keep in mind that it will take a few days to start showing data inside Google Analytics.

Now that you’re all set up, let’s jump into how to use this amazing free tool.

5 Ways to Use Google Search Console to Increase Your Traffic

  1. Optimize Crawling and Indexing
  2. Identify Low Hanging Fruits
  3. Increase Organic Search CTR
  4. Perform CRO
  5. Track Branded Search Performance

Optimize Crawling and Indexing

The first way to use Google Search Console is to use the URL Inspection tool.

The URL Inspection tool is useful because you can check the indexation and mobile-friendliness of any URL on your website. Copy any URL and enter into the search bar:

URL inspection tool

You’ll end up on this page and the goal is to have green checkmarks for every option.

URL is on Google

Here’s how it might look if Google hasn’t crawled and indexed a page on your site:

URL is not on Google

What do you do in this scenario?

First, do not “Request Indexing”.

If your page isn’t getting crawled and indexed there’s a reason (or many reasons). You need to audit your site to identify what’s preventing Google from either crawling or indexing your pages.

Let’s start with crawling because Google can’t index a page unless it can crawl it.

There a few possible reasons why Google can’t crawl a page:

  • Your robot.txt file is blocking Google’s crawlers.
  • Your page is buried within your site’s architecture that Google’s crawlers can’t it (or have given up).
  • Your website’s loading speed is too slow and Google’s crawlers give up.

If Google is crawling your site, but your pages aren’t indexed, then it might be because:

  • You’re using the “noindex” tag
  • Your site architecture is poorly structured
  • Your page is slow
  • Your page is unresponsive
  • Your website rarely publishes new content

And many other reasons outside the scope of this guide. The good news is that you can actually use Google Search Console to find some of these issues.

Let’s move onto the “Index” section. Click on “Coverage” and this section will show you every technical issue that Google has found.

Coverage section

If you’re having indexation issues, then see if you have an obvious “Errors” such as “Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’”.

Submitted URL marked noindex

Click through and make sure you actually want these pages to be noindexed.

Affected Pages

Otherwise, remove the noindex tag and Google will crawl and then index it.

If you don’t find the suspect URL in this section, go back to the “Coverage” overview section. Then click on “Excluded”. Scroll down and click on “Excluded by “noindex” tag.

excluded by noindex tag

For example, I want my “Story” page to be indexed in Google, but it’s using the “noindex” tag by accident.

Excluded

If you click on the URL, Google Search Console will give you two options:

  1. Inspect URL
  2. Test Robot.txt Blocking

Two crawl options

Start with “Test Robot.txt Blocking” and see your robot.txt is blocking Google’s crawlers (it will take you to the old version of Google Search Console).

robots txt tester

If it passes the test, move onto the “Inspect URL” option. Make sure you have removed the “noindex” tag from the target page and then click “Request Indexing”.

Request Indexing

You should see the “Indexing requested” confirmation popup.

Indexing Requested

Now just wait a few days (maybe even a week) to see if the page is indexed.

The “Coverage” section is robust and there are many technical issues you can tackle. I recommend digging through the “Excluded” section and fixing each issue one-by-one.

Excluded Section

One other issue you’ll want to look for isn’t as obvious. It’s called index bloat.

This is a very common problem when I’m conducting SEO audits. In short, “index bloat” is when you have pages indexed in Google that shouldn’t be.

This can cause crawl issues, duplicate, and thin content issues, and it can even dilute your site’s authority. I recommend exporting the URLs from the “Valid” and “Submitted and indexed” section.

Valid

The best way to decide if pages should be indexed is by using a combination of data and manual analysis.

Check out the video below on how to perform a content audit. I use Screaming Frog SEO Spider in the demonstration, but the general thought process and nuance will apply no matter what tool you’re using.

Subscribe on YouTube for more free SEO training videos.

The last thing you need to do in the “Coverage” section is to make sure you’ve submitted a sitemap.

Submit Sitemap

Now let’s move onto the “Performance” section.

Identify Low Hanging Fruits

Google Search Console’s “Performance” section is where all the magic happens.

Performance

If you’ve had it installed on your site for a while, you have tons of critical data at your fingertips.

I’m not going to bore you and show you how to look at the data.

Instead, I’m going to show you how to leverage this data to get more organic search traffic.

The first method is to identify low hanging fruits.

A “low hanging fruit” is any keyword phrase ranking from positions #11 – #20.

These keyword phrases are only a few tweaks away from landing on the first page. You know this, but being on the second page of Google is almost like being completely invisible.

To find these low hanging fruits, click on “Average position”.

Average position

Then scroll down and click the filter option.

Filter Position

Check “Position”, select “Greater than” from the dropdown, and enter “11”.

Greater than

These keyword phrases are your low hanging fruits. I recommend going after phrases with the highest volume.

Now the question is:

How?

The fastest method is to make sure the phrase is mentioned on the page. If it’s a high volume keyword, then you may need to create another section on the page.

Google is telling you what keywords should be targeted on that page. Take advantage of it!

First, click on the target keyword phrase.

query

Then click on the “Pages” tab. This tab will show you what page on your site is ranking for that keyword.

Pages tab

Second, view the page and search for the keyword phrase. “Backlink builder” isn’t mentioned once on my guide about backlinks.

Search

That means that the first step is to figure out how to integrate that phrase onto the page. I recommend searching the exact phrase in Google to see what the intent is.

In this case, 7 out of the 10 results are tools.

SERP example

That means it might make sense for me to add a section about “Free Backlink Builder Tools”. I could also reframe it to show a list of the “Top Backlink Builders”.

The key takeaway is to model the search intent for the keyword. In some cases, you can add the keyword variation a few times in the copy (read this guide about on-page SEO).

Once you’ve optimized the page for long-hanging fruits, annotate inside Google Analytics.

Then wait a few weeks. You can go back to Google Search Console and see how that keyword phrase is performing by comparing date ranges.

Click the “Date” filter option. Then click on “Compare” and select the appropriate dates.

Date Filter

You can then see how the page has performed since you made the changes.

Comparison

If it hasn’t produced any movement, then reassess your optimization and content strategy.

If you feel that both categories are on-point, then I recommend examining the UI/UX, your site’s architecture leading to that page, and the backlink profile for that page.

Increase Organic Search CTR

The next way to leverage Google Search Console data is to increase your organic search Click Through Rate (CTR).

There is no faster way to get more organic search traffic than increasing your CTR. Here’s how to do it:

Go to the “Search Results” section, select “Average CTR” and “Average Position”.

Average CTR

Then scroll down and click on the filter button. Select “CTR”, click “Smaller than” from the dropdown, and enter “1.0”.

smaller than 1

Then go back to the filter and select “Position”, click on “Smaller than”, and enter “10”.

smaller than 10

Now you should be looking at keyword phrases that you’re performing well for, but your CTR is lacking.

Bad CTR

Now there are a few things to consider before I explain how to optimize for CTR.

Here are 4 Factors That Will Impact Organic CTR:

  1. your position (lower rankings = lower CTR)
  2. Google Ads (more ads = lower CTR)
  3. SERP features (more SERP features = lower CTR)
  4. search intent

Search intent isn’t as obvious as the others. In general, navigational search phrases (like “Gotch SEO”) that you don’t own will have low CTR. For example, my CTR for “blogger.com” is a brutal 0.1%.

I can push my rankings up further for this phrase, but I know it’s a waste of time and resources. Why?

Because people searching navigational phrases are generally looking for the brand itself. The takeaway is that you prioritize increasing organic search CTR for non-navigational keywords.

That means you should focus on informational keywords like “SEO competitive analysis” or “affordable SEO service”.

Now let me explain how to actually increase your organic search CTR.

How to Increase Organic CTR

Select an informational keyword with low CTR. You should pick a keyword that has low CTR and a high position. Sort the data by “Position” to see the top-ranked keywords.

In this example, I’m going to focus on “buy backlinks for SEO”.

keyword target

Once you’ve selected a target keyword, benchmark its current CTR. I recommend adding this data to an annotation in Google Analytics.

Keep this open because you’ll be adding whatever changes you made to it as well.

Annotate in Google Analytics

Now you need to examine the SERPs for that keyword. The first thing I notice in my situation are the ads.

SERP

Take note of the headlines.

The next thing to consider is my page that’s ranking #1.

Does the search intent for the keyword phrase “buy backlinks for SEO” match my page?

search engine result

I think it’s appropriate that it’s ranking because it is on topic.

However, someone searching “buy backlinks for SEO” seems to already have an objective in their mind. It seems that they already made the decision to “buy backlinks”.

That means they may not want to change their mind about buying links.

That could be a reason why the CTR for this page is suffering.

So, in this example, it doesn’t make much sense for me to change the strategy of my blog post.

This is a good reminder that being an SEO expert isn’t always about what you do. It’s also about what you don’t do.

Since that keyword phrase didn’t pan out, let’s take a look at the keyword phrase: “seo st louis”.

ctr example

From a quick SERP analysis, it’s easy to understand why the CTR is so poor for that page. There’s a Google Ad and the local pack is pushing the organic results below the fold.

SERP features

Now if I was serious about ranking for this keyword phrase, I would focus on the local pack. My page is ranking #2 in organic search and there’s a lot of room for improvement.

SERP features example

The first step to increasing your organic CTR is to improve your position. In this case, I would see a major boost in CTR by moving from the #2 to the #1 spot.

I recommend optimizing, improving, and adding more content. Then if it makes sense, try to acquire links to the page. While that’s happening you also want to try to improve your CTR.

I always look for a featured snippet because that’s an easy way to increase your CTR. You have to restructure and optimize your page for featured snippets.

Take note of a few elements in this example:

  • The #1 result has structured data and breadcrumbs showing
  • The #3 result has site links

That means that our page can also get those features. It makes sense to add reviews to our page that are using structured data.

Not only will these increase the organic CTR, but it will also add more unique user-generated content.

I’ve talked about a lot of technical optimization tactics. Now I want to show you how to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions for CTR.

You’ll need to put on your copywriting hat for this.

The first question is:

What does this searcher want the most when they search “seo st louis”?

This individual wants to work with a competent, trustworthy, and successful SEO company located in St. Louis. They likely want to meet face-to-face and shake your hand.

How do I know?

Because I’ve done exactly that with countless businesses in this area. How business owners operate in St. Louis compared to how they operate in New York City is different.

These nuances are huge. I won’t get into the psychology of midwest culture right now.

That said, your title and meta description should persuade your ideal customer.

So, if you’re targeting business owners in St. Louis, you need to clearly state why you’re the best option.

“Best St. Louis SEO Company” is a good start, but WHY is Gotch SEO the “best”?

Ask yourself:

What does a business owner in St. Louis value the most?

Some things they might value are:

  • Only working with a company that’s located in St. Louis
  • Working with a company that’s willing to meet in person and shake their hand
  • Working with a proven company with a visible track record of results
  • A sense of security that trying SEO again will work this time because it’s never worked in the past

List as many ideas as you can. Step into their shoes. Then, create at least 10 different headlines using these ideas.

Here are some examples:

  • #1 SEO Company Located in St. Louis (with Over 153 5-Star Reviews)
  • #1 St. Louis SEO Company (See Why 134 Other Companies Trust Us)
  • St. Louis SEO Company That’s Driven Over $12,031,231 for Clients
  • Most Trust SEO Company in St. Louis (139 Real 5-Star Reviews)
  • The Only ROI-Driven SEO Company in St. Louis
  • St. Louis SEO Company with Over 1,304,012 First Page Rankings
  • #1 Recommended St. Louis SEO Company (Insane Results for Clients)
  • St. Louis SEO Company – Get 112% More Traffic Like Our Clients
  • St. Louis SEO Company – Get 212% More Revenue Like Our Clients
  • St. Louis SEO Company – See Why 174 Others Trust Us

The combinations are endless. That’s why it’s critical that you test.

Add these same concepts to your meta description as well.

I recommend making your changes and then waiting at least a few weeks to see the results.

Make sure you annotate your changes in Google Analytics.

If you don’t see better performance, then iterate, and test again. There is no “end” to optimizing a website for organic search.

Perform Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

The third way to leverage Google Search Console data has nothing to do with SEO.

I recommend that you perform Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) high-performing organic search pages.

Getting traffic is nice, but converting that traffic into leads and new customers are even better.

I won’t get into CRO here, but check out these resources:

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that every single page on your site should have a goal.

It doesn’t have to always be transactional either. In fact, trying to score a sale is a poor strategy because ~98% of website visitors are not ready to buy.

That’s why it’s fundamental that you convert a percentage of that traffic into email subs or get them on a retargeting list.

Track Branded Search Performance

The last way to leverage this data isn’t actually a tactic at all. I recommend monitoring your branded search performance.

Branded Search Performance

While ranking for informational keywords is critical for increasing traffic, branded search is what will keep you afloat when rankings fluctuate.

The question is:

How do you get more branded searches?

You need an all-encompassing marketing strategy outside of SEO.

In general, if you produce exceptional value and your products are excellent, then you’ll get branded searches.

I recommend using Google Search Console to track your branded search performance every month.

If it’s not growing, then you know you need to adjust your strategy.

Bonus Google Search Console Sections to Investigate

Another Google Search Console section you’ll want to investigate is “Enhancements”.

Enhancements section

The “Mobile Usability” section will show you issues impacting the mobile search user’s experience on your website. It’s important to fix anything that shows up here.

Mobile usability section

Think about this way:

If Google is dedicating a section to it, it’s likely an important factor for organic search performance.

The same logic applies to every section within Google Search Console.

The “Security & Manual Actions” section is one to visit if your organic search traffic falls.

security and manual actions

Both manual actions and security-related issues can wreck your traffic. Go to this section first if your traffic plummets.

No manual actions detected

The last section to examine is the “Links” section.

Links

I prefer using Ahrefs for all link analysis, but Google Search Console can give you some solid intel. It doesn’t give you all your link data.

However, it is a decent sample set. One thing to examine is the “Top linking text” section.

Top linking text

This is your external link anchor text profile. Ideally, your “Top linking text” should be branded.

You should also look at the “Internal links” section because it may indicate some inefficiencies with your site architecture.

Internal links section

For example, my “best link building services” page may not have as many crawler pathways as I would like.

Internal links example

The appropriate action would be to create more internal links that page, so it performs better.

The other way to use this section is if you get a manual or algorithmic penalty. In many cases, websites get penalized because of low-quality links and over-optimized anchor text.

How to Clean Up Your Link Profile Using Google Search Console

Click “Export External Links” and select “More sample links”.

Export links

Then copy 200 of these URLs and open up Ahrefs. Go to “More” in the navigation and click on “Batch analysis”.

Ahrefs Batch Analysis

Paste the URLs, click the dropdown under “Target mode”, select “domain with all its subdomains” and start the analysis.

Quick batch analysis ahrefs

Click “Export” and open the file.

Ahrefs batch analysis export

Delete every column except for “Target”, “Domain Rating”, “Ref domains Dofollow”, “Total Backlinks”, “Total Keywords”, and “Total Traffic”. Then copy the data and paste into the Google Sheet (or you can filter through it in the .csv).

backlink profile analysis

I would filter the links by “Domain Rating” and then manually go through each link.

You can categorize them as “Good, Okay, Bad”.

I won’t get into link analysis here, but I recommend reading this article about the best link building services and my backlinks guide.

These will both give you a framework for what a quality link looks like.

That’s a Wrap!

Google Search Console is a robust free SEO tool that cannot be overlooked. Take advantage of it and start increasing your organic search traffic.

More Articles

Why You Don’t Need an Instagram Marketing Guide – Seriously!

When a colleague asked on Twitter who has written a brilliant Instagram marketing guide my willingness to help made me start my favorite search engine – Ecosia – and look for one.

Of course I found like a dozen more or less comprehensive Instagram marketing guides – most of them written by tool makers who make money by helping you market on Instagram. Yet before I clicked and compared those my brain finally started working.

I remembered the odd statistics and reports about Instagram. Sure, it’s still one of the most popular social media services these days. Sadly Instagram generates almost no traffic to publishers even when it comes to Instagram’s favorite topics – think fashion and cosmetics. How come?

What is Instagram and How Does it Work?

In simple terms Instagram is a photo and video publishing service. It’s similar to Flickr but it also has editing features like Canva. The combination of those two approaches made it a success possible in the first place.

In the early days photographers would make photos look vintage or low quality by adding some of the filters Instagram offered. By now Instagram is more about showing a picturesque lifestyle that is often too good to be true.

People are faking images left and right to show themselves better, stronger, sexier. Others who can’t keep up with the Joneses get depressed while trying or looking at those perfect travel, beauty and fashion photos.

Unlike actual social networking sites Instagram – owned by Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg – is not about leading visitors astray to other websites. It’s about keeping them on Instagram from day one.

It’s almost impossible to even link out from Instagram. You can do it from your profile description but that’s about it and most people overlook or ignore that link.

As mentioned above Instagram popularity leads to almost no traffic to your own website:

“Instagram drives very little traffic: under 1% overall across all niches.”


Even compared to other – less popular – sites the traffic is meager. The much smaller Pinterest is far more impactful, especially when it comes to topics like fashion and beauty – the ones that are in the spotlight on Instagram:

One of the main reasons why brands flock to Instagram is because it’s still a cool site among teens and it has like a “billion” of users. Yet these users are not going to visit your site.

You have to create content for Instagram. Ideally you are a photographer who uploads their own photos to the service. That’s who used it when the site started and it’s still their most important use case.

On Instagram you can’t just share things from other people. Instagram is about creating and publishing visual content – think mainly photography. There are other ways to create images for Instagram but most of them won’t suffice by themselves.

Some accounts to indeed take content from other accounts and simply republish it but that’s frowned upon by photographers and copyright holders. You risk a hefty bill for that unauthorized usage later on.

The Best Way to Practice Instagram Marketing – Work with Influencers

The best way to approach Instagram marketing is not to try to create a popular Instagram profile. Instead the only feasible way for most brands is to work with existing Instagram users – some call them influencers and to make them share your products and promote your brand.

How you convince people to spread the word about you – whether involving direct sponsorships – or by trying to become hip among those influencers by others means does not matter as long as you get them to talk about you.

Red Bull is a great example of proper Instagram marketing.

They don’t have to pay Instagram influencers to post something featuring their brand they simply sponsor athletes who are also on Instagram and report about themselves while wearing Red Bull clothing or drinking their drink.

Also Red Bull has a magnificent content creation machine running. They have whole film making teams following extreme sports athletes around the world or staging stunts in attractive locations just to film them.

Most brands that aren’t publishers already do not have something remotely similar. There aren’t even photographers on most teams, even large ones.

Influencers on the other hand literally live for Instagram and treat their whole life as a way to Insta fame. Sometimes they go bankrupt while at it and many influencers are faking follower counts and even engagement but there are still people out there who are indeed successful on the site.

Trying to Be Cool like the Kids?

Many brands are trying hard to become cool on Instagram – often years late – after the service has gone mainstream. I even see visually unattractive industries like Web hosting trying to impress the cool kids and show them that they also belong. Yet it does not work that way.

The coolest kids have moved on from Instagram already.

It’s not just that the site is infamous for spreading unhealthy body images of barely clad teens bordering on pedophilia and among the leading causes of anxiety and depression. Instagram is not that cool anymore for those in the know.

When Instagram became more than just an image sharing or photo manipulation app I considered to start using the service but quickly realized that it’s a futile attempt at trying to howl with the wolves.

Instead I focused on my hitherto established Pinterest presence. There I could reshare content from other people and spread the word about them instead of stroking my ego and trying to make myself a celebrity or something with the proverbial 15 minutes of fame.

When you are young, cool and sexy you still can get popular on Instagram despite the picky algorithm they use now. As a brand you will always be just “also ran”.

How to Decide Whether to Join Instagram

The decision making process about Instagram marketing for brands goes something like this: “why aren’t we on Instagram yet? Everybody else is! Let’s join the bandwagon! How? We don’t have visual content to post! Then create some!” That’s about it.

Then graphic designers try to come up with shareable content that also reflects brand values. It’s rarely cool though as most brands aren’t and they can’t simply show off almost naked bodies or nearly impossible stunts that usually get traction on the site.

Focus on what you do best and stick to it. Do not just waste money on establishing an Instagram presence when other services are much better suited to represent your type of business.

Approach influencers and make them spread the word about you.

There are many tools that even help you find influencers on social media. Just remember to have a proper budget for influencer marketing and do not contact the same superstars everybody else does. People who have organic reach aren’t into working for you for free and the ones that have lots of reach have no time to deal with you at all in most cases.

For me personally Pinterest is still the best social media site. I get hundreds of visitors from Pinterest while I get a few from Facebook and none from Instagram on my cycling blog that hasn’t been publishing in years. Why? I have lots of evergreen visual content people still share voluntarily.

Pinterest is the second biggest source of social media traffic to publishers’ websites for many years in a row according to Statcounter. It comes right after Facebook.

In the US 30% of social media traffic comes from Pinterest! That’s ten times as much as Instagram yields. Globally it’s still 15%.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share in the US

Instagram is barely a blip. Sure Red Bull has also millions of followers on Instagram yet they don’t do it for traffic. They can rely on brand recognition as a consumer product when you probably can’t.

That’s also how you can decide whether you or your company can effectively build an audience on Instagram without sacrificing much need resources elsewhere.

  • Do you sell to consumers directly?
  • Are you a lifestyle brand or do you offer lifestyle products?
  • Is your business model highly visual and visually attractive?
  • Do you have people already talking about you and your products on Instagram?
  • Is your direct competition really successful on Instagram or are they just there because “everybody” is?
  • Can you allocate enough budget to Instagram content creation without reducing spend on existing channels or minimizing other tasks?

The last company I worked for decided to go after Instagram instead of promoting content that was already created for the blog wrote for. It was a huge distraction and did not really reach the right audience at the right time. The only goal was seemingly brand recognition.

The blog did not get because of lack of audience building measures. Much needed resources were bound on Instagram.

Meanwhile graphic designers barely had enough time to search for free images on Unsplash instead of creating illustrations or infographics for the blog. Why? The desired Instagram fame required a steady flow of “creative” images.

Instagram Alternatives for Marketers Who Dislike Vanity Metrics

When you are a Web-savvy marketer you will probably be careful when allocating resources to Instagram and consider also alternatives that may be more valuable for your business. Just following hypes may be costly.

Vanity metrics like user numbers aren’t helpful to determine the actual outcome of marketing campaigns. A billion wows you but does it really mean revenue?

I mentioned Pinterest above more than once. You get much more traffic there and need a lot less resources to get traction. You can just multiply other people’s content most of the time and only occasionally add yours.

That’s indeed the best way to get recognition on Pinterest. Purely self-promotional accounts do not get much attention. Also the context you appear in is much better. Pinterest is an inspirational site. Instagram is infamous for causing depression among teens.

When you are into B2B you probably won’t have any use for Instagram anyway. Even though they added shopping features in 2019 you rather won’t sell software there.

Your best bet might be LinkedIn instead. The social networking site for business people has become better and better over the years and surprisingly further improved since Microsoft took over.

Mere text ads won’t work well there but genuine engagement driven by content marketing has been proven to show encouraging results for some of the marketing leaders. LinkedIn even favors smaller businesses now.

Just in case you are really after the cool crowd or teens because they are the future literally consider a site or service that is still growing in popularity and hasn’t arrived in the mainstream yet. Snapchat is almost there but it’s still so cool that Instagram frantically attempts to copy their features.

TikTok is an app from China that conquers the West like no other. Even Mark Zuckerberg fails at copying its successful features or formats. Early adopting such services before they are already populated by “everybody” might be a better idea than joining an overcrowded platform late

Always remember that social media are distribution channels and not meant to replace your own publishing outlets.

Imagine the New York Times giving up their website or newspaper and publishing on Instagram instead. Impossible! Why would you do this? Publish on your site first and foremost. Use social media to spread the word about your content right where it belongs – on your own property.

When First Joining Instagram – Where to Start?

Still not convinced? You want to try and invest money into Instagram beyond just working with influencers? You really want to do it yourself, create an publish content on Zuckerberg’s site? Then at least do it right from the start. How?

Hire people who will do it for you instead of tediously learning yourself, several years late! Remember that Zuckerberg bought Instagram back in 2012! It was the next big thing already then.

You will need an experienced social media manager of course but that won’t suffice. As mentioned above you also need content creators who are into visual media – mainly photos and videos. You also consider artists and designers but with photos you will miss the main pillar of Instagram success.

Do not assume that after reading an Instagram marketing guide or two you will become the new kid on the block everybody wants to check out.

As a brand ambassador you can’t just flaunt your body or use irresponsible footage of dangerous stunts. People literally kill themselves while trying to get famous there.

When you arrive late at least acknowledge that fact and act accordingly. Build upon the experience and expertise of those who came before you. Do not start like a newbie. Start with professionals on your side assisting you.

OMG! This article turned into another Instagram marketing guide. Let me summarize my message then: do not join Instagram just because it’s mainstream now. When you need to learn Instagram marketing from scratch in 2020 you are already a decade late. Make an informed decision.

In case you still want to join Instagram and popularize your business there after reading this post at least do it right by getting the right people to implement it. Those unpaid social media interns are probably way better at Instagram than you. You better offer them a real contract.

The post Why You Don’t Need an Instagram Marketing Guide – Seriously! appeared first on SEO 2.0.

Read More »

SEO Risks to Take and SEO Risks to Avoid

Many business people have a hard time seeing the value of SEO, and we understand that. There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about search engine optimization, and it can really increase the difficulty of this decision.

While an effective SEO strategy will take many months to yield positive results for a company, and the tactics may not make sense for non-SEOers, it can make a significant improvement in a company’s online exposure and profits.

Many companies are naturally nervous about trying something out they’re not familiar with, but let’s face it, nearly any business decision is going to carry some risks with it. Some can be avoided, and some can lead to sudden and serious growth.

The question that has to be asked, then, is what SEO risks are worth it, and which should be avoided.

Before we get into it, though, let’s put this out there first: the greatest SEO risk a company can make is to avoid SEO all together. Everyone got that? Great. Let’s consider a few more.

SEO Risks to Take

1.  Making and Testing Large and Small Changes

The overall goal of SEO is to get traffic and, ultimately, transactions on your website.

Neither of those will happen if nobody clicks on your website in the first place.

So, what if you’re getting your website to rank well for certain keywords, but no one is actually clicking on your link?

There could be any number of reasons for this, and it can take some time to zero in on exactly why it isn’t performing as well as expected.

And the only way to do that is through A/B testing. You’re going to have to take one element at a time, whether that’s the meta descriptions, the titles, the content and more, and test them against new variations.

That’s all well and good and even a little obvious. So what makes it a “risk”?

It will likely take a bit of trial and error to come up with the correct wording and layout combination that results in maximum website traffic and transactions. During this time, you may find a combination that doesn’t work well at all and ends up reducing what traffic you do have – at least for a while.

The risk is worth it, though, because once you find the best results, you’ll be able to focus on that element and continue to drive more traffic and get better returns.

As you make changes, you should document what was changed, when it was changed and the date it was first re-crawled by Google after the change. This will help you correlate ranking movements to changes made. Just make sure you use a solid keyword rank checker so you’re data is valid and useful.

2.  Getting and Giving High-Quality Backlinks

Why would one company feature a link to another company’s website and risk the web user leaving their page?

Backlinks are a well-established part of SEO, and most companies want to get as many of them as they can. They help increase rankings and build authority.

However, it’s not just about being the one with the most links. Sometimes you need to give a little back.

So, yes, you may risk losing a few web visitors by providing a link to other high-quality sites, but at the same time, you’re showing Google that you are using and referencing reliable sites with established authority.

Just keep in mind, webpages that knowingly feature links to low-quality, malicious, spammy websites are at risk of getting penalized by Google. You may also get penalized by getting too many links to your site from those poor-quality sites.

3.  Enhancing Your Site’s URL Structure

Ideally, your homepage URL should be short, with only the company name, such as: www.yourcompany.com. Short, simple, concise and easily remembered.

Subsequent pages, however, should have targeted keywords and be more specific about the content of the webpage.

Even so, you don’t want to let the URL get out of hand. If they’re too long and descriptive, the search engine will truncate their display with a […] after a cut-off point.

So, it may be time to alter some of your URLs with an overhaul of the site’s structure.

The risk, here, is that any kind of change like this can impact your rankings. As you alter old URLs and 301 redirect traffic to the new ones, you may see some dips in traffic and rankings.

However, if you do it right, you can end up with a streamlined structure that appeals to both search engines and internet users.

4.  Overhauling Your Website

Every once in a while, websites need to get updated and redesigned. Website redesigns can be risky and expensive, not to mention time-consuming.

Eventually, though, your website may need a new facelift. Maybe it just looks extremely outdated. Then again, it may be optimized for search engines, but human users find it difficult to navigate. There could be any number of reasons to take another look at your website and maybe – just maybe – consider reconstructing it from the ground up.

Of course, just like changing the URL structure, these types of changes come with a risk to your rankings as Google tries to re-evaluate your site. For that matter, it comes with the risk of alienating customers who have grown accustomed to your website just the way it is.

Usually, though, Google understands that every website goes through these overhauls every once in a while, so your rankings will usually bounce right back. You just have to be patient. Most of your customers will eventually get used to the changes, too. More importantly, updated your website has a better chance of bringing in many more new clients.

5.  Buy Expired or Available Domains

Some website owners, for whatever reason, don’t renew their domains, making them available for others to buy and use.

Buying some domains with a history and redirecting them to your site can potentially be a quick and easy way to increase the number of valuable backlinks adding some link juice to your site.

There are some serious risks with this technique, though, so you should only do so when you know exactly what you’re doing.

The domain, for example, has to be related to your business. It should be professional and legitimate, because if that domain still receives rankings and traffic, those visitors will be redirected to your site, and there is nothing more frustrating than arriving on a site that isn’t at all related to your original search.

Also, expired domains that were filled with spammy content and links will also be transferred over to your website, causing your site to potentially drop in rankings and get penalized by Google.

This tactic, however, is inexpensive and has the potential to drive serious traffic to your site if you follow the best practices.

|

Get a free website report

// <![CDATA[
hbspt.cta.load(1849295, 'c9b36dfc-d510-4236-b275-6ebe4c2be030', {});
// ]]>
 and see how your site is currently performing.|

Good and Bad SEO Risks2

SEO Risks to Avoid

Now that you have an idea of what SEO risks are worth taking, here are SEO risks that will likely do your business more harm than good:

1.  Poor Doorway Pages (or any doorway pages at all)

Doorway pages are simple and easy to create in batches to target specific keywords and keyword groups. Trustworthy SEOers avoid doorway pages as a rule because Google greatly dislikes them and penalizes sites that use them.

Google’s opinion of such pages should be reason enough for you to avoid this particular risk.

The only time Google will let doorway pages slide is if they offer unique, clear and valuable content and information to the site visitor – in other words, only if it acts just like the regular content on your website.

There is simply no reason to bother with them, so don’t risk it.

2.  Disallowing Neutral Backlinks

You want good backlinks to your website, not bad ones. What about the ones that are neutral, that don’t help, yet don’t hurt your website’s ranking and SEO?

Neutral backlinks may not give your website the SEO boost it needs, but they also won’t subject your site to Google’s potentially harsh penalties.

In fact, with Google’s Penguin update, some penalties for bad backlinks because the search engine realized that the websites themselves don’t have control over every site that links to theirs.

As a result, it is harder for a site to be punished by Google for malicious backlinks.

The only way you’ll be able to tell if the backlinks on your website are bad, spammy and low-quality is if you’ve noticed that Google has taken manual action on your site.

If no action has been taken against your website by Google, the backlinks on your website are safe, though they may not be high enough quality to boost your site’s search rankings.

It is possible to disavow certain links, but you need to be careful about it. If you attempt to disavow all your neutral links, you risk potentially blocking sites that can improve your ranking.

3.  Deleting or Condensing Content or Entire Pages

It may seem like no big deal to delete a page from your website, especially if it is about a product or service your company has discontinued.

Once a page is deleted, the keywords it once ranked for are now gone. The same thing happens to the URL of the page, which also includes those page-specific keywords.

Instead of risking the loss of those rankings, consider keeping the webpage even if you’ve discontinued the product. Simply leave a message on the page for the visitor that redirects them to a similar page with a relevant product or service.

If you’re merging or condensing two pages into one, make sure to include 301 redirects on the old URLs to make sure that all the link juice and traffic isn’t lost.

4.  Using Exact Match Keywords in Anchor Text

It may seem logical to have your targeted keyword as the anchor text for a link to your website. After all, you want your site to rank for that keyword or phrase.

This practice was popular for SEOers in the past who had the same logic. Unfortunately, this practice got abused by “black hat” SEOers who used an excessive amount of exact match keyword anchor texts to link to their websites – and the links didn’t exactly come from the most authoritative sites.

Since then, Google has greatly cracked down on this practice and will punish websites who overdo this practice. Don’t risk it. Look for more natural ways to link to your site and develop a more varied backlink portfolio.

5.  Making Too Many “Small” SEO Changes to a Site

Occasionally, it is a good idea to update the content on your website. In fact, Google favors fresh, updated content.

However, constantly changing the content and the look and feel of your website, even a little bit at a time, strictly for SEO purposes, will not go unnoticed by your website visitors or Google.

Making too many changes to your website or making the changes too often will raise red flags for Google which will likely see your webpage as suspicious and likely penalize your site.

Over time your site visitors will also notice the changes (especially since most of the changes were likely done for search engines instead of them). If this happens, they may find your site harder to navigate and find value. Some visitors may even start to think your site is suspicious.

Balancing Risk and Reward

SEO is essential for any business to succeed. There are many risks to SEO, some of which are worth taking because they can produce favorable results for a business. Other risks can harm and hinder a company’s internet marketing strategy and online presence.

As risky as SEO is, the only thing riskier is for a company not to do any SEO at all.

Social media has its own share of risks. So before you jump into your next campaign, download and complete this checklist to ensure everything is ready to go.

Download your free social media checklist

// <![CDATA[
hbspt.cta.load(1849295, '1852150b-d3aa-48c6-94ee-e4f0b01e06b6', {});
// ]]>

The post SEO Risks to Take and SEO Risks to Avoid appeared first on SEO.com.

Read More »

Internet Wayback Machine Adds Historical TextDiff

The Wayback Machine has a cool new feature for looking at the historical changes of a web page.

The color scale shows how much a page has changed since it was last cached & you can select between any two documents to see how a page has changed over time.

You can then select between any two documents to see a side-by-side comparison of the documents.

That quickly gives you an at-a-glance view of how they’ve changed their:

  • web design
  • on-page SEO strategy
  • marketing copy & sales strategy

For sites that conduct seasonal sales & rely heavily on holiday themed ads you can also look up the new & historical ad copy used by large advertisers using tools like Moat, WhatRunsWhere & Adbeat.

Categories: 

Read More »
Scroll to Top