Google is not often one for dishing the dirt when it comes to algorithm updates, ranking signals or organic keyword data. In fact, as an organisation they keep their cards close to their chest, enlightening us only with their Google Guidelines.
However, Google recently made an addition to the Analytics dashboard which hints strongly at something we’ve thought for a long time:
Your website should speak to people and not robots.
The newest dataset included in Google Analytics can be found under Acquisition and is called Search Console.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Search Console is a webmaster tool (indeed, it was named Webmaster Tools until 2015) that helps to check the indexing status and visibility of a site.
Whilst traditionally, this type of tool would fall under a “tech team” umbrella, the data in here is invaluable for content specialists and content marketers alike – with Google finally integrating it with Analytics to make it far more palatable if you’re not a technical wizard.
So what can you use this data for? Below, we’ve outlined what you can do to make sure you’re speaking to the right target audience.
Matching Content to User Intent
The Landing Page tab is a great way to measure how well users are correlating the search results with their intent.
Where we could already measure Landing Page behaviour once a visitor has landed on the site, the addition of Clicks and Click-through Rate data – sat alongside behavioural measures such as Bounce Rate (and where relevant, Revenue) – gives us insight into how visitors respond before they’ve visited, too.
User intent is overlooked by far too many marketers and businesses, but it’s not all about getting people to your site. You must meet their needs when they find you. That means you need to add value.
This Analytics feature allows you to see what search results are gaining traction, and whether users stay on the page and interact with it – in essence, is it what they’re looking for? If not, you know it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Bounces within the first few seconds mean you have a misleading Title Tag or Meta Description. It could also be worth testing your design, and questioning if it’s hindering performance. Is it easy to find key services, information or products?
Create Content that Converts
Following on from the above, the Queries tab is a great way to win that click in the search engine results. Offering data on Clicks, Impressions, Click-through Rates and Average Position in the rankings sorted by keywords, it’s a good indicator of your search visibility.
Admittedly, this list of queries is most likely to be branded keywords, and it’s important to remember that you’re being shown queries that are already generating some level of results.
With that in mind, take a look at the queries that get good click-throughs. Are they emotive? Do they include strong Calls to Action? Do they give you an indication as to the visitor’s stage in the buyer journey?
Try to spot patterns that drive action and then test these methods in your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Internal Links, social media updates and maybe even editorial content ideas for outreach opportunities. Using language that you know resonates with your target audience is the best way to make sure your content works harder.
Measure Engagement Rate by Device
We can already measure what percentage of your audience is on Desktop, Mobile or Tablet, with useful metrics such as Sessions, Bounce Rates and New Users indicating the value of that audience. However, the Devices tab under Search Console allows you to see engagement metrics for each landing page in one place.
This is a great opportunity to see exactly which pages are difficult to engage with on smaller screens. Consumers are now multi-screen and multi-channel, so your site needs to be ready for conversions no matter where your target market are. Find those stumbling blocks which are acting as barriers to conversion and fix them.
Find Your Geographic Relevance
If you are a global brand (or want to be), then it would be naïve to assume that every culture and country shops in the same way. Consumer behaviours differ and can be altered by anything from what’s on TV on a weeknight, to the seasonal weather.
Whilst we already have some geographical information in the Demographics tab (under Audience), this is an overview of traffic. The Countries tab under Search Console allows you to investigate user behaviour on a URL level, filtered down by location. (Select your country and you'll be given the most clicked-on URLs). This is a great way to check if your geo-targeting is working.
For example, one of our clients is an Australian brand who want to improve their presence in the UK market. We can see from this tab that visitors in the UK are still being directed to AU pages on-site, so we know more needs to be done to boost their UK visibility, and direct new visitors to the proper pages for their location.
If this ever expands to a broader “Location” rather than “Countries”, it will be great for local search, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Prioritise Pages for Conversion Rate Optimisation
Let’s say your website is hovering around position 12 or 13 on page 2 for a key term. Think how much your organic visibility would be boosted if you moved up to page 1.
In the Queries tab, use the advanced filters to exclude any results already ranking well (less than 5, for example). Then filter by what you would consider a metric of poor engagement (for example, a click-through rate of less than 50%).
The list of queries you’re left with are opportunities for quick growth. Selecting these queries also gives you a list of URLs on your site that rank for these terms.
Where can improvements be made on the page to give that uplift? Is it appropriately optimised? Is it answering user’s needs? Do you need an awareness campaign around this service?
If you do try this method, make sure there is a reasonable amount of impressions too (add another filter if need be). If you’re ranking highly for a term but the impressions are really low, chances are there just aren’t that many people searching for that phrase.
To take this one step further, cross-reference these terms against Adwords data or E-commerce conversion rate for the appropriate URLs (if applicable), which will tell you which of these terms are driving conversions and will help you prioritise pages for larger projects.
If you have any questions, need help analysing your data, ideas for content optimisation, or if you just aren't sure how to link up your Search Console data to Google Analytics, get in touch!