Google Search Console: What it is and how to use it to enhance your SEO strategy

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If someone asked you for the exact keywords that made your online shop show up on Google, would you know how to answer?

Probably not.

You know your SEO strategy is working because the number of visitors in your Google Analytics graph keeps growing – but that’s not enough.

If you simply check your traffic influx, you won’t know:

  • The best performing content in your blog.
  • The product cards that attract the most visitors.
  • If your target keywords are bringing fewer visitors to your website than other less important ones.

Don’t you think this information would be useful to improve your online strategy?

If so, you can access it by adding another tool to your analytics arsenal: Google Search Console.

Don’t worry if this all sounds Greek to you. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it, including:

  • What Google Search Console is and what it’s used for.
  • How to sync this tool with your website.
  • An in-depth tutorial so you can get the most out of it.

Ready to turbo boost your positioning? ;)

👉 What is Google Search Console and what’s it used for?

At this point, you might be thinking, “Wait a second… Google Analytics already gives me the keywords that bring customers to my online shop.”

That’s true – to some degree.

Upon a closer look, you’ll see that at least half of the search terms are listed as “not provided”.

In non-exhaustive terms, these searches were made while users were logged in to their Google accounts, so Google Analytics avoids registering them for privacy reasons.

But here’s what really matters:

Google Search Console does allow you to access those mysterious search terms. ;)

This tool provides you with thorough reports on all the keywords that bring customers to your website, which, as we’ve told you, is an essential part of refining your content strategy.

But that’s not all.

Search Console is also the communication channel used by Google to let you know if your website’s experiencing any issues.

For example:

  • If it can’t index any of the pages of your website.
  • If there are any errors affecting the mobile version of your website.
  • If you’ve been penalized in any way.

To put it simply, Google Search Console keeps you in the loop about all the factors affecting your website’s positioning (and, therefore, those making you lose clients).

That’s quite a tool, right? ;)

I bet you’re already craving to know how to get the most out of this tool, so let’s get to it.

👉 [Tutorial] Learn to use Google Search Console like a pro

We’re not going to lie – Search Console can be a bit too complex to understand at times.

Some of its functionality was designed to be operated by a web developer, which makes it quite technical.

In this tutorial we’re going to set them aside, however, and we’re going to focus on all the improvements you can make to your positioning strategy with this tool.

✅ 1. Add and verify your URL on Google Search Console

First things first: you have to connect your website with Search Console and verify it (that is, prove that it’s yours).

To that end, you have to access the Search Console website through your Google account and click on “Add a property”, in the top-left corner.

The next screen will give you two options to add your website:

  • Domain: The most convenient one, as it includes all the possible URLs of your website (with and without “www”, with “https” and with “https”). That said, to verify your website this way, you have to access the DNS registry of your server.
  • URL prefixes: This option offers you two additional verification methods (code-based, for the most part). However, you’ll need to register all the URL versions of your websites one by one.

Whatever your final choice is, we recommend leaving it to your web developer.

If you’d like to connect Google Search Console with WordPress, though, you must do things differently.

In this case, all you need to install is the Yoast SEO plugin (highly recommended to enhance your WooCommerce shop’s SEO), find the “Webmaster Tools” tab, and click on the Search Console link.

On the page that opens up, click on “HTML tag”; it’ll give you a code to copy/paste in the box indicated by the plugin.

After this, your website should now be connected and verified.

At this point, let’s dig a bit deeper into all the possibilities Search Console gives you.

✅ 2. Analyze the keywords that get you positioned

Once you’re done connecting your website, you’ll reach the Search Console control panel, where you’ll find a menu with several tabs on the left.

The one we’re interested in now is “Performance”.

You’ll see a graphic with four data points:

  1. Clicks
  2. Impressions
  3. CTR
  4. Average position

What’s more, you’ll find a set of tabs below them breaking down all the information.

For now, we’ll focus on the first one: “Search Queries”

This tab will show you all the keywords that make your website come up on Google.

It also tells you the number of impressions (how many times your website has come up through each keyword), and the average position of your website.

This information will help you to draw plenty of conclusions to improve your SEO strategy, such as:

  • If you’re coming up on Google through your target keywords.
  • Which pages of your website aren’t well optimized for SEO (because their position is quite low).
  • New keywords that you hadn’t considered, but that Google relates to your website.

Moreover, you can download all this information in a convenient Excel spreadsheet by clicking on “Export” in the top-right corner.

✅ 3. Check if your meta titles and meta descriptions are working

We’re still under the “Performance” section, but now we’re going to the “Pages” tab.

As you can imagine, you’re going to see all the pages of your website within the search results, with the same information about impressions, positioning, and clicks.

In this tab, check out the CTR (percentage of clicks per 100 impressions) of the top pages that normally appear in the top position.

If one of those pages has a low percentage, it means that either the meta title or the meta description doesn’t appeal to users, which means you should work on improving it.

✅ 4. Enhance your web indexing

Since ecommerce websites can be so big, it’s easy for Google’s robot to get lost and fail to index some of your product pages.

And, as you know, if a page hasn’t been indexed, it doesn’t come up in the search results.

To avoid that, Google Search Console gives you the possibility of uploading a sitemap: a file containing all the pages of your website as well as the internal links connecting them.

You can create this file automatically with a plugin like Yoast SEO (or download it from your CMS if you use Shopify). This plugin gives you a link to send to Google through Search Console in the Sitemap section.

✅ 5. Double-check your internal and external links

Now let’s move to the “Links” submenu.

Here you’ll find two columns:

  1. External links: These are the backlinks your website has received. It tells you which of the pages of your website have been linked to from other sites – very useful if you’d like to know how well your link building strategy is doing.
  2. Internal links: The links that connect two pages within the same website. The concept of internal linking is a broad one, but the key here is that the product cards and pages you’re most interested in should receive more internal links than any others (especially from your homepage and related items).

This links issue (internal links, especially) may be quite complex, so if you’re not an expert, you’d better leave it to an SEO specialist.

✅ 6. Check that your rich snippets are working

To this end, you must head to the section under the very unintuitive name “URL inspection tool”.

Here, Google tells you which rich snippets it found on your website.

It also gives you a shout if there’s a problem affecting any of them or if it’s been able to read it properly or not.

✅ 7. Make sure you only have responsive URLs

We have no doubt that your website already has a responsive design.

But that’s not to say it’s 100% mobile-friendly. ;)

Sometimes there are small details that make navigating your website rather inconvenient for smartphone users, even if you don’t notice them.

For example:

  • Text that’s too small
  • Clickable elements too close to each other
  • Content stretching beyond the visible screen

The problem is that watching out for all those details on every single one of your pages can be quite the ordeal.

But that’s what Google Search Console is there for.

In the section “Mobile Usability”, the tool warns you if it’s spotted any errors on any of your pages along with what type of error it is.

👉 Ready to enhance your SEO thanks to Google Search Console (and this tutorial)?

You’ve already seen some of the possibilities that this comprehensive tool from Google brings you.

If you haven’t used it yet, it’s time to link it to your website and give your keywords an indepth checkup.

And if you find that the position of some of your products isn’t as good as you thought, you can check out this guide that goes over how to optimize product cards.

Try it out and see just how much it affects your ecommerce positioning. ;)