How to use Google Search Console to track your keywords

Tracking keyword rankings can be quite useful to gauge how Google rates your content in relation to your target keyword(s). However, most keyword rank checkers can be quite expensive so in this episode of Make SEO Simple Again, I show you how to use Google Search Console – a 100% free tool – to find out how your content is performing in the SERPs.

Full Transcript

When it comes to increasing organic traffic that is increasing the number of visitors who arrive at your website or web page through Google search, one of the best ways to measure how you’re progressing or how your content efforts are progressing is to track keyword, rank positions, but keyword, rank check is, are expensive.

So in this episode, I’m going to show you how you can use a free tool called Google search console to monitor and track the progress of your content based on keywords. I’m Daniel Ketchel, let’s make SEO simple again.

All right. Let’s see how we can use Google search console to check your keyword rankings.

Now, first of all, a page can rank for more than just one keyword. In fact, for this particular piece of content that I created for a client, what you’ll see here is an screenshot from Google search console. And what we can see are different keywords or queries at this particular page, or a piece of content has attracted in terms of clicks, registered impressions, got click-through rates and the position of this piece of content. According to these keywords for that particular SERP, and here is SEMrush, another SEO tool, a paid tool that is showing similar things, the keyword and the positions.

And of course, what it does extra here is it shows you the estimated monthly search volume. And finally, another SU tool [inaudible] is showing very similar things.

That is the key word, the estimated monthly search volume and the position of that keyword as per the SERP.

Now, in this particular instance for this screenshot, this is for us a search engine result pages. Now, when it comes to rank trackers, they come in many flavors and the best ones tend to be free. And these include a H refs accurate SCM rush SEO monitor and rank ranger. And these can range from a hundred dollars to a $3,000 per month. And if you’re just a small business owner paying for these can be quite expensive. So that’s why I recommend that we look into a free tool provided by Google code search console, because anyone can add that to their website.

So let’s jump over to my screen and I’ll show you a demo of how you can use GSE as a free rank checking tool.

All right, now, if you have Google search console added to your website, when you log in, this is what you’ll see now for different websites. The left-hand side menu can look a bit different. In this instance, the performance has search results and discover. Now, if I go to a, another property or website that I have access to, as you can see here, the performance tab is in this initial part of the menu, and it has index section and enhancements. And depending on your website, Google search console is going to show you a slightly different dashboard, but essentially it’s the same thing. So going back to this website, which is one of my personal websites in order to find how your pages or content are ranking in terms of their keywords, you go over to the performance tab. And in this case, I go over and click on the search results and straight off the bat, this information is designed to overwhelm you because it actually doesn’t provide you with much clarity.

In fact, this is a aggregate of everything across your entire website. And when we think about tracking keywords and seeing what position they are, we want it to be quite granular, to be specific. We want to see how a particular page is ranking for our target keyword or keywords. So the first thing you have to do is to apply filters. And this is what I like to do. First of all, I like to apply the geographical filter. So the country that I’m targeting and for this case, I am indeed targeting the United States. So I’m going to apply that filter. Now, next thing I want to do is to apply a filter for a particular page so that I can see if that page is performing as it should. So naturally I go over to the page tab and I look at all the pages that Google search console thinks my website has.

So let’s for example, take this piece of content SEO photographers. And what we’re going to see now is only data that pertains to this particular page. And this is when we can finally click across to the queries tab to see all the keywords that are associated with this particular piece of content.

Now, for the purpose of this, we are mostly interested in keyword position. So I’m going to disable the other three toggles and only click on average precision.

Now, before we go any further, I think we need to go over what Google defines as average position, because it’s not what you think it is. It’s not an absolute number.

So how does Google define average position?

Well, the Google search results page is composed of many search result. Elements, search result elements include blue links, sanctions, carousels, featured, snippets, knowledge, graph cards, and many other types of result features a single search result element can include text interactive features and one or more links.

Most of search result elements have a numeric position value describing the position on the page. The following desktop diagram shows a search results page. We for blink blue, sorry, with four blue link sections, one, three, four, five, and amp carousel, just two and a knowledge panel card six position for each is calculated from top to bottom on the primary side of the page. Then top to bottom on the second side of the page in right to left languages. The right side is the primary site as shown here. So when we go back into Google search console and having read what we just read about what our average position is, when we scroll down and look at the queries and the position that they are in, we need to understand that these are not absolute numbers because in any real life search engine result page, there is no position, 4.6 or 8.7 or 4.5.

Okay. So how do we make sense of what we seen? So when it comes to tracking keyword ranking, there are two measurements that I like to do the first is to see where my content is performing or how visible that page is right now. And secondly, the second type of thing that I like to see is how is that keyword position fluctuating or trending across time? So let’s do the first situation. So, so far we’ve applied a country filter, we’ve applied the page filter, and now I want to apply a time filter so that I can see according to at least Google search console data, the most recent data, how is that piece of content ranking right now? And when it comes to GSE, you don’t usually get the same day results at best you’ll get yesterday’s or the days before. And so at the time of recording, which is the 30th, 1st of October, the most recent updated information that we have from GSE is from yesterday.

So selecting that we click apply and what this gives us now are a bunch of keywords and the average position. So when it comes to the keyword SEO for photographers, according to GSC for American people who are searching for these exact three word keyword, I’m somewhere in the middle of the SERPs, when it comes to SEO services for photographers, I’m on page two and you know, so on and so forth. So this gives you an indication of how your page is performing per keyword. And so I guess, avoid looking at this top line, because it gives you an average position of all of these. So of all 39, if you were to put them all together and divide it by the number of keywords, then you would get 22.2, which doesn’t help you at all. Instead, you want to drill down to the exact keyword that you’re looking for, and then look at its corresponding position.

All right. So that tells you how your keyword is performing right now. Now in the second situation where we want to see how your content is trending across time, this is when we can take a longer timeline. And so for this instance, I want to see how this piece of content has performed in the last 12 months. And so we apply that filter and this orange line designates how this page has performed for all of these keywords, which again is a good indication of how this page is performing overall. But when you want to get granular and especially if you have a primary target keyword, you want to select just that. And so that’s what we’re going to do because when I published this piece of content, it was for this particular keyword SEO for photographers. So clicking on that, we are only going to get the average position across time for this page, for this particular keyword.

And what we see here in the orange line is very different to what we saw just before, because now we can get a better understanding of how this page has performed. And you’ll notice that there are fluctuations. Let’s say, for example, in the beginning of January, according to GSE, this page for this particular keyword was in position 18 and then give it a week. And it’s like bumped down to the bottom of page two, and then it was returned back to, Oh no, bump where all the way down to position 193, which is like, I don’t know, just invisible essentially. And then sometimes it’s gone back to page three and then across time with some fluctuations, it has improved. And if we look at, you know, what, instead of doing this, we can just go, okay, last 28 days, how has this page for this particular keyword trended, we can say, Ooh, this is quite interesting.

It looks like in the beginning of October, it was doing the best, which is in position 4.8, but SIS, since then, it’s been on a very, very gradual decline from position 4.8 down to 5.7. And so that tells me that perhaps competitors are doing better and other pages are slowly moving up. And when I see that, what I can do is then review what is changing in the SERPs? What type of content is improving and then apply those same upgrades to my own piece of content. So unlike paid keyword rank checkers, this does not automatically update for you. And it won’t show you an absolute position. And I won’t show you the immediate change based on its last update. And I guess that’s why it’s free. You have to manually dig through the data, but at least this data is yours and it probably is the most accurate. And the best thing about Google search console is that you can do so much more than just track keywords. So let me know if you have any questions on what we got went over today. Uh, you can tweet me at Daniel Ketchel or simply hit me up on the website, make SEO simple again, dot com.

Now it’s over to you. If you haven’t added your website to Google search console, I highly recommend that you do so because GSE is one of the most powerful and informative tools that you can get your hands on. And as I’ve already said, the best thing about this is it’s completely free. And once you have done that, play around with it, look into the performance tab, look into how your pages are ranking for what type of queries. And then from there, figure out where you can find areas of improvement. And from there, then you can either upgrade your existing content or plan out new content as always thumbs up. If you liked it subs, if you loved it and I’ll see you in the next episode,

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