The Basics of Good SEO: Google Tools

Google is by far the king of search engines right now, so it’s important to pay attention to optimizing your website for their SERPs (search engine results pages). Thankfully, Google provides several free tools that you can use to track and optimize your site’s performance on their search engine. The data you can garner from these tools will be vital in how you formulate your SEO campaigns going forward. So, let’s dive into the basics of the two most important tools to start out with: Google Search Console and Google Analytics.


Google Search Console

This free service by Google helps you to monitor and maintain your site’s presence on Google’s SERPs. Using the Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, can help you in a variety of ways, such as making sure Google can access your content, submitting new content for crawling, removing content you don’t want on SERPs, and more. If Google can’t access your content, doesn’t know what content to look at, or is looking at the wrong pages on your site, that can cause you some serious problems when it comes to SEO.

How to Get Started

Setting up your Google Search Console can be simple for the most part, so here’s the steps you need to follow.

  1. Sign into the Search Console with your Google account.

This part is pretty easy; just make sure you use the Google account that you’d like associated with your store.

  1. Enter your property.

This is where you select the property type (domain or URL prefix) and enter in your website’s URL. Remember, there’s a difference between URLs with and without the WWW prefix, so make sure you’re using the correct one.

  1. Verify ownership.

You’ll next have to select a verification method so that Google knows that the site you’re adding is indeed yours. There’s a few different verification methods, but for your 3dcart store, you’ll need to add the HTML tag into the Google Webmaster Tools Verification Meta Tag section of your SEO tools page.

  1. Start using it!

Now that your site is set up with the search console, you can begin taking a look at what the tool can offer for your SEO strategy-building.


How to Use the Google Search Console for SEO

When it comes to the tools you need to focus on when starting out with Google Search Console, there’s two things that need your attention: filters and grouping.

There are several filters that you can use in order to get a better understanding of the analytics that Google is providing you. You can filter by clicks, impressions, CTR (click-through-rate), and the average position of the topmost result of your site. This can be useful to see what pages on your site are getting more clicks than others, disproportionate CTR, and more.

You can group up tracking information in a variety of ways to see how different elements are driving traffic to your site. This includes search terms (queries), pages, countries, devices, search types, and the timeframe.

Tip: One of the first things you should look for is keywords that have high impressions and few clicks with a low CTR. Use this information to identify the culprits, and begin looking into why they might not be getting clicks. The most common offenders are unoptimized title tags, meta descriptions, performance drops, and lack of mobile optimization.


Google Analytics

While Google Search Console has a great amount of analytics and data that you can use to understand how your SEO campaign is working and what can be improved, Google Analytics can go much more in depth. This free digital analytics tool is a great way to get both a wider picture of your site’s performance, and a very targeted view of specific things you want to look at on your site.

How to Get Started

Setting up your account with Google Analytics and installing it onto your website may seem tricky, so here’s the step-by-step process.

  1. Sign up and set up your property.

Enter basic information about your website (called a property), like your URL, in order to generate your tracking ID.

  1. Set up a reporting view in your property. This is where you’ll add the filtered perspective that you’d like to use when looking at your data. One example would be to view all data aside from that which comes from your company’s IP address.
  2. Add your tracking code.

There’s a few different ways to add your tracking ID from Google Analytics into your website. Depending on your website, you can either use a plugin or module to install it, or go directly to your hosting service. If you’d like to do it manually, You’ll need to add your Universal Analytics tracking code script into your website. (3dcart just needs your Tracking ID to connect to your Google Analytics account).

  1. Configure your account and start using it.

From here, you can configure all of the necessary settings and start using your Google Analytics account for SEO. You’re able to set up goals for conversions, look at your audience, and more.


How to Use Google Analytics for SEO

Google Analytics boasts a wide library of tools that you can use to understand what’s going on with your site. But, today we’re only going to look at a few necessities when it comes to using Google Analytics for SEO. These include the audience, acquisition, and behavior tabs of your Analytics Dashboard.

In the audience section, you’ll be able to see who your audience is from basic demographics, like location, age, interests, and more. The best thing about the audience tab for SEO is the custom segments tool. This tool allows you to create an audience segment from almost any facet of user data, including time on site, visitors from a specific location, visits to specific pages, visitors who converted, and more.

The acquisition tab is where you can find out how your audience actually gets to your site, breaking it down by channel. In order to use this tool, you’ll have to have your Google Search Console account connected to get access to search data. For SEO, you can use this tool’s general information and the more detailed source/medium information to find out how much organic traffic your site is getting. In queries, you can see what keywords are driving your site; pay attention to the best performing and start investigating the worst. In the landing pages section, you can understand how pages are performing and why they’re getting traffic; this can be sorted by clicks, impressions, and average position.

By using the behavior tab, you can see how users are interacting with your site. This is great for understanding how your on-site search is performing, giving you insight into what people are searching for and ideas for potential content that you can create for your site. You can also check out the behavior on your landing pages, including details about the number of sessions, new users, bounce rate, pages per session, average session duration, and conversion information.

Tip: Combine all three metrics in the landing page section of the acquisition tab (clicks, impressions, and average position) in order to get a better and more effective picture. From there, you can filter even further so you can get down to the details of what’s working with your SEO strategy.

 

In the next lesson, we’re going to talk about how you can start optimizing your site for mobile SEO.

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