Tips for Using Google Search Console to Grow Website

Search Performance, formerly known as Search Analytics, is one of the most valuable tools in Google Search Console’s toolbox. It gives you a lot of information about the performance of your website in Google’s organic search results.

It is like any other data source, it is useless unless you can put it to use. Although Search Console is best for your site, there are many ways you can use it.

Google has moved the all-new Google Search console out of Beta as of 2019. provides access to the new Google Search Console. It differs from the older Webmaster Tools / Search console on many levels. All the screenshots below have been reworked to reflect the current Search Console. (This also renamed Search Analytics Report to be in the ‘Performance tab.

Whatever your situation, there are 15+ ways I love to use Search Console for solving SEO problems. You’ll hopefully find something that you can use or build upon to help you put your data to work.

Search Performance Considerations

Search Console is the only way to get information about your website from Google. Search Console is a great place to start your SEO career.

Time limitations

Google restricts the data you have in your dashboard to 16 months. This is a significant improvement over the 90-day limit. However, I recommend rolling backups as some keywords may be removed from certain groups.

Backups can be as easy as downloading your keyword data once every 90 days or as complicated as creating software that taps into Google Search Console API.


As I have mentioned in my Google Search Console Guide, Google has very precise and confusing definitions of metrics. This is particularly important for Search Performance.

Before you take any action regarding your data, make sure that you understand the clicks, impressions, and positions.


Search Performance uses a combination of & sanitized data provided by Google. Search Performance queries are less trustworthy than the queries you can see in Google Analytics (not provided). This is something to keep in mind when creating precise projections.


Google frequently announces error corrections, infrastructure updates, and delays in reporting Search Console data. It is almost impossible to verify the data using 3rd-party tools. However, this could be used to illustrate the limitations of third-party tools.

Search Analytics data can also contain many anomalies. This is not to suggest that data cannot be used, but you should take this information with a grain.

Let’s take a look at these ideas now!

You can click on any image to open the full version.

Research Performance Ideas

Identify the Reasons for the Increase/Decrease

There are many reasons why a page’s traffic has increased or decreased. SEO can cover thousands of these reasons. Anyone can create hypotheses and then look for data to verify them.

*You can always find data that will “prove” or correlate with a hypothesis. You must find data that will prove your hypothesis false. (See! Marketing classes in high school chemistry are important for your career.

Search Performance is where I start to look for a hypothesis that’s worth exploring.

You can break down your data by query and page. Take a look at clicks, impressions, CTR, position, and CTR. To explain the increase or decrease in clicks, impressions, CTR, and position, you can start to formulate hypotheses.

Here are some examples.

Example 1: A single page that is the top performing has lost tons of traffic over the past month. I haven’t made any changes. It has to be an external issue with Google or a competitor. I pull up the page using Search Analytics and show all metrics.

It’s a slow, broad-based drop. Search Impressions are dropping, but this doesn’t mean that everything is wrong. Comparing Year to Year, I confirm that rankings have decreased some but they are still in the top ten.

Although it is seasonal, I believe that SERPs may have changed. I confirm by going to Ahrefs or Keyword Planner. Next, I will revise the content so that it explicitly addresses those queries. This post doesn’t address iTunes directly.

Example 2 – A series of How To pages has dramatically increased traffic. I have not changed anything – and have not received any alerts from my 3rd party ranking tools. I pull up Search Performance and then group those pages.

My search impressions remain the same, however, my CTR is up and my Positions are up. I switch to view queries. It appears that I rank #1 for queries starting with “how to …”.

I search in incognito mode for the query, and… “Ahh! – I’ve got an Answer Box ranking because of my recent re-formatting!”

Next, I will revise all of my how-to articles with the same formatting as the high-traffic posts.

Identify Keyword Targeting Effectiveness

Without data on keyword performance, you won’t know if your keyword targeting is correct. Search Console is a great tool to discover what you don’t know about your keywords (e.g, what Google will pull from your page). You can view keyword performance and adjust your content to improve focus.

Example: I created a page focusing on crowded areas. It’s well done and has been online for one month. To see how it is doing, I checked Search Performance.

It is doing okay, but not as well as I had hoped. The bounce rate is also terrible.

I glance at the questions and notice that I get strange impressions of glasses, binoculars, and eyesight.

Ahh, now I understand what happened. My analogy was a bit too much. Google doesn’t like my catchy title “How to Focus in Crowded Places” (binoculars, telescopes, and mental strategies).

Google believes I am talking about focusing binoculars on crowded places, rather than focusing your attention in a crowded area by using binoculars.

The next steps will be to amend my title to make it more concise and to reword the analogy to call out context and idea. Also, I need to revisit my keyword research and keyword difficulty.

Identify Content Revision Opportunities

Search engine optimization involves optimizing your content for search engines, rather than social networks. You must mirror their needs and answer their questions in your content to do this effectively. Sometimes, your content needs to be adjusted. Search Performance can give you clues on how to fix it.

You should look for queries that are within striking distance of pages – queries that have positions between 11-20 – and that contain modifiers that could warrant a new section.

Let’s take the example of focusing on crowded areas. It’s still not enough. I examine the questions that are coming in.

Many of the queries I see have modifiers that indicate that the searcher is a student. It is easy to see how queries like “how to concentrate in a crowded classroom” and “focus on studying at a crowded library” can give you a clue about how to revise content.

The next steps would be to revise the content so it speaks more to students, such as adding examples of libraries or studying. A section on dorm rooms could be added for students.

Identify New Content Opportunities

What if you are looking for more than just fixing and diagnosing existing content? You want to grow and discover new ideas. Search Performance is also a key component of my work.

Take a look at the queries you have made in the past few months or years. All keywords with the highest volume that are not within striking distance of your query, but are still relevant in a ballpark (e.g., positions 20-50).

Prioritize keywords that are related but not directly related to your content. Look at whether these queries can be effectively targeted by a new piece.

Google values relevance above all others. Google will show some related content to a search query, but they don’t have enough of it.

This is why I love Quora and other forum threads for content ideas. Google will show you the relevant results if it has to.

Example – Let’s continue with our How To Focus content. I look in Search Analytics to see that the query “meditating publicly how to” appears. For that query, position 30 is where my “How to Focus in Crowded places” page appears.

This is absurd. Although my post may seem to be related to public meditation, it is not the main topic. This is a completely different topic. It’s still getting 1000 hits per month so it’s legit.

Next, I would like to write a post about How to Meditate in a Crowded Place.

Project Potential Keyword Volume

Search volume projections can be obtained from a variety of third-party tools, such as Ahrefs. These can also be obtained from Ads Keyword Planner. However, none of these estimates are correct. SEO professionals make educated guesses about keywords volume and expected click-through rates.

It is impossible to decide without considering all the variables.

However, you need to be able to estimate the ROI of SEO investments. This data can be derived from your existing Search Performance.

Take a look at Impressions to see your pages. Next, drill down for each page. This number can be used to extrapolate the potential. These tables can be exported to a spreadsheet.

How much traffic would you get if your CTR was increased by 1%? How much traffic would you get if there were new How To pages with similar search volumes? How would it impact your revenue line if your conversion rates were maintained the same?

These numbers are accurate to a great extent, but they are also the easiest to access and manipulate. These numbers should not be used for making guarantees. However, they can be used as a way to prioritize and provide an anchor.

A “Visioning Concept” is a non-profit concept. It doesn’t contain the blueprints or even the finalized project concept. It’s simply a sketch that helps fundraisers to show others what they could do to make a better pitch.

Search Analytics allows you to create a “Visioning Concept” that will show you how much organic traffic you can get if you invest in the correct content.

Identify CTR Opportunities

Imagine if you could increase organic search traffic without having to improve your content or get more links. If you increase click-throughs for queries you already appear for, you can.

This tactic is simple. You should look for pages and queries with high impressions but low CTR. Find out if your queries rank higher than 11. If they don’t, you will need to revise your content or create new content. To get more clicks, you can edit your meta description or titles if they are higher than 11.

You can reformat a part of your post if your target terms include Answer Box to get that ranking.

Search Analytics can help you prioritize your efforts in any way.

Identify Successful / Failing Outliers

Outliers in any field can reveal a lot about the success of certain tactics. To put it another way, you don’t need to look at the 6’10” NBA players or coaches if your goal is to become a great basketball player. Instead, look at what 5’8″ high school basketball players do.

Search Analytics allows you to quickly identify outlier metrics and dimensions. What queries or pages perform well despite a lack of links, content, and so on? What queries or pages perform poorly despite high investment?

These data points can help you discover what to do next. What are the best practices to use for your website?

There are many “best practices” in SEO. However, they can vary widely depending on the industry and competition. If your outliers include short-form content, don’t trust SEO tips that promote long-form content.

Recognize Geographic Opportunities

Atlanta, GA is where I am based. Although the US is only half of my traffic, I’m the first to admit that I write for a US audience. Every month, I get visitors from all over the globe. It has been only recently that I started to prioritize non-US visitors. I missed many opportunities because I waited.

Even if your company is a nationally or locally focused one, you may be missing opportunities due to your geographic bias.

Because it is difficult to be specific, we prioritize our local readers or client. Search Performance can change that.

Search Analytics allows you to do several things.

You can first sort the ideas by geography. You can easily modify it to suit America if America is 100% of your “How To Focus” audience.

You can also sort queries by geographical intent. You can also sort queries by geographic intent in the Creating New Content section. If you have enough questions, you should consider creating content for that geographical location.

Even if the place is not important, people love it. Even if your local market is not interested, you can still lock down your home market by email marketing in Atlanta, GA.

Rich Snippet Opportunities

Rich snippets can be used to describe results that include additional information beyond the default Google search results in pages (SERPs). They can make a big difference in your click-through rates, whether it’s stars, cook times, or event details.

Search Analytics can help you determine where you stand and what you can improve with it. You should be looking for outliers to help you determine what is working and what is not.

Mobile Opportunities

For years, “Opportunity”, “mobile” and “opportunity” have been almost synonymous. You can also use Search Performance to segment devices.

This report will show you how mobile performance compares to desktop. However, this report will not reveal much. Your website needs to be mobile-friendly.

What is even more fascinating about Search Performance is the ability to see how queries change based on the device. Mobile queries can be structured differently than desktop queries and may have different needs.

These data can assist you in making your content mobile-friendly beyond just resizing.

Think about your About page. It might be useful to share your story and build trust among your visitors. If it ranks for mobile searches for [your business address], you will need to create a page about the location or update your About page to include it.

Because someone searching for [your company location] on their smartphone will want it *now*, without scrolling through or reading your story.

How to Identify the Most Successful Keyword Footprints

Search Performance can be used to identify content types that perform well when you’re looking for new content opportunities.

Search Performance is a better way to search for keywords that are not too far away. You can search for keywords like “how to”, “why” and any other broad keyword.

Use that keyword footprint to help you focus your keyword research. If I know I am good at “how-to” posts, I can use this to focus my keyword research on Ahrefs and Reddit, Pinterest, or Quora.

How to Identify the Most Successful Types of Pages

It is important to also look at the success of page types. Look for commonalities and narrow your pages using a type of footprint.

If you have an eCommerce store, for example, look at all the pages of your brand or category to see how they perform over time.

Google Analytics Connection – Identify Quality Traffic

You should link Google Search Console and Google Analytics if you haven’t done so yet. Although you won’t still be able to see keyword-level engagement data, you can perform faster analysis of the data that you have.

Look at your Landing Pages. Take a look at bounce rates, time on page, and most importantly, conversion rates. These data points can be used to triangulate the effectiveness of your keywords and content.

Google Analytics Connection – Identify Traffic Engagement

To find out why pages are not engaging, you can reverse the search of Analytics and Search Console data.

You can use the query report, for example, to determine if your content matches device usage or user intent. Your bounce rate may be high because it does not match user intent.

Find Paid Search Opportunities

Paid search advertising is expensive. You will need to have a large budget to test and burn the most profitable keywords.

You can also take query data from successful pages and transfer it to Google Ads if you need quick wins or more visibility for keywords.

Let’s say, for example, that your product page ranks well with generic keywords. Organically, it ranks between 4-5. However, you can see from your Analytics that the traffic that you get converts well.

You can export queries from this page, wrap them with an exact phrase match type and add them to Google Ads. You will be able to buy your way to success.

It will accomplish three things:

  1. Because you are a prominent presence on the page, it will likely increase click-through rates for both your organic and paid ads.
  2. The paid ad will allow you to generate incremental sales and traffic.
  3. It will allow you to assess the potential return on investment when ranking #1 on this keyword.

Next steps

You can only truly master data manipulation if you do it yourself.

These are just a few of many ideas. Search Console is a great place to start your search. Use the export to spreadsheet option.

Have fun, but don’t forget about backing up your data

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