One of my favorite FREE approaches to build my blog traffic is to use the features and information directly from Google via the Google Search Console. Google Search Console helps me understand how my blog is ranking along with providing information I can use to identify opportunities for improvement. I can also get hints about new posts I should consider writing.
Note, if you haven’t signed up for Google Search Console yet, you’ll need to do that first. Most of the performance data will take a few days to show up.
Submit your XML sitemap to help Google crawl your blog
If you haven’t already, submit your XML sitemap to Google Search Console. For newer blogs, this will help Google find your site and index it. While this doesn’t guaranty that your blog posts will rank in search results, you at least need to be indexed to have a chance at showing up a search result.
Submitting your XML sitemap can also help with indexing new blog posts and updates quicker.
How to use Google Search Console to identify any technical issues with your blog
As part of building trust with Google, you need to publish a quality blog. Google Search Console helps you identify certain technical issues with your blog including:
- “page not found errors” (404 errors, broken link errors), and
- mobile friendliness issues
Usually you’ll receive an email alert from Google if it finds any errors and you can also see them in the Search Console in the “Coverage” section.
You should fix any issues to demonstrate to Google you’re taking your blog quality seriously. For example, setup redirects for the broken links and click “validate” to confirm it’s been fixed.
TIP: If you see Soft 404s listed in the Errors list, these indicate a page Google is reading as “no search results”. It may category you created, but does not have any associated blog posts. From a blog visitor perspective these aren’t great pages to see so Google is calling it out as a “Soft 404”.
Mobile friendliness has become an important topic in recent years with people using the smartphones more to access the Internet. If Google is displaying a mobile friendliness issue, it may simply be a hiccup with an image in an ad, or it’s a problem with your theme not following good mobile usability practices.
Usually I try to “validate the fix” on these first as it’s often a hiccup. If the issue persists, you may need to reach out to your theme developer for more help.
Check if Google is acknowledging external backlinks
As part of your search traffic growth strategy, you should be trying to build backlinks (links from external sites) to your blog. To Google these links signal that the content is valuable, because other sites are linking to it. You will also hear about backlinks in terms of increasing your blog’s domain and page authority.
While you can’t control if the links are being counted, at least you can keep an eye on if Google is acknowledging them. Ultimately it’s more of an interesting metric and usually takes time to show up.
Learn the keywords Google is assigning to your posts, and how your posts are ranking
This is the most important reason for how I use Google Search Console to increase my blog traffic. I’m getting information directly from the source about how Google is assigning keywords to my blog and approximately where my posts are ranking. For newer bloggers, I’ve noticed that they’re either frustrated with not getting Google traffic or seem surprised when they they start receiving it. Using Search Console helps reduce some of that.
The rankings displayed on list are estimates and sometimes your ranking shifts around a few positions. Use this more as a guide to indicate if you’re getting closer to the top of the list than the actual portion in a search result.
Here are a few questions that you’ll be able to answer.
Do the keywords you targeted align with what Google is assigning?
One quick note first, the keyword data may take time to show up on the list, especially if your blog is new (maybe less than 6 months since launch). What Google assigns initially doesn’t mean those are the only keywords that will ever be assigned to the post. The keyword list per post usually grows over time, so don’t worry too much initially if you’re not seeing your focus keyword assigned to the post.
In the keyword assignments you may notice
- variations of your focus keyword (the words in deferent orders), and
- related but different keywords.
For keyword variations, consider making adjustments to your post to either switch around some of the wording to also include the variations or add new paragraphs that include the new combinations. Additional internal linking between other posts may help boost the keyword rankings as well.
For the related, but different keywords you have a decision to make. These may be opportunities to add an additional paragraph or section to the post to improve the ranking for that keyword. Or, this may be an opportunity to write a new post related to that keyword. Try doing some quick research to check if it’s worth writing a new, focused post just on that topic. Writing a new post could provide value to both your potential readers and Google by creating content that fills a gap.
What if Google isn’t assigning keywords?
Depending on how new your blog is, keywords may not be assigned yet. Or, if you just signed up for Google Search Console it takes a week or more to show results.
If you’re still not seeing any assigned keywords you may need to reconsider your keyword research and optimization approach. If you’ve been guessing keywords, you need to go back an start researching the words your target readers are using in Google to search for information. And then you’ll need to align you post content optimization with those words. All green in Yoast doesn’t guaranty search traffic if you’re optimizing for the wrong keyword.
Also try focusing on low competition, long tail keywords in the blog post. I’ve had much better results focusing on something where the competition is low. The traffic starts to come in, which is better than none. You can level-up over time for more competitive, higher traffic keywords as your domain authority improves.
Over to you, how ave you started using google search console to grow your blog traffic
Using data directly from the source take a lot of the guessing out of the process. While Google uses more than 200 ranking factors to decide what content to show in which order, Google Search Console is a budget friendly option gain insight to use to grow your blog traffic.