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Improve Keyword Rankings with Google Search Console

The top three search results on Google may account for approximately 80 percent of clicks for most search queries. A website ranking in the bottom half of Google’s search results page hardly receives any clicks.

Take a look at a screenshot of CSU’s news website’s Search Console dashboard:

Search Console - Position number 1

CTR for the first position

Google Search Console - Second Position

CTR for the second Position

Google Search Console - CTR for the Third Position

CTR for the third Position

Notice the big drops in click-through rate (CTR) as you move down in positions on Google search.

The pay-off in moving from a position number four to position number three can be big if you identify the right keywords in your Search Console dashboard. In this blog post, I attempt to walk you through a strategy to boost keyword positions and increase click-through rate on queries that you are already ranking for on the first page.

Step 1: Access Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that offers website administrators some ability to manage their site’s presence on Google, in addition to identifying technical issues that could impede a site’s rankings on Google search results.

You can access Google Search Console with your Google account credentials, provided you have verified your website. There are multiple ways to verify your website. I talk about one of the verification processes in this blog post.

Step 2: Observe current performance on search results

To view the search queries that you currently rank for, click the Performance tab on the left panel on your Search Console dashboard.

Select Total clicks, Total impressions, Average CTR and Average position in the Performance panel.

This is where you can find the Performance panel:

The date range defaults to last three months. The panel above gives you the ability to filter by Web, Image, and Video search on Google.

Step 3: Identify underperforming keywords in Google Search Console

You are looking to bump the position for keywords that:

– Are on the first page of Google search results

– Have high impressions

– Have a low click-through

In the example below, I apply two filters to select ‘Position’ less than four, and ‘CTR’ less than three. I go onto sort the Impressions column in descending order so that I target queries that have high search volume.

A search query having high impressions indicates that the search volume for that query is high. A low click-through on the first page of Google results indicates that either the page mapped to the query has content irrelevant to the search query or the keywords in the query have low visibility on your webpage.

I try to find queries that have a low CTR and are most relevant to the content that we create. Once I lock-in on a search query, I select the corresponding page where this query is mapped. Personally, I like to export the data as a spreadsheet and select a bunch of queries at the same time.

The final step is to insert the selected search queries and add them as keyword instances within the content, page title, headings, and meta information.

This is by no means everything you need to do to boost your keyword rankings, but it is an efficient step, one that requires minimal resources and can potentially deliver great results.