News that Google is introducing Search Console Insights as a way to help publishers understand which content resonates best with their readers has generated plenty of headlines. It’s also brought about plenty of questions from news publishers who hadn’t been using Google Search Console previously.
Google’s Search Console tools are designed to help publishers measure search traffic and performance. Publishers can sign up to receive email alerts when Google identifies issues on their websites, they can submit sitemaps and individual URLs for crawling, and they can see which queries are bringing in new visitors to their sites. The reports generated by Search Console include tips on which issues should be fixed in order to improve rankings in Google search, as well.
Although there are hundreds, if not thousands, of search engine optimization (SEO) tools on the market, Google Search Console is the first one most publishers will try. Because it’s a Google product, Search Console has a level of authority and accuracy that few other SEO tools can match. Also, it’s free. That alone is reason enough for many digital publishers to give it a try.
The latest addition to Google’s Search Console is an experience being called Search Console Insights. Search Console Insights bring together data from Search Console and Google Analytics to help publishers better understand their audiences.
Search Console Insights help news publishers answer questions like:
- Which articles are performing best?
- Which pieces of content are trending?
- How are people finding your articles online?
- What are people searching for before they visit your website?
Before you can take advantage of the data in Search Console Insights, you’ll need to become familiar with Search Console more generally. If you’ve never used Search Console before, or you’re in the early stages of familiarizing yourself with the tool, these tips can help you get started.
5 Tips for Using Google Search Console
Tip #1: Manually Submit a Sitemap
Give Google’s web crawlers a hand by manually submitting your sitemap through the Search Console. Manually submitting a sitemap will speed up the time it takes Google to start indexing your website. Publishers that run their websites on WordPress can use the Google XML Sitemaps WordPress plugin to quickly generate sitemaps.
To learn more about the best WordPress plugins for news publishers, click here.
Tip #2: Try Google News Performance Reporting
Google News performance reporting is a relatively new feature that was designed specifically for news publishers. Google’s goal in developing this was to give publishers a better way to understand user behavior on Google News. Publishers can track the differences in user behavior based on platform. Reports also include metrics like impressions, clicks, and click-through rates. To access performance reports, log into Search Console and click “Google News” in the navigation menu.
Tip #3: Pinpoint Top Keywords
What search terms are people using to find your publication on Google? The answer might surprise you. With Google Search Console, publishers can find out what those top keywords are and they can sort them based on the volume of traffic they are driving. To access your top keywords, click on the “Performance” tab.
Tip #4: Sign Up for Email Alerts
Many publishers don’t have time to manually go into Google Search Console and sift through the data on a weekly basis. That’s OK. For publishers who sign up, Search Console will actually send automatic email alerts when issues are detected, along with key details like which URLs are being affected by the issues. Just make sure to log back into Search Console to update Google when those issues are resolved.
Tip #5: Improve Neglected Pages
We know that internal linking makes website content more discoverable and it reduces bounce rates. It also helps search engine performance. When you click on the “Links” tab in Google Search Console, you’re provided with a list of the top linking websites and anchor text. If you sort those pages in ascending order based on the number of internal or external links, you’ll see which pages on your website have the lowest number of links. These are the pages you should focus on updating with additional links or even fresh content.
To learn more about enhancing your publication’s presence on Google, read SEO Tips Every Magazine Publisher Should Know.