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How To Use Google Search Console for Keyword Research and SEO

Author Lindsay Miller
by Justin Smith
Updated Jan 28, 2019

Are you looking to optimize a current page on your website? Using Google Search Console is one of the most effective ways to do keyword research, find out what your website already ranks for, and boost traffic.

In 2018, Google redesigned Search Console, along with the new look came new features as well and the ability to go back further and see even more data.

The steps below walk through a quick way to pull up a page, determine how the page is performing, and make some minor tweak to quickly boost traffic. Using this strategy on the most popular pages on your website can make a quick impact!


Step 1: Bring Up Your Page of Interest in Google Search Console

Google search console keyword optimization

When you load up search console click the "Open Report" link at the top right. This will take you to a new page that shows your website traffic, impressions and more. From there you'll be able to navigate to specific pages.


Step 2: Select the Page You Want to Optimize

search console keywords

First, click the "Pages" link next to "Queries". You can then click the filter icon on the right and a drop down will appear. When it appears, select "Page" and then enter your page URL in the text box. You can use the "Contains" drop down to filter even further or bring up sets of pages (like all pages within a directory), but for this example we're focused on optimizing a single page. Once you've pull up your page, click on the URL and the report will refresh to show statistics specifically for that page.



Step 3: Look at the Queries

SEO using Google search console

Click on the "Queries" tab and you'll get a screen that shows the keywords your page currently ranks for. By default search console will show phrases that have received the most clicks first, but you can also sort by impressions. Now, the easiest way to find optimization opportunities is to look at what keywords and phrases you're currently getting traffic (click) from. Compare those words to words within the following elements of your page:

  • Title tag
  • H1
  • H2
  • Body content
  • Alt tags

If certain words, such as I've highlighted a few examples below, are not included within these elements of your website, it's a very easy optimization process. Take those missing words and find a way to incorporate them. You rankings for those phrases will inevitably rise and lead to an increase in traffic.

If you sort by impressions, be sure to NOT optimize for phrases that another page on your website may already rank for. In the example above the page is our "eCommerce Features" page and one of the highest impressions phrases (because it's search a lot) is "eCommerce Web Design". Because we already have a page focused on "eCommerce Web Design" we should not want to optimize this page for the keyphrase as well. The safest way to use this technique is to optimize around keywords getting "clicks" and not around "impressions".


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