An Introduction to Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a collection of resources and tools designed to help webmasters, website owners, and SEO professionals monitor the performance of a website in the Google search index.

As a free service which enables anybody to learn important information about their website and anybody who visits it, it is an invaluable tool which can be used to help improve overall performance and optimisation.

Why All Website Owners Need Google Search Console

By tracking metrics and delivering information regarding exactly who is visiting your website, from where, how they are finding it, and which devices are being used, website owners can act on this information to make optimisations and changes to increase conversions.

In addition to this, you can use Google Search Console to fix errors, create a robots.txt file for search engine indexation, and submit a sitemap.

When new errors appear in Google Search Console, you will get an email straight away. This lets you fix the error immediately before it becomes a problem that will have a negative impact on your website.

Creating an Account and Adding a Website

Google Search Console uses a regular Google account so, if you already have one of these, you don’t even need to register one! If you don’t have an account, you can make one in a matter of minutes.

Before you can begin using Google Search Console, however, you will need to add your website and verify it before moving forward. The verification process demonstrates to Google you are the true owner of a website and are authorised to access the detailed information Google Search Console provides.

Adding a website is a very simple process. When you are logged in, there will be a red box (you can’t miss it) which says Add Property. Simply type your URL in this box, press the button and go through the verification process.

There are a few different ways you can verify your website with Google Search Console. To do this, navigate to Manage Property and choose one of the following options:

  • Add a pre-made HTML meta tag to your website’s homepage inside the <head> tag;
  • Upload a HTML file to your website’s root directory;
  • Sign in to the provider of your domain name; or
  • Use your Google Analytics/AdSense account.

A good website design or SEO company in Auckland can help you with this process if you are not technically minded.

Google Search Console Features

The new version of Google Search Console was released earlier this year and it now comes with a ton of new and useful features. It is worth mentioning that, at present, some of the features between the old and new Google Search Console are still migrating. As such, you will sometimes need to switch between versions to use all the older features.

The Performance Tab

This is the main part of Google Search Console and is what makes it such a valuable tool. Inside the performance tab, you can see which pages and keywords your website ranks for in Google.

As you begin to check the performance tab more frequently, you will start to see which keywords and pages need attention or should be optimised.

Inside the performance tab, there is a list of queries, pages, countries, and devices. You can sort these sections by metrics such as the number of clicks or impressions, among others.

  • Number of clicks – this metric tells you how often end-users click on a link on a search results page to visit your website. This alone can tell you a lot about the optimisation of your page’s title and meta description. If few people are clicking, you may need to make the page title and meta description more appealing.
  • Impressions – this tells you how often your website appears on search results pages for specific keywords. You can use filters to move between different keywords to see how often your site appears.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) – CTR shows you the percentage of people who see your website on search results pages and then click through to visit. If you have a low click-through rate, you should consider rewriting your page’s meta description to make it more engaging or try other methods to improve your ranking.
  • Average position – this metric tells you the average ranking you achieve for a selected keyword. Although different people get different search results depending on a variety of factors, this is still a useful indicator you can use to further optimise your individual pages and their content.

Index Coverage

This tab tells you how many of your pages appeared in Google’s index since its last update. It also tells you how many pages are not indexed as well as the errors, warnings, or shortfalls that are causing some of your pages not to rank.

You should check the Index Coverage regularly to see warnings and errors as they appear and to take steps to rectify them. Although Google does send notifications when it finds an error (e.g. when a page is set to no-index), it is always best to catch these problems straight away, so you can swiftly resolve them.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

It is important you optimise your website for mobile use both to deliver a better user experience and for SEO purposes. The AMP section in Google Search Console can help you check whether pages are mobile-friendly and, if not, what errors there are.

You will find all errors displayed in an easy-to-read chart which you can then use to locate and resolve the errors. When you click on one of the errors, you’ll get a comprehensive message that provides all the details required to diagnose and fix it.

Missing Features in Google Search Console

Google has not integrated all features into the new Google Search Console yet, either because it is still migrating the feature or because Google has found a better way to present the data.

At the time of writing, the migration is ongoing. You can, however, access missing features by using the older but still available version of Google Search Console.

The features that are currently missing from the newer version include:

  • Search appearance
  • Google Index
  • Search traffic
  • Crawl-related data
  • Security issues

Although this is a minor inconvenience, you can still access these features by switching between versions. Google Search Console’s newer version brings with it a whole new infrastructure and the potential for improved features, and we think this is a fair compromise. Over time, these features will either be migrated as they were or replaced with something new – only time will tell.

5 Reasons Your Google AdWords Campaigns Are Not Delivering a Return on Investment

Are your AdWords campaigns failing to get clicks? Do your campaigns get clicks but those clicks don’t result in any sales? Are you paying too much for clicks or do you have to set your bid too high to ensure you appear in one of the top positions? Are you not getting a good enough return on investment from your AdWords spend?

We understand the frustration of each of these scenarios. After all, the pay-per-click model of AdWords appears so promising on the surface, i.e. you only pay when your ad successfully achieves a click. Of course, the reality is not as simple as that.

Here are five reasons why your Google AdWords campaigns are not delivering a good enough return on investment to make them worthwhile.

1. Your Keyword Strategy is Wrong

Getting the keyword strategy right in your AdWords campaign is crucial. This means selecting keywords that have buying intent. You must also analyse the competition to decide whether it is worthwhile targeting a specific keyword. For example, the competition might be too high making it difficult to get a return.

In addition, you must also include negative keywords. Negative keywords ensure Google sends the right traffic to your website by not showing your ad on search results pages that are not relevant.

2. Your Ad Text Is Not Compelling

Writing the text of a Google AdWords ad is a crucial part of setting up your campaign. There are a lot of things you need to think about, however. Firstly, you must ensure you follow Google’s AdWords’ policies. There are also character restrictions you must follow.

Google Adwords

In addition, your ad text must achieve three crucial objectives:

  • It must demonstrate to the user that you potentially have the answer to their query
  • It must win the user’s trust
  • It must have a compelling enough message to make the user click on your ad instead of one of the other options on the page

If your ad text doesn’t do all three of these things, you won’t get the results you should.

3. You Don’t Have an Effective Landing Page

Of course, getting a click on your ad is only part of the process of making an AdWords campaign successful. You also must convert that click into a sale. That is the job of your landing page.

The first mistake people often make is using the homepage of their website as the landing page. In fact, in most situations, existing website pages do not typically make effective landing pages.

The best approach is to design a specific landing page for the AdWords campaign, focusing on the user, answering all their questions, and giving them a reason to purchase right away.

4. You Don’t Analyse, Test, and Optimise

Even the most experienced AdWords professionals will analyse the performance of the campaigns they run, making adjustments to improve results. It is also important to run tests, including split tests, to optimise every aspect of the campaign. If you are not doing this, your return on investment will not be as good as it could be.

5. You Don’t Use an AdWords Expert

In theory, anyone can set up a Google AdWords account and launch an advertising campaign. This is because Google makes the process of doing so as easy to follow as possible.

However, optimising a campaign, making it profitable, and maximising return on investment requires specialist expertise. You can get this if you spend time gaining the experience and achieving certified Google Partner status. If you can’t do this, however, you should consider getting AdWords experts to run your campaigns.

Even when you factor their costs in, you will get a better return on investment than running a campaign that is not optimised.

Increase Your Traffic by Getting Your Website Added to Google News

Google News generates billions of clicks to publisher websites every month. Just think: what if you could get just a few thousand of those clicks to your website?

It would be great, wouldn’t it, but what if you are not a publisher or a news organisation? The truth is this in itself does not exclude you from inclusion in Google News. Whatever type of website you have, you can get into this high-potential Google platform if you follow the right steps and think the right way.

It takes daily effort, but if you believe Google News traffic is potentially beneficial to your business, you can do it. Here’s how.

You Must Publish News

There are several things you should consider when planning how to get your website included in Google News. In fact, Google itself publishes a long article on how to maximise your chances. At the top of the list, however, is you must publish news.

What does that mean, though? Here are some general guidelines:

Cover recent events – news organisations publish stories covering recent events. Generally, this excludes opinion articles, advice articles (like this one), or information articles (like reporting on the weather). In addition, while evergreen content is great for general SEO, it won’t work on Google News.

Publish original stories – copying content published by others will not work on Google News. This doesn’t mean you can’t write a story about a topic covered elsewhere. Instead, you must find your own angle, add new information, or move the story along in some way.

Write objectively – good news reporting is balanced so you should keep your articles as objective as possible.

Write the story well – this includes straightforward standards like getting the spelling and grammar correct. You should also structure your article like a news article. This means giving the main details of the story in the first paragraph and generally structuring the article throughout by giving the most important information first. As you might expect, there are lots of other standards you should learn to help you write good news articles including using an active voice and writing in the present tense. A good starting point to learn these standards is the Associated Press style guide.

Publish regularly – news organisations publish stories regularly so you should too. This means aiming for at least two per day.

Other Factors to Consider

If you feel you can meet the above requirements, here are some other things you should consider before applying for inclusion in Google News. They will increase your chances of approval and also help to maximise your traffic once your links start appearing.

Be honest and transparent with your readers – firstly, don’t mislead your readers about who is behind your website. You should also publish online and offline contact details, i.e. email addresses as well as a physical address and phone number.

Build credibility as an author – publish on websites other than your own to build up your author profile.

Follow the technical guidelines – this includes making sure the URLs of your stories are unique and permanent. Your articles must also be in HTML, i.e. Google News doesn’t index PDF documents or JavaScript content.

Write good headlines – include keywords and make sure the headline is informative to readers.

Make your website mobile responsive – this will help improve the visibility of your stories in Google News searches on mobile devices.

Once you have all the above in place, and you have checked your content does not breach any of Google’s general guidelines, you can apply to have your website included in Google News.

Are You Paying Too Much For Google AdWords?

Google Advertising

Every business pays a different cost per click on Google AdWords. You are probably paying much higher than everyone else and still not getting results

We will guide you step-by-step to show you how to reduce Google AdWords’ costs and increase the response rate.

Minimising AdWords costs requires a series of creative, trading, and technical skills.

Creative Skills
You need to be creative to write a compelling and innovative ad that searchers will love to click.

Trading Skills
Trading skills and managing bids are necessary to minimise your cost per click.

Technical Skills
Technical skills are required to effectively organise keywords, bids, ad groups, ad copy, and landing pages.

In offline advertising, specialists complete these tasks. For example, with print and TV adverts, a creative company will design your ad, a trader will find an ad placement and set the timings, and techies will look after production. However, in AdWords, you must do it all.

Most AdWords users develop one of the required skills. Consequently, they use their one strength but neglect the remaining weakness. As a result, they fail to use all the tools available to create high click-through rates and lower costs.

We look at some creative, trading, and technical tips below.

Before we do that, there are two key metrics you should be aware of to measure ad development. They are click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score.

Clickthrough rate (CTR)
CTR is a way of measuring the success of an ad campaign by calculating the number of clicks on a specific link.

Quality Score (QS)
Quality Score is based on the relevance of your ad to the search terms you are bidding on and to the relevance of your landing page.

AdWords ads that get high click through rates and have a high Quality Score have a lower cost per click (CPC) and they rank higher on search results pages. Let’s have a look at how you can run a Google AdWords campaign effectively by developing your creative, trading, and techie skills.

Creative Skills
The most important skill you need is the ability to write attractive ad content that matches the keywords you are bidding on.

Trading Skills
This is the skill through which you can maximise your bid success. It involves gaining control of your bids and lowering costs.

There are three types of match keywords you can use to control which searches trigger your ads to appear.

  • Broad match keywords have no punctuation – Keyword
  • Phrase match keywords use quotation marks – “Keyword”
  • Exact match keywords use enclosed square brackets – [keyword]

If your broad match is positive, your ads will be displayed on the maximum number of searches. When using board match, AdWords matches your ads with any search containing your keyword.

Techie Skills
The first thing you must do is organise the groups of keywords you are bidding on. You should also make sure your ads and landing pages match your keywords.

What is an Ad Group?
An ad group is a group of keywords you are bidding on which matches the content of your ad and the landing page.

The last thing you need to remember is to focus on the very specific subject otherwise your ad will not be fruitful.

Summary

To run an efficient AdWords campaign, you need to learn creative, trading, and techie skills. If you can’t manage this, you should hire an expert.