Technical SEO

4 SEO Opportunities in Google Search Console

Search engine optimization is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. As your site grows and Google’s algorithm evolves, inevitable SEO issues will likely occur.

Luckily, Google’s Search Console will identify many of those, representing opportunities to improve your organic rankings.

Duplicate Pages

Duplicate pages split link authority, meaning both pages have lesser chances of ranking. Duplicate content is common for most sites for legitimate reasons. But you can negate the problem by:

  • Using redirects or canonical tags to point Google to the URL you want to rank,
  • Linking internally only to the canonical URL,
  • Including only the canonical version in the sitemap.

Search Console identifies (in its “Pages” section) duplicate pages that have internal inbound links, noting “Duplicate without user-selected canonical” or “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user.”

Screenshot of a Google Search Console report: Why pages aren't indexing.

Search Console’s Pages section lists duplicates. Click image to enlarge.

Clicking any of the items in the report will take you to a list of URLs linked internally (or in the sitemap) but not indexed by Google. Use the “Inspect URL” link to the right to discover which page Google is indexing instead and which page links to the duplicate.

Once you fix the errors, update and resubmit the sitemap to force Google to recognize the changes faster.

Keyword Opportunities

Keyword research tools help uncover target search queries for, say, your product and category landing pages. But your competitors have access to the same tools.

What competitors don’t have is your Search Console data, which often includes queries you were unaware of — a competitive advantage.

However, these queries may not be generating traffic if you have not optimized for them. A minor on-page tweak will sometimes make a difference. For example, you may include a section on a page addressing the topic of the query or answering a related question. Alternatively, the queries could inspire a whole new page.

To find underperforming searches, go to the “Performance” section and filter (using the funnel at the right) for queries ranking on the first page of search results, where the “Position” is smaller than 11.

Screenshot from the Performance section of Google Search Console, create a filter.

Find underperforming search queries in the “Performance” section and filter by “Position.”

Then sort by “Position” to see keywords with the lowest average ranking in the top 10 results. Look for queries with a decent impressions count, which indicates good search volume.

Screenshot of a keyword Performance report in Google Search Console, lowest ranking.

View the lowest ranking keywords within the first 10 results and analyze the number of impressions to assess search volume. Click image to enlarge.

Note an average position between 7 and 10 with a good amount of clicks indicates users are not satisfied with the top six results, representing a huge opportunity.

Experiment with this report to see top-10 rankings page-by-page or with a common modifier. To do that, use the filters on top of the graph.

Screenshot of a Performance on Search Results report from Google Search Console.

Access the Performance report to see top-10 rankings page-by-page or with a common modifier. Click image to enlarge.

Poor Click-through

You’ve worked hard to achieve first-page positions in Google. But that effort is wasted if searchers don’t click your listings.

In the “Performance” > “Search results” report, set the right-side filter “Position” to “Smaller than 5” to see the queries where your page ranks in the top five. Then create another filter to see all queries with “Impressions” of more than 100.

Next, sort the report by click-through rate to see the queries with the lowest rate on top.

You can now search for these queries to investigate why users do not click the listing. For example, the listing may look outdated, or your competitors’ listings are enriched with additional details.

Don’t forget to review both mobile and desktop search results, as they are often different.

Screenshot of a Google Search Console report detailing your pages that rank on Google's first page..

Sort the report by click-through rate to see the queries with the lowest rate on top. Click image to enlarge.

Rich Snippets Fails

The “Enhancementssection of Search Console lists all qualifying rich snippets. There’s no guarantee that a snippet will always appear “enhanced” (i.e., rich) if it’s listed in this report, but the chances are pretty good.

You will see Enhancements only if you have structured data (e.g., on your pages.

This section shows if your structured data code is missing anything and how your snippets could be improved.

Check the Enhancements reports quarterly to ensure you are not losing traffic over small things with quick fixes. Google will not list these as errors and thus will not notify you of these opportunities via email.

Screenshot of a Google Search Console Enhancements report showing rich schema pages that could be improved.

View the Enhancements report to discover structured data needing improvements. Click image to enlarge.

Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty
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