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15 Tips for Using Google Search Console to Effectively to Grow Your Website Traffic


Google Search Console is a powerful free tool created by Google to help website owners understand how Google sees their website. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t know how to effectively use the full power of Google Search Console to increase their website traffic. In this article, we will show you how to properly use Google Search Console to improve your website SEO and get more visitors.

Google Search Console guide to grow your WordPress website

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor and maintain their site’s presence in Google search results.

It provides essential marketing data that you need to start tracking from day one. It also alerts you about errors, security issues, and indexing problems that may affect your website’s search rankings.

You can use all this information in your WordPress SEO strategy to increase your website traffic.

The sad part is that most businesses don’t utilize the full power of Google Search Console because majority of them think that just adding their website to Google Search Console is enough.

There’s so much more that you can be doing.

If you’re not leveraging all of the powerful features that Google Search Console offers, then you’re missing out.

Luckily, we’re here to help. We have created this ultimate Google Search Console guide to help you grow your website like a Pro.

Note: Since this is a comprehensive guide, we have added a table of contents for easier navigation.

Setting up Google Search Console

Fixing Crawling Issues

Growing Your Website

Useful Google Search Console Tools

Step 1. Adding Your Website to Google Search Console

If you haven’t already done so, then you need to go ahead and add your website to Google Search Console. It is really simple and will only take a few minutes.

Simply go to Google Search Console website and click on the Start Now button.

Google Search Console getting started

You’ll be asked to sign in using a Google / Gmail account. Once logged in, you will need to enter your website URL.

Adding your site to Google Search Console

Now, remember that Google considers an HTTP and HTTPS as two different protocols. It also considers https://www.example.com and https://example.com as two different websites.

You need to make sure that you enter the correct URL of your website.

If you are unsure, then login to your WordPress admin area and go to Settings » General page. There you will see your website’s URL in the site address field.

Site address

After entering your website address, click on the ‘Add Property’ button to continue.

Next, you will be asked to verify ownership of your website. There are several ways to do that, but we will show the HTML tag method because it is the easiest one.

Verify your site using the HTML tag

Click on the HTML tag to expand it and then copy the code inside it.

Next, you need to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin on your WordPress website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page and paste the code you copied earlier inside the ‘Scripts in Header’ box.

Add HTML tag

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store your changes.

You can now go back to Google Search Console settings and click on the ‘Verify’ button.

Verify your ownership of the website

Google Search Console will now look for the HTML tag in your website code and will show you a success message.

Success message

That’s all. You have successfully added your site to Google Search Console. You can now click on the ‘Go to Property’ link to visit your Google Search Console dashboard.

Note: if Google Search Console cannot verify your website after you have added the code in Insert Headers and Footer plugin, then you need to make sure to clear your WordPress cache and try again.

Step 2. Setting up the Preferred Domain Name

Google considers URLs with www and without www as two different pages.

Now let’s suppose you use the https://www.example.com as your URL and someone links to your site as https://example.com, then Google will consider the link going to a different URL (not yours).

Since you cannot control how people link to your website, this could affect your site’s performance in search results.

The easiest way to fix this is by using the preferred domain setting in Google Search Console.

For that, you will need to switch to the older version of the Search Console. Simply click on ‘Go to the old version’ from the left column.

Switch to the old Google Search Console

Search Console will now load the older version.

To set preferred domain, you need to click on the gear icon and then select ‘Site settings’.

Google Search Console site settings

On the next screen, you’ll see three options for the preferred domain. The first option is to not set a preferred domain name which we don’t recommend. Below that, you’ll see your domain with www and without the www prefix.

You need to choose one that you used when submitting your site to Google Search Console. Remember this should be the same as the one you see in your WordPress settings page.

Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your settings.

Google will now use your preferred domain when following your site’s links and when showing it in the search results.

Step 3. Set Your Target Country

If your website is targeting audiences in a specific country, then you can explicitly tell Google to target users in that particular country.

Go to the old version of Google Search Console, and under the ‘Search Traffic’ menu click on ‘International Targeting’.

Target country

Switch to the ‘Country’ tab and then select the country you want to target.

Now, choosing a country doesn’t mean that your website will not appear in search results for other countries. If a page is relevant to audiences in other countries, then Google will still show it in the search results.

However, setting the target country helps Google understand your target audience and can potentially give you a slight SEO bump in local search results.

Step 4. Adding an XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a way for website owners to tell search engines about all the pages that exist on their website. It also tells search engines which links on your website are more important than others.

Adding an XML sitemap to your website helps search engines better crawl your website. While it doesn’t give you a boost in search rankings, it can definitely help search engines index your content more efficiently.

All you need to do is install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will automatically generate an XML sitemap for your website, and you can find it at the URL that looks like this:

http://example.com/sitemap_index.xml

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name. You can now submit this URL in Google Search Console.

Under the Google Search Console dashboard, click on the ‘Sitemaps’ from the left column and then paste the last part of the URL.

Add your sitemap URL

Click on the submit button to save your changes.

Google Search Console will now check your sitemap and use it to improve your website’s crawling.

Step 5. Connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics

Connecting Google Search Console to your Google Analytics account helps you analyze search console data in Google Analytics. This provides you with a new perspective on your top performing content and keywords.

If you haven’t already done so, then you will need to install Google Analytics on your WordPress website.

We recommend using MonsterInsights for that. It is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, and it will automatically show your top keywords from Google Search Console in your WordPress admin area.

Google Search Console top keywords report

Now in order to connect Google Search Console to your Analytics account, you need to head over to Google Analytics dashboard for your website. From the bottom left corner of the screen, click on the Admin button.

Switch to Google Analytics Admin view

Google Analytics will now switch to the admin view. From here you need to click on the ‘Property Settings’ section and then click on ‘Adjust Search Console’ button.

Adjust search console button

On the next screen, you need to click on the Add button to select your website.

Add property

Analytics will now take you to Google Search console website showing you the list of all website you have added to the search console. Select the website you want to link to this Google Analytics property and then click on the save button.

Select your website

That’s all, you have successfully connected your Google Search Console data to your Analytics account.

You can now view the newly unclocked Search Console reports in your Google Analytics account under Acquisition reports.

Search console data in Google Analytics reports

The first report you will find there is the ‘landing pages’ report.

For each landing page, you’ll see the impressions (number of times a page appeared in search results), clicks, click through rate (CTR), and average position in the search results. Combined with that page’s analytics parameters like bounce rate, sessions, and pages per session.

Clicking a landing page will show you the actual keywords that brought users to this landing page.

Keywords for each landing page

Switch to the ‘Countries’ report and you will see countries listed in the same order.

Countries report for Search Console

The devices report will show you how your site performed in desktop, mobile, and tablet search results.

Devices report

Queries, are the most important of all reports among this data. It shows you the keyword data missing from your Google Analytics reports.

Queries and keywords data

Step 6. Finding and Fixing Search Indexing Issues

The most useful feature of Google Search Console is that you can troubleshoot indexing errors.

These errors can affect your search rankings by stopping the search engine from crawling and indexing the pages on your website.

You can easily locate these errors under the Coverage » Index report.

Index coverage report shows you which pages from your website are indexed by Google and which pages resulted in an error or a warning.

Index coverage report in Google Search Console

Scroll down and you will see the detailed list of all the errors. Clicking on a link will open the detailed view where you will also find the link to learn more about the error and how to fix it.

Viewing error details

Following are a few common indexing errors you may see:

  • 404 error – This error means that the crawler followed a URL and saw a 404 error.
  • Soft 404 error – This error occurs when the crawler sees a 404 error page but the page’s status code is sending a 200 (success) message to the browser.
  • Server error – This means that your website server timed out or didn’t respond. This could happen if your website was under heavy traffic, was under maintenance, or unavailable for any other reason.
  • Not followed – This error occurs when Google is not able to follow a content type. This could be a flash, javascript, iframe, or other resources that the crawler is unable to fetch.

Now let’s take a look at how to fix some of these crawl errors.

Fixing 404 Errors in Google Search Console

First, you need to keep in mind that not all 404 errors are equal. You can safely ignore some of them and only fix those that are actually an error.

For example, if you deleted a blog post and don’t want to redirect users to a newer post, then it is ok to let Google see a 404 error page. Google will eventually deindex that page if it keeps seeing the 404 error.

However, the reason Google wants you to look at those 404 errors is that you may not be aware of them. For example, you accidentally deleted something or forgot to redirect users to the new updated version of it.

Simply click on the error in the Index Coverage report, and it will show you all the pages showing that error. Carefully review the pages and if you see a page that shouldn’t be there, then copy its URL and open it in a new browser window.

If you see a 404 error page in your browser, then this means that you need to fix this page.

Now if it is a page that no longer exists, but you have a newer or similar version of it, then you would want to redirect users to that page. See our guide on how to set up redirects in WordPress.

However, sometimes 404 errors may occur due to a misconfiguration in WordPress permalink structure. To fix this, simply visit Settings » Permalinks and then click on the save changes button without changing anything.

Update permalink structure

Fixing Soft 404 Errors in Google Search Console

Soft 404 errors are a bit tricky to troubleshoot.

Basically, these errors occur when Google bot sees what looks like a 404 error document instead of content. However, your server is sending a 200 (success) code. Normally, your server sends 200 success code when a page is displayed without an error or redirect.

Soft 404 errors in Google Search Console

Click on the Soft 404 errors in the index coverage report to view the list of pages affected by the error.

Now you need to open the page in a new browser tab to see what’s happening. If the page displays correctly, then you can safely ignore the error.

On the other hand, if the page is showing a 404 error document, then you may want to investigate further.

Start by switching to the old Google Search Console and then go to Crawl » Fetch as Google page. Enter the URL you want to investigate and then click the fetch button.

Fetch as Google

Search Console will now fetch the URL as Google Bot, and you will see it listed below. Clicking on the URL will open it with the source code view where you will see the HTTP status code at the top.

Status code

Now if you want this page to show a 404 error, then it is not doing that correctly. On the other hand if this page is supposed to show something else, then you need to figure out why it is showing the 404 error document.

If the soft 404 errors you are seeing are caused by WordPress search function, then the easiest solution is to stop Google bot from crawling search URLs.

To do that you need to add the following lines to your robots.txt file.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /?s=
Disallow: /search/

Normally, Google Bot doesn’t crawl search URLs. However, some spammers are trying to spam Google search console reports by linking to search URLs with random strings. This way they hope you will see their link in your Search Console report and click on it.

If the affected URLs are not search queries, then you may want to redirect them to a proper page on your site.

Fixing Server Error in Google Search Console

Server Errors in Google Search Console are caused by a number of reasons. Most common of them is when your server times out during a crawl, throws an unexpected error or does not appear to be online.

Use the Fetch as Google Bot tool to make sure that the affected URL is working.

If it is working, then you can ignore the error. If you are on a reliable WordPress hosting provider, then most server errors would disappear automatically.

However, if you can confirm the error by visiting the URL, then there are a number of things you can do to fix it. See our list of most common WordPress errors guide to find a fix for the specific error message you are seeing.

Step 7. Finding and Fixing Security Issues

Security issues

Security issues not only stop Google from crawling your website, they could also cause a sudden drop in search traffic. Google may temporarily remove affected pages, show a warning to users, and/or drop a page’s ranking.

Security issues will be highlighted on the overview screen as you as login to your Google Search console account. The most common security issue is websites affected by malware and trojans. To fix this, see our guide on how to clean a hacked WordPress website for step by step instructions.

For more details, see our article on how How to fix a website after getting de-indexed by Google.

Step 8. Finding Manual Actions and Requesting Review

While security issues are automatically triggered, manual actions are the penalties that are imposed by human staff from the Google Search team after a careful review. If a manual action is taken against your website, then this is pretty significant and can immediately take away all your search traffic.

These manual actions usually occur when a website is involved in illegal activities, spamming, and other fraudulent or fishy activities.

Manual actions

Clicking on Manual Actions link will show you the actions in your search console report. You will also find detailed information about the issue that triggered it and how to clean it up.

Once you have removed the objectionable content, you can click on the request review button. Your website will be now reviewed and reconsidered by the Google Search team, and they can decide on removing the penalty.

Step 9. Using Google Search Console To Grow Traffic

Now that we have covered the technical bits, let’s get to the fun part of growing your website traffic by utilizing the data available in Search Console.

In this section, we will look into keyword data, find out your top performing keywords, and discover hundreds of potential keywords where you can easily rank and get more traffic.

We will also look at links and how to use them to improve search rankings.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Mining Keyword Data in Google Search Console

Keywords are the search terms users type in search engines to find information.

Marketers and website owners can optimize their content to target desired keywords and improve their chances of appearing on top in search results.

Previously, keyword data was available in website stats and analytics reports. Google encrypted that information in 2013 when they switched to HTTPS.

While that data is gone from Analytics, it is still available in your Google Search Console reports.

It gives you a full view of the keywords your website is ranking for, average position, and impressions (number of times your site appears for that keyword).

You can see this information in your Google Search Console reports under the ‘Performance’ tab.

Search Console Performance

On the top, you will see a graph of your website’s performance in search results. Below that, you will see the keywords data, which you can filter by position, impression, and click-through-rate.

Viewing your top keywords in Google Search Console

You can sort this data by clicking on any column or use the filter option to narrow down the results.

Filter keyword data by position

You can also switch to the Pages tab to see the performance of your pages in search results.

Pages in search performance

Clicking on any page in the list will filter the results for that page. You can then switch to the Queries tab to see the keywords bringing the traffic to that particular page.

Ok so now that we have covered how to browse and view this data. Let’s see how to actually use this in your SEO and content planning.

Finding Low-hanging Keywords Where You Can Easily Rank

A lot of your pages may be ranking on page 2 or 3 of the search results for many keywords. These are the keywords that you can easily work on to rank higher and get more traffic.

Let’s find out those keywords.

In your Performance report, click on the filter icon and then select Position. You’ll be looking for keywords where the average position is higher than 7.

Filter by position

Click on ‘Done’ to apply the filter.

Search Console will now only show the keywords where your site appears on an average position of 7 or higher. Now, click twice on the position column to sort the list in ascending order.

Sort by position

As you scroll down, you will find tons of keywords that rank between 7 and 30. All these keywords are low hanging fruits where you can easily rank higher.

To view more results, scroll to the bottom and select a higher number for ‘Rows per page’.

Rows per page

While choosing the keywords to work on, you would want to choose keywords based on their number of impressions. Higher impressions mean more search traffic for those keywords.

To do that, you can export the data in CSV format and then open it in a spreadsheet software.

Download keyword data

Using The Keyword Data in WordPress for Higher Rankings

Now that you have mined the low hanging keywords with higher impressions, the question is how do you improve your rankings for those keywords?

Here are some tips to help you improve your rankings for those keywords.

1. Improve the content by adding more useful information

The #1 reason that your page isn’t ranking for a keyword is that Google finds other content more useful. To counter that, you need to review your article or blog post and add as much useful content as possible.

Look at the articles ranking on top five positions for that keyword and cover all the information that your article is missing in more detail.

We are not saying that you should just add more text to it. You need to make it more useful, informative, and comprehensive.

2. Evaluate on-page SEO

Use Yoast SEO’s analysis tools to improve on-page SEO score for that article. It gives practical tips on improving a page by analyzing the content, keyword density, readability, links, and more.

Yoast SEO analysis

3. Increase time users spend on that page

Google considers it a success when users click on a search result and spend time viewing it. This means your content needs to be highly engaging and instantly provide users the information they were looking for.

Here are some crazy simple things you can do to increase user engagement.

  • Use images – users find images much easier to look at than text. Adding more images makes it easier for users to scan the information and keeps them engaged.
  • Use videos – Videos are the most engaging form of content available. Adding video to a page significantly increases the time users spend viewing that page.
  • Make text more readable – Use smaller paragraphs, lots of white space, simpler sentences, and keep your style casual and conversational. All these things make reading easier for users.

For more tips, see this article on how to increase time users spend on your site.

Step 10. Using Link Reports in Google Search Console

Links play an important role in SEO. Search engines use them as a metric to determine how important a page is and where it should rank in search results.

The Links report in Google Search helps you see your website’s performance in terms of links.

It shows you external links, internal links, top linking sites, and top linking text. More importantly, it shows top linking sites, how often they link to your site, and how many pages they link to.

Links reports in Google Search Console

Click on more to expand any of the link reports. You can click on any item to expand and get more detailed results for that particular item.

Let’s see how you can use these reports to get more backlinks, improve internal links, and boost your rankings.

Search console shows third-party websites that have linked to your site in the ‘Top linking sites’ report. Expand the report by clicking on the more link.

Top linking sites

Next, click on a domain name to expand the report, and you will see all the pages they have linked to. Now click on each page, and you will get the exact URL where they have linked to that particular page.

External links pointing to one of your articles

Here is how you can get more backlinks out of this. Simply visit the website and see how they have linked to you. After that see what other content they have where your site can be linked from.

Next, simply reach out to the website / author via email or contact form on their website. First, thank them for linking to your article and then politely mention that they may want to include a link to this other article of yours.

Now, this direct approach may not always work. In that case, you need to be creative. You can offer them to write a guest post for their blog, leave comments on their articles, follow them on social media, or retweet their articles.

Repeat the process for all important external links on your website. With consistent effort, you can get proper backlinks without spending any money.

Improving Internal Links to Boost Rankings

It is harder to get third-party websites to link to your content. However, it is way easier to link to your own content from your own site. This practice is called internal linking.

Internal linking helps search engines understand the context and relationships among different pages on your website. It also helps them understand which pages are important based on how often you have linked to them.

This is why you should make internal linking a habit when writing new content on your website or blog.

Now let’s see how to use the links reports in Search Console to help you build internal links.

In Google Search Console, click on the Links report and then click on ‘More’ link under ‘Internal Links’ column.

Viewing links report

This report shows how often you have linked to other pages on your site. Click on the Filter icon and then select ‘Target page’ option.

Filter links by target page

Enter the URL of a page you are trying to improve and then click on Done button.

Search Console will now show you how many pages are linking to this page. You can click to expand the report to see all the links.

Internal links pointing to a specific post

As you can see, this article is just linked 5 times and that too probably from the sidebar or archive pages.

You can now go ahead and change this by adding internal links to this article from your other top content. Make sure you are only linking to the article when it makes sense. Adding links where they don’t make sense would create a bad user experience.

Step 11. Using the Structured Data Tool

Structured Data also known as Schema.org mark up is a set of microdata that you can add to your HTML to help search engines better understand your content. Google uses this data to display rich snippets in search results.

Rich snippets shown in Google Search results

Rich snippets make your page more noticeable in the search results. Currently, Google displays rich snippets data for recipes, reviews, and products.

Many WordPress themes automatically include some basic structured data. If you publish recipes, run a reviews site, or an online store, then rich snippets can give your site an SEO boost.

Google provides a rich snippets testing tool, but the structured data testing tool inside Google search console is actually much easier to use.

Simply switch to the older version of Google Search Console and go to Search Appearance » Structured Data page. It will show you the structured data items found on all your pages and errors that need to be fixed.

Structured data

The real useful part is that this tool allows you to quickly locate the errors and fix them. Scroll down to the details section and you will see a list of data types and the number of errors Google found.

Schema markup errors

Clicking on the error will show you all the pages where Google found the error.

Missing markup

For example, the first row in the screenshot above is showing that one item on that page is missing the author and updated markup.

Clicking on that row will bring up a popup with more details. You will see the markup Google found on that page for that particular entry. As you can see it is missing author and last updated information.

These are the most common microdata missing in WordPress. Usually, it appears in archive pages where website owners want to skip the details. To fix this, we edited our theme’s functions.php file and added the following code.

	function wpb_entry_meta() {
		$time_string = '<time class="entry-date published updated" datetime="%1$s">%2$s</time>';
		if ( get_the_time( 'U' ) !== get_the_modified_time( 'U' ) ) {
			$time_string = '<time class="entry-date published" datetime="%1$s">%2$s</time><time class="updated" datetime="%3$s">%4$s</time>';
		}

		$time_string = sprintf( $time_string,
			esc_attr( get_the_date( 'c' ) ),
			esc_html( get_the_date() ),
			esc_attr( get_the_modified_date( 'c' ) ),
			esc_html( get_the_modified_date() )
		);

		$posted_on = sprintf(
			/* translators: %s: post date. */
			esc_html_x( 'Posted on %s', 'post date', 'design' ),
			'' . $time_string . ''
		);

		$byline = sprintf(
			/* translators: %s: post author. */
			esc_html_x( 'by %s', 'post author', 'design' ),
			'<span class="author vcard">' . esc_html( get_the_author() ) . '</span>'
		);

		echo '<span class="posted-on">' . $posted_on . '</span><span class="byline"> ' . $byline . '</span>'; // WPCS: XSS OK.

	}
endif;

After that, we edited our theme’s other template files that were missing the author and date information for entries. In those template files, we added the following code where we wanted to display the author and date.

<?php wpb_entry_meta(); ?> 

Now to test if this worked, click on the ‘Test live data’ button and you will see the error disappear.

Test live data

Repeat the process to fix all structured data links on your website.

Step 12. Using Search Console to Improve Mobile Usability

Nearly 63% of all searches come from mobile devices. That’s why Google gives an SEO bump to mobile-friendly websites in the search results.

Google has a Mobile Friendly test tool which allows you to quickly examine a page. The Mobile Usability report in Search Console tells you how Google sees your entire website in terms of mobile performance.

Mobile usability

If you are seeing errors on this page, then this means that these issues may affect your site’s rankings in mobile search.

You can click on the error and it will show you the affected pages.

Most mobile usability issues are caused by poorly coded WordPress themes or plugins. The easiest way to fix those issues is by using a better responsive WordPress theme.

Step 13. Master the ‘Fetch as Google’ Tool

Fetch as Google Tool allows you to quickly fetch any page from your website and see it as Google bot does. This means that you can actually tell Google bot to go fetch a copy of that page and show the HTML code it sees on that page.

Fetch as Google Tool is located under ‘Crawl » Fetch as Google’ menu in old version of the Search Console. This is more convenient and gives you quick access to the tool.

Fetch as Google

In the newer version, you will have to go to Index » Coverage and then click on a URL to see the option to fetch it as Google.

Fetch as Google in new Search Console dashboard

Once you fetch a URL, you will see it appear with either a success or an error message. If a page is downloaded successfully, then you can click to open its details.

So what should you be looking for? The most important part of this view is the response code. If it is 200 OK, then this means that Google bot was able to successfully download the page.

Response code

Next, you would want to check the download time at the bottom. If it is higher than 1.5 seconds, then this means your website is slow and Google bot may have difficulty crawling your website during peak traffic. See our guide on how to fix WordPress performance and speed issues.

Lastly, you would want to examine the rest of the code and compare it with the source code you see when you visit your website. You would be looking for differences or anything suspicious / broken.

Get any page of your website instantly indexed by Google

The most powerful feature of this tool is that you can use it to get a page quickly indexed by Google. This comes particularly handy when you are running a time-sensitive campaign on your website and want to get the search traffic as soon as possible.

Simply enter a URL and click fetch button. Once Google bot has downloaded the page, click on the ‘Request Indexing’ button.

Request indexing

Step 14. Removing URLs from Google Search

So far we have focused on using Search Console to get indexed and improve rankings in Google Search. However, sometimes you may want to remove content from Google Search as well.

Now one way to do this is to add noindex meta tag to the page you want to remove from search results. However, depending on how often Google crawls your website, this could take some time before your page actually disappears from search results.

Search Console’s Remove URL tool allows you to request a URL to be removed from the search results. Switch to the older version of Search Console, and you will find it under Google Index » Remove URLs menu.

Remove URL tool

Now click on the ‘Temporary hide’ button and then enter the URL you want to remove.

Note: The Remove URL tool will only hide a page from search results for 90 days. To make it permanent you need to delete the content from your website, so that it gives a 404 error.

Step 15. Adding Users to Access Google Search Console

If you have a marketing team or you have hired someone to help you with SEO, then those users may need access to Google search console data.

Search Console allows you to easily add users and give them access to view all reports without sharing your Google account credentials with them.

To add a new user, simply click on the Settings » Users and permissions menu and then click on ‘Add User’ button.

Add new user to Google Search Console

Next, you need to provide the user’s valid Google account email address and select a role for them.

Search console access to new user

There are two types of permission levels. The full permission level will give them access to everything including the ability to add new users. Restricted permissions will allow them to view the data but not add new users.

After choosing a permission level, click on the add button to save your changes.

The user you added will now receive an email notification, so they can login and view Google Search Console data for your website.

Helpful Resources

Following helpful resources on WPBeginner will help you further improve your website’s performance in search engines.

  • Ultimate WordPress SEO Guide – Our complete step by step WordPress SEO guide will walk you through complete WordPress SEO setup like a pro.
  • WordPress Performance Guide – Step by step guide to improve your WordPress speed and performance for higher search rankings and better user experience.
  • WordPress Security Guide – Keep your WordPress site secure with this complete WordPress security guide for beginners.
  • Tracking User Engagement – This guide helps you learn how to track user activity on your website and use it to plan your growth strategy.
  • Convert visitors into Customers – If you run an online store, then this guide will show you how to convert search traffic into paying customers.

We hope this article gave you some good tips on using Google Search Console more effectively to grow your site. You may also want to see our expert tips on how to drive traffic to your WordPress site.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 15 Tips for Using Google Search Console to Effectively to Grow Your Website Traffic appeared first on WPBeginner.





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How to Do A/B Split Testing in WordPress using Google Optimize


Do you want to run A/B split tests on your WordPress site to improve conversions? Split testing helps you understand how small changes in content and design affect user behavior. In this article, we will show you how to easily do A/B split testing in WordPress using Google Optimize.

Split testing in WordPress using Google Analytics

What is A/B Split Testing?

A/B split testing is a technique that allows you to compare two versions of the same web page against each other, so you can determine which one performs better and produces better results.

Marketers use A/B split testing for their landing pages to find out which one gets them more conversions and sales.

Split testing can be used to test any element on the page including call-to-action buttons, color schemes, layout changes, marketing text, images, and more.

How A/B Split Testing Works?

Basically, you show different variations of a page to your audience. After that, you track user engagement and conversions to find out which variation gives you the best results.

How split testing works

Preparing for A/B Split Testing

Before we move forward, there are a few things you would need for this tutorial.

First, you will need MonsterInsights plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. You’ll need at least their Pro plan in order to access Google Optimize addon which we will be using in this tutorial.

If you haven’t already done so, then you need to sign up and install Google Analytics in WordPress.

Lastly, you will need Google Optimize. It is a free tool that allows you to run split testing experiments on your website. We will show you how to set it up in the next step.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Setting up Google Optimize in WordPress

First, you need to visit the Google Optimize website to create your account.

Get started with Google Optimize

Follow the on-screen instructions, and you will reach your account dashboard. Google Optimize will automatically create an Account and a Container for you.

Next, you need to connect your Google Optimize account to the Google Analytics property of your website. To do that, click on ‘Link to Google Analytics’ tab from the right-hand column.

Link Google Analytics property

Clicking on the button will show all Google Analytics properties available under your Google account. You need to select the one associated with your website.

Select and link property

Next, click on the Link button to continue.

Google Optimize will now connect to your Google Analytics property. This will allow Google Optimize to share data with Google Analytics which you can then view in your reports.

Now, it is time to create your first experience. Click on the ‘Create Experience’ button to continue.

Create experience

You will now be asked to provide a name for your experience and enter the URL of the page where this experience will run.

Experience detail

You will also be asked to choose a type for your experience. You need to select A/B test and then click on the ‘Create’ button to continue.

Optimize will now create your experience, and you will be redirected to the experience page. It will automatically show the original page as your first variation.

Create variant

You need to click on the add variation button to create a new version. Optimize will ask you to provide a name for this variation. It is a good practice to use a name that reflects the changes you are going to apply in this variation.

Variant name

Click on the Done button to continue.

Optimize will now list your new variation on the experience page. Click on the ‘0 changes’ link next to your new variation to edit it.

Change variation

Google Optimize will now open the page where you want to run the test with a powerful editor. It is a simple drag and drop tool that you can use to make changes to your page.

Edit variation

You can just point and click on any element in your page to make changes. For the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to change the color of our main call to action button.

After you have made the changes that you want to test, you need to click on the ‘Done’ button to exit the editor.

You will now see your new variation listed with the number of changes you made to it.

Changed variation

You can continue editing or add another variant to your experience.

After that, you need to select an objective for your experience. Just below the variants you will see the option to select experience objective.

Experience objective

Clicking on it will open views from your Google Analytics reports.

If you are already using goals and events, or eCommerce tracking, then you will see them listed there.

After selecting objective, you can enter a hypothesis about what you are testing and what you are expecting from this experiment.

Your experience is almost ready but first, you need to connect Google Optimize with MonsterInsights.

Connecting Google Optimize to MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights helps you easily connect your WordPress site to Google Optimize.

First, you need to visit Insights » Addons page in your WordPress admin area. From here, you need to install and activate the ‘Google Optimize’ addon.

Google Optimize addon for MonsterInsights

Upon activation, you need to visit Insights » Settings page and switch to the tracking tab. From here you need to scroll down and click on the Google Optimize tab.

Google Optimize settings in MonsterInsights

Now you need to provide your Google Optimize container ID. You can find this information under your Google Optimize account by clicking on the ‘Container Setup’ tab in the right column.

Container ID

Copy and paste your container ID in MonsterInsights’ Google Optimize settings page and then click on the ‘Save changes’ button to store your settings.

That’s all you have successfully installed Google Optimize on your website and you are now ready to run your experiments.

Scheduling and Running Your A/B Split Test

Now that everything is in order, you are ready to schedule and run your A/B split test.

Switch to Google Optimize dashboard and open your experience. From here you can just go ahead and click on the ‘Run Experiment’ button to manually launch it.

Run experiment

You can also click on the ‘Create Schedule’ button to set up a schedule for your experiment. Make sure you provide enough time for the experiment to collect visits and data.

Viewing Your A/B Split Testing Reports in Google Optimize

Google Optimize will now show different variations of your page to users and start collecting data. After it has collected enough data, you can view the results under the reporting tab.

Split test reporting

It will show how each variant performed based on the experiment objective (Google Analytics goals, event, or views you selected).

Google Optimize reports

We hope this article helped you learn how to do A/B split testing in WordPress using Google Analytics and Google Optimize. You may also want to see our guide on how to convert WooCommerce visitors into customers.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Do A/B Split Testing in WordPress using Google Optimize appeared first on WPBeginner.





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WooCommerce SEO Made Simple – A Step-by-Step Guide to Ranking #1 in Google


Do you want to improve your WooCommerce SEO, but not sure how to get started? Search engine optimization (SEO) for your eCommerce store is an equivalent of having someone standing on every street corner in the real world, spinning signs with your store’s name and direction. If you have not optimized your WooCommerce store for SEO, then you are missing out on a lot of sales. We have created this ultimate WooCommerce SEO guide to help you improve your WooCommerce SEO and get more customers.

The complete WooCommerce SEO guide

Before we get started, let’s cover the basics.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) and use it to run an online store. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your store and easily build custom extensions.

Before starting an online store, most beginners usually ask one of the two questions: How does WooCommerce compare to Shopify and is WooCommerce SEO friendly?

We have created a detailed comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce that you can use to see which is the better platform for you.

The answer to the second question is below:

Is WooCommerce SEO Friendly?

WooCommerce is very SEO friendly out of the box. It runs on top of WordPress which itself is standard compliant and good for SEO. However, you can definitely use plugins and techniques to further improve WooCommerce product SEO.

When you start an online store with WooCommerce, it is up to you to add things like themes, products, description, images, and other content on your store. You’re responsible for optimizing all additional content that you add.

WooCommerce SEO is an ongoing process, and you will need to keep it up to steadily see growth in your search engine traffic / sales.

Now you might be wondering, what do I need to properly deploy an effective WooCommerce SEO strategy?

Well, that’s where our WooCommerce SEO guide can help. We have broken down every thing for you.

Ready? Let’s get started.

1. Perform The WordPress SEO Setup

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, which means you need to improve your overall WordPress SEO setup before you can move on to WooCommerce specific SEO tweaks.

We have created a complete WordPress SEO guide for beginners. It is extremely detailed, and we highly recommend going through the entire guide first before moving onto the step 2 of this article.

However if you’re in a rush, then the most important thing you need to do is install and setup the Yoast SEO plugin on your site.

Yoast SEO plugin will help you add SEO sitemaps along with setting up proper SEO fields for your products.

Once you have setup Yoast SEO, you can move on to step 2 of our WooCommerce SEO guide.

2. Write Product SEO Titles

Just like you optimize your blog posts for SEO, you also need to optimize your individual WooCommerce products for SEO.

One of the most important part of WooCommerce product SEO is to write SEO-friendly product titles.

These product titles appear in your browser’s title bar and are used by search engines as the title of a search result.

SEO title example

If you followed the previous step, then you would have already installed Yoast SEO plugin. It is the complete WordPress SEO suite that covers your WooCommerce products as well.

You need to start by editing a WooCommerce product and scrolling down to the Yoast SEO box section. Next, you need to click on the post title as shown in the snippet preview, and Yoast SEO will display a field where you can edit the product’s SEO title.

Change product SEO title

Your WooCommerce product SEO title can be slightly different than the product title on your store. You can use keywords that you think your customers will use when searching for the product.

You also need to make it catchy, interesting, and attractive to users. However, it’s important not to use misleading or incorrect titles that would trick users and search engines because that could get your website penalized.

Let’s take a look at an example title below.

Boring title: Men’s Leather Wallet by Brandname
SEO Optimized Title: Bi-Fold Brown Leather Wallet for Men – High-Quality built for Durability

In our SEO optimized title, we’re mentioning long-tail keywords like bi-fold, brown, durability all things that people will search for when searching for “men’s leather wallet”.

When shopping online, people type detailed search queries instead of generic ones. By adding long-tail keywords in your WooCommerce product title, you help search engines find and rank you higher than your competitors.

3. Add Product SEO Descriptions

Just below the title in Yoast SEO, you will also see a box to add your own product meta description.

Add product SEO description

While this description is not displayed on your website, it will be used by search engines to appear below your product title. You need to make sure that you use this description to provide a compelling reason for users to click and view your product. Think of this as your one-line sales pitch.

Don’t forget to use the same keywords that you used in the product’s SEO title. This will boost your chances on ranking for those target keywords.

4. Optimize Product Slug

Slug is a product’s nice-name used by WordPress in your URL also known as permalinks. By default, WooCommerce uses your product’s title as the slug. However, sometimes the default slugs do not include any relevant SEO keywords.

You can change that in your product’s SEO settings. Make sure that you use your main keyword in the slug and don’t make it too long.

Changing product slug

For example, for men’s leather wallet, we’d recommend making the slug be: bi-fold-brown-mens-leather-wallet-by-brandname

5. Enable Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are great for internal linking because it defines a clean path or trail to the page you are on.
Breadcrumbs example

These breadcrumbs also appear in search results giving your site extra advantage in rankings.

Breadcrumbs in search results

You can enable breadcrumbs for your WooCommerce products by adjusting Yoast SEO settings. Simply go to SEO » Search Appearance page and click on the Breadcrumbs tab.

Enable breadcrumbs

Next, you need to make sure that breadcrumbs option is set to ‘Enabled’. Additionally, you can also use product category in your breadcrumbs.

Using category in product breadcrumbs

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

To display breadcrumbs in your WooCommerce theme, you will need to add the following code to your theme or child theme. Simply edit the header.php file for your theme and add this code towards the end.

<?php 
if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) {
  yoast_breadcrumb( '
<p id="breadcrumbs">','</p>
' );
}
?>

To learn more about breadcrumbs, see our article on how to display breadcrumb navigation links in WordPress.

If you’re using one of these best WooCommerce themes, then they will likely come with built-in breadcrumb functionality.

6. Properly Using Product Categories and Tags

Product categories and tags help you organize products throughout your online store. This makes it easy for your customers to find the right product they’re looking for.

Categories and tags also help search engines in the same way. Each product category and tag has its own page in WooCommerce which is crawled and listed by search engines.

Category pages appearing in search results

Since these pages have similar products, this increases their keyword density and making them more likely to rank for those keywords.

Many beginners get confused about the difference between category and tags and end up using them incorrectly. Categories are meant for the broad grouping of your products. If your store was a book, then categories will be the table of contents.

For example, a clothing store can have categories like men’s, women’s, accessories, jewelry, etc. Categories are hierarchical, so you can add child categories to them.

On the other hand, tags are more specific keywords that describe the properties of the product. For example, a t-shirt product can have tags like casual, summer wear, and more.

For more on this topic, see our guide on the difference between categories vs tags.

7. Add Alt Text for Product Images

Many customers switch to image search to quickly find products that they are looking for. To help website owners, Google recently removed the ‘View Image’ button from their image search results. This means that users will have to visit your website to see the image with context.

This trend further helps online stores drive highly-motivated customers to their websites.

Image SEO works a lot like web search. Google uses artificial intelligence, image recognition, and other algorithms to help users find the images they are looking for.

The most important thing you can do to get traffic from Google image search is adding alt tag to all images on your website.

Alt text is an HTML attribute which allows website owners to add some text with their images. The purpose of this text is to be displayed when the browser is unable to fetch an image.

A broken image showing alt text

Search engines use this alternate text as a ranking factor in their image search. Basically, you can add text to describe what this particular image is about.

Adding alt text to product images

You can add alt text to all your product images when uploading them to WooCommerce. You can also edit your old product images in Media library and add alt text to each of them one by one.

To learn more about Alt text, see our article on image alt text vs image title in WordPress.

8. Add SEO Title and Descriptions for Product Categories

Each product category in WooCommerce has its own page. This page contains similar products, which increases the keyword density for your targeted keywords. This makes product category pages more significant for WooCommerce SEO.

You can further optimize product category pages by adding a title and description to them. Yoast SEO allows you to set SEO title and description for each category on your WooCommerce store.

Simply go to Products » Categories page and click on the edit link below a category.

Edit a product category in WooCommerce

On the edit screen, scroll down to Yoast SEO section and click on the category title in the snippet preview. Yoast SEO will now display edit fields to enter your own custom SEO title and description for the product category.

Edit product category title and description

9. Track WooCommerce Customers in Google Analytics

Enabling customer tracking in WooCommerce with Google Analytics

The most important part of an effective SEO strategy is data. You need to learn where your users are coming from, how they found your store, what products they looked at, and what are they doing on your store.

Google Analytics can help you track all this information, but it’s extremely difficult to set it up properly.

That’s why we built MonsterInsights, the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.

The pro version of MonsterInsights comes with built-in eCommerce tracking feature that you can use to enable WooCommerce enhanced eCommerce tracking with a single click.

You can use MonsterInsights combined with Google Analytics to make data-driven decisions about your WooCommerce store and grow your business with confidence.

To learn more how to use Google Analytics’ advanced eCommerce features, see our article on how to enable customer tracking in WooCommerce.

10. Optimize Website Speed and Performance

Google considers website speed as one of the most important ranking factors. This means faster websites are more likely to rank higher than slower websites.

Slow websites are also bad for your business because they affect user experience and cost you actual money.

According to a StrangeLoop case study, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Website speed case study

Majority of the times, the #1 reason for a slow WooCommerce store is web hosting. If that is the case, then you can switch to one of these optimized WooCommerce hosting providers.

You can also follow the step by step instructions in our WordPress performance guide to speed up your website.

11. Improve WooCommerce Security

Search engines love websites that are safe and secure. Google warns users from scams, malware, and phishing websites, by quickly marking unsafe websites with warnings.

Harmful website warning in Google chrome

This could not only destroy your WooCommerce SEO rankings but will also have a severe impact on your brand’s reputation.

Hackers are always targetting random websites with brute force attacks, malware injection, and data theft attempts. To prevent this you need tighten your WooCommerce store’s security.

Follow the step by step instructions in our WordPress security guide to harden your WooCommerce security.

We hope this article helped you learn how to improve your WooCommerce SEO. You may also want to see our list of the best WooCommerce plugins to help you grow your business.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post WooCommerce SEO Made Simple – A Step-by-Step Guide to Ranking #1 in Google appeared first on WPBeginner.





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How to Show Your Google, Facebook, and Yelp Reviews in WordPress


Do you want to display social media reviews on your WordPress website? You may have business reviews from your customers on different social sites like Google, Facebook, etc. These reviews are excellent social proof that you can use to attract new visitors towards your business. In this article, we will share how to display business reviews from Google, Facebook, and Yelp in your WordPress site.

How to show Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews in WordPress

Why You Should Display Business Reviews in WordPress?

Your customers often leave positive reviews about your business on social platforms like Google, Facebook, or Yelp. These reviews are excellent social proof and can be used alongside customer testimonials on your website.

You can show these business reviews on your WordPress site to build trust and boost conversions (Bonus: see 29 more ways to use social proof to increase conversions).

Normally, you would need to install separate WordPress plugins to show reviews from multiple social platforms. Each plugin has different settings, and it may even conflict with each other.

We recommend using WP Business Reviews plugin by WordImpress. It’s an all-in-one solution to show Google, Facebook, and Yelp business reviews.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily show Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews in WordPress.

Showing Google, Facebook, and Yelp Reviews in WordPress

First thing you need to do is to install and activate the WP Business Reviews plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to go to Reviews » Settings page in your WordPress admin area. Under the ‘License’ tab, you need to add your license key and activate it.

You can get the license key from your account on WP Business Reviews site.

WPBR license

Once the license key is successfully activated, you need to go to the ‘Platforms’ tab and select the review platforms from where you want to display business reviews in WordPress.

Select review platforms

Once you have selected the platform, click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store the settings.

For the sake of this tutorial, we will select Google, Facebook, and Yelp to pull reviews from. You can choose the platforms that you like.

Next, you need to go to the ‘Google’ tab on the left side and add the Google Places API Key to show Google reviews on your website.

You can login to your Google account and click on the visit Google Places API documentation link to get your key.

Google api key

It’ll change the platform status from disconnected to connected. Make sure to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to continue.

After that you need to head over to the ‘Facebook’ tab and click on the ‘Connect with Facebook’ button. It will ask you to login to your Facebook account.

Connect to Facebook

Once logged in, you need to give permissions to Facebook for the connection. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Now, go to the ‘Yelp’ tab and click on the create a Yelp App link to get your Yelp API Key.

Create YELP app

Click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to change the platform status form disconnected to connected.

After connecting all the platforms successfully, you can go to Reviews » Collection page in your WordPress admin area. From here you need to create the collection of your business reviews.

You can do this by clicking on the ‘Add Collection’ button on any platform to create your reviews collection.

Add collection

It’ll take you to a new page where you can build a reviews collection.

Start by adding a title and selecting a review source on the right side. After that you need to click on the ‘Get Reviews’ button on a resource to retrieve reviews from the source.

Review source

It’ll show all the reviews from this source on the left side of your screen.

Next, you can open the ‘Presentation’ options on the right side. In these options, you can select style, format, maximum columns, and maximum reviews for the collection.

Presentation

Nextx, you can go to the ‘Reviews’ tab to enable / disable the review components like reviewer image, name, star rating, etc. You can also define the maximum number of characters for each review.

Review components

Lastly, you can go to the ‘Filters’ tab. There you’ll find Minimum Rating and Blank Reviews filters. You can select the star rating and show your best reviews to the new visitors.

Review filters

Once you are satisfied with all these settings, click on the ‘Save’ button and then click on the ‘Copy Shortcode’ button.

Copy shortcode

You can add this shortcode anywhere on your WordPress site to display the business reviews collection.

Add shortcode

This shortcode will show the complete collection of reviews that you created above.

If you want to show a single review on your WordPress post, page, or sidebar widget, then go to Reviews » Single Review page and copy the shortcode of the preferred single review.

Single review

You can paste this shortcode anywhere on your posts, pages, or template files to display the single review instead of the complete reviews collection. It also allows you to manually add custom reviews in WordPress.

If you want to show the reviews in a widget area of your website, then you can do this by heading over to the Appearance » Widgets in your WordPress admin and draging the WP Business Reviews Collection widget to the preferred widget area.

WPBR widget

Next, simply select the reviews collection in the widget dropdown to show business reviews in your sidebar.

Once you are done, you can head over to your website to see the business reviews in action.

Business reviews

You can create multiple collections of Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews for different pages in WordPress. It lets you customize the style and presentation of all your reviews, so they appear beautifully on your website.

That’s all. We hope this article helped you learn how to show Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to add a customer reviews page in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.





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