Tag - Website

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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6 Important Reasons Why You Should Use WordPress for Your Website


One of the questions that we often get asked is: Why should I use WordPress? Isn’t my old site good enough? Why do I need to switch to WordPress from another platform? If you’re asking these questions, then you’re at the right place. In this article, we will share 6 important reasons why you should use WordPress. We will also cover all the different type of websites you can create with WordPress as well as showcase popular sites that are using WordPress.

Why you should use WordPress

Note: Throughout this article, when we say WordPress, we are talking about WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress. Please do not confuse this with WordPress.com which is a hosting service. For details, see our comparison of WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.

One of the most common misconception about WordPress is that it is just a blogging platform.

It is not.

While WordPress started as a blogging tool, it has evolved throughout the years into a powerful website builder and a robust content management system (CMS).

The best part about WordPress is that it’s easy to use and flexible enough to make different types of websites. That’s the main reason why WordPress has grown so much in popularity. According to a recent survey, WordPress powers 32.3% of all websites on the internet.

Due to it’s robust features, many of the top brands use WordPress to power their websites including Time Magazine, Facebook, The New Yorker, Sony, Disney, Target, The New York Times, and more.

Let’s take a look at why you should use WordPress to make your website.

1. WordPress is Free as in Freedom

WordPress is free and open source

WordPress is a free software. It means you are free to download, install, use and modify it to match your needs. You can use it to create any kind of website. To learn more, see our article about why is WordPress free?.

While the WordPress software itself is free, you need a domain name and web hosting to install it.

A domain name is the address of your website on the internet. This is what your users type in their browser’s address bar to access your website (for example, wpbeginner.com).

Web hosting is your website’s house where all your website files are stored.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

They are also offering WPBeginner users a 60% discount on hosting and a free domain name. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

Need more hosting recommendations? See our pick of the best WordPress hosting providers.

If you want someone experienced to setup your WordPress site, then our talented staff members are happy to help you get started. The best part is that we offer a free WordPress blog setup service.

You can also do it yourself by following our step by step guide on how to install WordPress.

If you run into any issues with WordPress, simply type your question in Google and add wpbeginner at the end of your question. You will likely find the answer on our website.

2. WordPress is Easy to Customize with Themes and Plugins

WordPress themes

A large portion of people using WordPress are neither web designers nor programmers. As a matter of fact, most folks start using WordPress without any prior knowledge of designing websites.

For non-tech savvy folks, WordPress is the perfect solution because there are thousands of free website templates (themes) that you can choose from. There is a perfect WordPress theme for just about every kind of website (whether it’s a blog, business site, or an online store).

WordPress themes are easy to customize because a lot of them come with their own options panel allowing you to change colors, upload logo, change the background, create beautiful sliders, and truly customize it to your needs without writing any code at all.

You can also add custom functionality to your WordPress site by using plugins. WordPress plugins are like apps for your website that you can use to add advanced features like analytics, contact forms, membership area, and more.

Just like themes, there are thousands of free and premium plugins available for you to use. To learn more, see our article on what are WordPress plugins and how do they work.

WordPress plugins

Aside from adding extra functionality, some WordPress plugins can let you transform your website into a completely new platform. Take a look at our expert pick of essential WordPress plugins for every website.

3. WordPress is SEO Friendly

WordPress is written using standard compliance high-quality code and produces semantic markup. In non-geek terms, this makes Google and other search engines love WordPress.

This is why WordPress sites tend to rank higher than others in search engines.

By design, WordPress is very SEO friendly out of the box. You can also use WordPress SEO plugins to further optimize your website. For complete step by step instructions, see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide to properly optimize your website.

4. WordPress is Easy To Manage

WordPress comes with a built-in updates management system. This allows you to update your plugins and themes from within your WordPress admin dashboard.

WordPress also notifies you when there is a new version of WordPress available, so you can update your site by simply clicking a button.

To protect your data from any accident or hacking, you can easily use a WordPress backup plugin to automatically create backups and store them safely on a remote location.

You can also manage your WordPress site on the go with WordPress mobile apps.

5. WordPress is Safe and Secure

WordPress security

WordPress is developed with security in mind, and it is considered to be a very safe and secure platform to run a website. However, just like the real world, the internet can be an uncertain place.

There are intruders out there who want to get their hands on as many sites as they could. To protect your WordPress site, there are a few simple things that you can do to make it even more secure. For details, see our step-by-step WordPress security guide for beginners.

We use Sucuri on our websites to protect against common threats such as brute force attacks and malware.

6. WordPress Can Handle Different Media Types

WordPress media types

WordPress is not just limited to writing text. It comes with a built-in media uploader to handle images, audio, and video files.

WordPress supports oEmbed enabled websites which means you can embed YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Tweets, and Soundcloud audio by just pasting the URL in the WordPress post editor.

What ways to use WordPress?

WordPress can be used in many different ways from simple websites to eCommerce marketplaces and anything in between.

Following are just a few examples of different kind of websites you can make with WordPress.

See our full list of 19 different types of websites you can make using WordPress.

We hope this article answered your question about why you should use WordPress. The best way to truly experience the power of WordPress is by using it. Give it a try, and let us know what you think.

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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10 Website Marketing Data You Must Track on Every WordPress Site


After launching a website, most small business owners rely on their best guesses to make important marketing decisions. Not only does that add huge risk, it also significantly slows down growth. In this guide, we will share the top website marketing data that you must track on every WordPress site, so you can make data-drive decisions to grow your business.

Tracking marketing data in WordPress

Why You Need to Track Marketing Data in WordPress?

We believe it’s easy to double your traffic and sales when you know exactly how people find and use your website.

Most business owners do not realize how easy it is to track important marketing metrics on your WordPress site.

For example with a few clicks, you can find out who are your visitors, where are they coming from, and what they do on your website. You can learn which of your articles are getting more visits and which pages on your site are not getting any views.

If you run an online store, then you can see what’s your website conversion rate, which page drives the most sales, what are your top referral sources, etc.

You can use all this marketing data to make informed business decisions and grow your business with confidence.

That being said, let’s take a look at top website marketing stats that you must track on every WordPress site (and how to easily do it).

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics software in the world. It is loved by businesses, bloggers, and marketers because it provides a treasure trove of information.

For example, you can use Google Analytics to learn:

  • The numbers of visits and pageviews on your website
  • Who is visiting your website (visitor location, browser, operating system, screensize, and more)
  • How they found your website
  • How users interact with your website
  • and a whole lot more

Google Analytics is an essential tool in our own business. We recommend using Google Analytics on all your WordPress websites from day one. See our step by step tutorial on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.

2. Track Outbound Links Using Google Analytics

Any link that takes users away from your website is called an outbound link. If you use affiliate marketing to make money from your website, then those outbound links are also known as affiliate links.

Tracking these outbound links help you see how much traffic you are sending to other sites, and you can use this data to build stronger partnerships with those sites.

As a blogger / affiliate, you can see which affiliate links are clicked more often by your visitors. This information can help you make a proper affiliate marketing strategy and boost your referral earnings.

The easiest way to track affiliate links in WordPress is by using MonsterInsights. It is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress and allows you to easily track outbound links.

You also get easy to understand reports inside your WordPress dashboard, including one showing your top affiliate links. For detailed instructions see our guide on how to track outbound links in WordPress.

MonsterInsights affiliate links report

3. Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking with Google Analytics

If you run an online store, then you need to enable enhanced eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics. This would allow you to track the following customer information on your online store.

  • Shopping behavior of your customers
  • Checkout behavior and tracking the abandoned cart information
  • Product lists performance
  • Sales performance

Setting up enhanced eCommerce tracking on your WordPress store can be difficult. We built MonsterInsights to make it easy for you (literally takes 1 click).

It works seamlessly with both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (both are listed in our best eCommerce plugins for WordPress).

Ecommerce tracking in MonsterInsights

For details, see our guide on how to enable customer tracking in WooCommerce with Google Analytics.

4. Track User Engagement Data with Google Analytics

User engagement shows you what users do when they arrive on your website. It helps you identify patterns of highly engaged user behavior which leads to more conversions and sales.

For example, you may found out that users visiting a specific page are 10 times more likely to make a purchase. You can then use this insight to send more users to that page, or replicate the similar experience on other pages of your website.

Basically, you will be tracking data about how users interact with your website. For example:

  • Tracking your most popular content
  • Form submission tracking
  • Ecommerce tracking
  • Ads tracking to understand how users interact with ads on your website
  • Monitoring bounce rate
  • Time users spend on your website
  • Pageviews per session

For detailed instructions, follow our step by step guide on how to track user engagement in WordPress.

5. Track Campaign Links with UTM Codes

Google Analytics is really good at tracking where your website website traffic comes from. It can even categorize your traffic based on their source (organic, social, referral, and more).

But when you’re running paid ad campaigns, email marketing campaigns, or social media promotions, you need detailed campaign tracking.

That’s where UTM tracking comes in.

Campaign level tracking allows you to see exactly which email, ad, or specific call-to-action link helped you get the most traffic or sales.

To make it easy for you to generate UTM links, MonsterInsights comes with a free campaign URL builder, so you can get more detailed reports:

URL builder in MonsterInsights

These tags include native analytics parameters which are tracked by Google Analytics and are included in your reports.

To learn more see this guide on how to create campaign URLs in MonsterInsights.

6. Track and Improve Facebook Retargeting Campaigns

Did you know that Facebook allows you to display targeted ads to people who have visited your website in the past? Yes, it’s called retargeting.

You can install a Facebook pixel and display targeted ads to anyone who visited your website in the last 180 days.

Facebook custom audience retargeting

But this only works if you have the Facebook pixel installed. For example, if you install Facebook retargeting pixel today, then you will only be able to show your ads to people who visited today and onward.

Even if you are not running a Facebook advertising campaign right now, we recommend installing the retargeting pixel, so you have a built-in audience when you’re ready to get started.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to install Facebook remarketing/retargeting pixel in WordPress.

Once you start running Facebook advertising campaigns, you can see your ad performance with Facebook Insights. You can also add improved Facebook ad tracking in Google Analytics.

For more details, see this guide on how to improve Facebook ad targeting with Google Analytics.

7. Tracking Google AdWords Campaigns

If you run PPC campaigns using Google AdWords, then you can easily see how your ads are performing in the AdWords dashboard. However, these reports only tell you how users interact with your ads not what they do after that.

For that, you’ll once again need Google Analytics which comes with built-in integration with your AdWords account. This integration enables you to easily track your paid traffic conversions.

Link AdWords to Google Analytics

For step by step instructions, see this complete guide on how to use Google Analytics for AdWords conversion tracking.

8. Monitor Your Site with Google Search Console

Search Console

Google Search Console is a set of free tools offered by Google to give publishers a look at how their website is seen by the search engine.

It provides immensely useful information like how your pages rank for different keywords (more on this later), the overall performance of your site in search engine, and any errors Google crawler found on your website.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to add your WordPress site to Google Search Console.

9. Track Your Keyword Rankings

Keywords are the phrases users enter in search engines to find what they’re looking for. To get more traffic from search engines, you need to know exactly which keywords are bringing you the most traffic to your website, so you can focus on what’s working.

We have a complete WordPress SEO guide that you can use to learn how to optimize your content for specific keywords.

Normally, beginners rely on manually entering keywords in Google search to see if their site is ranking. This is highly inefficient as you would miss out on thousands of keywords where your site can be easily ranked.

Google Search Console is a free tool that provides you with valuable keyword data with the average position. You can see which keywords are ranking high, search impressions, and how many average clicks you get.

Keyword positions

However, it only allows you to see your own site’s keyword data. If you want to research your competitors, then you’ll need SEMRush. This incredibly powerful SEO tool allows you to view in-depth keyword data for any website.

For more on this topic, please take a look at our guide on how to track keyword rankings for your WordPress site.

10. Track Your Email List Growth and Performance

Most popular email marketing services come with stats and insights that you can track. These reports provide useful data like open rate, click through rate, unsubscribe rate, and more.

Email analytics

You can also see the traffic coming from your email campaigns to your website in your Google Analytics reports under Acquisition » Campaigns. From here you can see how well your email newsletter traffic converts, and what you can do to improve.

Tracking email marketing data helps you grow your email list. You can create new email forms, change form placements, and use popups to boost subscribers.

While there are definitely other marketing metrics that you can track, we believe these are the top marketing data that every business owner must track on their WordPress site.

You might see a lot of mentions of MonsterInsights and might be wondering if this is a sponsored article. It’s not.

MonsterInsights is our sister company. We built this tool for our own business, so we can make data-driven decisions.

The goal of MonsterInsights is to help makes analytics easy by showing you the stats that matter. It has become the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. Over 2 million websites use MonsterInsights including the likes of Microsoft, Bloomberg, Yelp, FedEx, and of course WPBeginner.

If you want to grow your business with confidence, then get started with MonsterInsights today.

We hope this article helped you track the right website marketing data on all your WordPress sites. You may also want to see our step by step WordPress security guide to keep your website safe.

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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What is VoIP and Do You Need It for Your Business Website?


Are you considering using VoIP but are not entirely sure if your business truly needs it? VoIP is a term used for internet phone service which allows you to use advanced call management features using a software on your computer or mobile phone. It is a perfect business phone solution for small businesses. In this article, we will explain what is VoIP and highlight the benefits to help you decide if it’s the best solution for your WordPress business website.

What is VoIP? Does your business need it?

What is VoIP?

VoIP or Voice over IP is a term used to describe internet phone service. Unlike a traditional phone service which uses the landline, VoIP services use the internet to receive and make calls.

Benefits of using VoIP

Following are just some of the benefits of using VoIP for your business.

  • You can receive phone calls using computers, VoIP phonesets, and even mobile phones.
  • You can share one number with several employees.
  • You can easily track call duration, hold times, wait times, and overall usage.
  • Most VoIP services come with call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call routing, and more.
  • You can use the same number anywhere you want.
  • It gives you a business phone number, so you don’t have to share your personal number with clients.
  • Cheaper local and even international calls.

While VoIP offers flexibility and freedom, it can also have some challenges if you don’t choose the right provider.

For example, voice quality on VoIP calls varies depending on the internet connection and the service provider you’re using. Unlike landlines, you’ll lose VoIP connection during a power outage or internet disruption, but this shouldn’t impact most small businesses.

Having said that, let’s see when you really need a VoIP service for your business.

Does Your Business Need VoIP Business Phone Service?

In any business, giving people a way to contact you builds trust and can significantly boost your sales.

When starting a website, most business owners add a contact form because it makes it easy for users to contact you via email.

However depending on the industry, sometimes customers may prefer more instant communication.

This is why many businesses offer live chat or phone number on their websites. Giving users more than one way to communicate with your business can boost customer satisfaction and result in more sales.

Whether you run an online store to sell products or a business website to sell services, a VoIP based business phone service can help you grow your business without the high costs.

Your website visitors can easily call you to request a quote, ask a pre-sale question, or even request support.

In short, VoIP based business phone service enables you to better manage and track your calls, collect customer information, and build stronger relationships with your customers.

How to Choose a VoIP Service for Your Business

There are many different business phone service providers offering VoIP based services. Finding the perfect VoIP service for your business can be difficult with such abundance of choices.

Lucky for you, we had to do the research for our business, so we could pick the best business phone service in the market.

We ended up using Nextiva because they offered all the features we needed including multiple extensions, online fax, and many other advanced call tracking features.

Nextiva

RingCentral came as a close second. In case you’re looking, we created a list of the best business phone service for small businesses. These VoIP based service providers offer different packages suitable for small, medium, and large organizations.

When choosing a VoIP phone service for your business, you need to follow this very basic checklist.

  • Cost of local vs international calls. Most VoIP services offer different plans for international calls. You need to choose a provider based on the geographic location of your customers.
  • Features available in the VoIP plans. Many companies offer different features while some sell them as separate add-ons which would increase your VoIP bill.
  • Mobile apps and features that you can share among multiple users
  • Third-party integrations that you can use to connect your VoIP service to other tools like your CRM software, email marketing service, and more.

We hope this article helped you learn more about VoIP and why your business needs it. You may also want to see our list of most useful tools to manage and grow your website.

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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