The Potential Dangers Of Dynamic And Hidden Content

Content and SEO go hand in hand. It’s hard to have success in either, without the help of the other. How you display your important content on a page can have a large impact on that page’s rankings and SEO performance. Although there are many ways to display content on a web page, there are two that could lead to a negative impact in SEO performance. The two methods that could be cause for concern are when content is “dynamically displayed” or “hidden.” To know why dynamic and hidden content could affect your SEO efforts, it’s important to first know how a Search Engine works. If you’re already familiar with how search engines work, feel free to skip to the next section, “Differences Between Dynamic & Hidden Content.”

 

A Primer on How Search Engines Work

When a search engine finds a page, it crawls the page’s source code, renders the code very similarly to how a user would, and then indexes the page so that it can return it for a future search query. Although search engines are incredibly sophisticated these days, they still have some limitations that can hinder them from interacting with complex and new technologies and code. As web design and development technologies advance, the ways in which content can be displayed on a web page evolve as well. Some of those techniques, like dynamic and hidden content, can have negative effects on a pages organic performance if important content is not accessible to search engine crawlers.

Differences Between Dynamic & Hidden Content

To a user, it may sometimes be difficult to discern the difference between regular content, dynamic content, and hidden content, but to search engines, it can be a world of difference.

  • Dynamic content: Dynamic content refers to content that changes based on a user’s preferences, behaviors or interests, and is generally powered by technologies like JavaScript. The easiest way to identify dynamic content is to copy a portion of the copy, view the source code of the page, and search for the copy there. If the copy is not contained in the source code, then it’s likely to be dynamic. However, the best method is to have a knowledgeable technical SEO expert provide guidance.
  • Example: The product page for Belgian speculoos and cinnamon pretzel sticks below on https://uk.graze.com is pulling in content dynamically. When you select the ingredients accordion option, it opens up and shows copy. This copy is not accessible in the source code, but is “pulled” onto the page dynamically after you click the ingredients option.

Example before selecting the ingredients accordion menu

Example after selecting the ingredients accordion menu

  • Hidden content: Textual content and links that are not directly visible to users without some sort of action (like a click), but can be found in a page’s source code are referred to as hidden content. This differs from dynamic content because the code is found in the page’s source code (meaning that it’s easier for a search engine to crawl, i.e. access). To view the content, a user typically has to take an action on the page
  • Example 1: The following Sherpa Rider product page from Lee uses tabs for it’s description, fabric & care, and delivery & returns sections. The content within these tabs is “hidden” from users, but is contained in the source code of the page, making it accessible to search engines.

Example before clicking on the “Fabric & Care” tab

Example after clicking on the “Fabric & Care” tab

Potential Dangers of Dynamic & Hidden Content

The use of these techniques to display content is not always a bad thing. In fact, they can help create a more positive user experience. However, it’s critical to assess how you are using these techniques when it comes to the display of content that is important for that pages organic rankings and performance. If you are using one or both of these techniques, here are a few scenarios that could be cause for concern:

  • Least Severe: Hiding content on a page that is not a core part of the page, or important for the pages organic performance. This is the least likely to negatively impact your SEO, because even though content is hidden from users when the page loads, search engines can still access the content in the source code of the page, and the content is not critical for the page’s organic performance.
  • Moderately Severe: Dynamically displaying important content on a page, but loading the content as soon as the page loads (without a user needing to take an action, like a click, to see the content). Please note that this is very dependent on the type of technology you are using to display the content. This can lead to issues, as some search engines may not be able to “see” the content.” Other more advanced search engines like Google may also have trouble if the technology that you are using is not compatible with their crawler. However, this is not the most severe, because there is a chance that you won’t see any noticeable impacts to your SEO performance. Even though the content is not in the source code of the page, more advanced search engines like Google are likely to be able to access it as long as everything is configured correctly.
  • Most Severe (Avoid using this method to display important content if at all possible): Dynamically displaying important content on a page that requires a user to take an action before it will load should be avoided. This type of display technique is the most detrimental to your SEO efforts because search engines, even Google, are highly unlikely to access or see the content at all. This is because search engines stop at the point of “user interaction.” They don’t click, scroll, or otherwise take actions beyond simply loading a page.

Did you ever think that making a decision about how to load content onto a page could be so complex? In general, wherever possible, we recommend that if you have important content, it is immediately visible to users without requiring them to take an action, and is delivered within the source code of the page. Using newer technologies to improve user experience and differentiate your company and brand are great, and we highly encourage their use when done in an SEO friendly manner.

Given the many nuances to this subject, and slight changes that can push the use case from positive to negative very quickly, we highly recommend that you receive feedback from a technical SEO specialist on your specific use case of dynamic or hidden content. Contact us today if you are interested in learning about our experience with technical SEO or Web Development technologies.

The post The Potential Dangers of Dynamic and Hidden Content appeared first on MoreVisibility.

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Google Is Eliminating The Preferred Domain Setting

Google recently announced that they are not bringing the Preferred Domain setting to the new Google Search Console (GSC). Although unlikely, this may cause issues for anyone who had been using the feature historically. Additionally, it is a great reminder to make sure your re-write rules are setup correctly to choose the preferred version of your domain for search engines.

What was the Preferred Domain Setting Feature?

The preferred domain setting was a feature that Google provided in GSC to allow website owners/managers to select which version (www. or non-www.) of their domain they wanted Google to index and return to users in search results. This is what it used to look like:

What’s Does the Removal of the Feature Mean?

This means that Google will fall back on its traditional signals that tell it which version of your domain to use. These traditional features include signals sent from the website owner/manager (such as redirects or re-write rules) as well as signals from other areas (like which version is more linked to by other websites).

What Should You Do?

The first thing that we would recommend you do is validate which version you actually want indexed and returned to users. This may require some analysis of what Google has currently indexed, as you don’t want to switch versions unless you are fully aware of the potential issues and consequences that may arise (drastic changes could lead to changes in your organic rankings and traffic).

After you have decided which version you want indexed and returned to users, you should check with your SEO or development team to see if there is an existing rule that only allows search engines and users to access one version (and therefore tell search engines the correct version to index and rank). This is called a “re-write rule” and it should be setup to redirect URLs from one version to your preferred version via a 301 (permanent) redirect. If in place, it should work like this (if you have picked the www. version as your preferred version):

  1. A user or search engines tries to access https://example.com or any internal pages such as https://example.com/example-page
  2. Your server redirects the user or search engine to the www. version, such as https://www.example.com or the corresponding internal URL such as https://www.example.com/example-page
  3. Search engines will index and return the www. version, such as https://www.example.com or the corresponding internal URL such as https://www.example.com/example-page

Ultimately, if you have used the Preferred Domain version in the past, it is highly recommended that you ensure your re-write rules are properly setup (as discussed in the “What Should You Do?” section above). If you have any questions about this change or how we can help with using Google Search Console or validating that your re-write rules are properly setup, please reach out to us at info@morevisibility.com.

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This Week: Content Marketing, Facebook Live, PPC Features, Search Engine Results and Yoast SEO Update

Happy Tuesday,

This week we are back again with more internet marketing news! We’ll go through how to get more content noticed, Facebook live video relevance for business and marketers, and 7  PPC features in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads. Lastly, we’ll cover the evolution of search engine results and Yoast’s latest SEO update.

Get More Content Noticed, Stop the Bad Metadata

After you have worked on a piece on content only to find out that most of your work is unused, you may get frustrated and think about all the effort you’ve wasted, and why your content isn’t being used! This is, however, a common situation for many marketers these days. Some of the factors that contribute to less usage of content are its findability, quality, and relevance.

Content marketing

When you can apply a metadata strategy successfully, you can generate a high lead percentage from a brand’s content. This article provides a comprehensive understanding of metadata and how metadata strategy can be successfully executed for getting your content noticed.

Why Facebook Live Video Is Still Relevant for Businesses and Marketers

Facebook is a platform that promotes users to stick around and make use of the content, videos and engagements. Facebook always wants pages to concentrate on original content, engage users and have a longer view time. Facebook has already mentioned about limiting the distribution of unoriginal content with no value.

Facebook live for business

A very well-prepared Facebook Live broadcast is an excellent way to share interesting and thoughtful content to engage viewers; as long as it abides by the algorithms, that is. In this article, readers wiill get a clear understanding of why Facebook Live video is still essential for businesses and marketers.

7 Must-Try PPC Features Hidden in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Pay per Click (PPC) can sometimes be very complicated and involves a significant amount of risk when executing a campaign. If we can break through barriers of PPC in advertising, then the benefits are more than worth it! There are some hidden PPC features which can be very useful for your next campaigns.

Hidden PPC features to know

To give an example, in Microsoft ads, the advertisers can get the list of products for remarketing by targeting the searchers based on the product IDs they associated with, and promote those product IDs to them in the form of an ad. This article has seven hidden PPC features like this in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.

Search engine results: The ten-year evolution

The search landscape is evolving every day and there are questions and discussions on Google’s control on how much search traffic goes to publishers compared to Google’s domain. There have been several articles on this over the past ten years, and the articles have now evolved into how Google has changed the search page.

Search engine results

This article provides insight into the changes that Google search has brought into effect over the past ten years. You’ll also find corresponding statistical data and learn how marketers can educate themselves, and leverage it for their upcoming campaigns!

Yoast SEO 11.6 Update

Yoast SEO is an integral part of WordPress. It’s been updated to the latest version with new how-to-blocks. The latest version also provides tabs to the top of the meta box as well as schema and security fixes. They have made modifications according to Google’s most recent changes; this update makes it simpler for content generators to add how-to markups to the relevant content.

Yoast SEO Update

It is essential we stay updated with these changes as marketers for enhancing our content before posting. To learn more about the update, check out the article!

The post This Week: Content Marketing, Facebook Live, PPC Features, Search Engine Results and Yoast SEO Update appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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NewsProfixPro Review | Read Before Purchasing

Did you know that you can create fully automated, self-updating news sites in just 60 seconds? Without ever writing any content, without finding images or videos, and without doing any SEO. The best part is you can create multiple websites using this method. Multiple sites that actually make money from Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, all at the same time, while getting 100% free traffic every single day. This is the holy grail of passive income online, and […]

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How To Create Customer-Focused Content At Every Stage Of The Sales Funnel

You don’t need me to explain to you the importance of content marketing. Great content gets you good search rankings, you get more eyeballs, more authority, blah, blah, blah. We all get it. This million-dollar question, however, is a little different. The one thing that every content marketer would love a straight answer to is, “What is great content?”

This question gains even more importance given the volume of content that we’re churning out by the minute. Data from eMarketer shows that 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content every, single day! That’s a lot of content to put out there, without really knowing if it hits the mark or not.

I’ve found that a good way to approach any problem is to break it down into easily digestible parts and then analyze further. We know that the needs of a customer evolve as they move along the sales funnel. What matters to a first-time visitor exploring their options is very different from the content that will convince a sales qualified lead (SQL) who’s about to write a check out to your company.

So why not look at every stage of the typical sales funnel or buyer’s journey as you may want to call it and understand what content would produce the best results?

Awareness – Hook Them Right

Stop blaming everyone else for not getting enough traffic, inquiries or conversions. Your customers don’t know what they don’t know. It’s your job to get your brand out in front of your target audience, in a way that appeals to them.

Blog posts rank as one of the most effective types of content I’ve seen for spreading the word about your brand and making users aware of all the different things you have to offer. And these blog posts don’t even have to be artfully worded to be effective. This eye-catching blog post on the Etsy blog, capitalizes on beautiful product shots to make a statement and showcases Etsy’s wares in all their glory.

Another spin on effective blog posts that can bring in the eyeballs is offering expert analysis on the latest industry news. I can attest to the effectiveness of this approach with posts like this one – I wrote about the launch of HomePod, Apple’s smart speaker on my own website, iGeeksBlog.com.

This type of content not only satisfies your audience’s need to keep up with the goings-on in the industry, but it also gives them insights on how new developments can impact their day-to-day lives – something that attracts eyeballs and creates value at the same time.

Consideration – Reel Them In

Once you’ve spread the word, it’s time to rise above the clutter and get your audience seriously interested in your brand. This is where you summon all your powers of persuasion to tell a curious user why they should bet on your business.

E-commerce SaaS platform ChannelAdvisor does a fabulous job of driving home their expertise in e-commerce enablement with regular informative webinars that answer questions that truly matter to their clients.

With webinars being a live, once and done kind of content type, it makes sense to upload a copy of the webinar recording and any slides you may have used on the webinar page, so you can reap the benefits of this content even after the webinar is done and dusted.

Another great way to convince an undecided buyer about your product is by sharing case studies of how you were able to help existing clients tackle very specific business problems. Case studies have the benefit of being verifiable directly with the client in question and therefore bring tremendous credibility to your claims.

Email marketing platform MailChimp shows how it does more than just deliver emails to customers in this insightful case study. This client decided to use Mailchimp’s unique product recommendations feature in their Order Notification emails. This simple move helped the client earn an average of $31. 95 additional revenue per order notification email sent out. That’s easy money with no extra effort!

Purchase – You Made It!

So you’ve won over your audience and they’ve now become brand new customers for your business. Before you sit back and congratulate yourself, you need to ensure your new customers are completely happy with their purchase and don’t suffer a shred of buyer’s remorse.

One of the most common next steps after a sale is helping your customer set up and use your product effectively. Training and onboarding is often done in classroom sessions with round the clock support offered via phone, chat, email and more. So why not leverage this wealth of information that you’re sharing about your product and turn it into content that will serve you in more ways than one? This in-depth customer onboarding video by DropBox for Business does exactly that.

Source

Retention – Keep Them for Life

A customer who’s been with you for a while is an asset you need to safeguard and nurture. Remind your customers of different ways in which your product can enhance their business, assist them in solving real issues with your product using detailed guides and help take their engagement with your company to the next level by upselling them newer products and solutions.

Loyalty and membership programs are great ways to keep your customers hooked and keep getting them to buy more from you. Amazon’s Prime program is a perfect example of a membership program that has become a significant driver of profitability and engagement for the company over the years.

Prime members get frequent emails like this one from Amazon that showcase membership benefits like free books and movies that come with the Prime program. These regular reminders of the value users get out of your products to help cement their loyalty to you and assure you of recurring revenues with little to no acquisition costs.

In Closing

With the wide array of options available to content marketers, it’s no wonder that developing a strategy that works is often a complex process. The trick often lies in not overthinking it and keeping it simple. What types of content have you seen the most success with? Tell us more in the comments below!

The post How to Create Customer-Focused Content at Every Stage of the Sales Funnel appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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This Week: Google Searches, Keyword Research Tools, Facebook Reach and User Intent

Happy Tuesday!

This week we are back again with more internet marketing news; we’ll get into why organic search clicks out-number paid, why agencies are backing content marketing, 8 free keyword research tools for SEO, Facebook’s comment reach in newsfeeds, and how to understand searcher intent to boost SEO rankings!

49% of all Google searches are no-click, study finds

To all the marketers out there, we have some news data provided by marketing analytics firm Jumpshot. In their latest estimate, it was shown that zero-click searches on Google have steadily risen over the past three years.

This article guides us through the latest statistics on organic-click erosion, click-through rates, and why mobile organic search is affected compared to desktop.

User click after searching google

The data here shows that in the first quarter of 2019, 41.45% of Google searches resulted in organic clicks to non-Google sites and 5.9% of searches ended with the user heading to another Google-owned website. Unfortunately, if you’re in a field that Google is in as well, like travel, then Google is likely dominating your marketing and getting those clicks.

Agencies see growth in Content Marketing Business

This article provides us with insights about why agencies are putting their efforts towards growing their content marketing. Out of the companies that offer content marketing services, over half of them reported that 50% of their business is comprised of content marketing.

Content Marketing

Read the article to learn more about the changes in content marketing and how they influence agencies!

8 Free keyword research tools for SEO

To find the ideal keywords, you need to search out all the possible variations from multiple data sources. So, finding the right keyword may seem very confusing and complicated at first. If you do a Google search SEO tools, you’ll see a lot of options in the market now, but all of them differ in features, amounts and sources of data, as well as prices. But which of them do you really need? And, most importantly, do you need to fork out hundreds of dollars a month, or is there a way to cut the costs?

Keyword Research

This article explores 8 of the best free keyword research tools. Each of them best fits a specific keyword research task and does the job just as well as their paid alternatives.

Facebook changes the reach of comments in the news feed

You’ll still find your best marketing opportunities on the world’s largest social network, so needless to say, spending time learning Facebook marketing is worth the investment. Everyone wants to get maximum reach, so this article will provide you with the information on Facebook’s new algorithm that has affected the comment reach on a post. Comments that have specific quality signals will be highly ranked, and low-quality comment practices may result in less reach. Read the article to learn more!

How to understand searcher intent to boost SEO rankings

When we talk about using SEO to gain more organic traffic or to increase conversions for your PPC campaign, it’s important to stop depending strictly on the usual keyword with the most searches. It’s time we dig deeper to help determine user intent so you can not only improve rankings, but also get higher-quality of clicks.

User Intent

This article tells us why it’s important to constantly think about the intent of your potential customers and what will drive them to your website. Let’s explore user intent and find out how we can use this complicated system to help improve your website’s ranking!

The post This Week: Google Searches, Keyword Research Tools, Facebook Reach and User Intent appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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The Fundamental Components That Contribute to a Strong SEO Strategy

In an increasingly online world, marketers are pressed to make sure their brand stands out in Organic search. However, every SEO strategy contains many moving components that need to work together properly in order to be successful. Before you can fine-tune your SEO strategy, it’s vital to ensure the fundamental elements are in place and running properly. Here are 3 fundamental components that can help your brand’s SEO strategy succeed.

1. Crawlability / Technical SEO

At the top of the list for a successful SEO strategy is crawlability and technical SEO. Because of its fundamental nature, crawlability should be the first thing on every marketer’s SEO task list. No matter how relevant your content may be, if a search engine cannot find your website, it will not be served to users.

Some technical components to take into account are a valid robots.txt file, proper website redirects (if applicable), site speed, and indexing (sitemap).

2. Content Optimization

Once the technical portion of your SEO program is in place and optimized, the next component to look at is content optimization. By optimizing content that is already on your website, you’re able to leverage existing assets and better tailor content to tie into your keyword strategy.

It is important to assess the amount of relevant content on your website relative to the keywords you are targeting. In addition, make sure to include title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s in your assessment. All of your existing content should be useful to your target audience, because once a user lands on your website, the goal is for them to convert!

3. Link Building and Content Creation

Finally, an ongoing task for SEO success is link building and content creation. Link building does require time and research, so it is always a good starting point to visit Google’s Support Center for guidelines, tips, and best practices. Be sure to target high-quality sites with good traffic for best results.

Also, creating fresh, relevant content at appropriate frequencies (based on your business type/ goals) helps solidify all of the work that has already been done to help your website rank. Confirm that any content that is being created still aligns with keyword strategy and speaks to your target audience.

If you have any questions about SEO strategy, contact the experts at MoreVisibility.

The post The Fundamental Components That Contribute to a Strong SEO Strategy appeared first on MoreVisibility.

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This Week: Rebranding Strategy, Paid Campaigns, Instagram Business, and Google’s Diversity Update

Happy Tuesday!

This week we are back again with more internet marketing news; we’ll get into how to build an SEO-friendly rebranding strategy for your digital marketing agency in 2019, running a successful competitor-focused paid campaign, Instagram ads, metrics for demand and lead generation, and how Google’s diversity update impacts search results!

How to Build an SEO-Friendly Rebranding Strategy for Your Digital Marketing Agency in 2019

For any plan to work, it is essential to have a strategic approach! Likewise, branding is purely based on the strategy followed by a company. Increasing brand awareness is vital; there are times when even marketing agencies rebrand themselves to maintain their competitive edge!

Branding

Digital marketing agencies need to leverage their strategies with SEO and create a strategy that adequately incorporates their unique selling points and distinctive qualities. The market is becoming increasingly digital, which allows agencies to rebrand themselves quickly, while they keep up with the current marketing platform.

This article from Digital Agency Network will provide you with some points that can help you with creating the best strategies!

How to run a successful competitor-focused paid campaign

We know that search engine advertising is one of the most widespread forms of PPC, and one of the most significant advantages of running a paid search campaign is that you can bid on keywords that would be challenging to rank for!

PPC competitor

Building a great PPC campaign can be challenging, and a lot goes into it. From researching and selecting the right keyword to arrange those keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups and once you’ve designed your new campaign, you also need to manage them frequently to make sure they stay active.

There’s competition everywhere, and PPC campaigns are no exception. Focusing on your competitors and what they’re doing on their own is an important part of creating a successful campaign. This blog from Search Engine Watch goes through five practical steps to set up and administer a successful competitor-focused SEM campaign.

Instagram to start showing ads in Explore tab

There’s some news about Instagram’s introduction of ads in its Explore tab, the segment where users browse content and find new accounts based on their interest!

Instagram business

As Instagram’s advertising business gains more attention to more user engagement, it’s no surprise the company is looking at taking advantage of its current growth. to generate more ad revenue! This article gives us information on Instagram’s latest move!

Shares Don’t Cut It: Pick Better Metrics for Demand and Lead Gen

A valuable content marketing strategy includes many facets, with one of the most important being how to measure the success of your journey. It is essential to keep track of what your content is doing on the internet; an understanding of your key metrics is crucial in tracking your content’s progress.

Content marketing metrics

Every marketer tracks stuff like clicks, impressions and shares, making managing big data easy. However, none of this will provide you with a complete story of what or how your content is doing.

In this article, John Hall points out the importance of measuring your journey to learn if your content is meeting the goals you’ve set.

Searchmetrics: Google’s diversity update did impact search results

A study by Searchmetrics on the Google diversity update showed that the update did, in fact, impact the overall diversity of Google’s organic search results. This is certainly a plus because a more diverse set of search results can assist you in competing in spaces hard to compete! It can also provide more domains with an opportunity to rank for a given keyword.

Google diversity update

Read the complete article to learn about the changes after the diversity update, complete with statistical data!

The post This Week: Rebranding Strategy, Paid Campaigns, Instagram Business, and Google’s Diversity Update appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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The Top Search Engine Optimization Content Of 2018

Even though 2018 has come to a close, MoreVisibility has decided to take a quick look back at the most popular content we’ve published this year regarding SEO news and tips.

Be it a webinar, blog post or informative podcast, below are the top contenders from 2018.

Webinars

Creating a Successful Content Strategy

Advanced Technical Optimization

Optimizing for Mobile & Voice Search

Blogs

Preparing Your Website for Google’s July 2018 Speed Update

Google Confirms Core Algorithm Update to Search Engine

Google Maps Developer Platform Update Goes Lives June 11

The Science of Color and Design

Podcasts

The Crucial Connection Between SEO & User Experience

If you have any questions, please reach out to the experts at MoreVisibility for assistance.

The post The Top Search Engine Optimization Content of 2018 appeared first on MoreVisibility.

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How Much of Google Search Console Can You Trust?

We often receive questions from our clients about how they should use Google Search Console (GSC) and how accurate the data is. Given how common these questions are, we thought it would be good to share our general perspective in a blog post.

For example, here are some of the most common questions we receive related to GSC:

  • What should we use GSC for?
  • Can we report to stakeholders using the data in GSC?
  • Are clicks and impressions in GSC the same thing as Google Ads clicks and impressions?
  • Can I use the ranking data from GSC as my source of truth for keyword rankings?
  • Does the data in GSC cover 100% of what’s happening in Google search?

Ultimately, GSC is a valuable tool within your broader digital marketing toolbox, especially when it comes to technical SEO, keyword research, and content strategy. It can also be a good source of data to analyze for directional analysis or to use as one data point within a broader landscape of data sources. However, we do not recommend using GSC data, especially the “Performance” data, as a precise data source or as the end-all-be-all source of data for performance reporting. Likewise, we do not recommend using the Performance data as the only source to make high consequence decisions.

In this post, we cover what Google Search Console is, a brief history on issues that the tool has experienced, data integrity considerations, and recommended use cases.

What is Google Search Console?

GSC is a free tool provided by Google to help site owners, webmasters, and SEOs understand how their site is being seen by Googles crawlers and how it is being seen in search results by users. It provides a limited set of tools and data that can be used for SEO analysis and debugging and it is only available to verified site administrators (so you can’t view GSC data for a site you don’t control).

A Brief History of Google Search Console Issues

GSC has a long history of bugs, data discrepancies, delays, and issues. When these issues arise, they are often not corrected immediately, and can persist for days, weeks, or even longer. This is because GSC is a free tool that does not generate any revenue for Google directly or indirectly. Therefore, it makes sense that it is a lower priority to the company when it comes to dedicating engineering resources for improvements and fixes. However, it can be frustrating and problematic if you are relying on the data for consequential decisions or reporting to key stakeholders.

Here is one recent example of Google confirming issues with GSC data, where there was a 10 day delay in data being reported via the platform.

You can find a full list of data anomalies that impact GSC on their page for Data anomalies in Search Console.

GSC Data Integrity and Uses

By now, you may be asking yourself if GSC data should be used at all. The answer is an unequivocal YES! However, it’s critical that you use it in the right cases, for the right purposes, and with a full understanding of what the data means and how it is collected.

For example, Google has an entire help article dedicated to the explanation of impressions, position values, and click data from GSC. This page has 3,976 words at the time of this blog post publication. I bet you thought the definitions of impression, position, and click would be a lot simpler than that!

There is also the consideration that Google has changed how they measure some of these metrics over time, so their definitions of metrics may change in the future, as they note:

Without going through all of the detail for how Google makes these calculations, a few of the most important macro considerations here are that:

  • Data is not calculated in the same way (and will not match 1:1) as other platforms such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, or your rank tracking tool. So, you shouldn’t mix or compare these data sets directly.
  • Data can change over time and Google can change how they calculate metrics, so be sure that you know if Google made a change during your analysis window by reviewing their data anomalies page.
  • There is more to the data than meets the eye, so be sure that you have a full understanding of how your data is calculated before reporting on it to someone else.

Below, we’ve outlined a few good and bad use cases for the data that you can find in GSC:

Examples of Good Use Cases for GSC Data

  • Researching keywords actively being used by searchers to find your content
  • Researching the types of keywords used to find existing content, to identify areas of opportunity for content expansion, refinement, and/or updates
  • Identifying pages that are trending up or down in their performance (such as impressions, rankings, clicks, or click-through-rate (CTR), and conducting further analysis of those pages to identify if something is actionable
  • Analyzing the different types of rich results your pages are generating and how they’re directionally performing in each type of result using the “Search Appearance” section within “Performance”
  • Conducting technical SEO checkups on Google’s indexing of your site, identifying red flags that should be reviewed in further detail

Examples of Bad Use Cases for GSC Data

  • Reporting to your board of directors on total impressions, clicks, CTR, or average position for the past quarter (Google could change how they measure this in the future!)
  • Comparing clicks from GSC to sessions in Google Analytics (they are not calculated in the same way!)
  • Comparing average position from GSC to rankings from a third-party rank tracking tool (They are not calculated in the same way!)
  • Using impressions, clicks, CTR, or average position data as the only data source for high consequence decisions, like page consolidation or removal.

Conclusion

Google Search Console is a great tool, and it is 100% free. There are many great uses for the tool, but it’s critical that you avoid using it in a way that it is not meant for or is not capable of being used for. It’s also critical that you have a strong understanding of how GSC calculates the data you are seeing, before making any impactful decisions using the data. If you need any help analyzing the data in your Google Search Console account, and more importantly, learning when and what actionable changes you can make based on the data, please reach out to us at info@morevisibility.com.

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