179,000 plus impressions in Google Search and barely 500 clicks! That’s the worst I’ve seen.
It’s like tending a Gold Mine and coming up empty every day. This is the slow strangulation happening to a site I recently did some work on. I’m so unhappy about this, I decided to write this post to help other site owners avoid this problem.
At site launch, these basics must be addressed
Do you know how to access your Webmaster Tools Account (WMT)? Do you even have an account?
A standard inclusion on any new website that I develop is WMT setup, XML sitemap creation, sitemap submission to WMT and ongoing site monitoring through the platform.
These simple set of tasks can jump-start a website’s traffic within two weeks. Within days you will start getting notifications via email of any issues with crawling your site that Google Bot encounters.
Here is a list of possible issues Googlebot can find:
- If the website crashes.
- Hacking/Malware detection.
- Moved/ Not Found pages reported in the sitemap.
- Black Hat optimization techniques
- Bad quality content
- Buying and selling links
This is just possible notifications of issues. The power of WMT goes way beyond this, as I will show you throughout this article.
So it is imperative that you have your developer set this service up. And you should get familiar with accessing the system and understanding how to use it to improve your website.
Serp Listing Optimization
Your website may already be ranked for hundreds of keywords. WMT allows you to analyze a lot of the data associated with those rankings. This is pretty much the same information you get with enterprise level marketing platforms like MOZ.
There’s a common mantra emerging in Digital Marketing today. This is a principle I have always followed. It’s the simple idea that an organic SERP listing is an advertisement and must be crafted as such.
The primary reason the site I alluded to above is failing in the searches is that their titles and descriptions are not attractive enough to searchers. They clearly do not understand how to write killer headlines and descriptions that make people click for more.
The Headline/Title is the first thing outlined in CoppyBloggers recent infographic about the ingredients of a blog post. And for good reason, it is absolutely crucial you get this right.
Your talent is directly reflected in the click-through rate of search terms.
This may not be specifically obvious to an inexperienced Webmaster. But what WMT reveals is something very important; The quality and relevancy of your content impact CTR in the SERPs.
Your titles have to be great. Wait! What does great mean anyway? What is a great title?
Blueprint of Great Titles: keyword rich, relevant, emotional, unique, pretty, grammatically correct, sensible, offers benefit, honest, short and branded.
Your descriptions also have to do its job in selling the whole thing. How can you do this?
Blueprint of Great Descriptions: keyword rich, relevant, grammatically correct, honest and have a call to action.
Craft great titles and descriptions for your web pages and this should (at least) normalize the CTR between 5 & 15 percent. This is what I see for several of the established websites I maintain.
Now, take that 179000 figure above and calculate total clicks (visits) that site would get if the titles were half decent. That’s right, roughly 9000 – 25000 possible clicks. That would be a 2000% to 5700% increase in site traffic. I said it right. I calculated it right. A good CTR and this site would have been a smash!
Webmaster Tools does not show your competitors or their rankings.
What it does show is your sites rankings including keywords, impressions, clicks and average positions in the SERPs. We want to focus on the average positions most importantly.
Clicking on a keyword takes you to the single query details screen, where there’s a breakdown of all positions the listing appeared in the search results. It also shows CTR and number of clicks for each position. The details here are great and very insightful.
But still, what should a Webmaster do with this information? How can you use this to your advantage?
It’s very simple; Let’s say for example your site has an average ranking on position #15 in the SERPS (2nd page). Most of the heavy lifting is done because the ranking was achieved. Now it’s time to tweak the listing to improve its placement in the results and the CTR.
This is where you go into over drive. You have to learn about the competing pages. And you have to make changes that make your site better than theirs in any and all specific areas.
First, analyze the listings that are better than yours using your favorite marketing tool. You are looking for insight into their promotional strategies basing this heavily on backlinks, type of content, titles, and descriptions. You are also looking at the quality of the listings from a copywriting perspective.
You will have to increase backlinks, and social shares on the page and many other upgrades as necessary to get it perfect from an SEO, and conversion point of view.
Once you have done what you can to improve its ranking, come back to WMT and look at the results of your hard work. Use WMT to monitor the rankings over time.
Want to see how much clicks you can get, or should be getting for a particular keyword? Use the Search Traffic Estimator, and never underestimate so much as a single position improvement again.
When it’s all said and done, it should look something like this:
I’ve tried to outline the importance of this software simply because most website owners I meet have no clue how actionable this data is. And most of all how useful Webmaster Tools can be for increasing your search traffic and growing your business.
Don’t spend a single dollar on any other software until you’ve mastered Google Webmaster Tools (and of course Google Analytics ). They are provided free for a reason.
If you’ve found this helpful, please share and perhaps it can help another.