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Harnessing the power of Google Search Console with Noah Learner (NEWBIE)

Harnessing the power of Google Search Console with Noah Learner (NEWBIE)

 

Getting cosy with data to make better content

 

Do you love tracking trends, dissecting data, or rolling in results?

Then I’ve got a treat for you.

Today is all about Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, a free platform that gives you the awesome ability to see the data Google sees and tracks for your website or app.

While I find it easy to get lost in data-tracking, it can be difficult to know what is worth paying attention to, and what’s just a long list of numbers.

So let us go forth and learn which parts of the Google-beast we can turn into juicy, flavourful SEO nuggets and rich content marketing strategy bites.

 

Tune in to learn:

  • What Google Search Console is all about
  • Why the data is so valuable for our businesses
  • How to use the data to gain a competitive advantage
  • How to use the information to target different stages of the buying journey
  • Three areas of GSC you should be looking at
  • How to use the new GSC insights feature
  • How to use the data to create content for frequently asked questions
  • Noah’s top Google Search Console tips

 

Listen to the podcast

 

 

 

 

 

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📈 Pull all the SEO data you need into a single report — whether it’s Google Sheets, Excel, or Google Data Studio
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Start your free 14-day Supermetrics trial.

 

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And big thanks to F N AWESOME Game from the United States for their lovely review:

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I love your Hot Copy podcast and this one even more!

 

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About Noah Learner

 

Noah Learner is a technical marketer, nicknamed the Kraken, who is happiest building SEO tools, automations, data pipelines, and communities.

When not in the lab, he loves skiing, fly fishing, camping with his family, and walking his dog, Shadow.

Prior to moving to digital marketing on a full-time basis, Noah was in the bike business, renting out ½ million bikes. Noah has also competed at the amateur world championships for disc golf (frisbee golf).

 

Connect with Noah

 

Useful Resources

 

Kate Toon and Noah Learner - Recipe for SEO Success Podcast

Transcript

 

Kate Toon: 
This episode of the Recipe for SEO Success is proudly supported by Supermetrics.

If you’re looking to analyze and report on your SEO performance, you should definitely check out Supermetrics. 

Supermetrics is a data pipeline that helps marketers bring data from the most popular marketing platforms such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz and Google Search Console to their favorite reporting, analytics, and storage platforms. 

You can start your free 14-day Supermetrics trial at supermetrics.com/recipe

Kate Toon:
Do you love tracking trends, dissecting data, rolling in results? Then I’ve got a treat for you. Today we are talking all around Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools. A free platform that gives you the awesome ability to see the data Google sees and tracks for your website or app. While I find it easy to get lost in data tracking, it can be difficult to know what is worth paying attention to from what’s just a long list of useless numbers. So let’s go forth and learn which parts of the Google beast we can turn into juicy, flavorful, SEO knowledge nuggets and rich content marketing strategy bites.

Kate Toon:
Hello, my name is Kate Toon, and I’m the head chef at the Recipe for SEO Success, an online teaching hub for all things, search engine optimization and digital marketing. And today I’m talking to Noah Learner. Hello, Noah Learner?

Noah Learner:
Hey, Kate, I’m so excited to be here with you.

Kate Toon:
I mean, goodness. This has been a journey. I met Noah on Clubhouse. Yes, remember that? It was all the rage a little while ago. I must admit, I’ve become a little bit less Clubhouse keen of late. But Noah does amazing rooms, they’re called shooting the poop. And it was one of the first times now that I’ve actually had conversations with other SEO people where everyone wasn’t just waving their willy, trying to show off, pretending they know more than everybody else. Do you know what I mean? That was such a good vibe in those rooms.

Noah Learner:
I think people bring their authentic selves and they also are kind, they listen, they share, and there’s so much sharing that it’s almost shocking. We routinely have people who are the head of growth for Honey, or head of SEO for websites like Expedia, just crazy insightful people that are willing to share. It’s just an amazing vibe totally.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. It’s also really nice to put voices to faces. So you had Alastair Latimer and we had Ben on the podcast just a couple of weeks ago, Ben Fisher. And these are people that I’ve seen online. And it’s hard to get a gauge of someone’s personality in a 20-character tweet, but in the rooms, you get to sit with people and talk about more than just this year. Talk about real life and dogs and walking through the mountains in Boulder Colorado, which is lovely. So, I’m very glad to have you here today, and to be chatting with you. And I feel quite honoured because you were just speaking of Moz. How did that go? How did your chat at the Moz conference go?

Noah Learner:
I thought it went so great. I was so excited and so grateful to have the opportunity. It’s shocking the impact that an event like that can have on your business or career. For our company, we’ve seen a bunch of leads on the personal side, like tonnes of followers, tonnes of direct messages from people all over the world. Just so many interesting conversations. I just feel so grateful to have been able to go.

Kate Toon:
Well, honestly though, I do think it’s about the person speaking. Some people are super generous with their knowledge, super approachable. And I think listeners, by the end of this episode, you’re going to see that’s exactly what and who Noah is. But let me tell you a bit more about Noah before we get stuck into our topics today, which is Google Search Console. So, Noah is a technical marketer, nicknamed the Kraken, who is happiest building SEO tools, automations, data pipelines, and communities. When he is not in the lab, he loves skiing, fly fishing, camping with his family and walking his dog, Shadow. Prior to moving to digital marketing on a full-time basis, Noah was in the bike business, renting out over half a million bikes. Noah has competed at the Amateur World Championships for disc golf, Frisbee golf. Oh, my God, we wanted to get a Frisbee yesterday, but all the shops are shut, and all we could get was a dog Frisbee. So, I’m not sure if there’s a big difference between dog Frisbee and human Frisbee. What do you think?

Noah Learner:
Definitely. The dog Frisbee, you’re not going to be able to throw very far and you have to throw it really soft to get it to fly, right? But a disc golf disc, I can throw a disc golf disc about 500 feet, which in metres is, I don’t even know, 100 – 

Kate Toon:
Even your American measuring, – 

Noah Learner:
I know. I know. Putting in metres it’s like, I don’t know, 160 to 180 metres – 

Kate Toon:
Well, I’ll try it today with my dog Frisbee. We should do a whole another episode about Frisbee. But we’re not talking about Frisbee today. We’re talking about Google Search Console. Now of course, we’ve covered Google Search Console here and there in the podcast before, but this is a newbie episode for people who maybe aren’t overly familiar with it. I’m going to give you my definition of Google Search Console then I want to hear yours. What I say to people is, “Have you heard of Google Analytics?” And they say yes. And I’m like, “Google Search Console is like Google Analytics’ ugly cousin that doesn’t get invited to the party.” That’s my analogy. How would you describe Google Search Console?

Noah Learner:
For me, it’s the tool that Google communicates to us, like how our website is performing and such. And it’s also our way of communicating with Google. So, if they’re pointing out issues of things that are broken and they give us an opportunity to validate the fixes that we’ve implemented, then Google can recrawl that content. And then if it passes the mustard, they’ll then index and rank that content again. Also, it’s our way to submit site maps, which is a list of all the pages that are on our websites, which is a critical way for new websites especially, to help get our content indexed and ranked.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, I like that. I like that. So not so much the ugly-

Noah Learner:
I like yours more. I love yours more.

Kate Toon:
… cousin. No, I think people appreciate it. And Google Analytics is all about showing you how people are interacting with your site, what pages they’re looking at, how long they’re spending on those pages, conversion data. Google Search Console as you said, is more kind of the kind of grubby underbelly of your site. Has Google found all the pages? How’s your site speed doing? But again, I think a lot of people don’t realise that Google Search Console also illustrates where your ranking, your impressions, what keywords Google has connected with your sites. Yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff in there that I think people don’t realise. So, when we’re thinking about Google Search Console data, what data that we can pull out of Google Search Console is important? Tell us a few different types of things we can learn from Google Search Console.

Noah Learner:
Can we pause? My dog just came in.

Kate Toon:
No, we’re not pausing. We’re leaving the dog moment in. Is it Shadow?

Noah Learner:
He’s a pain in the butt.

Kate Toon:
Hi, Shadow. Let’s see Shadow. Yeah.

Noah Learner:
Okay. So, I love looking at a couple of different things. I want to know if my specific pieces of content are in the index. And one of the tools that we can use to find that out is called the URL inspection. I think that that tool is really, really useful. I also think that what’s called the performance tab, which is right below that, is really, really useful because it helps us understand which search terms or queries or pages are the ones that are driving the most engagement on our website, whether that’s actual impressions, or even better the clicks that are coming through. Besides that, then it’s like, what kind of security issues or penalties might my site be suffering? I think those are kind of the top three most important pieces of data to pull out of your site.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. Well then let’s talk about a few of those. So, your URL inspector is pretty straightforward. You pop in your URL, you get a result back and it will tell you if there’s issues, if it’s being indexed. And that can be a great. Some people also use that to kind of, I’m not sure if it really works, but to flag to Google and say, “Hey, Google, here’s a new page. Can you add it to you index?” What else can we learn from the URL inspector that’s helpful for us?

Noah Learner:
Oh, one thing that I love is trying to identify if specific parts of the page are being seen by Google. And that might be let’s say you’ve got a booking widget on your website that you want to show up if you have apartment rentals or something like that, or maybe you have a dinner menu widget that gets populated on your page, you want to know if Google can see the content on there, and there’s a button or a little link that says “view crawled page”. And that tells you what Google actually sees when they crawl each of your individual pages on your site. I think that’s crazy useful. I just figured that out a couple of weeks ago, and I’m using it all the time now for weird technical issues.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. Especially if you’re using a lot of third-party feeds and plugins, you might be like, “Oh no, the page is being crawled. Look, it’s there.” But half of it’s missing because it’s not being pulled properly. That’s such a good tip.

Noah Learner:
Yeah.

Kate Toon:
And obviously, the performance search results, we kind of get back a bit of data there that we lost when Google ad words kind of marks a lot of data unviewable. So, you can go in, it’s going to show you your top queries, you can see your clicks, your impressions, your click through rate and your position, which is super powerful. Obviously, one of the things that I think people maybe don’t get, my students sometimes don’t get, is obviously it’s only showing you your results. You can’t pop in someone else’s website and find out their keywords. If you want to do that, you’re going to have to go and use SEMrush or Ahrefs or search stat or whatever. But yeah. What kind of data do you use for that performance information that you were talking about? How would you use that in the day-to-day? What lessons would you learn?

Noah Learner:
There’s a lot of stuff that you can mine out of the performance tab. Specifically, if you start using the filters that are across the top by expanding the time range from three months to 16 months, and by adding on an extra layer of filtering by hitting that new button to the right of it, it enables you to do some really neat things. Like, Google introduced this new function called regex that enables you to use something called regular expressions. And I know this is where we’d want to zoom back out and say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, this is getting really technical.” But, Kate, can you add links in the show description if I share those with you?

Kate Toon:
Oh, yeah. Absolutely, absolutely.

Noah Learner:
Okay. Cool. Because if you use regular expressions, then you can use a pattern that captures all of the question where it’s like, who, what, when, where, why, so that you can see all of the searches that start with question words, so that you can then build out content on your website that targets those question words like, why should I use insert the name of your product or service here? For example. I think that’s really powerful and people don’t typically think about that.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. So, as Noah’s aggressively passing his dog, I’m fiddling around with Google Search Console. And as he said, it’s difficult to do this when you’re listening to a podcast. So, when you get back to the office, check out the links on the show notes. But also maybe listen again. So, you go into performance on search results, maybe choose web, last 16 months, and then under new, look at query and pop in maybe why. So, keywords concerning the word why. So, here are a couple of ones I got back. Why do people copy me? Why SEO? Why isn’t SEMrush reading Google Analytics? Why am I an impostor? Why am I such a misfit? And these are all questions that have driven people to my sites. Why don’t I have superpowers? That one, I’m not sure if I can answer that one.

Kate Toon:
That’s really interesting fun stuff to find out. But obviously, even just the basics, even just looking at your total collection impressions, your click through rate. If for example, you’re in position one for keyword X, but your click through rate is really, really low, that could be an indication that your title tag, your meta description is a bit poo, or that maybe one of your competitors are doing a better job than you with theirs. And there’s lots you can learn. I think this is a message I want to put throughout this whole podcast because we’ve had other podcasts about Google Analytics. I feel like almost you need to go in to these tools with a question you want answered. If you just meander through looking at data by the end of your come out and go, yeah, that was a good half an hour, but you won’t do anything. Do you think that’s true, Noah?

Noah Learner:
Yes. Although I often find my best insight sometimes just by exploring.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, I guess.

Noah Learner:
I was thinking about this. This concept of what are the questions that we would want to have answered? And those questions really depend on what level of SEO someone is. So, to start off at the ground level, let’s say you’re just learning how to deal with your website or you just launched it. One of the first things you’re going to want to know is, does Google even know that my website exists? And that’s critical because when you launch a new website, you want to start generating revenue as quickly as possible, right? So, inside the index section in search console, there’s an area called sitemaps. And that’s where you’d want to submit your site map to Google basically telling Google exactly where it should go in order to learn and understand and index and rank content from your website.

Noah Learner:
I think that’s the first question is, does my website exists? And then the second one is, do my money pages exist? These are the pages that people can be buying your most important product or your key service. And so, you’d plug in those particular money pages into the URL inspection tool. And then if Google doesn’t know about that content, then you would submit that pieces of content for Google to then go inspect and hopefully index and rank. Those are two questions that I’d want to know. And then I think just diving into the performance tab is really critical to understand how generally am I performing. And then down with the security section, if you’re experiencing major traffic drops, I think getting to know whether or not Google has given you what’s called a manual action.

Noah Learner:
That’s when they’ve had someone actually look at your website and say, “This website is so problematic that it needs to be penalised.” And then below that is the security issues, and Google’s going to communicate to you when they perceive that their security issues with your site. If you have security issues or manual penalties or manual actions, those are the first things that you’d want to fix on your website, period. Because there are Google engineers who’ve looked at your site and are saying, “This thing needs to be penalised across the board X positions,” and it might be 10, it might be 20 and it might be 50, which means that for every ranking you would’ve gotten, you would then rank 50 positions worse because of that penalty. It’s crazy, right?

Kate Toon:
Yeah, it is crazy. So yeah, manual actions is down underneath security manual actions. And obviously, also make sure in your settings that you set up an email address so you get notifications from Google Search Console as well, because unless you’re going in there regularly to check, you might miss it. I want to jump back a little bit to the questions. So you said a good question is, am I actually physically being crawled, and are my most important pages being crawled? Now, not that long ago, Google also added Google Console Search insights is in beta at the moment. But that gives you some nice overview data that helps you wade through some of the tabs a bit easier.

Kate Toon:
You can see your page views, your page duration, new contents, popular content, how people are finding you of your top channels, how visitors find your site on Google as well, your clicks, et cetera, referring links from other websites, social media. So, again, really useful. I mean, you can see some of this on Google Analytics as well. So you should definitely link your Google Analytics and Google Search Console together. So, that’s all useful stuff.

Kate Toon:
So, the next section, after we’ve talked about insights, we talked about, looking at the page experience, the site maps. Let’s talk a bit more about some of the experience elements there. So, we’ve got the new one, which again is fairly new, which is core web vitals. And we’ve got two whole episodes on core web vitals. At the moment, it’s pretty basic information there for what I have on my site. It has pool URLs, URLs that need improvement and good URLs. And when you go into the actual reports it tells you whether your issue is key motive layout shift issue, largest contentful paint issue. And then you can work through those. I won’t dig into that too deep today because we do have two separate episodes on that. But are you using these reports now for your clients, or are you using other tools?

Noah Learner:
Yes. Yes, but I’m using it as a conversion rate optimization to pursue, which is the same thing with page speed, by the way. Not so much as as a ranking. I want to out rank all of my competition because I think it’s more of a tie breaker kind of ranking factor versus a really, really critical one. But if we have faster websites that have less issues that annoy our users, we’re going to convert and make more money. I mean, for me, that’s what it’s about.

Kate Toon:
I love that. I think and that’s kind of been echoed by a lot of the folks at Google that it’s… I love the name of a tiebreaker issue. If I’ve got to choose between these two sites, I’m going to pick this one because it doesn’t have some giant image at the top that’s taking 10 seconds to load. So, that’s fantastic. Now another element in the experience area is mobile usability. And what to the most common errors that I see coming up there is text too small to read and view port not sets. So, text is small to read, pretty self-explanatory. What does view port not set me?

Noah Learner:
I think that that’s referring to whether or not there’s a view port meta-tags set on your website, I believe, but I’ve actually-

Kate Toon:
I’ve never fixed it, I must admit. It’s one of those ones that I ignore. Okay, let’s move on. If you know what it means, let us know.

Noah Learner:
Yeah.

Kate Toon:
Keyword research, content audits, and gap analysis are important for SEO success, but they’re boring and time-consuming as hell. Doing the same steps over and over again is not fun at all.

That’s why I love Supermetrics. With Supermetrics, I can easily pull data from Google Analytics and SEMrush to Google Sheets for content auditing. Once I have all the data in one place, it’s easy to see which posts I should update or remove.

Here’s the best part: I just need to build the report once, and Supermetrics will update all my data automatically — an absolute lifesaver.

And we’ve got a special prize for you!  — a Google Search Console reporting template for Google Data Studio. This template will help you analyse your website’s search queries, most popular landing pages, and branded vs. non-branded keywords performance. So grab it for free at supermetrics.com/recipe.

Kate Toon:
Now, there’s these as well, things are being added to Google Search Console all the time, which is fabulous. Couple of new sections that have popped up, well, not new, but they’ve restructured them as the enhancements. So, there’s a section about breadcrumbs, a section about products, and a section about site links. Can you talk us through this little section and how we can use it?

Noah Learner:
Totally. So, it’s going to be tough though depending on how technically proficient your audience is, right? Like, the way that I use it’s different than the way someone who’s new to the web would use it. But I think for somebody who’s new to the web, I would use these to monitor issues and report to my developer so that they could then fix them. And the reason why they’re important is they really impact how our website will show up in the search results. We might get enhanced SERPs. We might appear in different types carousels, of all of these things can positively impact click-through rate. So, now as you scale up in your skillset, then you could actually develop solutions by coding the actual fixes to the issues that they say are broken. So if they say like, “Hey, you have to have a price. You can code in what the price is for specific products.” Those are the ways I use it. I’ve done tonnes to manually build JavaScript driven solutions that fix all the issues reported in that section. But I think most people are just going to do it to send notes to- 

Kate Toon:
Developer. And also, be aware of warnings versus errors. So, I see a lot of Shopify clients getting errors saying, “This piece of schema is missing.” And it’s simply because you don’t have that piece of schema. You know what I mean? It’s not an error. It doesn’t matter whether you have it or not. You just literally don’t have that on your site. So, again, as you said, it takes a certain degree of proficiency of understanding how important that flag is, and whether it’s even relevant to your site, which may be beyond you, but at least what is good about this tool is if you discover something, you can pass it to developers, they can fix it, and then you can go in and see whether they really have fixed it. Which I think gives you some empowerment. You don’t need to be able to necessarily do it all yourself. Now, a couple of barriers that we skipped over, I want to come to links in a second. But there’s a section called removals, which again, it’s not something that I’ve used that much. Do you use that much to remove outdated content or safe search?

Noah Learner:
I’ve used it a couple of times, just a couple. And I think it could be useful in a couple of scenarios. Let’s say you build brand guides every year. And in 2019 you built a URL that says, 2019 guide to Solomon skis or something like that. And you change your URL pattern a couple of years later, you might want to then remove the old piece of content so that it doesn’t compete with your new one. That’s I think the best use case for it.

Kate Toon:
In that situation, could you also just set a 301 redirect and not worry about it?

Noah Learner:
Yeah. You could. Totally.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. Okay. So there’s different ways of doing it.

Noah Learner:
Totally.

Kate Toon:
And then one that I, I don’t know if I’ve missed it or I’m just blind, is discover. Performance on discover. Can you explain a little bit more about that one?

Noah Learner:
Yeah. So, discover is a personalised service that Google is pushing on mobile devices so that based upon what Google perceives you as a user like, it’ll then show you content in search results powered by the discover app, I believe, or when you use the Google search natively on an Android device, I think that’ll push content via discover. And what’s really fascinating about it is that it can push a huge amount of traffic depending on how wide the audience is. And so getting your content into Google discover is something that a lot of advanced SEOs are figuring out and leveraging right now to drive a lot of traffic.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. Again, and as with Google always, they’re always giving us things, taking them away again, adding things to Google Search Console, removing them again. I think people often wish that it would be a static thing and you could just get used to it and learn it and it wouldn’t change, but obviously we wouldn’t be happy with that if it did that either. So, I think the kind of overarching message that I’m getting from you there is that this is a great tool to find out what your issues are. Some of them you may have to flag to your developers and maybe beyond your capability to fix, hopefully have a good enough relationship with your developer that they can tell you that yes, this is relevant or it isn’t, and you can feel confident that they’re telling the truth. Another section, different sections will come up depending on how sexy your site is.

Kate Toon:
So, for example, on another one of my sites, I also get amp, I get snippets, I get videos in that enhancement area. So, you may not see all of those because simply you don’t have the information on your site. But one thing that everybody gets is links. And I think this is another under realised part of Google Search Console, is that you can go into links and see the top linking sites to you. You can also see your internal links. That can be really useful to see who’s driving the most traffic to your site. How can we use that data, Noah, to improve our SEO?

Noah Learner:
Well, one thing that I think is pretty… I was actually playing with that section before we started the webinar because I hadn’t looked at the links page in a little bit. One thing that I think is really interesting is understanding how the internal links are viewed by Google, so that you can understand which pages Google views as potentially the most important based on the internal links. I think the top linking sites gives you a lot of insight into who’s driving traffic your way, which can be helpful from both a white hat perspective, which is when we try and do SEO with best practises in mind, but also from a black hat perspective to know what spammy websites are pointed at us. What if you’ve got 1000 different websites that are pointing at you, and your top site is like super mad spammy, Google would show you like, hey, you might want to disavow links from this particular domain, which is probably beyond what your audience-

Kate Toon:
No, no, we’ve talked about disavowing. Hopefully-

Noah Learner:
Oh, good.

Kate Toon:
If you don’t know what disavowing is, head to the, I Love SEO group and I’ll explain more. But yes, I love what you mentioned about internal links. So, on my particular site that I’m looking at, I can see my top linked pages are my shop and my membership page, which should be my top link pages, because they’re my power pages. They’re my money pages. But if you suddenly saw at the top of your link pages, that it was your privacy policy, you might want to rethink your internal linking strategy. Have a look at that, make sure that the external links are pointing to your most important and pages and your internal links are posting there too. And as you said, check out those top linking sites. Now that’s right at the bottom of the menu on the side. And then in the settings area, we’re not going to go through all of that, but you can also sort out your ownership verification, you can give add new users, change your address, you see that when you added your accounts, all that kind of good stuff. So, I thought that- Oh, sorry?

Noah Learner:
Crawl requests are actually cool.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, I’ve got 26,000 crawl requests. Tell me about that one.

Noah Learner:
Well, click through to the report. And there’s so much that’s interesting about that. So number one, it’s like you get to see the shape of how often your site’s getting crawled. Sometimes people would argue that if you can see really significant changes in how your site’s being crawled, it’s flagging a couple of different things. Either A, you’re about to get a manual action or a penalty, or B, there’s something really wrong with your site. Like, let’s say your server’s broken and you see that Google stops crawling your site for a period of time, that’s major yellow/red flag territory that you have technical issues that need to get fixed. I love how it also tells you the percent of the content that’s returning different status codes. So, like if 95% of your pages are all 200 responses, which are the good ones, that’s great. Let’s say you have 404 status or codes, which are like this content is missing or gone. Let’s say you have none of those, that’s like, yay. Or let’s say you’ve no 500 series errors, that would be fantastic too because that means your server’s working perfectly all the time.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, I think this section is fantastic. And I think some people were worried that we’d lost this 404 error check bit because it’s moved from the sidebar. And things have moved around and this is where it lives. So as you said, you can see your 200, which means it’s perfect. 301 and 301 redirects, which is a permanent redirect. Page is not found, 404, and then server errors. Anything with a five at the beginning is often a server error. So, this is where you find these and you can dig into the not founds as well, and check that you don’t need to set up a redirect, or sometimes a 404 error is the right result. You don’t need to redirect every single thing. And you can see when you did those 404 errors as well and when that happened, the time is there.

Kate Toon:
So yeah, really super, super useful stuff. I’ve just found a very strange 404 error just looking at it right now. So, I’m going to be checking that out. I’ll do it. So, look, there’s a lot of data we can get out of Google Search Console. But let’s talk about how you use that. Yeah. So a couple of questions to finish off around how we use that data. How can we use the data that we find out from Google Search Console to get ahead of our competitors, to get some kind of advantage? What can we use there?

Noah Learner:
So, I love that question. I was thinking about it. I think it really depends on what stage your website is and what stage your competition is. If you’re in a niche, niche, niche, kind of vertical where it’s not hyper competitive, then I think just knowing about the tool and doing best practises with it, like putting your site map in, making sure that there aren’t tonnes of errors inside coverage and working with your developer partner when there is, making sure that you don’t have manual actions, making sure that you don’t have tonnes of security stuff, just as like a bare minimum. And you’re already probably doing more than your competition. As your website gets to be more complex and your competition tends to be way more aggressive depending on that kind of vertical, then you need to start thinking about getting the data from Google Search Console out of it via the API, so that you can then see so, so much more.

Noah Learner:
With all of the stuff that we’ve been seeing inside the native Google Search Console tool, you can only see 1000 rows at a time. And when you pull data out from the API, you can get 50,000 rows of data for every day. So the scale of it, it goes from 1000 to millions of rows, which enables you to build huge data sets. And more importantly, you get to look at that data with tools like Google Data Studio, so you can turn it into actionable insights in a tool that’s really, really fast. So, getting ahead of your competition, there’s different things that you’re going to do at different stages. And I just wanted to share that as a potential range.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. So, from small to massive. And another thing that we talk about often, especially, well, not just with e-commerce sites, but with service-based businesses, how you can use Google Search Console to target those different stages of the buyer journey. So how can you target the people that are right at the start? I think you’ve already helped us with that little bit because obviously, people that are top of funnel are generally in the question asking stage, why should I use SEO, whatever? And then as people move further down that funnel, they get more specific in their requests. They don’t ask some broad questions about SEO. They’re looking for an SEO course. And then as they get further down, they’re looking for Kate Toon’s SEO course or whatever. But what else can we use the data for to help us with that whole buyer journey adventure?

Noah Learner:
I love that you asked this question because we built a tool that we call explore that really dives in deep into this concept of the funnel. And the way that we think about it is, each page in the tool has a different set of words that are associated with different stages in the funnel. So, if you kind of extrapolate from that, you can develop a set of words that for your site, you’re thinking about as being the beginning of a buyer’s journey. And that’s the awareness stage, where people are learning that they have a problem that they need to solve. So, all of the terms that relate to that would be sort of top of funnel. And then middle of funnel is all about the consideration phase.

Noah Learner:
So you can think about looking at all of the stuff in the performance tab, the search terms in the performance tab, there were aligned around the content that you’ve built to talk about that consideration phase, things like reviews, best content, A versus B content, that best product under Y price, those types of pieces of content are all going to be in the middle of the funnel. So, you can use that concept of applying filters at the top of the performance tab using regex so that you can then dive into things like versus content, A versus B, best X under Y, that type of stuff. And then the bottom of the funnel, that’s really sexy. That’s where most of the money’s happening.

Noah Learner:
You want to know about all of an e-commerce site. That’s all of the searches that send users to your product detail pages, right? Those are really, really great pages to target for bottom of the funnel. You’re going to see things like shipping, financing. You’re going to see stuff like sale, for sale, coupon, cheap, where to buy, shipping, price, affordable deals. These are all the keyword modifiers that’ll help you know that people are at the bottom of the funnel. So you can use those to filter your search queries inside search console, to learn about the bottom. Is that helpful?

Kate Toon:
Oh, super helpful. Amazing. I think that is a little query filter is just the tips for it. Isn’t it?

Kate Toon:
And I’m going to be playing with that-

Noah Learner:
Oh, my God. It’s so great.

Kate Toon:
… a little later. Just the tits is a technical term that I use. Now look, we can talk about this all day. We’ve talked about it for quite a while. So, I would love to hear from you, regardless of Google Search Console, you work with a lot of different types of businesses. And I know that you especially like working with bike shops. But what, I mean, I like about you is that you’re not just working with big, huge companies that have huge budgets that can do, so there’s AB testing and grandiose strategies that just the average business owner, the average bike shop owner just simply doesn’t have the time for. So, for somebody listening to this who’s fairly new to SEO, what would be your number one SEO tip, Noah Learner?

Noah Learner:
The number one tip question, you’re killing me with that. So, the problem is that SEO is complex and there’s like 200 and something different ranking factors, which means that the amount of work that one could ever put in a website is infinite, right? And so, learning how to prioritise what’ll actually move the needle and make you money, is actually starting with the foundations. So, it’s like get all of the things right that are going to drive traffic to your website. Things like really interesting page titles that speak directly to your target audience that get them emotional about your product or service, emotional enough to click through, and writing many descriptions that speak directly to your target audience that make them a hero and get really into the meat of their emotions that would make them want to click through. Those two little things would get you so much traffic and be useful and helpful for end users.

Kate Toon:
I love that. When I asked people this question, and we know that we use this as a filler question when we’re doing rooms together as well, often people say you don’t get your speed right and prove your credibility, all of which is important. But I love that an SEO person just talked about emotions, because SEO people don’t have emotions. So this is really interesting to me. At the end of the day, you can have the smoothest, smickest most crawled site in the world. It can get the best core web vital score, and no 500 errors. But at the end of the day, you’re still trying to connect with humans. And getting people from the search engine results to your site is often about target on those heartstrings, or triggering an emotional response. I love that. I think title tags and method descriptions are hugely underrated. And yes, they’re basics, but most people get the basics wrong, unfortunately. So, yeah. 

Noah Learner:
I think that building websites, it’s really about building something that’s targeted around everything that your intended audience would ever want to know about whatever product or service you have, whatever they would need to use, buy, love and recommend to other people. That should be where you put all of your energy, is that over time you develop enough content that answers all of those types of questions. And you can hear that it’s a marathon when you hear the scope of that. But really performing and exceeding expectations with those types of content are going to get you a 100X the results. It’s lot more work, but it’ll get you 100X results.

Kate Toon:
I love it. And then look, it’s not as black and white as improving your site speed by 2.4 seconds.

Noah Learner:
Yeah, totally.

Kate Toon:
But it’s a lot more kind of abstract, but I 100% agree with you. So thank you very much, Noah Learner. And thank you for coming on the podcast today. Of course, we will include links to all your various bits and bobs in the show notes. But I’m going to send them to your Twitter, which is where Noah is most active, and also your Clubhouse profile. Where else do you hang out on the interwebs? Is it really just those two places, or where else?

Noah Learner:
Well, I’m on LinkedIn, but I don’t love it. I have a Slack Community for agency automators that’s really fun. There’s 550 people who love building really cool tools for digital marketing and automation stuff for digital marketing there. And also, the agency automators YouTube channel, that’s kept me busy like crazy over the past couple of years. So, those are are the main spots.

Kate Toon:
Fantastic. What I’m going to ask Noah to send me links to those things as well. I’ll pop them into the show notes. But, Noah, I hope to see you or hear you on Clubhouse soon when I’m out of lockdown and have a minute to scratch myself. So thank you so much for today,

Noah Learner:
Kate, you’re amazing. Thanks for having me.

Kate Toon:
So, that’s the end of this week’s show. If you have questions about harnessing the power of Google Search Console with Noah and Kate, well then of course you can head to the I Love SEO group on Facebook. I’d like to end the show with a shout out to one of my lovely listeners. And today it’s for FN Awesome game from the United States. And they write, this podcast is so valuable, Kate. You’re awesome. I love your hot copy podcast and this one more. 

Kate Toon:
Thank you, FN awesome. And thank you for listening. If you liked the show, please don’t forget to leave a five-star rating and review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you heard the show. And of course, you will get a shout out. And don’t forget to head to read the show notes for this episode, a few extra tips and links from Noah. And of course, check out my other podcasts, the Hot Copy podcast, it was mentioned there, and the Kate Toon show. I will hopefully be releasing a new series of that towards the end of the year. So, until next time, happy SEO-ing.