21 August 09:10

Google Search Console just got better - here's why

Google Search Console (GSC) used to be a techies tool, but thanks to new features, it's something all content marketer's can add to their arsenal

By Mediaplanet Creative Team

in order to help you understand what Google Search Console is and how you can use it to improve your content, we put together this guide.

What is Google Search Console?

Called Webmaster Tools until 2015, Google Search Console is a free service that gives you an overview of how Google’s search engine sees your site. This includes everything from your website’s search engine indexing and its rankings to a list of pages that link to your site.

In addition to providing tools that give you insight into search engine optimization, GSC also lets you know if any advertisements on your site are “annoying.”

Why is this important?

You might not know this but ever since Google added a built-in ad blocker to Chrome in February 2018, it’s been silently blocking ad formats that it deems irritating. With 60 percent of all internet users worldwide using Chrome as of July 2018, this might be why signups on your pop-up mailing list invitation have drastically dropped off. Now you have a place to check if that’s why and fix the situation.

What should content marketers use Google Search Console for?

The answer depends how much your content marketing depends on search engine optimization. If it’s important to you (and it should be), you can use it to gain insights into which questions your prospective customers are asking.

Try homing in on search terms that are popular but you don’t rank high on. This should provide the perfect inspiration for which new content you should be creating. After all, if you can better answer your potential customer's questions than your competitors, this will give you an edge.

If you already have a lot of content, you can use the same data to figure out which content you should improve. For example, you might have content that covers popular search terms but only gets a few clicks. Here, you’ll want to spend some time refreshing and optimizing it. This is often much better than starting over from scratch.

Google Chrome’s ad blocker and what it means to you

Most users don’t like banner ads, pre-rolls on videos or other annoying ads. And until recently, people had to install special ad-blocking browsers or download an ad blocker from the Chrome Web Store to avoid them. But since February 15, 2018, Google Chrome has come with a built-in ad blocker.

However, Chrome doesn’t block every ad, just ads in irritating formats. For example, the browser blocks pop-up boxes with countdowns and videos with audio that plays automatically by default. On the other hand, you’re still seeing most types of banner ads and AdWords. Google is, of course, a member of the Coalition for Better Ads, where together with Facebook and industry organizations like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), they determine the standards for when an advertisement is too annoying.

Critics compare this situation to Dracula guarding a blood bank, and already a number of annoying ad types have been able to penetrate the Chrome filter — like pre-rolls on YouTube, which is owned by Google.

Discovering blocked items in Google Search Console

Even if you only have one ad that Google considers too annoying, the browser will block every ad on your site. That’s worth noting when you rely on money from ads to make a living.

And this is where GSC comes into play.

Let's say you have a pop-up on your site asking visitors to sign up for your newsletter and it fills most of the screen.

You have two ways to realize that it’s being blocked on Google Chrome:

  • The hard way

You notice that the number of newsletter signups has greatly reduced over an extended period of time. You debug your site, but since only about half of your visits come from Chrome, the report doesn’t sound any obvious alarms and the silent blocking continues.

  • The easy way

You take a weekly look at the Ad Experience Report in GSC to see if any annoying items have been detected. If they have, you quickly remove them or adjust them so you won’t bother Google and your users.

The list of blocked ad types is long and some formats do slip through the filter. In any case, it's a powerful reminder that it's better to attract potential customers than disturb them.

By now, you should understand what Google Search Console is and how it can improve your content marketing. If you need help, our friendly team here at Mediaplanet is available to optimize your content and position ad campaigns that help you achieve your marketing goals. Contact us to learn more.

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