Google Search Console is a free tool that most SEOs are familiar with. Just about any site owner with a minimal amount of experience has run across it too. The tool has its limitations, but it does also have its uses, and today I’m going to show you how to optimize existing content quickly and easily.

This tactic will take you roughly 15 – 30 minutes per page. Considering the potential benefits, this is a solid use of time when you need to get some quick wins in and you have a bank of existing content to work with.

First, log into search console and click on the “Pages” tab underneath the graphs. I like to sort by clicks to see what’s performing the best and the worst. Next, you’re going to choose a page to examine. Click on one of the pages – in this case we’ll use Optimize Theory’s blog on fixing suspended Google My Business listings. After you’ve selected the page, click on the “Queries” tab.

Now you’re looking at only the queries that page ranks for. You can even select the “Average Position” at the top to see which queries each one ranks for. But we want to use this data to find opportunities, and we don’t have the ability to marry our search positions for each query with the total search volume in Google Search Console. So hit that export button to the right and download a csv.
Next, go into Moz and get to the Keyword Explorer tool. You’re going to take advantage of Moz’s Keyword Lists tool to quickly see search volumes for that content. Start a new list, copy/paste it in, and then wait a couple minutes for the data to process. Once it’s done you can take a moment to also enter your URL and it will show whether or not you’re on page one. Since 93% of search selection occurs on page one, it’s probably fine that it doesn’t go too much deeper, although it’s sometimes worthwhile to see what’s in position 11 or 12 for a quick visibility boost.
Next, sort by volume. You’re trying to find the highest volume opportunities out there and optimize for those. In this case, I’m already ranking for a couple of queries on this topic that get 51-100 searches/month. So I’m going to update the title tag, the H1, and the content to include this exact phrase in a few places. While the power of exact match has declined somewhat, it’s still an important on-page factor. You may also want to check out the SERP analysis to get a good idea of what the competition is doing. In this case, I have a competitor who is doing the exact same thing as me (womp, womp) so this may or may not work in my favor.
Note: Now obviously relevancy matters a lot here. If you’re writing about something completely different than whatever the top volume result is, then you’re going to have a bad time. So make sure that it’s on topic, whatever you choose. Brett Elliott

SEO Consultant

Finally you have one last step after you’ve made changes to the content and meta data. That is to submit the page you’ve just updated for priority indexing. You do this by going back into Google Search Console, pasting the URL into the search bar at the top, and hitting the “request indexing” button in the lower right.

Please note that I am not changing the URL. While an exact match URL can be a helpful on page element to optimize, I just changed the domain name and did a bunch of redirects. My traffic recovered pretty quickly, but if Google keeps seeing redirect after redirect being implemented, they may stop trusting the signals I put out there. Consistency is key and changing the URLs could be risky.

Note that there are a whole bunch of other things that you could be considering to optimize your page. Looking at the top results most similar to your own page you can get an idea about the type of content that performs well. For example, if there’s a video carousel in SERP results for your target query, and there are pages with embedded videos, it might make sense that video content could do a great job here. So take this guide as a starting point, not a destination.

Pro-Tip:

There is a way to get keyword volume data directly in Google Search Console for free using Keywords Everywhere. This is a useful, free Chrome Extension that requires a little bit of setup to get it working. If you have it installed already, make sure it’s on, go to the page you want to view in Google Search Console and hit refresh. If you do, you will get CPC, Competitiveness Scores, and Search Volumes directly in Google Search Console. You can’t sort by volume or export into excel, so it’s slightly limited in that way. But you can always change the number of rows to see 1000 queries, hit ctrl+a (cmd+a in Mac) to highlight all, then paste into excel. That would let you do virtually the same thing.

The advantage to using Keywords Everywhere is that it’s free. Moz is more expensive but worth the investment if you need a tool to do multiple things. For example, after making changes to my pages I added the keywords I wanted to track into a campaign in Moz so I could see whether or not my changes improve my rankings. If it doesn’t work out for me I can always go back to what I had before and recover my lost traffic.

Thanks for reading, and as always, please feel free to contact me if you’re in the market for an SEO Consultant.

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