Google Search Console is a fantastic place to learn about how your website performs on search engines. If your website is an integral step in your sales process, then I’ve got some interesting things to share with you.
What is Google Search Console?
Before we discuss what the search console is, it’s best to take a small step back and understand the context. This way, the search console reports, and why they matter, will make more sense.
When a potential client needs an event planner in their town, the first thing they do is turn to Google. They’ll type in a search query, perhaps “event planners Chicago.“
Then, Google presents the client with the search results (and a bunch of ads too). The problem is that these search results number in the millions, and most people never look beyond the first page of Google anyway.
So your goal as an event business is to rank as high as possible in these search results. It’s not as difficult as you might imagine, and I’ve shared tips on how to improve your search engine rankings here:
- Blogging Tips For Event Planners: Search Engine Optimization
- 4 Steps To Great On-Page SEO for Event Planners
- Google My Business For Event Planners: List Higher in Google Search Results
- Google Search for Event Planners
- SEO Hacks For Wedding Planners
- SEO For Wedding Planners In 2020
But what if you’ve read all of those articles and worked to improve your SEO? Did it work? How do you find out? You’d probably like an answer to the question, “how am I ranking in Google’s search engine results?”
Well, you’ll find the answers in the Google Search Console.
What You Can Learn In The Search Console
There’s a lot you can discover when exploring Google’s search console, but, to be frank (hi, Frank!), much of it won’t be super relevant to your event business. I’ll go over the bits and bobs that will be the most important and the most actionable. You can ignore everything else in most cases.
Is your website being indexed by search engines?
The first step to being discovered online through search engines is getting indexed. This means that Google’s bots have crawled your website. You probably already are indexed, and you probably don’t have to do anything, but it’s worth making sure.
To check, click the URL inspection menu option in the left-hand sidebar. Then, add your website’s URL.
You’ll likely see something like this:
If your website isn’t indexed, no problem. Just click the “request indexing” option on that same page, and within a day or so, Google will crawl your website. In the URL Inspection page’s coverage section, you can even see the last date that Google crawled your website.
If your homepage is being indexed, it’s a safe bet that other pages are as well. In case your homepage and blog are hosted separately, check a couple of different URLs just to be sure. You won’t need to request indexing multiple times. Google will re-index your website frequently.
External and Internal Links
On the lower left of the screen, you’ll see the Links menu option. Clicking on it will reveal information about which pages on your site are linked to from around the web.
External Links shows which pages on your site other websites link to. It will uncover the most popular content on your site. By scrolling down, you’ll see the websites that send you the most traffic and what text is used when they link to you.
Internal links matter less, but it’s a good habit to make sure every page you create on your site or blog has at least one or two links pointing to it from elsewhere on your site. It helps Google understand your website better.
Core Web Vitals In Search Console
Basically, keep an eye on this area from time but don’t stress it too much. If there are massive issues with your website that are negatively impacting your search rankings, this is where you’ll see the warning. However, if you see the odd red line here or there, ignore it.
Persistent warnings are worth your attention. Depending on who set up your website, you might need some technical help, but in the main, don’t expect much to happen here.
That all said, speed is a critical factor in your search engine rankings. Head over to Page Speed Insights – you’ll get a far better picture of your core web vitals anyway, including suggestions to improve.
The Performance Page
This is my favorite page. The performance page is where you really learn about how your website is performing on search results.
Let’s take a quick spin through the basics.
Total clicks: This is the number of people who clicked over to your website from a Google search.
Total impressions: This is the number of times your website showed up in the search results to someone. This needs a little bit of clarification. If my website ranks on page three of the search rankings, and a searcher only makes it to page two, that will not count as an impression. Only if they make it to page three will it count.
Average CTR: CTR stands for click-through rate and is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. It’s a measure of how appealing your search result looks to a searcher. Obviously, the higher, the better, but it’s always a really low number. Don’t stress too much about it.
Average position: This is where you rank in the search engine results overall. It’s a supremely misleading number because obviously, you’ll rank lower for many long-tail obscure but only rank high for a handful of queries. Focus on the specifics of each query lower in the report, not the average overall.
Pro tip: if you click on any of those little squares in the graph section, it will change the table below the graph.
Understanding Queries In Search Console
Below the graph on the Performance page, you’ll see a table. The first tab is Queries. This is where you can see what people are searching for which Google thinks you’re a relevant answer. Gosh, that’s a mouthful. Let me try and put it another way.
If a person searches “event planner Chicago” and your website appears in the search results, you’ll see “event planner Chicago” in the query list here on the performance page. You’ll also see the avg. position, click-through rate, total impressions, and total clicks. So what?
If your website is about event planning in Chicago, you’d expect to see queries related to just that. If you’re showing up for queries entirely unrelated to your business, that’s a sign you need to make some changes.
Those changes include registering for Google My Business, writing blog posts about being an event planner, and improving your on-page SEO. You should probably start with the on-page SEO and Google My Business. It won’t take very long, but it will be super effective at improving how Google understands your website.
The Pages Tab In Search Console
The pages tab is an interesting one. You’ll see here if Google thinks your contact page is more relevant than your homepage and other interesting quirks of search engine results.
If you blog, this is an excellent place to see which blog pages are effective. For example, I asked a musician and DJ to write up a list of common live event audio issues. While writing this article, I took a look at my Pages tab and discovered it has a click-through rate of a whopping 38%. That’s a clear signal I need to write more content like that.
You can learn which topics, blog posts, and ideas really resonate with your clients and potential clients.
The Rest of The Performance Page
Click around the performance tab and have fun. You’ll see which countries your site visitors are in (useful for destination event pros), whether searchers are on mobile or desktop, and more.
And you can even combine things. Click on a query, and then you’ll see the results for only that query. Then, you can click on Pages and see which pages on your site Google showed them.
What About Everything Else?
There’s a lot more to Google Search Console than what I’ve covered today, but I figure you can ignore pretty much everything else. I certainly do. Once you’re familiar with the Search Console overall and want to get more technical, you can dabble further into areas like sitemaps and security. Still, for now, it’s more confusing than useful.
Being an event pro means you’ve got enough to worry about without getting in the weeds. But if you want to go through it step by step, let me know and write a more advanced article. I use Search Console weekly for our event planning software and blog – I really enjoy this stuff. If you have questions, just shoot me an email.