Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why it’s important to keep track of your search engine rankings [Google Search Console]

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Search is not dead – in case anyone was wondering or about to declare it to be. 🙂 In 2016, about 70 percent of all traffic to this content marketing blog came from search engines. That’s an interesting statement for a social media guy. Social media, by the way, sent 11 percent of all traffic in 2016. Social media isn’t dead either, by the way.

Seeing what people search for to end up on my site clearly offers a lot of learning opportunities. Why did that article take off? Why did I write about that in the first place? What prompted the sharing? How well does it actually rank? Can I optimize it better for search engines?

In October 2016, I started using the Google Search Console, which you can find in the Google Webmaster Tools to see how my site is performing in search. I also use Google Trends from time to time to see what stories are taking off.

The console shows me what articles get the most search traffic, how often they were viewed in search results, how many clicked over and what the average position on the search results page was. Very helpful and it shows me what people are searching for as it relates to my core topics. It often brings new visitors to my site as well. After all, they searched for a topic and ended up on my site vs. the visitors who get my email or come back regularly already.

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In general, though, I didn’t do much keyword research or trends analysis before writing articles. I spotted a problem and found a solution or had an interesting story to share and shared it. I went story shopping and added items to my cart, if you wish.

Let’s look at the stories that have had the most search engine traffic and visibility since I added Google Search Console two weeks ago:

  1. How to add the CONTACT button to your Instagram account, 24,000 impressions, 1,907 clicks, 8 percent click through rate, 5.7 average position in search results
  2. How to retweet yourself, 6,604, 803, 12 percent, 6.5 average position
  3. How to thank people for their Facebook birthday wishes, 5,200, 187, 3.6 percent, 18
  4. Instagram Stories delete after 24 hours but is that privacy?, 21,000, 181, 0.87 percent, 9.3

The top 4 made up about 56,000 of the total of over 90,000 impressions in this time period of a couple of weeks. It’s another great example of how it’s good to see what our best performing content is, but ultimately, it’s a numbers game. All the stories (around 700) on this blog together bring audiences to the site. Many bring some search traffic – even in this two-week sample period.

google-search-console-positionsI found interesting when  where the top 15 show up on the Google Search Results Pages. You may have heard people say they are shooting for No. 1.

None of those stories are ranking No. 1, but are still drawing traffic. Six of the top 15 are showing at 10 or lower, so most on the second page. Certainly, my click-throughs increase the higher I rank and the more relevant my content is, but if Google shows irrelevant content for the searcher’s intent, the person will just keep scrolling.

We’ve all  been there, right? “What’s Google showing me here? It’s so hard to find useful information.”

Now the trick is to go back optimize those already performing posts for search. People have already shown interest, maybe I can increase visibility by using even better terms, answering additional questions.

Once I wrote an article on how to unsubscribe from Facebook Live notificationsThat article was drawing a lot of search engine traffic because, well, many found it hard to unsubscribe from those relentless Facebook Live notifications. One thing, I learned later, though, was that even though the article was getting a ton of traffic it could have gotten even more had I used this phrase more: “How to turn off…”

Unsubscribe seemed the right term to me and to many others. But an entire other audience was searching for the same thing by using other terms – the ones that made sense to them.

I only figured that out, because I started seeing people come to the blog after searching for that. The article was still showing, just a lot lower.

Here’s to sharing content that is helpful to people and that they can find.

Any questions about SEO or how to turn Google Search Console on? Drop me a note here.

Disclaimers: The information provided in articles is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Enjoy and best of luck telling the best stories in your organization and life!

Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I’m Christoph Trappe.

I’ve written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs.

If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I’m always happy to chat!

Thanks for reading!

– Christoph

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