Learning the keywords your school website is being found on is not only critical from an SEO (search engine optimisation) perspective but also in terms of understanding your brand reach. Your organic keywords can tell you where you need to make website improvements and who you’re reaching – i.e. new versus existing parents.
By adding Google Search Console (a free Google tool) to your Google Analytics account you’ll have access to the keywords and phrases that your website is being found on in search results. In addition, you’ll be able to see which keywords have the highest CTR (click through rate) and how you rank in search results on those particular terms. And the best part is you can do this in less than 30 minutes (bar any issues trying to remember your Google Analytics password ;)! It will be well worth the time investment though as you’ll soon discover….
The first step is to see if you’re already set up with Google Search Console. You may have access to these keywords already and don’t even know it…
Step 1 – Check Your Google Analytics
Log into your Google Analytics account. On the left menu scroll down to Acquisition > Search Console >Queries
If you see search terms there – fantastic! Fast forward to Step 5 below!
However, if instead, you see something like the image below – then you don’t have Google Search Console connected to your website and you’ll want to do that now. Move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Add Google Search Console
To add Google Search Console go to their homepage: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home
Remember you’ll need to be logged into the same Google verified account that you use for your Google Analytics (you can tell by your image that appears on the top right corner of your screen).
Once there all you need to do is simply go to your website and copy and paste your entire URL into the area noted and click the ‘Add a New Property‘ button.
Step 3 – Verify Ownership of Your Website
Next Google wants to verify that you actually own this website so that no one else can access your data. This can be a very simple step but it’s also been known to cause a few headaches.
You should see a screen like the image below with two tabs – one that says ‘Recommended Method’ and the other, ‘Alternative Method’. The recommended method wants you to add code to your website. If you’re a Marketer, the easiest method is to choose the Alternative tab. There you’ll see the option to select Google Analytics as your verification method. Just to note, to use this method you’ll need to have the ability to ‘Edit’ in Google Analytics. To see if you have that right, visit your GA account, go to Admin (cog on bottom left) > User Management (upper right) and there you should be able to see your permissions.
90% of the time, this is a simple process. Assuming all is good, click the Verify button and voila– you’ve connected your website to your Google Analytics! Next, move on to Step 4.
Step 4 – Update Your Google Analytics
Now you’ll need to do the final step to connect the two platforms…
From your Google Analytics dashboard, click on the Admin cog. There you’ll see three columns. Select Property Settings from the middle column. This will open up a new window. Scroll to the very bottom of the right-hand side screen until you see Search Console and the button Adjust Search Console just below that. Simply click on that button and you should see your Search Console account show up. Click Done and then Save when you exit the Property Settings.
Your accounts should now be connected! To verify, go back to your dashboard Acquisition > Search Console >Queries and (selecting the current date) you should no longer see the message asking to connect Search Console (Step1).
Step 5 – Analysis Your Keywords
You won’t see data right away, but give it a day or two and you’ll start to see the organic keywords your school website is being found on, the clicks on a particular search term, the number of times that it’s been shown in search results (impressions) and your average position.
So what do you do with this data? Analyse and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly! For instance ….
- Do you only show up for ‘branded’ keywords (i.e. – your school name)? If so, that means only people that already know about your school are finding you. NO new parents (well none that don’t already know you). Time to make SEO a priority to get in front of new audiences!
- If you see a keyword with a high CTR but your average position number is also high (meaning it may not be showing up on page 1), consider making that keyword a priority in your SEO strategy. That’s obviously a phrase that resonates with your audience and is driving traffic to your website. When it gets found. Adjust your content accordingly to ensure it’s seen in search results.
- If you have a keyword that’s in a number 1 position and yet you’re not seeing a high CTR, have a look at what your competitors are doing on that term. Does your meta description (your search ‘ad’) need to be adjusted? Is it not compelling enough? There is also another reason that it may have a low CTR … it’s possible that that term just doesn’t matter to your target audience. Time to rethink the keywords your school website is optimised on!
There is a lot more to SEO and optimising your website for search, which I won’t get into at the moment, but for now, you’ll at least have a better understanding where your site stands in search results. And, if in the future, you decide to go forward with some SEO work (either internally or externally), this information will be essential in determining a keyword strategy that not only gets you found, but aids with conversions as well! But that’s another blog. One step at a time…
Good luck with your Search Console setup – I’m here if you get stuck!