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Content Marketing 25 min read

How to Use GSC to Create a Content Plan, Find New Ideas, and Update Articles

How to Use GSC to Create a Content Plan, Find New Ideas, and Update Articles
How to Use GSC to Create a Content Plan, Find New Ideas, and Update Articles
Meet an extensive follow-up of Serpstat Twitter Chat from the 19th of May, which mainly concerned the GSC and the ways of creating effective content plans when using it

Our main speaker, Marco Giordano, and other experts from this sphere shared their thoughts on the topic.

So, let's dive in!

Intro

In simple terms, Google Search Console (GSC) is defined as a free tool for checking keyword performance, measuring the traffic, and correcting problems that may occur. It can also be used to monitor how a website is doing in the SERP and how to adjust it in Google's index.

The question is, how can it be used to develop an effective content strategy? What are the main pros and cons of GSC, and whether it can be an autonomous tool when working with content?

Let's take a closer look at the main questions our experts were asked, so we can consider all aspects of these topics in more detail.
Twitter Chat was attended by representatives of the following companies:
Marco Giordano
Search Engine Optimization Specialist
Web Analyst at Sika
Olena Prokhoda
Social Media and Community Specialist
at Serpstat
Lyndon NA
Internet business consultant, (SEM (SEO/PPC), CM & SMM, with UX, CRO & ORM)
Taylor Murchison
SEO at Tipalti
Yıldırım Sertbaş
Founder & Owner
at Yıldırım Sertbaş

#1. What are the most common problems and misconceptions that people have about GSC?

Google Search Console is a service from Google that comes hand in hand with Google Analytics and shows data about how Google Search sees your website.

GSC is considered a must-have for beginners when it comes to joining the world of SEO analytics. But why is it so valued?
First, the interface is easy to learn. It is as simple as setting up an account, copying a tag into your website HTML, and that's it — you are good to go!

Second, using Google Search Console offers a lot of benefits:
  • understanding Google's index;
  • enhancing your website's search engine visibility;
  • optimizing the HTML code;
  • boosting organic search traffic;
  • monitoring website crawling;
  • reviewing link reports;
  • tracking the effectiveness of the ads you buy;
  • getting insights right away, and many more.
benefits of GSC
SEO professionals usually utilize the service for making data-driven decisions about their SEO strategies.

What about content creation? As it's an essential factor that influences SEO a lot, it should also be taken into consideration. And GSC is here to help :)
A lot of people think that GSC is not enough to compete against paid tools for content production. For sure, there are such cases. But in general, knowing how to play with its data is the real game-changer for your content strategy.

GSC is my first option when it comes to analyzing content and finding new data.
Marco Giordano
Marco Giordano
Search Engine Optimization Specialist/Web Analyst at Sika
GSC offers a wide range of benefits, which should be no surprise. The real question arises when it comes to facing imperfections of the service.

As time passed, marketers began to realize, though, that what they receive in the Google Search Console reports does not always correlate with what happens on the web in real-time.

Consequently, there is a lot of discussion regarding the reliability of the GSC since it's difficult to accurately determine what the industry's realities are.
I can consider as misconceptions the following: there is a delay in Google Search Console data, which can mean you aren’t working with the most current data.

This was true, but since their API provides partial data from the previous day, the issues were fixed.
Olena Prokhoda
Olena Prokhoda
Social Media and Community Specialist at Serpstat
What about other common problems and misconceptions that arise when using this platform?
The problem is not knowing why pages aren’t indexed.
The misconception is that it’s just a place to check and update index status.

There’s so much data in GSC (especially API) that can help inform content strategy.
Taylor Murchison
Taylor Murchison
SEO at Tipalti
People often think that discovered pages are indexed, but when Google discovers pages, it's like when you see a new steakhouse or pizzeria on the street and say to check it out later. If it comes later, G will crawl.
Yıldırım Sertbaş
Yıldırım Sertbaş
Founder & Owner at Yıldırım Sertbaş
Nevertheless, GSC remains a valuable tool that is widely used despite the minimal inaccuracies that arise when using it.

What's more, Google is constantly working on better utilizing its data to maximize performance for webmasters.
To learn how to set up Google Search Console, check out the article on Digital Marketing Extreme.

#2. What are the non-obvious uses of GSC?

The GSC is primarily used to track SEO performancedetermine key performance indicators, and identify technical site health metrics, among which are index coverage, URL inspection, and mobile usability testing.

To use the most out of this tool, you've to apply all the unobvious functionalities it offers. Below are several hacks you may master and add to the optimization strategy you use: 
Find New Content Ideas
Check out the top-ranked pages on Google to see what content works well. Usually, the audience's receptivity to a particular piece of content tells you what kind of content they want. Use GSC and analyze the info it shows to make positive changes to your site's content.
Identify New Keyword Opportunities
Keep an eye out for which keyword types bring in traffic. To do so, you may check the Queries report at GSC or use special services, such as Serpstat.
With Serpstat, you have access to a wide range of tools that are widely used by SEO and PPC professionals, marketing agencies, and advertising agencies.

For example, Keyword Research Tool helps expand semantics with the right words for your audience. The service shows similar keywords based on the similarity of the top-20 of their search results, for which there are at least two pages at the top as in the analyzed keyword.

Choosing appropriate keywords is going to be much easier with the "Related keywords," "Search suggestions," and "Search questions" reports. 
Personal demonstration
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Optimize Your Mobile Keywords

When using Google Search Console, you can filter keywords according to a particular device. "Mobile Usability report" allows you to find keywords that people use to find your site on mobile.

Identify and Address Negative Keywords to Decrease Your Bounce Rate
Using the "Search terms" report, you may find negative keywords that describe queries you rank for but shouldn't be because your content doesn't meet the intent of the user behind that keywords.
Compare Your Performance Weekly, Quarterly, and Yearly
Download reports and ultimately analyze the info exported. As Stanford Mead of Summit Home Buyers says: “an important metric to look at when opening Google Search Console is web performance over a specific period of time.”
Let's see what our experts consider as non-obvious uses of GSC:
  • Work with pages positioned between spots 7 and 15. Using GSC, it’s possible to identify them by going to Search Traffic, Search Analytics, and click on Pages and Positions. It may be enough to optimize meta tags, add content, and internal links to improve rankings.
  • Identify the content types that get the most backlinks. The more links from trustworthy and credible sources point to your content, the better it is. And check those from inferior websites that can hurt your reputation.
Keep this in mind when creating a content plan :)
Olena Prokhoda
Olena Prokhoda
Social Media and Community Specialist at Serpstat
Everything involving the API is not as common as many think.

Once you get the data, you can cluster keywords, check the most common combinations, and even perform data analysis to check where you can improve.

You can check the Coverage section via the Search Inspection API. So you can create your own workflow rather than logging in every time.
Marco Giordano
Marco Giordano
Search Engine Optimization Specialist/Web Analyst at Sika
Pretty much the same as parsing SALs (server access logs). There's a ton of information hanging around, you just have to dig and wade through, and know what you are looking for.

Such as identifying "topics" for pages, predicting ranking drops, etc. If you put in the time/effort, you can get better coverage data by producing separate sitemaps for sections/content types, new content, etc. This allows you to get a clearer picture of what's crawled/indexed, and identify potential weak areas, etc.
Lyndon NA
Lyndon NA
Internet business consultant, (SEM (SEO/PPC), CM & SMM, with UX, CRO & ORM)
You can use regex in GSC, detect high-impression long-tail queries and get high traffic by simply changing the title. For example, this little regex script ([^” “]*\s){4,}?) will give you queries with 4 words or more. You can edit the number in the script.
Yıldırım Sertbaş
Yıldırım Sertbaş
Founder & Owner at Yıldırım Sertbaş
Generally speaking, GSC is a free-of-charge tool for finding and correcting errors. What's important is not to be intimidated by numerous sections, learn where to look first and how to get the most out of it.

Let's move on to the next section and dig deeper into how GSC can help improve content

#3. What are the steps to make the most use of GSC and increase content efficiency?

When it comes to learning how your content is performing and whether it's properly optimized for Google, Google Search Console is a must.

GSC tools provide a wide variety of functions you can apply. You may find here below several steps to follow for improving your site's content by using GSC:
Optimize Title and Meta Descriptions
  • The title should be catchy, and the most essential information should be at the beginning of the title. Try to include frequently used phrases (how to, what, why, top) and numbers in your captivating titles.
  • As for descriptions, try to create appropriate snippets of approximately 155 characters long. The relevancy of this text directly affects the CTR.
Capture an Entire Topic by Including Related Search Queries
To write content effectively, you need to cover the high-level topic, like brand slogans, as well as some prominent sub-topic terms.
Optimize Content Based on Topically Driven Keywords
You can view topically driven keywords in the Google Search Console. Using Google's Average Position metric is a better way to estimate where your site is showing up because it includes the results from different devices, geographies, and personalized searches. You can use the data provided when creating helpful content that earns interest, measure, and modify it from time to time.
Update the Pages That Are Losing Organic Traffic
GSC tool helps you identify which pages suffered the most significant drop in traffic, analyze these pages, and identify which queries are bringing you less traffic. These findings will point you in the right direction when determining which content pieces need to be updated.
See How Your Content Is Performing on Google
By integrating GSC with your strategy, you can get three valuable metrics that provide useful insights. These metrics are average position, total impressions, and average click-through rate.
GSC performing report
Identify what works and what doesn't – then see if you can see why.

This includes not just the "keyword" or "intent" terms, but the nature (medium/format) and the performance over time. You should get a bunch of queries that work poorly, and a bunch of those that you do well with.

You can then start looking at variants (makes, models, locations, time periods, etc.) that you can research and look for opportunities.

I'm also a big fan of using it to see potential looming failures – pages that are dropping for terms, etc. This can indicate a shift in intent, change of meaning, or more technical issues that need to be looked at.
Lyndon NA
Lyndon NA
Internet business consultant, (SEM (SEO/PPC), CM & SMM, with UX, CRO & ORM)
Maintaining track of existing content is as important as creating and implementing new ideas. Be sure to keep it updated based on Google Search Console analytics.

How to Get a 34% Increase in Traffic by Optimizing Your Existing Content

What are your thoughts on the ways of creating an effective content plan with GSC?
Looking forward to seeing your comments on our Twitter chat ;)

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We conduct them every Thursday at 2 pm ET | 11 am PT on our Twitter channel by hashtag #serpstat_chat.

#4. How to find new content ideas? Is there a more reliable and efficient way to do so?

Google is always looking for the most relevant search results for the queries people enter into the search bar, it tries to find the most relevant content.

Thus, the service allows you to see which posts interest users the most and create unique content based on the posts’ and keywords’ rankings.
Try to look for new content ideas by analyzing such main indicators as clicks, impressions, CTR, and position for the top pages in the GSC interface.
Revise and make the existing content more engaging by carrying out competitor analysis. Determine the best practices your rivals apply, and overtake them by implementing better ones.
Expand and improve the content that’s already working by creating blog posts and introducing it to the social media world. The chances of receiving new content ideas are higher when communicating with social media users.
By discussing useful GSC functionalities in this matter, we deliberated on the following points:
My suggestion is to cluster the keywords you can find in GSC and look for those groups where you have 0 clicks and high impressions. This is a very quick way to add value and find what you’re not optimizing for.

Once you have exhausted all the topics, you can just expand your selection with a little fantasy. For example, the query “my dell xps doesn’t work” can give you ideas for many other laptop brands, I am pretty sure you’ll find plenty of ideas this way.

Anyway, clustering in GSC is already good if you have a website already ranking for something. In other cases, I alternate between analyzing competitors and checking keywords with tools or my knowledge of the industry.
Marco Giordano
Marco Giordano
Search Engine Optimization Specialist/Web Analyst at Sika
GSC data can help you see:
• topics (not keywords, but the complementing words/phrases) that get clicks and impressions (how to do X with Y);
• queries where you can get more/less specific;
• potential openings for different mediums (video);
• queries/terms you get impressions but not clicks (you can try different intents/purposes, mediums/formats);
• topics/terms that you already perform on, but could expand/reinforce.

If you combine it with additional data (such as on-site search) – it's handy!
Lyndon NA
Lyndon NA
Internet business consultant, (SEM (SEO/PPC), CM & SMM, with UX, CRO & ORM)
Olena Prokhoda, our Social Media and Community Specialist, found Paul Schmidt's point of view pretty valuable:
"Export up to 1,000 of the queries you’re showing up for in search."

“After exporting the data, categorize the queries by topic/category to understand the groupings of keywords that your site is showing up for.”

“This data will show you the areas where you need to devote more time to get more impressions/clicks within organic search, plus ideas for topics you can write about to increase your traffic and click-through rates."
Olena Prokhoda
Olena Prokhoda
Social Media and Community Specialist at Serpstat
The Search Console provides a wealth of actionable information, as we can see. So feel free to discover the platform's various features for monitoring and improving your content.

#5. Is GSC enough to add value, or there is a need for other tools?

Search Console provides necessary tools that help deal with day-to-day management. It allows you to have an account full of helpful information about your website, how it is ranked in SERP, and what to do to improve the current situation.

Most of the information in Google Search Console can be combined with other competitive platforms, like Serpstat. By combining the data received from several services, you'll stay informed and be able to achieve better results. 
Serpstat can help you improve your site's content, carry out competitor analysis and automate all the processes needed when launching a marketing campaign.

Create a content plan, analyze your competitors, trends, and keywords seasonality, expand semantics, find niche leaders and improve your ads with Serpstat Tools.
Would you like to learn how to use Serpstat to boost your results?
Leave a request, and our experts will advise you on the development of your project, share training materials, and offer test access to Serpstat!
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It's not a surprise, that working on our content plan we use Serpstat at least to analyze competitors' top pages by rankings, traffic, and backlinks.

I'd call that a must-have :)
Olena Prokhoda
Olena Prokhoda
Social Media and Community Specialist at Serpstat
For large projects, you need more tools, of course.

However, for niche websites or smaller content projects knowing your audience/niche and regularly checking GSC is enough. Niche/content websites may be either built or improved without spending that much money on paid tools.

Once you test the waters, you get plenty of GSC data that you can use to model your content strategy accordingly.
Marco Giordano
Marco Giordano
Search Engine Optimization Specialist/Web Analyst at Sika
Personally, for content monitoring ... I like to use GSC alongside other data points, such as UX/satisfaction metrics in GA.

For ideation, I like to use it alongside an exploration of SERPs (manual or tools) and look for gaps (questions, missing mediums, etc.) On its own – it's good enough for small sites if you do a bit of data-digging and export for regex/parsing etc.

For larger sites – you typically need to export/API grab data, and typically mix it with other data for a greater effect.
Lyndon NA
Lyndon NA
Internet business consultant, (SEM (SEO/PPC), CM & SMM, with UX, CRO & ORM)

Instead of conclusion

We can sum up that GSC is worth considering when elaborating on SEO and content optimization strategies.

A Google Search Console account primarily handles communication with a website owner. And having a registered account allows Google to inform web admins of website issues, errors, and penalties.

If you still haven't used this service — there is no better time than now for you to do it!
Join our private Facebook group Serpstat Insights to get read follow-ups with all the info discussed in Twitter Chat!
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