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How to find content ideas with Google Search Console

Google search console for content opportunities

Ever heard the phrase “data is gold”? It’s absolutely true.

The most criminally underrated and underutilised tool at your disposal is Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools.

Why is it so valuable? Because it provides actual data on your impressions and clicks in Google Search right from the horse’s mouth.

While Google Analytics tracks your visitor sessions, Search Console whirs away tracking your performance in Google, unseen by many, yet compiling some of the most astonishing data and insights into how your website is found.

As a content writing agency, we use Google Search Console every day to find content opportunities for clients. It helps us create, consolidate, and edit content to achieve better rankings, and we’ll help you do the same in this article.

Let’s jump in!

Article takeaways:

  • Look for high-impression, low-CTR keywords in Search Console. These indicate demand but poor optimisation.
  • Identify pages getting lots of impressions but low clicks. Update content to better satisfy searcher intent.
  • Find terms where rankings are poor despite impressions. Create content specifically optimised for those terms.
  • Note queries where impressions or CTR declined over time. Refresh stale content.
  • Filter by landing page to see which attract non-converting traffic. Create better content for those pages.
  • Mine the Queries, Pages, CTR, Rankings, and Gaining/Losing reports to find golden content opportunities.

Editor’s note: If you don’t already have Google Search Console linked with your website, visit this page to get started. You will need to wait a few months before collecting enough data to find content opportunities, but it’s worth the wait!

What is Search Console?

Google Search Console is Google’s free tool that provides data and insights into how your website performs in Google Search results.

With Search Console, you can see critical information like which queries send traffic to your site, your site’s impressions and clicks for those queries, manual actions from Google, indexed pages, links pointing to your site, crawl errors, and more.

In other words, Search Console gives you a bird’s eye view into the connection between your site and Google. It’s hugely valuable for anyone who cares about their site’s search performance.

Search Console has changed names over the years – previously it was called Google Webmaster Tools. But the core functionality remains the same. It’s a way to monitor and improve your site’s presence in Google Search.

Some key capabilities include:

  • Viewing clicks, impressions, and position for your important queries. This helps you find opportunities to create content that ranks well.
  • Identifying issues Google finds with your site, like crawl errors, security problems, or thin content. Fixing these can improve rankings.
  • Seeing new pages Google has discovered on your site. This helps you check indexing status.
  • Requesting pages to be re-crawled or re-indexed if needed after making changes.
  • Analysing click-through-rates to optimise pages and titles/meta-descriptions.
  • Submitting sitemaps to help Google discover new or updated content.
  • Seeing manual actions, if Google has penalised your site for violations (can happen when you are naughty, or get seriously spammed).

For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus solely on finding content ideas.

Mining Search Console for Content Ideas

One of the most valuable ways to leverage Search Console is finding keywords and queries that present clear opportunities for new content.

The key is identifying terms that send high impressions to your current pages, indicating decent search volume, but result in low click-through rates or poor rankings. This signals a gap between what users are searching for and what your existing content provides.

To find these ripe targets:

  • Go to the Queries report and look for search terms driving high impressions to your site. Sort by impressions to bubble up the high-volume keywords.
  • Take note of any queries where your pages earn lots of impressions but low click-through-rate. This means users are seeing your results, but not finding them attractive or relevant enough to click. There’s an opportunity to better satisfy that search intent with SEO content.
  • Also look for terms where your rankings are poor (high average positions) despite high impressions. This means your content is somewhat relevant in Google’s eyes, but you’re still not ranking well.
  • Scan for queries where impressions or CTR noticeably declined over time. Your content may be going stale in searchers’ eyes.
  • You can even filter by landing page to identify pages attracting traffic from non-converting keywords.

In essence, you must read between the lines of Search Console data to uncover queries where your current content isn’t fully cutting it. Those present prime opportunities to create better, more useful content optimised specifically for those terms.

What To Do With Those Content Ideas

When you find keywords driving lots of impressions but low click-through-rate, this indicates an opportunity. Here are some ways to entice more clicks:

  • Optimise page titles and meta descriptions – Compare your page’s title tag and meta description to the top ranking results. Can you make yours more compelling and clickable?
  • Add more relevant headers – Add H2 and H3 headers throughout the content that match high-impression keywords. This helps search engines understand page relevance.
  • Include related keywords naturally – Update the page content to naturally incorporate secondary keywords and synonyms driving impressions. This helps reinforce relevance.
  • Re-structure your content: Extend the word count by 1,000-words at least, but keep it concise and non-repetitive. Find content ideas with Answer The Public.
  • Highlight your USPs – Ensure your meta description and opening paragraphs convey your page’s unique value proposition. Feature your differentiators to pique interest.
  • Enhance visuals – Add images, charts, videos, etc that attract clicks and enhance the user experience. Canva makes optimising visuals easy.
  • Simplify the lead-in – Remove unnecessary introductory paragraphs that delay getting to the meaty information searchers want.
  • Fix technical issues – Improve page speed and mobile optimisation. Slow load times hurt CTR.

Take a look at this example:

Search Console example of queries with high impressions but low clicks

In this screen grab we can see over 4,000 impressions for ‘Wallbox Pulsar Plus’ (that’s an EV charger BTW) but only seven clicks. Visiting that search results page, we can see it is dominated by product listings, whereas our client has a review article.

In this instance, we could update that review with price comparisons, detailed installation cost breakdowns, and the buying process for the customer – things linked to a transactionto improve the position of the page in Google.

Here’s another example:

Search Console example two - impressions and clicks to find content opportunities

This client runs a telephone number directory. ‘HSBC telephone banking’ gets over 12,000 impressions every month, yet the client gets less than 100 clicks. The page doesn’t mention the exact keyword, so that’s a quick-win.

Informational search queries thrive on validation, depth and clarity, so in this instance, we would look to verify every phone number, make it easy to call, clarify the costs, and detail to people what happens during a phone call.

Track Results and Adapt Over Time

Check Search Console for changes in CTR, impressions, and rankings week-over-week and month-over-month, and continue optimising and adding new content based on the latest data and trends (such as statistics and news articles).

You can continue optimising with these tweaks:

  • Write meta descriptions that contain the keyword and entice clicks over the competition.
  • Add H2 and H3 headers throughout the content targeting keywords driving impressions.
  • Naturally incorporate secondary keywords and synonyms in the text to reinforce relevance.
  • Extend overall word count even further if possible while keeping content focused.
  • Highlight your unique value proposition and differentiators early in the content.
  • Add external links to high-quality sources, such as the BBC, Statista, and scientific journals to demonstrate credibility.

Using Search Console Reports For Content Ideas

Search Console has a wealth of reports. But a few key ones relate strongly to identifying content gaps and opportunities.

Queries Report

This shows you the queries with clicks and impressions. The ones driving high impressions indicate user interest and search volume. Look for queries with low click-through-rates – this means your content isn’t fully satisfying the searcher intent.

Pages Report

View your top pages by clicks and impressions. Look for pages with lots of traffic but low engagement metrics – these may need content improvements or promotion to convert that traffic better. Also look for pages that have seen declining impressions – that’s a sign of slipping relevance.

CTR and Rankings

Monitor click-through-rate and average position over time to spot dips that indicate issues. For example, falling CTR with steady impressions means your snippets aren’t enticing clicks as much. Rising CTR and falling impressions points to lost rankings.

Gaining/Losing Queries

Compare Search Console data across two date ranges. The queries you lost rankings for present opportunities – you can re-optimise those pages to try to regain positions. Analyse any terms you gained ground for to try repeating that success.

Unindexed Pages

The index coverage report shows crawl errors blocking pages from indexing. Fixing these can uncover new pages of content for Google to index, helping your site’s reach and visibility, especially if you link pages together.

Link Analysis

Search Console provides data on your internal link structure and external sites linking to you. This can reveal “orphaned” pages to focus on promoting better. Look for pages with lots of authoritative backlinks – these are ones to optimise first.

Turn Insights into Action

The key with Search Console is transforming the insights into SEO actions. For example, create content pillars targeting clusters of high-impression keywords with poor click-through-rates. Or consider developing content around rising search queries to ride those trends and get more visitors.

Don’t Neglect Search Console Insights

Search Console Insights is a Beta feature in Search Console that looks like this:

search console insights

You can find it on the Overview section of your main dashboard.

Search Console Insights helps identify new content opportunities by analysing how users discover and engage with your existing content.

By linking Search Console with Analytics, you can see which pieces of content drive the most traffic and engagement. This reveals top performers to build upon and underperforming areas that may need new content.

Search Console Insights also shows the keywords and referral sites leading users to your content. This can uncover related topics and formats resonating with your audience that could inform future content plans.

For example, seeing that “beginner’s guide” articles often lead to your site suggests your audience wants more instructional basics. Or certain phrases entered in Google Search before landing on your posts could become the basis for new articles targeting those searches.

You can use Search Console Insights to uncover gaps and opportunities in your content strategy by highlighting which current content works well and revealing user interests through discovery data.

The Many Benefits of Search Console

While Search Console provides invaluable data, the key is putting it into action for your content strategy. Using Search Console for content research offers many advantages:

Saves time

Search Console aggregates critical keyword and performance data in one place, saving you hours of manual searching and analysis. The insight reports bubble up opportunities, so you don’t have to comb through reams of data.

Data-driven decisions

Search Console provides objective data on the searcher journey to your site. This takes guesswork out of deciding what content to create. You can make data-driven decisions based on real user behaviour and metrics.

Aligns with user intent

Queries triggering high impressions show current user intent. Optimising for those searches satisfies demand and improves click-through rates.

Surfaces hidden opportunities

You may never uncover underperforming pages or declining queries without Search Console. It highlights areas neglected by other analytics platforms.

Tracks long-term trends

You can analyse performance over months or years to spot macro content gaps. Short-term analysis may not reveal bigger opportunities.

Pinpoints ranking struggles

Declining rankings or CTRs indicate where you are losing ground. Search Console exposes pages to re-optimise and get back lost traffic.

Free and Unlimited

Search Console provides these powerful benefits at no cost and with no limit on data or reports. I reckon it’s Google’s most useful free tool.

Jakk Ogden is the founder and CEO of Content Hero.

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