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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Google and Bing

I have mentioned Google quite a bit already, but obviously Bing is quite widely used as well, and both Google and Bing have a very similar tool. So, Google calls it Google Search Console and Bing calls it Webmaster Tools. So, you can get access to both tools either by asking a colleague, or you may need to ask your web developer to upload a file just to get access that way.

Search Analytics

This is probably my favorite feature in Google Search Console, and it's really aimed at marketers. What it does is it gives you an insight as to what keywords Google thinks your website is about, and also what landing pages on your site are actually doing the business for SEO.

  • Keywords: There is a list of keywords, and these are all keywords that you're either ranking for currently and getting traffic, or you're nearly getting traffic for. So, they're really important to pay attention to. And the first metric that we can see for the keyword is clicks, and that really means, as the name implies, that's how many clicks you're currently getting for that key phrase.
  • Impressions: Every time your listing is shown to the user, so if that's on page one, it means you're getting quite a lot of impressions, if you're on page two, you're going to be getting less impressions. But essentially, that's what an impression is. It's when your listing is being shown to the user. Okay.
  • Clickthrough rate: Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the percentage of clicks to impressions that you get, and naturally if you're ranked higher, you're going to get a higher clickthrough rate, or you tend to get a higher clickthrough rate, but there are other things that you can do to improve your clickthrough rate which we will talk about shortly.
  • Position: That's where you're actually positioned in the search engine results. We sometimes call this your keyword ranking. And one thing to note is Google reports this data at a global level. So, if you see a keyword position which is different to what you see locally, what you can do is you can just change the country to actually be the country that you're looking from, and you should find that the rankings sort of tally up a little bit better with what you're expecting.


What we've done up until now with Search Analytics within Google Search Console is we've looked at queries, but if you move onto Pages and Google starts to give you similar data or metrics that we looked at before, but it's looking at it at a page level. And as I mentioned, we know that rankings has a bearing on your clickthrough rate, but another thing that has a big bearing is how you actually structure your title tag, which is the blue clickable link that you see in Google in the search results, and the little snippet of text which is the meta description that shows under that title tag.

Now, if you write a fairly boring title tag or meta description, you're probably going to get a lower clickthrough rate.

So, let's put that into context. I've used a tool called the SERP Preview Tool, and with the first marker, what we can see is how the title tag and meta description currently looks.

And I feel the title tag is actually good. It's the right length, it's got a good use of keywords and that particular PageRanks well. So, I'm not going to think about changing the title tag too much. But in terms of the meta description, we can see that it's truncated, it's cut off because it's too long, and reading it, it's rather dull. It's not that interesting.

So, using this SERP Preview Tool, I've created another meta description that we can see with marker two, and it's a little bit more engaging. We start off by asking a question, and then we start to give some benefits as well. So, “Have a calf strain or want to know what causes them? Get expert advice on the treatment exercises and rehabilitation so you can heal faster”. It has a benefit at the end.

So, the chances are, this will improve the clickthrough rate, which will mean the webpage will get more traffic. And that for me, is quite a low hanging fruit. There's a lot of work involved to get these rankings, so we want to make the most of them from the search engine results.

Overcoming crawl errors

We're just going to look at three things for now.

  • Redirect Not Found errors: Ideally, we do this before the error is discovered by Google.
  • Upgrade your web hosting: You might find you're getting a lot of site errors because your web host isn't reliable. It might be very slow so you might want to review upgrading that.
  • Correct Soft 404 errors: Sometimes, what happens is Google will report a lot of Soft 404 errors. So, when you visit a page and you see that it's a 404 error, what you visually see only gives half the answer. What search engines and browsers are looking is what's called a HTTP header response code. And if that response code isn't the right code, and in this case, it should be a 404, there's a little bit of a confusion as to what the actual page is. So, Soft 404 might be giving a response code of a 200, but really it should be giving a 404. And this is quite a technical thing to fix, not usually that hard, but you might need to ask your web developer or your webmaster to help you with that one.
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Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

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