When you’re doing SEO, it’s because you want your pages to rank in Google. You will have picked out one or more keywords to optimize your pages for, but ranking for those keywords is just a tiny part of the story. In reality, you could be ranking for queries you don’t even know about! In this post, we’ll explain how and why to check your queries and landing pages. And even better — how to use that information to improve your content.
Keywords, queries and landing pages
Keywords and queries aren’t exactly the same thing, although they’re closely related. A keyword is usually the focus point of your content, and it can help Google to identify the main topic of your page. However, users often don’t search for single keywords. They tend to search for phrases and questions instead. Google actually refers to all searches as queries; keywords are just simplified queries that we SEOs try to focus our content around.
There should be some overlap between your chosen keywords and the queries users are searching for when they find your page. But if you only focus on keywords, you might be missing out on your audience’s search intent. And that kind of information is really valuable! So it’s always helpful to look at which queries are leading users to your site.
Landing pages (the first page a user arrives at) are an important part of the SEO story, too. After all, you can’t rank for any search queries unless you have a suitable page for Google to point those searchers towards. By examining which pages show up in Google for which queries, you can really figure out what’s working for your site, and what isn’t. And along the way, you’ll be sure to find opportunities to optimize your content.
Pro tip:The easiest way to check your site’s search queries and the respective landing pages is with Google Search Console. So if you don’t have it set up already, do that first!
How to check which queries you’re being found with
To start exploring the queries your site is ranking with, open Google Search Console and click on ‘Search results’ (under ‘Performance’) in the menu on the left-hand side. Right away, you’ll see a list of your site’s top-performing queries from the last 3 months. If you want to see your search performance over a different time frame, you can easily click on the filters near the top of the screen to edit this.