If your blog is brand spanking new, chances are no one is going to be arriving at your site view search engine results. Gradually, though, you’ll start to notice in your WordPress stats that you’re getting a trickle of visitors from search engines like Google and Bing. So how are people finding you?
Setting up webmaster tools
If you’re curious to know more about the search terms that are sending people your way, that’s where webmaster tools can come in handy. These tools allow you to see details regarding how your blog is turning up in search results and how many people end up clicking through to your site.
From your WordPress editing dashboard, click marketing (in the tools section) and then the traffic tab. Scroll on down to the bottom, and you’ll find site verification services. Besides verifying your blog with Pinterest, WP allows you to connect with the search engines Google, Bing, and Yandex so you can use their webmaster tools (note: you don’t have to be set up with these to appear in search results).
To set this up, you will first need to sign up with Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Center, and Yandex Webmaster. Site verification with your WP site proves that your website is actually yours so that some random person couldn’t come along and connect your site to their Google Search Console account.
What webmaster tools can do for you
You can use the webmaster tools for Google, Bing, and Yandex to get information about your site including internal and external links, and which pages on your sites have the most links pointing at them. You can also see if there are any problems the search engine has when trying to use your page. This kind of information may be useful for some people, but for a lot of bloggers, it’s not going to be all that interesting.
Where things get a lot more interesting is having a look at how often your pages are appearing in search results, and what search terms they’re showing up for. You can get detailed info on how many times each page has turned up in search results, how high you’re ranking compared to other websites for particular search terms, and how often people are clicking through to your site from the search results page.
You may be surprised by the terms that send people to your site. For me, the top search term I’m appearing for in Google is “judgementality”, which would be because of the post What is… judgementality. There’s nothing particularly special about that post, but I suspect that what makes it special to Google is that judgementality is an uncommon word, so there’s not a lot of competition. The search results Google shows me aren’t necessarily going to be the same as what it shows you, but if I search “judgementality,” my post is the number 2 result.
The second and third most common terms that send people to my blog are “mood rating scale 1-10” and “mood scale 1-10”, which relate to my post Why I hate the 1-10 mood rating scale. When I search “mood rating scale 1-10”, my post is the third result. For the longest time I had no idea why it was doing so well, but I think what it comes down to is that there aren’t many websites using that specific phrase.
Will this help your blog?
For the average blogger, none of this is necessary. For the curious blogger who is fascinated by the quirks of their blogging stats, Google Search Console and the other tools can provide a lot of fascination value, and it gives you information beyond what you can learn from WordPress stats alone.
Should you change your blog because of any of this? No. But if you see that certain posts are getting search engine traffic, you want to make sure those posts create a pleasant welcoming mat that makes brand new visitors to your site want to stick around and hang out for a while. For example, add some links to related posts that people might be interested in.
Regardless of whether or not and how often search engines are getting snuggly with your blog, though, you’re writing for your readers (and of course yourself), and that’s what your blog should be focused on, not search engines.