If You Need Any One Thing, Backlinks Are It
There is just no way around it you need backlinks. Backlinks will define your site with or without your keyword optimization. Consider the 2004 election when “Miserable Failure” was Googled and the top result was George W Bush’s biography on the White House web site. His staff never optimized for that as a keyword, but a massive link building campaign using that term as anchor text defined him as the top result.
Backlinks are hard to get, they take time and energy and most of us don’t have the patience so we focus on Keywords or hire someone. Someone you can hire is me. I think backlinks are kinda fun, they are hard fought jewels among the web and you can see the difference they make in ranking rather quickly. That is once they are indexed. Keep in mind you may have 100 backlinks out there but they mean nothing until Google sees them.
No not Google Analytics. Totally different thing and measures different stuff. Google Analytics is after the fact and across all methods of traffic … paid, direct … where GSC is what the name implies. They are not interchangeable and Google Analytics will not provide you with a means to track backlinks well.
Most clients I work with do not have Google Search Console setup, they do have Google Analytics but if we are talking about backlinks I need Google Search Console. If we are talking about ranking I need backlinks. You want to rank you need Google Search Console and its free so I don’t know why you’re fighting this one.
Don’t mistake this Click Through Rate (CTR) for Google Adwords. These impressions were free and largely determined by your backlinks. The average position is trended over time and across keywords. But as you scroll down you can see what keywords Google has associated you with, where they rank you and off to the left if you click “Links” you’ll find info on “some” of your backlinks. They don’t display them all its just recent ones. Another tip…you have to add all of the name variations as technically each is different and so they will be reported differently here. What do I mean? Your homepage is likely: