Exciting news! On Wednesday 6th May, Google rolled out a new Search Analytics report in Webmaster Tools – an updated version of the old Search Queries report.
After a period of testing, it’s now available to everyone with a Google Webmaster Tools account. This report will eventually completely replace the Search Queries report.
Where Can I Find It?
You can locate the Search Analytics report in the Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard, under the Search Traffic tab:
You can also go back to the old Search Queries report if you so wish, although this is only going to be available for the next three months:
What’s the Difference Between the New Search Analytics Report and the Old Search Queries Report?
Compared to the old Search Queries report, Google says Search Analytics is calculated differently to give you a more accurate picture of your inbound traffic. A complete description of the key differences and new features, plus a guide on how to read and use the generated reports, can be found on Google’s Search Analytics support page.
The old Search Queries report allowed you to view a basic overview of the keywords that lead visitors to your site – with the number of impressions, clicks, CTR, and average ranking position next to each keyword. You could use this information to make some basic improvements to your site. For instance, if a keyword had a low CTR, you might have considered polishing up your content, or trying something new with your title tags and meta descriptions.
What Can I Do That I Couldn’t Before?
With the new report, you can better analyse your site’s performance. The reports still show you clicks, impressions, CTR, and average ranking positions, but you can now compare these metrics using several different dimensions – devices, country, queries, specific pages, and dates. You can even compare different search properties, choosing from web, images, and video.
Here are a couple of examples of the type of data and results you can get from the report:
Example #1 – Optimising Your Site For Mobile Devices
The new Search Analytics report can help you to optimise your site for mobile devices. You can find out which queries are most likely to be made on smartphones to help inform and improve your mobile targeting. You can also compare mobile traffic for specific keywords before and after the April 21 “Mobilegeddon”. Finally, you can identify how the CTR for certain queries and pages varies from device to device.
To do this, select the relevant metric – CTR – then filter by your chosen search query – e.g. “Hallam” – before selecting the Devices dimension to sort into Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile.
Example #2 – Identifying International SEO Opportunities
The new Search Analytics report can also help with your international SEO efforts. You can identify the countries where the greatest number of users searched for a particular service or product related to your business. To do this you need to choose impressions as the metric, filter by the product/service/brand name, and then categorise the results by country.
Below is an example from our own analytics that shows how many impressions Hallam made in SERPS for the phrase “international SEO”, divided by country:
Example #3 – Generating New Content Ideas
These reports can also be used to to help inform your content marketing strategy, and to generate new content ideas. Through looking at the search queries report alongside impressions and average ranking, you can see what sort of long tail search queries are getting good amounts of impressions. From this you can devise blog posts or landing pages that respond to these particular search queries.
Obviously, this is just scratching the surface. There’s theoretically no limit to the insights that can be gained with these new reports. Your best course of action is to log in yourself and have a play around. I’ve found some very interesting results for a few of my clients already!