Friday, February 6, 2009

More on Google Webmaster Tools

I touched briefly before on how Google WebMaster Tools can be used to help monitor the success of your web optimisation efforts. Below is another form of analysis you can perform on your search queries.

Here are our Google Webmaster Tools search results from August:

A few points of clarification: Google Webmaster Tools differentiates the two columns on the Top Search Queries page as follows:

Top search queries (Impressions)

This table shows you the top 20 queries (by volume) that return your site, as well as the percentage of the top 20 searches each query represents. These are the search queries your site appears in. Note that this table just lists the queries that returned your site in the results; it doesn't indicate whether anybody actually clicked through to your site. 

Top clicked queries (Traffic)

These are the top 20 queries from which users actually clicked a link to your site, as well as the percentage of the top 20 searches each query represents. These are the searches for which your site was one of the most compelling results.

The differences between the tables can offer you insight into how users are actually accessing your site versus how often your site appears in the results. If a query appears in the second list, it's a sign that not only does your content perform well for the relevant keywords, but that it's also relevant and appealing to users.

How can you use this information? 

If the Impressions list doesn't display relevant queries, consider adding relevant, targeted content to your site. Think about the words users might use to search. 

If a site appears in the Impressions list, but not the Traffic list, consider how you might improve your content including your meta descriptions to make it more compelling and relevant for searchers.

Bonus: Both tables show the highest position a page on your website ranked for that query. You can further filter your results using Search Type (eg Web Search or Image Search or both) and Location (eg Google US, Google Australia etc).

Examining our results

In our case we ranked quite highly for most terms in our top 20 impression list, however few of these terms translated into traffic apart from the doctor's names themselves. Also the traffic coming through to the site was predominantly from complex search terms involving 3 or more words.

Over time we have added more content and focused on obvious terms that generate a lot of impressions but were not generating traffic for us such as the words "gynaecologist" (in this case 44% of impressions) and "gynaecologist melbourne".  

Be careful to ensure you are performing this analysis on a reasonable volume of website traffic or the results can be misleading. For example with our data "melbourne gynecologist obstretician" generated 16% of traffic. It is hard to imagine that more than one person would make this misspelling! The obvious conclusion is there weren't many visitors in August arriving from Google search.


The Impressions table is the list of the top 20 terms for which a page on your website appeared in Google's search results.  The Traffic table is a a list of the terms in the top 20 that people actually searched for and clicked to your site. These are powerful tools to help you understand customer behaviour. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent tool provided by Yahoo for Yahoo search.

People who read this post also read :

No comments:

Post a Comment