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Using Google Webmaster’s Search Query Data

Anybody who regularly runs Google Analytics reports would be familiar with the increasing percentage of keywords bundled into the rather unhelpful “(not provided)” data category. So the Google Webmaster’s search query data, which includes a “top pages” tab, is starting to gain more importance for insights into Google’s SEO ranking activity for a website. This data is provided through the on-going changes to improve the compatibility between Webmaster Tools and Analytics and shows search queries that drive traffic to your site, as well as which pages benefit the most from them.

The “top pages” tab is in the search queries section of Webmaster Tools and is where you’ll find data for the pages that perform the best in Google’s search results. It shows impressions, click counts, average position, and an increasing amount of data for individual website pages. Clicking on any page URL will show a list of what search terms are sending traffic to it and users can also click on any of the search terms to see how it performs across your site – i.e. which pages get traffic from this term.

This is a very useful function within Webmaster Tools, which helps to fill the gap created by the unavailable “(not provided)” keyword data in Analytics. Data can be compared for the last 30 days compared to the previous 30, so broad trends can be reviewed to see how often a website has appeared in the search results, which search terms clicks have been acquired from, and what ranking positions have changed.

There are some discrepancies between data that is shown from both of those accounts as the information is being collected from different sources, and the Webmaster Tools data is quite generalised, but it’s a good step in the right direction. You can view more information about the reasons for that discrepancy and the best ways to use the search query data here.

So website marketers who use Webmasters and Analytics should be aware that this data is available to provide valuable information about the website and how it is driving visits from Google’s search results. The Webmaster Tools data can now supplement the reports that are withholding information from Analytics and so trends can be seen to show if SEO activity is improving website visits, and from which search terms.

If you’d like more details about the most effective ways to use this data to improve the performance of your website, contact us now.