For anyone new to using Google’s Search Console (formerly Web Master Tools), you will find a wealth of knowledge under the Search Traffic Menu. For today’s post, we will be focusing on the following sub menu item: Search Analytics.
Under the search analytics menu, the first sub-menu item is for Search Analytics. The dashboard for Search Analytics provides data about clicks, impressions, CTR (click-thru rate), position, queries (keyword search queries), pages, countries, devices, and search type. You can also set the date range that you would like to retrieve data for.
Clicks and Position.
Clicks are the number of times a search query result was clicked on. When set to queries, the data shown will be for the search query term (keyword/keyword phrase) used that resulted in an organic search result which was clicked on.
When you bring in the position choice, you can start to dial in on pages that may need some improvement and those that are performing well. You may find that your top clicked keyword search query term may only be in position 8 in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Imagine the positive results you would see in your business if you could push that keyword search result to position one, two or three? Time to get to work on improving that ranking result!
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Now, let’s add in impressions to our query results. Impressions are the number of times that a keyword search query resulted in your result snippet appearing in the SERPs. Just because your result snippet appears in the SERPs does not guarantee that it will be clicked upon and generate a visit to your site.
Now, let’s tie all this data together. In our first example above we used our number one clicked on result. For specifics, this keyword search query term result was clicked on 436 times from an average position of number 8 and showed 9,908 times in the organic keyword search query search results. Our number two clicked on search query result was clicked 409 times, however, it showed in the search results more times, 10,415 and had a better position of 7.
Testing and Troubleshooting.
Several things can be taken away from this data that we can use for testing and/or troubleshooting, but the first thing that I see is that we may have an issue with our actual result snippet that shows in the results.
My first step is to examine my meta description that may show in the search results snippet. Are there any improvements that could be made to the message to entice a searcher to click on our result? Is our meta description too long? Is truncating causing the result snippet to look unprofessional or causing Google to create its own results snippet for our page? Some will contest that Google does not decide to create its own snippet because of truncation, however, I have had pages that were too long and would have truncated that Google created its own version of a snippet for our page. After shortening the meta description on the page, upon re-indexing, our search results snippet showed the correct meta description information that we had created.
Keep in mind that any changes to your already indexed meta description may have a negative/positive impact moving forward.
– Mark Gray, SEO Manager