Google recently announced major changes to the way Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) compiles and filters search data with the launch of the new Search Analytics report . If you’re interested in learning how to gain better insights into your site’s web traffic (and what company isn’t?), read on because your search is over.
Now before we get into the reporting change details, it’s important to remember that by altering the data inputs and filters, previous reporting metrics by Google may no longer be analogous. For instance, similar data inputs (like page views) may appear to change for the worse (lower total numbers) under the new report. That said, Google’s data is now more precise and will permit better filtering abilities today and into the future. Ok, now for the fun stuff…hold onto your algorithms.
Google Webmaster Tools has recently replaced the “Search Queries” report with the more precise “Search Analytics” report.
This new report provides nearly everything the old report did, but with more data and filtering options – and that’s a good thing. On that note, here are a few items of note:
- Individual page impressions counts are now merged - previously, every single page counted as an impression in search; the new report counts all links to the same site as a single impression. For instance if your website appears multiple times in a search for “power tools” (www.PowerToolsUSA.com/about; www.PowerToolsUSA.com/history; www.PowerToolsUSA.com/info), this will now count as one page impression, not three.
- Search properties and devices are now separated - previously, mobile and desktop metrics were combined for both images and videos; the new report separates device type and search type.This will provide much better insight into how visual content is performing across different platforms.
- Image click counts are now reduced - the new report only counts clicks of an expanded image (or the “visit page” link) in searches, whereas the old report counted any click on an image, expanded or not. This will show
- Data is now consolidated by full domain - the old report often assigned data by domain name even if spread across multiple hosts such as domain.com and www.domain.com. The new report may reflect lower metrics as it assigns all data to a single complete host name.
Overall, Google Webmaster Tools' new search analtyics report will provide you with more accurate data to review and measure. So if the adage that “knowledge is power” is to be believed, it should help you make better decisions surrounding your website’s performance. And that’s a very good thing.