Google Search Console has a feature called Search Analytics that is really helpful for webmasters. This post explains why you’d want to use Search Analytics, what it can help you find and what type of data it has.
NOTE: This post is about an older version of Google Search Console, and some of the tools and charts referenced are not accessible in newer versions. For information on newer versions, you should read our beginner’s guide to Google Search Console.
On May 5th 2015, Google confirmed what we’ve been anticipating for years: mobile search has overtaken desktop search. On their Inside AdWords blog, they stated the following:
more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment, combining it in our heads with the recent Mobilegeddon roll-out. The question for most people and companies is: how does this affect my/our website? Luckily, Google’s Search Analytics report in Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) answers just that question (and many more) for you.
Using Search Analytics to measure impact
If you go to Google Search Console you’ll find a new report under Search Traffic called Search Analytics. For Yoast.com, it shows that the impact of the mobile update was absolutely negligible:
As you can see, this new report allows you to do a lot of awesome filtering. One of the features I like a lot is the ability to filter by a keyword, like “mobilegeddon”, compare it to a previous date range and also, filtering deeper on top of that. For instance, we can see how many people reached our site searching for that keyword, comparing desktop versus mobile search:
We could then filter these by country as well, should we want to.
Comparing brand versus non-brand searches
It’s obvious that when people use your brand name in their searches, they’re more likely to click on your site in the results than otherwise. Just how big that difference is something Search Analytics can make very clear for you. For instance, compare these results: [yoast seo] versus [wordpress seo]:
As you can see, the already high 10.62% for [wordpress seo] is completely obliterated by the 62.33% for [yoast seo]. This is why we focus on building a brand as a part of our holistic view on SEO campaign as much as we do.
Search Analytics – Search Type report
Another very interesting new feature in this report is the Search Type filter. This allows us to look specifically for clicks from Video Search, something that’s very hard to measure in other ways. For yoast.com this shows us that we rank very well (and thus get many clicks) with the video on our Google Analytics plugin page, in part due to the optimization we do with our Video SEO plugin:
We also rank fairly well for the term [google analytics] in “normal” Web search. The problem is that that doesn’t really mean anything: when someone search for google analytics in web search, that is a highly navigational search: they probably want to log into Google Analytics. The difference becomes very clear when we compare the CTR of web searches with video searches:
A CTR of over 12% compared to a CTR of 0.14%. Of course, we do rank lower on web and the CTR drops off a cliff as soon as you get below position #3, but it’s obvious how valuable these types of reports can be.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is something that we have not yet fully tested for our own websites. AMP is created to make pages load faster by stripping down elements users need to download when visiting a web page. Read more about AMP in Joost’ weekly recap
Up to you now: go play with Search Analytics!
It’s really up to you now, go play with Search Analytics and drop your favorite queries in the comments. If you all share nice combinations, we’ll figure out all the cool uses of this great tool together.