Webmaster Tools Update

By Sergio Aicardi on January 8, 2014

Webmaster tools is a free web service for webmasters. It allows you to check index status and optimize the visibility of a website. Recently, if you’ve logged into your Webmaster tools account, you may have seen the message seen in the image below which shows they have made an internal update to the reporting tool. I would like to go over some of the changes that came along with this update today. I’m also going to be explaining how to pull rank reports to check the progress being made with organic SEO campaigns. I will also be walking you through how to locate indexed pages and metrics related to the top pages that are ranking, such as what the average position is and the click through rate average for that page.

webmaster_tools_update_notification

What Does The Update Mean For SEO Professionals?

The search queries dashboard has a link as shown in the above screen shot which takes you to the Google support page that explains what the update entails. For a more comprehensive explanation, I encourage you to visit that support page to learn more. For the sake of brevity I will keep this blog post short and cover what I feel are the most important parts of the update made by Google Webmaster Tools.

Keyword data from Google Webmaster Tools

search_query_data

Once you have logged into your webmaster tools account you will immediately be brought to your “Site Dashboard”. On the left side of your screen you will see a menu with the page your currently on being highlighted in red. Click on “Search Traffic” and you will be given several options (Search Queries, Links To Your Site, Internal Links, Manual Actions). “Search Queries” is the one we want direct our attention to for now.

What does this data mean?

After clicking on “Search Queries” that you will be brought to a page showing your metrics like much like the image above and to the left. You will see things like the total number of Queries, the total number of impressions, and the total number of clicks for a designated date range. The date ranges can be adjusted in the top right corner of the page. A graph is displayed to further illustrate these metrics and date ranges. Below the graph, on the left side of the screen you can see a list of searched keyword phrases with their individual impressions, clicks , CTR or click through rate, and the average position (The average top position of a particular page on your website appears on Google when that particular keyword phrase is searched). If you would like to view all of these keyword phrases click on the drop down arrow on the right side of the screen, just under the graph, and adjust the number of rows displayed. These metrics are very useful when trying to identify the impact your SEO efforts have made on your websites visibility and rank progress. You can also use these search queries to see how people are searching your site and to get great keyword ideas for future targeting. For more information on how the available data and how it is gathered please visit Google Support by clicking here.

Analyzing your keyword data with Google Webmaster Tools

If you click on the “With Change” button located toward the middle of the screen, just under the graph , you can see the change in impressions, clicks, and average position based on the designated date ranges (you can view up to 90 days worth of data but you can only compare 60). This makes measuring progress even easier. If you would like to narrow down the keyword phrases to keywords that are ranking based on your efforts you can go to “Filters”, at the top left of the page. This will allow you to remove the brand name searches. Click on “Filters” and next to “queries” you will see a drop down arrow allowing you to select “containing” or “not containing”. Select “not containing” and enter the brand name into the empty bar. You don’t need to enter in the exact brand name word for word just the core of it, any phrase containing that word will be removed from the list. Under the search bar you can also filter the data based on “Search” (The method an individual used to fine your site ), “Location” (the country the individual is in), and “Traffic” (Queries with 10+ impressions/ clicks). These are all great tools for helping you narrow down keyword phrases based on these specifications especially if you are working with an eCommerce SEO firm that is ranking several hundreds of product pages for your organic campaign.

Filters_in_search_query_reports

Using The Top Pages Report Data

Equally as important as search query data, top pages data allows you to see metrics associated with the pages that are showing up in search results. If you look at the top of the page just under “Search Queries” you will see two tabs “Top queries” (which we are currently on) and “Top pages”. Click on “Top Pages”, this will bring you to another very useful page allowing you to see the total number of pages that Google has acknowledged or indexed, along with the total number of impressions and clicks for those pages.

Again, this page data can be adjust based on the designated date ranges you choose in the top right corner. As you can see the graph illustrates the number of impressions and clicks based on the date ranges, just like on the “Top queries” page. Underneath the graph you can see a list of pages, these are all the individual pages that Google has served to search engine users. To the right of the page URLs you can see the individual page impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position. Just like on the “Top queries” page you can click on “Filters” and sort out the urls based on search, Location, and traffic. You can also click on “with change” and see the degree of change that has taken place in the selected date ranges. Below is a snap shot of what this data looks like.

Top_Pages_Report

Checking Your Indexed Pages

Now, if we look to the left hand navigation and click on ” Google Index” then click on “Index Status” , you can now see the total number of pages that have been indexed by Google. Click the Advanced button and you can see “Total indexed”, “Ever crawled”( The cumulative total of URLs on your site that Google has ever crawled. Not all crawled URLs get indexed), “Blocked by robots”( The total number of URLs that Google cannot crawl because they are disallowed in your robots.txt file., and “Removed”. Under this information you will find a graph illustrating those numbers. This information can be used to check and see if your newly added pages are getting indexed fast. Below is an example of what this report looks like:

Index_Status

Content Keywords

Content_Keywords

Another great tool to use in when trying to understand how Google is interpreting the content of your website is the “Content Keywords” page. This page lists the most significant keywords and their variants Google found when crawling your website. Significance of these keywords are measured by how often they are found on your websites pages. Both the keywords and their variants are listed in order of significance. If you click on one of the keywords you will be shown all the page urls that that keyword was found and the number of occurrences the keywords had. I you find a bunch of irrelevant keywords there is a good chance you website was hacked. If you find that keywords are missing you might want to check the “Crawl Errors Page” to see what is causing Google from crawling your website. Usually this is solved with a site map, which is an excellent way to make sure Google can see all your pages. By clicking on the image to the left, you can see what this report looks like.

As you can see using Google Webmaster Tools for SEO is a very powerful tool if you plan on doing SEO. Allowing you to view your website the way Google sees it. The tools that I went over only covers a small portion of Webmaster Tool’s capabilities but when it comes to measuring progress and troubleshooting you sites visibility these tool are the most helpful. Below is a short video explanation provided by the Google Support website that explains what the updates entail with more detail.



About The Author

Sergio Aicardi
Sergio Aicardi /

Search engine marketing is what I am passionate about and enjoy doing. I feed off of the knowledge and the fact that SEO is always and will always be changing. Remember, when it comes to SEO, always think like a search engine and you will succeed.