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Google Webmaster Tools update

| 15 Jan, 2014

Some of us expected it - Google had to give us something after they took away most of our keyword data in analytics and replaced it with the encrypted and mysterious (not provided).

Many experts speculated as to whether Google would only provide keyword data via Google Analytics Premium (quite a silly idea if you ask me - they're not that evil!). Others were furious over the fact that AdWords allowed greater insight into organic traffic.

Yet another group tried hacks and workarounds, segmenting traffic to landing pages and historically trying to figure out how to get the keyword data back (Searchmetrics have launched Traffic Insight, a really good tool which they're still improving).

And finally... Google updated Webmaster Tools and now you can see a message on the traffic graph under the Search Traffic > Search Queries section that talks about the update. So, without further ado, here are four ideas and tips on how best to use this data.

 

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1. Click on top pages and change the time frame to 90 days for a fuller picture


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That's as far as Google Webmaster Tools allows you to access. Or change the date setting to just a few days if you recently published a big content piece and would rather drill down into the last weeks’ data.

2. Expand one of the landing pages to see the keywords it appeared for 

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Now this is where it gets good. Copy these keywords and then paste into the AdWords Keyword Planner to see which ones have the best traffic potential. Tip - I prefer to paste them into Excel – and then from Excel into Keyword Planner.

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Then, based on the search data, review keyword level prioritisation and optimisation on the landing page, and update your page to better match that group of keywords. For example, you may be appearing high and getting clicks for a low traffic keyword, while the high traffic keyword you haven't considered before may be relatively low hanging fruit.

So, how to update the page:

  • Expand the content to include the keywords you haven't previously included
  • Use them in the headings - but very sporadically, we don’t want to just spam keywords
  • Change the current headings and content to better match the user intention in order to reduce the bounce rate

Repeat this for all relevant pages - if they get impressions for some high traffic terms that you can't easily re-optimise for, put them into your content calendar as possible future blog posts.

3. Missed keywords opportunities can make for great future content pieces

Often the keywords you may appear for show a unique angle to your article or service page that you haven't thought about. Don’t forget that over 20% of all Google searches have never been seen before... so, repeat the above process to verify that a query receives traffic (check it in Google AdWords Keyword Planner).

4. Actionable insight into landing page performance

If your landing page has a high bounce rate, and (historically) very little organic keyword data, you can now find this data in Google Webmaster Tools and make intelligent decisions on next steps. Maybe the high bounce rate is due to clicks from unrelated or irrelevant keywords?

A great example is the difference in user intent between people searching for 'ppc training' versus 'free ppc courses'. Currently, both of these land on the same page, yet it's clear that the visitors looking for free courses will bounce a lot more than the ones looking generally for ppc training.

To summarise, I strongly suggest that you login to your Google Webmaster Tools account and look under the Search Traffic tab to see all the shiny new keyword data, and to explore all the insights it gives us (back…..at last!)

Have I missed any creative ways of using this new report? Please let me know via Twitter or comment below.

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