RIP Search Queries Report, Long Live Search Analytics

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Google's-new-search-analytics-tool

Like many of you, I had grown frustrated with Google Search Queries Report. This clunky, inaccurate excuse for keyword insights had become a useless shell of an offering. Since it’s only providing small samples that were heavy in brand, even Google started to recognize it needed an overhaul. Thus arrived Search Analytics Report, and based on capabilities for data analysis alone, Google has shown they’re giving the dog a bone… finally!

I won’t say that this in anyway rivals the data we saw in analytics before the era of “Not Provided,” but within a few short hours of testing the tool and comparing to its inept predecessor, SEOs and webmasters will definitely be pleased.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice Search Analytics’ new interface has plenty of filters and comparison options. In addition to multiple filtering, comparison, device and geo filters, they’re adding updates (albeit their own) right into the chart.

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Compared to the old interface, we can see there are a lot more options to show trends for multiple metrics, making snapshots for clients on quick insights considerably easier.

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There are a few features that stand out already, event though the tool has only been live for most of us less than 24 hours:

Search Analytics’ Pros:

–          No more filtering for queries within the tool using ctrl+f

–          Want to compare device metrics side by side, like desktop and mobile?

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–          You want more data per page or query?

Our early tests would indicate for branded terms an increase of up to 30% in brand data, and for some non-branded keywords, were seeing closer to a 75-100% increase.

Are you a small service shop or in-house SEO manager? The new toolset gives you even more to work with, adding to your arsenal without increasing your budget. Especially for those trying to visualize correlations that may take a bit of time for reports like say, clicks vs. position.

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Search Analytics’ Cons:

–          You want data that’s older than 90 days? Better luck next time (although it could be the case in the future after the beta).

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–          We still don’t know if this is an accurate data source comparatively speaking to Google Analytics or Omniture. Historically, Google Webmaster Tools has only offered a sampling of data that varied by site size and traffic. We just want to know, how much are we getting now Google?

–          What’s the catch? Adding value here after taking it away from many SEOs seems to go against what most of us believe about Google motivations

Location3 will continue to monitor this tool and provide additional information on features. Hopefully, this data can be a great pairing with other tools to improve insights even more. One thing to keep in mind is this is a supplementary tool, and should be paired with analytics and other tracking options to maximize your efforts. This is not a cure-all for your organic search ailments.

Bonus Round:

Remember the update bar we see on the chart? The Mobile Algorithm that was supposed rollout on April 21st and leave the digital realm in a state of utter disaster and chaos? It looks like there are in fact some changes going on. We’re also skeptical, since one of the sites below is responsive and the other isn’t optimized for mobile.

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7Still an interesting feature worth watching moving forward.

What’s your take on the new features? Is this a step in the right direction, pushing GWT closer to Bing Webmaster Tools? Let us know what you’re seeing and liking about Search Analytics in Google Webmaster Tools. Or, if you’re not impressed, what do you miss about Search Queries Report?

Photo Credit: Davide Ragusa

 

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