Google Search Console

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Google Data Changes Clarified in Recent Statement

Recent Google data changes in the query reports obtained through the Google Search Console (GSC) has caused a lot of headaches for website owners. Google has taken note of the confusion and recently issued a statement in an effort to clarify these Google data changes.

For website owners (and for SEO companies) it was evident that Google had removed some of the query data within their search console performance reports. Google claims that they are only excluding anonymous queries, queries that used to be included in the chart sums but were never shown in the Search Console; therefore they are no longer included in the sum totals.

In Google’s own words:

Previously, we included the sum of queries that weren’t tracked in Search Console in the totals for ‘query not containing’. Eg, we might not track some queries that are made a very small number of times or those that contain personal or sensitive info. (anonymous queries).

Going forward, we’re only including the sum of those that we track and can match in Search Console. This change doesn’t affect the queries shown in Search Console, nor how we treat these untracked queries.”

The problem for website owners is that the results tend to look drastic when the query filter is added because they are witnessing very big drops in the query data sums. Even though Google is saying these are not really drops, it is difficult for website owners to view this as a simple change in how Google calculates the reports. To website owners, the reports seem to indicate that their sites are not performing as well as they should be.

Google claims they made the change “…to account for more queries and to support exciting Search Analytics features down the road.” However, this isn’t exciting news for website owners who are trying to gage how well their sites are performing now.

You can read more about these Google data changes on Google’s web page entitled Data Anomalies in Search Console under the Search Analytics Report / Performance Report.

About 1st on the List

Located just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1st on the List is a boutique SEO Company that has been offering search engine optimization, pay per click, and SEO web design services since 1997.

To learn more about our services, please call us Toll Free at 1-888-262-6687 or send us an email.

 

Google Webmaster Tools Now Called Google Search Console

Google is making some big changes lately including rebranding Google Webmaster Tools to Google Search Console this morning.

New-Google-Search-Console

For the last ten years Webmasters, website owners, SEOs, programmers, designers and others have been using this system to help troubleshoot their website. Google says that the new name better reflects everyone who uses the tool and cares about Search.

Do you care about Search?

Do you have Google Search Console set up for your website?

Do you use Google Search Console to diagnose and improve visibility of your website in search?

Do you know how to use all the data it provides to your maximum benefit?

Here are some of our favorite ways to use Google Webmasters Tools and Google Search Console:

  • What websites are linking to your website?
  • How does your average mobile rank compare to average desktop rank for specific keyword phrases?
  • What pages are generating the most impressions and clicks in Search Results?
  • Is a website being found a broader range of search phrases over time?
  • Is Google finding and indexing all the pages on your website?
  • Are there any security issues on the site?
  • Are there mobile usability issues?
  • Are there any manual webspam actions found for your website?
  • How many pages is Google crawling each day?
  • How much time is spent downloading a page of your website?

We can probably expect even more tools to be added to Search Console over the several months. Just a couple weeks ago they changed the “Search Queries” report to “Search Analytics” which gives much more robust filtering and comparison options when it comes to analyzing user’s search patterns.

Wondering how to set up Google Search Console? Let our experts do it for you and start analyzing all the information available for your website’s Search visibility!

Call us at 1-888-262-6687 ext 705 to get a quote today.

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How Higher Click Through Rates Help Maintain Your Higher Rankings

Once your site achieves a first page search engine ranking, your listings’ click through rate plays an important factor in whether it will remain there.  Once you learn how to increase your click through rate it will not only help you keep that top ranking, but also improve your rankings over time.

Obtaining a high ranking for a competitive phrase can be difficult, but maintaining it can be just as hard.  Google’s algorithm allows them to track the click through rates on your listings and determine if your site is worthy of keeping that top ranking.  While density, keyword location, placement and PageRank™ may have had a lot to do with you initially obtaining the ranking, your visitors and how they select the listings they wish to visit will determine your ability to remain at the top.

That’s the secret! Having a good strong click through rate can help you keep your rankings!

Understanding the Thought Process

Put yourself in Google’s shoes for a moment.  If your primary goal is to show the most relevant results to your visitors, then you may be able to build your initial results through density, but with millions of searches being completed each day, visitors can help further assist with the selection process by adding that human element a search engine wants to emulate.

For example, if your website was listed in position 4 for “Red Scarves” but visitors clicked on the listing in position 5 over 70% of the time, then it would make sense that your site be moved to position 5 and their site take your ranking.  Their websites rankings would improve because they received more clicks than yours. This would move the more popular sites higher up into the rankings allowing their visitors to locate the more relevant sites faster.

If this process was carried out on the search engine rankings over a period of time, then Google is essentially allowing their visitors to aid in the selection process of what they wish to be served.  As SEO’s, you may think that this takes away from your abilities to keep a site ranked in the top of Google, however this is untrue.

Maintaining & Increasing Your Rankings

In order to maintain and increase your site’s rankings in Google, you will need to have access to the Google Webmaster Console for that website and have it verified.

Once this is completed you will want to allow data to be collected for at least 1-2 weeks.  When you have enough data to see a large enough sample you can view the top search queries for your site.  This information will tell you about the top keyword phrases your site was ranked for and the positions they were in for that selected time period.  Review the click through rate of the top 10 keyword phrases and record the position you are listed in for that period.

For example it may say that you were ranked #4 for the keyword phrase “red scarves” and that when you were #4 people clicked on your listing 12% of the time.  If you look at the previous weeks data and you see that you were listed #2 and your listing was clicked on only 4% of the time, then it would be easy to see why your listing may have moved down, allowing a site with a higher click-through rate to be shown higher in the results.

Now there are two things that you can do; say to yourself that this is just the natural order of things, the site is getting a higher click-through rate at position number 4 and that is fine; or you can determine what causes visitors to select other sites and make the needed changes to your listing to increase your click-through rate.

Increasing Your Sites’ Click-Through Rate

To increase your website’s click-through rate there are a few things you need to do.

The first thing would be to identify the other sites that are listed within the top 10 for the keyword you are targeting.

Once you have done this, begin to study their rankings.  Just as your site bounces around a few positions at various times of the day / week, their sites do also.  Begin to study if they are always in the same position, or if there were number 5 today, 8 another day etc.

If you see that their site is bouncing around, it is likely because the search engines are determining whether they get a higher click-through rate at various positions, and if other sites get a higher click-through rate in their position.

Now you will want to begin studying their actual listing, and compare it against your own.  Ask yourself a series of questions to gather the information you need:

  • Is their title catchy?
  • Is their listed page the home page or an interior page?
  • Is their page on topic?
  • Does their page directly provide the solution to the visitors search query?
  • Is their description a snippet, or is it the actual Meta description?
  • Do they offer a discount, or sale within their listing?

Once you have gathered this data, answer the same questions for your own site.  Your goal is to determine what your site is lacking so that you can make the necessary adjustments to increase your click-through rates.

After making the needed adjustments, simply implement them within the site, update your Google Sitemap and continue monitoring your rankings and click-through rate through the Google Webmaster Console.

Learn more about Click Through Rates in Google and Bing or how our SEO Services can address poor click through rates for your website.