Google Search Console – A Comprehensive Guide – Part 3

SEO SEO - Google Webmaster Tools

In this post I am going to discuss the next section of Google Webmaster Tools, Search Traffic.

Search Traffic

This area of Google Webmaster Tools allows us to see how traffic is coming to our sites, Search Queries, the different Links to our sites as well as Internal links and manual actions.

***Update 9/16/2015

There have been many changes since Google updated the name of this tool to Search Console. The addition of Mobile Usability to name one. Here is an updated screenshot of the menu tab:

Search Console Menu - Search Traffic
Updated screenshot of the search traffic menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/update ***

Search Queries

***Update 9/16/2015

This section is no longer called Search Queries, it is now referred to as Search Analysis and contains a few new features. 

We now have the ability to filter keyword data by Queries: the terms users typed to find our site, Pages: the URLs that are receiving the traffic, Countries: where the traffic is coming from, Devices: what are searchers using to access our sites, search type: web, image, video and we can choose a data range. Note, the date range only allows us to go back 90 days. 

Search Analysis filter options

 

 

In this new addition to search console we can also filter by clicks, impressions, CTR (click  through rate) and ranking position. Personally, I find the position field to be inaccurate when I manually check keyword positions; maybe that’s just me though.

/update ***

The first link under Search Traffic is Search Queries. This section is further broken down into two separate categories, Top Queries and Top Pages. Under Top Queries we are shown a graph of impressions vs. clicks, as well as a chart listing the keywords that is driving traffic to our sites.

The screenshot below show the impressions vs. clicks graph on my website.

Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries Chart
Impressions vs. Clicks chart in Google Webmaster Tools

 

The first thing you may notice is the small amount of search traffic my website is getting, At the time of this writing, I only recently launched this new version of my website and this is also my personal website, not a clients website so I’m not concerned with traffic.

Notice the blue line dictates impressions, how often your website is appearing in the SERPs, and the red line indicates clicks for those terms.

If we scroll further down this page we are shown a chart of what those keywords are, the number of impressions we’re receiving for them, the number of times they’re clicked, the CTR percentage and the average position (where a website is appearing for that query).

Webmaster Tools Search Query Data
In-depth data for search queries related to your site.

 

You are able to download this information in two separate formats: download the table or download chart data. Both versions are available in either a CSV or Google Spreadsheet. This data wasn’t always available to this extent, Google only recently started showing the amount of clicks that a particular query is receiving.

Clicking With Change will should you how much your website has improved, or receded within a time frame you select.

The next tab under Search Queries, next to Top Queries is Top Pages. Here you’ll be able to see a similar chart to the one above but, in lieu of search terms you’ll be shows your top preforming URLs.

Another recently added feature to this section is really neat. It’s a filter that allows you to parse data by Search: All, Image, Mobile, Video and Web, by Location: View traffic from a specific country that has visited  your site recently and by Traffic: All Queries and Queries with 10 or more impression/clicks.

Search Queries Filter Options
Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries Filter Options

 

The next section down in the left-nav under Search Traffic is Links to Your Site.

Links To Your Site

This section lists all websites that linking back to your site and also shows your most linked content (pages). There is also a section that shows How your data is linked and provides the phrases used to link to your website.

Links to your site
Google Webmaster Tools Links to Your Site Section

 

Clicking the more>> button on either section will bring you to an expanded table that provides you with a list of websites that are linking to you. Here you will be able to download a table of all URLs that are linking to you, how many links each URL is pointing back to your site and how many pages are linked from that source. Let me break it down a bit further.

In the screenshot below, I clicked the more link on Who links the most and was brought to this page:

Who Links The Most
Google Webmaster Tools Who Links The Most

 

Here we are provided with a list of URLs that are linking back to our website. The results are hyperlinked and if we click a domain name we are brought to the following page :

Who Links The Most
Google Webmaster Tools Who Links The Most – Domain Level

 

This page in Webmaster Tools lists individual pages and posts on your website that are linked from that specific domain as well as how many times each page/post is linked. All of the charts within these pages are available for download as either a CSV or Google Docs format. If you check this page frequently there is also an option to download the latest links so you are able to see any new links pointing to you.

Keeping on the topic of links, the next section under Search Traffic is Internal Links.

Internal Links

This section in Google Webmaster Tools lets us see the internal linking structure of our website. This is a great way to check if important pages are linked properly and how many times each page is linked.

Internal Links
Google Webmaster Tools Internal Links

Under Target Pages is a list of URLs on your website. If we roll over them we will see a pop-up that shows a preview of that particular page. If we click on the link we are brought to another page that lists every URL (internally) that is linking to that page. Both pages, Target Pages and Links are available for download as either a CSV file or Google Doc.

 

Manual Actions

This is a very important section in Webmaster Tools. Here you will (hopefully never) see a notification from Google that there is an issue with your website and forced them to take action. For example, there may be a malicious link, that you may or may not be aware of, pointing to your website. If this is deemed as spam then your website may incur a penalty. You will also be notified in the Site Messages section if this happens.

If your website does receive one of these messages, Google may provide an example of some of the malicious content or links as well as links to ways to fix the issue.

 

**addendum**

As of Monday, July 14, 2014 there is a new section here called International Targeting.

International Targeting

This section is aimed at ensuring the hreflang tags are set up properly if you are managing an international website that is targeting different countries. This section checks to see if there are return links and if the hreflang values are correct. 

***Update 9/16/2015

Mobile Usability

This is a new section in search console that shows us any mobile compatibility issues with our sites. Since April 21, 2015 when Google enforced the importance of having a mobile website, this is very important to keep an eye on. 

Search Console mobile usability

If there were any issues the would be shown here, and listed below in a chart that details: Usability Issue, Pages With Issues along with the option to click deeper into the issue and see the date it was detected. 

I hope that everyone reading this never experiences any issues with your sites, mobile or otherwise!

/update ***

Conclusion

The Search Traffic section of your website is a great area to find out more information about your inbound traffic. This may be search queries, inbound and internal links. This post also covered receiving a manual action letter from Google.

In my next post I will be covering the following section, Google Index.

Go back to Part 2

Proceed to Part 4

About the Author:

An SEO in NYC with a penchant for the technical side of things. Father, Husband, Novice Photographer and Music Lover.

2 comments

  1. […] our work is showing up in the SERPs. The chart, similar to the one seen under Search Appearance and Search Traffic, give us a link to the page we wrote, the number of impressions it received, the number of clicks […]

  2. […] Remember, to a get a complete list of URLs that are linking to us we can use the tool under search traffic, Links to Your Site. […]

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