View Smartphone Search Metrics in Google Webmaster Tools

Mobile filter applied to Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries reportview at full size

Switch to the Mobile filter in the Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries report to view phone searches.

Following up on a previous post that recommended Google Webmaster Tools as a useful complement to Google Analytics, today we apply the Mobile filter to the GWT Search Queries report to display metrics for Google searches that originated on smartphones and feature phones.

By changing the Search Queries report from the default Web filter, you can display impressions, clicks, clickthrough rate, and average position for your keywords as they appeared in Google search engine results on phones.

Note that GWT data imported into to Google Analytics Search Engine Optimization reports is unfiltered; neither the Web nor the Mobile filter is applied.

Special thanks to Cindy Krum of MobileMoxie for her assistance with today’s post.

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Try Different Meta Descriptions to Improve Organic Clickthrough Rates

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An increased organic clickthrough rate, without a corresponding increase in position, probably indicates a more effective meta description.

For most Web pages listed on a search engine results page (SERP), the Web page’s approximately 160-character meta description tag is what appears directly below the page title.

The meta description is less important for the actual ranking of the page and much more important as the page synopsis and call to action that trigger the clickthrough.

Although you cannot A/B test meta descriptions in real time, since the SERP is of course beyond your direct control, you can experiment with different meta descriptions in series and monitor clickthrough rate on the Traffic Sources > Search Engine Optimization > Queries report. (If you have not linked your SEO data from Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics, you can check clickthrough data directly in your Google Webmaster Tools reports.)

An increase in organic clickthrough rate (CTR) for a specific keyword, with no increase in average position, probably indicates a more compelling meta description.

As a note, since page title is much more important than meta description in search engine ranking, it’s much riskier to experiment with page title to increase clickthrough rates.

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Identify Broken Inbound Links with Google Webmaster Tools Crawl Errors

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Google Webmaster Tools lists the external pages that contain broken inbound links.

Although Google Webmaster Tools analyzes your website from the perspective of the Google search engine rather that visitor activity that occurs directly on your site, it does provide critical information that can help you drive more traffic to the correct pages on your site, thereby improving visitor experience and possibly increasing conversions.

Within the Health > Crawl Errors report, you can view broken inbound links that the Google search engine spider (“Googlebot”) has encountered, and the external pages that contain the broken links. You could further assess the impact of the broken link by drilling down in the Referral Traffic report within Google Analytics for the number of visits that the external pages are driving. (This is possible only if you have included the Google Analytics tracking code on a custom page-not-found page, which is highly recommended as part of your Google Analytics implementation.)

Fixing the broken link can benefit you in two ways. For one, it can help direct more visitors to the correct pages on your site instead of an error page. Secondly, it can potentially improve your organic rankings within Google, thereby driving more traffic.

Read more about the ways that Google Webmaster Tools complements Google Analytics.

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Bring SEO Data from Google Webmaster Tools into Google Analytics

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Associate Google Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics to view Google search engine data within your Google Analytics profiles.

Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools serve two purposes that are very distinct but also related: Google Analytics shows how human visitors interact with your site, and Google Webmaster Tools shows how the Google search engine crawler (also known as “Googlebot”) spiders your site and also how Google search engine users interact with occurrences of your site within the search results.

By associating your Google Analytics Web property (on the Property Settings tab) with your Google Webmaster Tools account, you can view Google search engine data, such as impression and clickthrough rate, directly in the Search Engine Optimization reports within Google Analytics.

How do the Search Engine Optimization reports differ from the Search > Organic report? For one, the Search Engine Optimization reports relate only to the Google search engine (and not to Bing, etc.) More importantly, Search Engine Optimization indicates how well your site and your listings are performing directly on the search engine, while the Search > Organic report indicates the keywords that are driving traffic but does not provide any context within the search engine itself.

For example, Search > Organic could indicate that your site is receiving 1000 monthly visits for each of two keywords, but a low average position or a low clickthrough rate for one of the keywords in the Search Engine Optimization > Queries report could signal an opportunity to optimize your site to achieve better search engine performance for that keyword.

For more information, see Using the SEO Reports in Google Analytics help.

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Take Advantage of Google Webmaster Tools

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You can filter the Search Queries report in GWT for user searches initiated on smartphones and in specific countries.

While Google Analytics reports are based primarily on user interactions with your website, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) tells you:

  • what the Google search spider (known affectionately as Googlebot) sees when crawling your site
  • user search activity within the Google search engine

The natural connection between search engine optimization and Web analytics makes the GWT data, such as the following, a useful complement to Google Analytics:

  • broken links on your site
  • prevalence of specific keyword phrases on your site
  • impressions, clickthroughs, and average rankings for user search terms on Google, filterable by country and for smartphone
  • page load time in comparison to other websites
  • optimization issues regarding page titles and meta descriptions
  • optimization warnings, such as the detection of unnatural inbound links

If you haven’t done so already, you can very easily gain access to GWT for a specific website, especially if you already have Google Analytics admin rights for that site.

Even if you’re not responsible specifically for search engine optimization, and even though you can integrate some GWT search data into Google Analytics, it’s worth the direct trip to google.com/webmasters to view the full range of reports.

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