Google Webmaster Tools Part 2: Search Queries & Internal Links
As mentioned last week, I will be going through gold mine of site information that is Google Webmaster Tools and how to use it to your advantage. Since we the “Links to Your Site” section, let’s continue with the rest of sub menus that make up the “Search Traffic” section.
Search Queries: This is the best place to see just how visible your site is on the web, what keywords are producing that visibility and what’s actually getting people to your site. On the top of the page is a great visual aid that shows how many impressions (or how many times your site has showed up in search results) in blue, along with the number clicks (or how many times someone has actually visited your site from a search result) in red in the last month. This is a great snapshot of your sites SERP status, and can be thought of the heart line of your site. If you see a blue line that is climbing, your organic search is increasing. If you see a blue line that’s decreasing, your keywords are most likely falling and it’s time to start looking into what’s causing you to lose your presence. Below the table, Google gives you a list of either the specific keywords or particular pages that getting you impressions and even breaks down your CTR (click through rate) for each one. The higher the CTR, the more likely that keyword will bring a visitor to your site. This is a great tool to use with in keyword research as well as to determine if keywords are producing the results you are looking for.
You should also view this section as a chance to put on what I’ll call “Google Goggles” and see things exactly as they do. If Google is willing and able to show you the stats of every ranking keyword and how it performs, you better believe that is playing a large part in your rankings and something to aware of if you’re trying to improve your overall ranking status. Impressions seem high but clicks don’t seem to match? It might be time to look at how your site is being presented and make necessary changes to meta info (but please proceed with caution when doing so). Maybe your call to action in your meta description needs to be stronger or your title tag looks spammy, but your first impression on the web may be in need of a makeover.
Internal Links: Having gone over this a few weeks ago, I cannot stress the importance of this section in terms of the organization of your site. It shows you every page that is linked within your site and where exactly it is linked from. If you remember, linking a page internally sends the signal that “this page is important”, so this section in GWT gives you a great overview of the priority you given pages, especially if you have a large site with thousands of pages. If you have a large site that has grown over the years it’s easy to forget about internal links pointing to old pages that may not matter anymore but in theory you’re still placing importance on with specific links. This can cause confusion with Google on what really is the best page to rank and can hinder you from getting the best possible SERP results. If an old page is showing up in results and you’re not quite sure why, this should be one of the first places you check to see what’s linking to it from your site and what may need to be redirected. This is also a great way to determine pages to target keywords when optimizing. If you have been smart with your internal links, you will be able to quickly determine your strongest pages on your site and those that will perform the best for you.
Elisa Houghtelin is one of the Account Managers at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!