Google Webmaster Tools: Exact Search Query Data Revealed for 2014
January 8, 2014
Yesterday morning, Google announced a new update to Google Webmaster Tools, which allows users to access the exact numbers to their websites’ search query data. The new update, which was activated at the end of December, will continue to roll out in the coming days and will be an universal update present in all Google Webmaster Tools accounts.
Prior to this update, all search query data was rounded or “bucketed” to a smooth number (e.g. 1,500 instead of 1,348) in order to “simplify the user interface.” (Although bucketing was a great source of annoyance for many users, Google stressed that bucketing had in no way posed a cap on potential traffic or affected rankings.)
The full and unadulterated data set has allowed webmasters a more thorough understanding of the sort of impressions and clicks being generated by different search queries, as well as how users are responding and engaging with their site. This change has received an especially warm welcome particularly in light of other changes in the past year, such as the (not provided)/SSL fiasco earlier in 2013 which generated no shortage of hysteria.
Users have been asking for non-bucketed data for years, and it looks like Google has been paying attention. This update has served as a great beacon for what’s to come from Google for 2014; with this single update, Google has addressed concerns that resources for Webmaster Tools has waned, as well as concerns that Google is becoming increasingly opaque with its users.
Summary and final notes:
- The new search query data is located in the Google Webmaster Tools’ Search Queries report.
- The information provided is taken from data over the last 3 months (90 days).
- Besides notating the number of clicks and impressions, the data also shows the change in impressions/clicks.
- Users have noted that past values such as “<10” have disappeared with the new update.
- The update isn’t at 100% as some users may experience slow loading times, error messages, or timing out. This is normal and expected to subside over the next week.
- No word yet on whether or not these changes will be mirrored in Google Analytics or not.
Belinda Hu is the Link Strategist 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.