Now in BETA
Search Console and Google Analytics are key tools for managing a company’s digital presence. In a recent announcement that Search Console will be more deeply integrated with Analytics is great news for marketers and business owners who use data to optimize their website in order to improve its performance.
The new integration means that you can now see how your site performs in organic search results, alongside your website’s behavior, all in one report. So you can see how users found your site, then what they did once they got there, all in the same place.
Search Console Data into Analytics
If you’ve been managing a web presence for a while, you might recall that keyword information was available in Google Analytics once upon a time. In 2011 Google began to slowly remove keyword information from Analytics. On the flip side, keyword information was provided in Search Console. You had to dig a bit and the information was only available for 90 days (actually it is a rolling calendar). Making comparisons is cumbersome, especially if you’re trying to track keyword performance over time. However, you could determine what search queries Google determined were on the site as well as each page. And, you could see each keyword’s average position on SERPs in an unfiltered view; this meant you could see how your website performed directly from Google’s perspective. From an SEO perspective, the tool is very powerful as it lets you uncover tons of useful data… but you had to really work for it. Now it looks like the big G is bringing search queries back to Google Analytics.
Not heard of Search Console before? Often when we start working with clients to help them with SEO, it’s not uncommon that their Google Analytics and Search Console accounts aren’t linked. If you have appropriate administrative access, the process is relatively easy. Follow these instructions to enable search console data sharing.
A New Section Available
Now that Google is releasing some Search Console data in GA, there’s a new section to explore. Within the GA dashboard, go to Acquisition => Search Console. Here you can see:
- Best performing website pages. In Search Console, you could only see impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position. You would have to dig and overlay other information. Now Google lays it all out, including the number of sessions, bounce rates and conversions.
- Countries & Devices. These areas are exactly what you’d expect: what countries bring you the most traffic and what devices are used.
- Queries. The data here is basically what you’d see in Search Console. The main difference is your ability to compare over time. Right now it looks there’s a limit to the data stored. We’ll see if you can go back further than 90 days as data gets added.
Note: Google is still rolling out Search Console into Google Analytics. So if you don’t see it yet, keep checking back. It should be available to you in the coming weeks.
Why It’s a Big Deal
Before the integration of data, you had to toggle between Google Analytics and Search Console. You manually had to make the correlation between search query performance in organic search and page performance in Google Analytics. Most Webmasters didn’t have the time and patience to create customized reports. Now you’ve got an end-to-end report, where you can easily see the relationship between a visitor’s intent (acquisition) to how they behaved on the site (number of pages viewed and by session) and conversion (tracking goals).
The report helps you find landing (website) pages that are performing well organically and which ones need tweaking. Additionaly, by linking search queries to landing pages, you have a source of intelligence to build AdWords campaigns. Similar to using the AdWord Keyword Planner, GA’s Search Console’s report can give you inspiration for ads and their related ad groups and landing pages.
See a landing page that is getting a high number of impressions in organic search and few clicks? This is an indication that your meta data (title tag, meta description) needs spicing up. Searchers are seeing your listing on a SERP but aren’t taking the next step. Got a high CTR with a high bounce rate? That probably indicates you have enticing meta data but your visitors aren’t seeing what they want so rewriting, restructuring and restyling the page is needed.
Bringing Search Console further into Analytics is only one step. The implications, especially if used properly, can be huge. Bringing two of Google’s most useful tools together makes the information easier to find. It’s still a Webmaster’s job to pull it all together into actionable insights.
What will you do now that search query info is back in Google Analytics?
How can we help?
What do your analytics say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.