Google is upgrading its search reporting tools to help webmasters drill deeper into the data around how users land on their websites.
For the uninitiated, Webmaster Tools is Google’s free service to help website owners analyze their site’s indexing and presence in Google Search results. Thus far, webmasters have had access to Search Queries reports, which serve up some data around how a website’s content shows up to users in search results. But now it will be giving a more granular breakdown of this information.
With Search Analytics reports, webmasters can filter a site’s search data by more criteria, such as comparing mobile versus desktop. Importantly, given the recent so-called “Mobilegeddon” which led to Google upgrading its algorithm to rank sites as “mobile-friendly” (or not), Search Analytics can show any discernible impact on mobile traffic after the change was made on April 21.
Alternatively, you can dig down by location and compare how people search for your company on a country-by-country basis.
There’s a few notable differences between how the new Search Analytics and old Search Queries manage the data. For example, in Search Queries, every single page in a search result was counted as an impression, whereas with the new reporting system, all links to the same site are merged and counted as one. This should provide more accurate reports.
Also, Search Analytics now counts data for each individual “property” of a domain, such as “http://example.com,” “https://example.com,” and “http://m.example.com.” Under the old reporting system, clicks and so on were often counted multiple times, which could lead to misleading data — now all clicks and impressions are assigned to a single host name.
A full outline of the new Search Analytics element of Webmaster Tools is available here.
Ultimately, Google says that its new reporting mechanism is more accurate than the old Search Queries data. But it isn’t closing access yet to the old system — webmasters have three months to transition to the new setup before Google hits the “off” switch for good.