In recent years, Google began reducing the amount of keyword data that it made available through its Analytics platform. This came in the form of the dreaded 'not provided', which gradually consumed keyword data, leaving us with a fraction of what we once had.

However, thanks to the 'Search Query' Report in Google Webmaster Tools, website managers were able to extract useful data relating to their top keywords and pages based on the number of clicks and impressions received. This could be filtered over a specified time-frame within the previous 3 months, with other information available, including average positions in Google's search results as well as CTR (click-through-rate).

Search Analytics

After a lot of buzz around planned updates to the search query report, Google's Zineb Ait Bahajji announced yesterday that the highly anticipated new and improved 'Search Analytics' report is now up and running! The new report offers more data, more advanced filters and a smarter way of comparing the data.

Google's Mobile-Friendly Update

Google has included an 'Update' line to represent the date that it launched its 'Mobile-Friendly' algorithm (April 21, 2015), which will prove useful for identifying whether a website was negatively affected by Mobilegeddon. This can be investigated further by drilling down by page (useful, since Google said that the algorithm works at page level), as well as comparing pages and applying advanced filters which could be useful to spot trends in content types.

search analytics report with mobile date

Comparing Data

Search Analytics can also be used to compare metrics side-by-side, as seen in the old report with clicks & impressions, but the difference is that now we can add CTR & positions to the graph, as well as look at a single metric, for example, comparing individual pages and date ranges.

Search Analytics date range comparison

search analytics report comparing data

Another great feature is the second axis on the graph, as previously the impressions data series was generally substantially higher than clicks, making it difficult to identify peaks and troughs. This helps to make the data more relative, which means it will be easier to spot any notable changes.

Search Analytics Page Filters

Filtering the data

The data can be grouped by query, page, country, device, date, or search type (web/image/video). Filters can then be applied across multiple groups. For example, it's easy to see all clicks that came from the US and were carried out on a mobile device. This can also be useful for filtering branded vs non-branded keywords.

Google Search Analytics Filter by search queries

Google Search Analytics Filter by pages

The totals are given for each metric, but interestingly these appear to differ slightly from the same data in the old reports. Google explained this, stating that: "Data in the Search Analytics report is much more accurate than data in the older Search Queries report, and it is calculated differently". More about this can be found in Google's support document.

Google Analytics Query Report

For those of you who have connected your Google Webmaster Tools accounts with Analytics, you will notice that the 'Queries' report still appears in Google Analytics, which provides much of the same data that was previously available in the 'Search Queries' report.

Limited Data

As before, we can still only look back up to 3 months, but there is still the option to download the data, so it's possible to use it to build your own insights and track changes over a longer period of time.

In the unlikely event that you want to switch back to the old style 'Search Queries' report, simply click 'Go back to old "Search Queries" report' within your Search Analytics report (don't worry, you can switch back again!).

Google Search Analytics switching back to old version

More information on the new features can be found here.

What do you think of the new Search Analytics report? Let us know in the comments below!