Monitoring site performance with Google Search Console
Here we are again with Daniel Waisberg’s lessons on Google Search Console, host of the web series published on Google Webmasters YouTube channel: in this new video, our Search Advocate teaches us to use the performance report of the platform, in order to monitor site performance on Google search engine and acquire important data about impressions and clicks, most searched queries, origin of users.
Performance report in Search Console
The Performance report is divided into two sections: Search and Discover. All GSC accounts have data on the Research system, while only those sites that stockpiled a substantial amount of traffic in Google Discover can access the specific report (Google Discover Search Console).
Before actually diving into the use of the performance report inside the search system, the Googler dwells on two fundamental notions about data analysis, a.k.a metrics and dimensions.
What are metrics
First definition is all about metrics: “they are quantitative measurements and are the numbers you see for each of the columns of a table or of a chart”, and “usually describe how much and how often”.
Inside the performance report we have four kinds of metrics:
- Impressions, the number of times the site actually appears in a user’s search result.
- Clicks, the total number of times in which users click on the site link from a search result.
- Average CTR, the click through rate calculated by dividing the impressions percentage per number of clicks.
- Average position, the average ranking of the site on Google, based on the ranking calculation of its best results.
What are dimensions
Dimensions are instead “attributes of your data“, that generally describe “who did something or where it happened”. More specifically:
- Countries, indicates the Countries from which the researches concerning the site are incoming
- Pages, shows the viewed page in a search or clicked by a user (referring to the canonical page, hence in the event of duplicated pages only one will show).
- Query, gives information on the query strings searched for by Google users.
- Devices, signals the type of device used among desktop, tablet or smartphone.
- Search type, meaning on web search, images search, video search and so on.
- Search appearance, in the case of features on SERP such as multimedial results or AMP page.
- Dates, for chronological orders.
How does the monitoring tool on performance appear
The performance report consists of three main elements: features box, graphs and tabs. According to Waisberg, “an image is worth a thousand words”, and for that it is good to first of all get to know the graphs, that are a beautiful visual element: GSC allows us to determine which metrics to view in the graph among the ones available (even all of them together, with different colours in order to highlight the single trend).
The tab below, instead, allows to navigate within the different dimensions and to discover their referring data; by clicking on a single dimension a tab will open up with all the requested metrics. For instance, “if you click Countries you will see a list with all the countries where your site was shown on search results and how many clicks it generated”.
Four aspects to analyze in order to monitor performance
Once ended the introductive part, Google’s Search Advocate offers “four ideas on what to look for when analyzing performance data”: a low click-through rate; missing search queries; missing pages and branded search queries.
If the number of impressions is significantly higher than actual clicks and, then, the click through rate or CTR is very low for a query or a page, there it could be a problem of “attractiveness” of titles and snippets displayed on the SERP. It then needs to optimize these aspects – meaning to improve the page’s tag title and meta description, primarily – so to convince more users to click on the link of our site.
Missing search queries
If the site does not appear among expected search queries, “the offered contents might not be useful and relevant enough for that query”, says Waisberg.
Whenever important pages of the site are not listed among Search Console pages there could be some issues: the use of the inspect URL tool allows to further deepen the analysis and find out the reason of the absence.
Branded search queries
The Googler suggests to control “how many queries show the site when users do or not researches including a specific string, such as the site name”: like that it is possible to discover “interesting areas where people are searching for contents directly related to your brand”.
To know and use the tools to enhance performance
Alongside the use of default reports, Google Search Console’s monitoring tool also allows to set some filters up in order to customize analysis, going then beyond dimensions and aggregated metrics and viewing a much more specific performance scenery inside Research. To know the available opportunities and learning to use the tools allows to figure out and optimize site performance on Google, finishes Daniel Waisberg.