Oh Dearie, My Queries! Measuring SEO Without Keyword Data

September 15, 2015

5 Minute Read

At BFO, we definitely have our list of all-stars when it comes to measuring and reporting site performance, and BrightEdge is high on that list. Today, BrightEdge is one of the most popular software platforms in the SEO world for data sorting and reporting.

Besides the cool tools they’ve developed, like DataCube and StoryBuilder, BrightEdge is a leader in their space. They’re constantly innovating their platform to transform online content into tangible and attractive business results through traffic, revenue, and engagement metrics.

To do this, BrightEdge utilizes high-powered SERP-based analytics platforms such as Google Search Console (formerly, and still widely, referred to as Google Webmaster Tools). Since the launch of Search Console last spring, Google has made some updates to better consolidate queries.

To adapt to these new Google Search Console ‘search analytics’ reports, BrightEdge has recently redefined how they are interpreting certain pieces of the data they collect from Search Console. The most notably impacted area of your BrightEdge data is Clicks & Impressions. It’s very likely SEOs and their clients have already seen a “drop” in Clicks & Impressions metrics as a result of these recent BrightEdge reporting updates.

…But Don’t Panic!

While this may seem like a detrimental, women-and-children-first type situation, it most certainly is not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

What we see above is the result of consolidated metrics based on several key areas of data collection in the new Google Search Console. There are some great benefits in the way data is now portrayed between the old Google Search Queries report and the new Search Analytics report. So, let’s break ‘em down:

Individual Page Impressions

Now, instead of counting every single page in the search results as an impression, all links to the same site are counted as a single impression. The reasoning here is that if all roads lead to your site, there is no point in counting the roads not traveled. So, the total number of impressions in your BrightEdge reports will almost certainly decrease based on this update.

Different Data Storage Thresholds

Thresholds for storing data are different between the old Search Queries report and the new Search Analytics report. This difference may be noticed in the summed values sections of the reports because one report will have a larger pool of data from which to make the summation.

For example, if you are interested in knowing total clicks for a specific time period, you may see different results between the two reports because one report will not have as much data as the other to utilize in its results.

Search Properties and Devices are Now Separate

The old Search Queries report has an option to filter by Web, Image, Mobile, and Video, where Mobile means web searches from a mobile device. Mobile and desktop search metrics were also combined for both images and videos in the old report. In the new Search Analytics report, the device type and the search type are separate.

Let’s say you want to kick back with some cat videos. Now, if a Google search is made for images or videos of cats on a mobile device, you will be able to see that it originated from a mobile device in BrightEdge. This is instead of that same mobile device search being lumped into a group along with all other image and video searches for cats from desktops.

Lower Image Click Count

The older Search Queries report counted any click on an image in all Web Searches and Image Searches. In the new Search Analytics report, only clicks which expand an image or clicks on a link to the image owner’s website are counted.

This means that the new report is only recording clicks that resulted in a notable action. A click on an image that doesn’t result in an action is rendered meaningless in the new report since it doesn’t impact your visitors total or engagement. The result is a pool of data which is much more meaningful for understanding who is engaging with your images (of cats).

Data Consolidated by Full Domain

This is a biggie. If you own multiple hosts in a domain (for example, www.cutecatpics.com and cutecatpics.com), you might see your click and impression counts drop for each host. Why? The old Search Queries report often assigned click, impression, or other data by domain name, where a domain might span multiple hosts.

So, for example, a click on a link to www.cutecatpics.com might be counted for both www.cutecatpics.com and cutecatpics.com accounts. In order to avoid this double counting, the new Search Analytics report now assigns all click, impression, and other search data to a single, complete host name.

This means a click or impression on www.cutecatpics.com will only be counted toward www.cutecatpics.com, and not to m.cutecatpics.com, cutecatpics.com, or any other variations. As a result, you might see lower totals for a specific account, but this does not reflect changed search traffic or user behavior, only an accounting change that ensures more accurate information for each account.

Now Exhale…

Overall, these report updates are going to give you, the SEO, and your clients a much better picture of how a site is performing. By adapting to Google’s new Search Console report, BrightEdge now offers more concise data to help make decisions to increase your client’s traffic, engagement, and revenue.

For more information on the functionality of the Search Analytics report in Google Search Console, please follow this link: Google Search Console: Search Analytics Report

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The BFO Team - All the latest from BFO

The BFO Team

Here at BFO, we're always striving to bring you the latest and greatest in digital marketing insights and education. We're not ones to brag, but we've been lucky enough to be featured in all sorts of fancy publications and media outlets, strutting our stuff and showing off our industry expertise.