We uncovered another peculiar issue yesterday when reviewing our clients' organic search engine performance. I exported and reviewed impression and click data from Google Search Console Tools and noticed that there were no low counts, only zeros and large counts.
In fact, if you were to believe Google Webmasters data, the only great terms that were driving traffic were the brand name and highly competitive terms that the client ranked on. There's a problem, though. Google Analytics keyword data proves the opposite.. that the majority of the search engine traffic is coming from longtail keywords.
You have to read the fine print within the Google Search Console Search queries topic to uncover what's going on:
- Impressions: The number of times pages from your site appeared in search results, and the percentage increase/decrease in the daily average impressions compared to the previous period. The number of days per period defaults to 30, but you can change it at any time. (These numbers can be rounded, and may not be exact.)
- Clicks: The number of times a user clicked your site's listing in search results for a particular query, and the percentage increase/decrease in the average daily clicks compared to the previous period. (These numbers can be rounded, and may not be exact.)
That's right… Webmasters is rounding the low counts on impressions AND clicks, only providing counts for only the largest volumes. This is really aggravating given the fact that longtail keywords can drive the most relevant impressions and clicks! In fact, in an analysis we did over a year ago on this blog, the majority of all of our organic traffic was coming from the longtail.
So, as with most organic search elements, beware of relying solely on a single source. It's unfortunate that Google can't supply actual data in Webmasters, I believe it would help people to stop focusing on highly competitive keywords and build more well-rounded content marketing strategies.