SEO – Making the most of Impressions data

Search Console offers a treasure trove of information when running an SEO campaign. In this blog, we’re exploring the role of ‘impressions’ and how they can help steer your keyword strategy.

Where to find the Impressions data

Within Google search console, log in then

  • click on Search Traffic
  • click on Search Analytics
  • check the box next to ‘clicks’ for ‘impressions’ (the other data available from the same line is CTR (Click Through Rate) and Position

By default, the clicks should already be graphed so after checking ‘impressions’, the timeline should have 2 lines. Ensure ‘Queries’ is selected in the box immediately below.

What are Impressions – Why should I look at them?

Impressions are a count of the number of times your site appeared in a search result. The site may or may not have been in direct view. On some devices, the site may have been presented lower on a search page and the viewer would have had to actively scroll down to see it. Whereas initial keyword research at the onset of an SEO campaign takes an educated ‘best guess’ at the keywords your site may want to focus on, the impressions will show which words and strings are flagging as relevant to your content. If they are the terms which are predictable then the site is matching its content to the relevant searches. If they are unexpected, then it may be that the site is missing the niche market being aimed for or perhaps you are missing an opportunity to tap into a new keyword which is not part of your current SEO strategy.

 

Check your Sample Size

Depending on the popularity of your site and the frequency of the keyword searches being entered that your site attracts clicks from, the sample size of data could be small or large. If the site being studied gets hundreds of clicks per day then the default date range of the last 28 days is enough to give a representative range of information. If the number of clicks and impressions is low then consider changing the default date range to extend the analysis. This will extend the sample size so that anomalies are evened out and valuable insights are less likely to be overlooked.

Changing the data sample timeline

  • Click on the drop down arrow next to ‘Last 28 days’
  • Click on Set Date Range
  • Either select ‘Last 90 days’ for approximately 3 months’ data or enter a custom date range (this works particularly well if you have a seasonal window where searches are not typical of the entire year)

Looking at the chart, there will probably be a correlation between impressions and clicks. The higher the number of impressions, the higher the number of clicks. In the chart below, the blue line is ‘clicks’ and the red line is ‘impressions’.

clicks vs impressions

To display the queries in order of popularity (ie the words or strings which were entered into a Google search in which this site made an impression), simply click on ‘impressions’ and ensure the arrow is pointing down. (Clicking it again so that the arrow is pointing up will list the queries in order from the least popular to the most)

What to look for

An increase in the number of impressions over time means that your site is ‘on the radar’ of more searchers which is a good thing. The first step to getting a click is to be presented on a search engine results page.

Look for popular queries or phrases which you are missing from your current campaign. Should you switch out some of your lower volume terms for some of the more popular ones? This is a trade-off as it may be a very competitive market. Is it better to rank #6 in a high volume term than #2 in a lower volume term? Only time and experimenting will show how the balance works in your niche market. If you make changes, do so deliberately and record them so that you can revert if a change does not produce the results you hoped for.

If you are looking for customized search engine optimization that is tailored to your small or medium sized business, contact us today for a fresh look at your SEO.

 

SEO Keyword Strategy – Long tail vs Short Tail

How Long Should Your Keywords Be?

An ongoing debate for anyone choosing an SEO keyword strategy, what are the factors which can help you decide which keywords to use? One way to split out groups of keywords is by their length:

SEO keyword strategy

Examples include lifeboat, chocolate, chicken soup, gold necklace,  garden soil, hot cross buns, navy blue dress.

seo keyword strategy

Examples include chicken noodle soup recipe, Australian fire opal silver ring, search and rescue urban search techniques.

What do long tail keywords offer?

Most obviously the long tail keywords are much more specific. If there is a clear way to define your niche in the marketplace, and you can put into words the likely search terms that your ideal customer would use to find your business, long tail keywords offer several advantages:

  1. The visitors to your site are more likely to find what they are looking for as their search was more detailed.
  2. Your site is likely to rank higher as there is less competition in specific searches.
  3. Visitors who find your site are ALREADY looking for exactly what you offer so they are more likely to be ready to make a purchasing decision.
  4. If you decide to kickstart your marketing with a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign, the long tail keywords are likely to cost less per click than broad targeting, short tail keywords which many others will also be trying to win.

The major downside – and it is a big disadvantage – is the volume of searches being done. Although you are likely to win a higher click through rate and connect with the right prospects, the overall number of searches being done for that particular (long tail) keyword will be lower than a broader search. For example, there might be 1000 searches for jewelry, 400 for gold jewelry and only 25 searches for gold jewelry necklace Figaro chain. Working the numbers: if your site converted 100% which matched that long tail keyword, it would be the same as converting   2.5% of the top level (jewelry) search but that may be difficult if you are ranking significantly lower – maybe pages lower than your competition.

What do short tail keywords offer?

They basically offer the flipside of all the points mentioned above – the biggest advantage being the sheer volume of searches being done. The bad news is that it can be difficult to rank highly and the field is competitive, leading to a high CPC (cost per click) if you decide to try PPC and a potentially long struggle to improve rankings to get anywhere near page 1, let alone position 1.

When a very specific search is entered (a long tail keyword), the viewer knows EXACTLY what they are looking for. That’s precisely why they are more likely to convert into a buyer after they reach a site. When a potential customer doesn’t know exactly what they want, they are more likely to enter a short tail keyword and may stumble across your site and then start to hone in on your product. It’s like an almost ‘accidental’ acquisition because your site has the chance to convert a general search into a specific interest in your product or service.

seo keyword strategy

SEO Keyword Strategy is a fine tuning exercise which has to be ongoing. Experimenting with long tail keywords could unlock a new marketing opportunity. If you’re looking for an SEO agency to help identify new keywords, contact us today.

If Only My Website Had Responsive Design

It can be a dilemma.
  • You love your website
  • You are getting visitors to your site
  • It represents your brand perfectly
  • Your business is doing OK
What’s the problem? If you like everything about your site but it is not responsive in design, be prepared to make a change or pay the price in reduced traffic.
There are exceptions. If your site is visited exclusively by clients using a desktop, it may not matter. If your client base is broad and your new orders are triggered by existing customers, chances are they are only looking you up to check prices or submit a new transaction. In those cases, investment in a new site may not be worthwhile.

How do you know who accesses your site?

It’s easy within Google Analytics to see a breakdown of how clients are interacting with your website. The ‘Mobile’ overview breaks down the percentage (and actual session number) split between desktop vs mobile vs tablet. On the same screen, you can check the bounce rate – the percentage of people who clicked into the site and then didn’t explore further or clicked away. The lower the bounce rate, the better the chances that your visitor found your site engaging and interesting – good indicators when you are looking to promote your product or service.
 bounce rates1

Is the writing on the wall? (or in analytics?)

When you see a bounce rate that varies across devices then it can be an indicator that you are losing potential clients by not having a responsive site. What would that look like numerically? It may be a bounce rate of 50% from desktops and a bounce rate of 70% from mobile devices. If the sample size is large enough to make the data compelling, then chances are the experience viewers are having from mobile devices is offputting.
If in doubt, look at your site from a variety of devices and see how it appears when you use it. This is a good idea anyway so you can relate to the experience in a similar fashion to that of your customer.

Will things change?

Yes – the world of search engines and search habits are always evolving, however, the bad news in this scenario is that the swing is towards even more people searching from mobile devices so maybe it is a good time to make a change now.

Don’t want a new website design?

It’s not unusual to love your current site, after all, you probably helped design it, it serves a useful purpose, you’re familiar with it, it has evolved to be your perfect virtual storefront. Here’s the good news… there is no need to stress over a whole new website design and the costs which are typically incurred. If you like your content and don’t want changes made, the chances are it can be copied across to responsive design with minimal compromise. It might mean that some boxes appear bigger or smaller, there might be a slight shift in the overall aesthetic but a good designer will be able to lay out potential changes up front so you can decide if a switch is worthwhile.
It’s something to mull over as there are potential benefits to taking your current site over to responsive design without redesigning
  • it could be cheaper
  • it could be quicker than a redesign
  • it sets you up for the future with more and more people using mobile devices
  • there is no large investment of your time
  • website appeal will remain the same for desktop users but should improve for mobile users
If you love your site but it is not responsive, it may be time for an upgrade. You needn’t lose the features and design you like, it can be tweaked slightly to make it more friendly across all devices. If you’re looking for help with a new website or want to find out more about how a lack of responsive design may be affecting your online experience for clients, contact us today.