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’.
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.