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Webmaster Tools receives Top Search Queries upgrade

This week saw a major upgrade to the Top Search Queries section of Google’s Webmaster Tools, providing much more detailed and better visualised data.

The most obvious change to the page is the inclusion of a new chart, similar to those found in Google Analytics, that displays impression (when your site appears in the search results) and clickthrough (when users click through to your site from the search results page) data for specific days. As with the old version of the page results can still be filtered by search type and search location whilst the date range filter has been expanded upon to allow the user to select specific days as opposed to just fixed date ranges. A new filter has also been added to allow the user to filter the results by a specific search term.

A change that may upset some users of the top search queries page is the relocation of search result position information. Previously this was available straight away, however the new layout requires a query to be expanded before the information is available.

Whilst this may be awkward for some, the trade-off is that a lot more data about that query can be made available. Position results are now broken down into range, with the top 5 positions having their own entry, the 6th to 10th positions lumped together and after that the positions are listed by what page they appear on as opposed to a specific position. As well as search position results, each query now shows the pages from your site that were displayed on the results page for the given term.

Another less obvious change, but just as valuable, is that data is now available for all queries whereas previously only the top 100 would be available.

Whilst the changes are clearly a great improvement over the earlier versions of the page, there are few things missing from the new version that some users may miss, such as filtering search types by product and exporting search position data – but hopefully it won’t be too long before this data makes a return to the top search queries tool.

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