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Google Webmaster – What Happened to the Search Queries Report?


One of our most used tools for search engine optimization and performance monitoring was the Google Search Queries Report. As the name implies, this let us see the search queries bringing readers to our clients’ websites.

Then Google changed Webmaster Tools into Search Console and our Search Queries Report disappeared… or did it?

We heard the same story from a few concerned marketers — and we were confused, too. What did Google do to this invaluable tool?! Breathe easy, dear reader — we’ve dug in and have some answers for you.

First up: Why was Webmaster Tools Renamed to Search Console?

Are you a Webmaster? Doubtful. As a matter of fact, most users of the Webmaster Tools aren’t webmasters at all. They range from small business owners to marketers and SEO experts, developers and designers.

It just didn’t make sense to have the toolset named after one small part of its users. Search queries and keyword performance are important to the rest of us, too.

So Google renamed the service to reflect this shift in how we use and create the web.

Where Did the Search Queries Report Go?

While there is still a search query report, this was far more than a simple rebranding or feature update. It’s a whole new tool altogether. The Search Queries Report is dead. Long live Search Analytics.

The good news is that everything you depended on from the old Queries Report is still here — it’s just a bit different. But before we go over that…why re-invent the wheel?

The short answer is data accuracy.

While still useful, the old Queries Report produced results that were sometimes unpredictable and not entirely reliable. Search Analytics is much more accurate.

No longer stuck at their desks, people are accessing websites with smart phones, tablets and other “connected devices”; the very nature of impressions and clicks has changed. The Internet and how we’ve used it has evolved, requiring more powerful tools to give us the insight necessary to reach our potential audiences.

It Looks Different; Does it Do Everything it Used To?

At first glance, search analytics look like a dramatically simplified report. We were initially disappointed, thinking perhaps Google was dialing back the available data. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Search Analytics is actually far more powerful than its predecessor.

The trick is knowing how to get to the data you want. This won’t be an exhaustive how-to guide for Search Analytics, but we’ll show you a few tricks to point you in the right direction.

Make Search Analytics Search Query Report

First up—since we’re trying to replicate the old report with all the data, check the boxes next to Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position metrics.

Enable additional metrics in Search Analytics

The next thing you need to know is that any active filter is active all the time. If you have a Date filter set, that’s the date range that will be displayed even if you have the radio button next to any other grouping selected. This can seem a little confusing at first, but once you know how to use it this makes for a very powerful tool.

Start by switching to a month comparison view to see current and past keyword performance compared side by side. This is a great way to monitor your SEO campaign.

Compare search data by date

Now you should be looking at pretty much the same comparison report you had access to before the big changeover, but now with more accurate data—and you’re just getting started. Remember, even though you can only have one grouping selected at a time, you can activate as many filters as you’d like.

Want to see popular keywords this month, but only for mobile users looking at pages about remote working? You can do that.

Some of our favorite filters

  • Filter by search type, to see if people are finding you by image, web or google search
  • Filter by device type, how are you performing on web, image and video searches respectively?
  • Filter by pages to see what keywords are driving specific pages

The Search Queries Report was a useful tool for webmasters, small business owners and marketers alike, but the new Search Analytics is a far more robust and accurate tool for monitoring your SEO. If you want to learn more about search engine optimization, we wrote the book! Or you can schedule a free consultation to see how we can help drive more traffic to your website.

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