When analyzing organic traffic from Google to your site, it is important to understand both the queries leading to your site and the pages ranking for those queries.
By doing this, you can begin to determine how users search for the topic in question and the differences in query by device. You can also discover new subtopics that may stimulate future content generation.
While this makes sense, I know there is a lot of confusion about how to explore this data using Google Search Console (GSC). We all know that accessing search query data directly from Google is valuable, but a lot has changed recently in GSC, and the new reports and features can be confusing for webmasters and business owners.
So today I’m going to introduce you to the new Search Analytics report to find queries leading to specific URLs. This will allow you to isolate a blog post, article, or product page and then find all of the queries leading to that URL. (In fact, it will show you more requests leading to your URL, and I’ll cover that in more detail below.)
New research analysis report
I mentioned the new Search Analytics report, and that’s where we’ll go to find queries by URL. This new reporting feature was officially released in May 2015 and has completely redesigned the way you access research data in GSC.
The data is grouped by categories (formerly known as dimensions) and you can enable different metrics against it. For example, you can view your data in one of the following categories: search query, page, country, device, search type, and date. You can then add metrics like clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and position while viewing each report.
Exploring requests by URL
Let’s walk through a scenario to make the tutorial make more sense. Maybe you just wrote a killer blog post on a hot topic in your niche. You know you’ve received a fair amount of traffic from Google and the post is ranking well for some queries.
But you don’t know all the queries leading to post, which might help you understand how people search, how well your content has been optimized for those queries, and possibly what to write about in future posts.
Additionally, you want to know how mobile users search compared to desktop users. So you decide to go to GSC and use the new Search Analytics report to find these queries. Let’s get started.
1. First, go to the research analysis report in GSC
Launch Google Search Console and click Search traffic, so Research Analysis in the left navigation. The default report will show Clicks through Queries, without filters applied.
2. Select the page grouping property
You want to search for queries by URL. So click on the Pages radio button to select this report. Once done, you will see all the URLs receiving impressions and / or clicks. It’s also important to choose the right date range when analyzing your data. The default date range is “Last 28 days”.
3. Find the URL you want to target and filter by this page
Since you want to search for queries leading to your new blog post, you can browse the list of URLs to find that content. Once you find the URL, just click on it. Doing so will filter all Search Analytics reports by this URL. You will see the filter box showing the URL under Pages.
4. Access the query grouping property
Note that the Pages the report will not display any data below the trend graph at this point. This is because you have filtered by a specific url. To view all requests leading to this URL, simply click again on the Queries report. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a list of requests filtered by that specific URL.
5. Analyze queries, add metrics
Browse the list of search queries to learn more about how users search. Note that you can easily add metrics to the report like Impressions, click-through rate (CTR) and Position by clicking the checkboxes at the top of the report.
With all of this information, you can see the different topics that users need help with, which cases rank well, which don’t, which cases have high impressions but low click-through rates, and more.
6. Download the filtered data
Once you dig deeper into the URL queries, you can easily download the data by clicking the “Download” button in the lower left corner of the report. This can be extremely useful for working with data in Excel or just for archiving URL queries.
To note: You can only download the 999 most frequent requests per URL. It’s a known limit in the research analysis report. And if you are reading this and thinking “I thought I could access all of my keywords in GSC” then you are not alone. I think we all want Google to provide all of our keyword data.
Bonus 1: display trends by request
If you find an interesting query and want to view the trends of that specific query over time, you can just click on the query in the report. Once done, you’ll isolate that query and show the different metrics over time. Powerful, right?
Bonus 2: Analyze by device
If you want to see how the queries vary by device, you can click the drop-down menu under the Devices Category. Select “Filter devices,” then choose Desktop, Mobile, or Tablet. The queries report will update showing you the queries by device you selected.
Go back! Access pages by request
The technique I explained above will show queries by url, but if you wanted to reverse that and show urls per query, you can do that in the Search Analytics report as well.
First, click on Queries. This will list the 999 most frequent requests leading to the site in GSC. (Note that “site” is both protocol and subdomain specific.) Once you have your list of search queries, find one that you want to crawl, and then just click on the query to isolate that. keyword in the research analysis report.
From here you can select the Pages report to display all ranked pages for the query you selected. You might find some interesting results, for example, page rankings for queries that are not the main pages of the content at hand. Or you may find malicious pages that you forgot still rank for important keywords.
Moving forward: recommendations and quick tips
There are a number of things you can learn and take action on based on this data. I have provided a few below. For example, you can:
- Isolate specific pieces of content and understand how users search for the topic in question.
- Analyze the raw requests leading to a piece of content to generate ideas for future posts, articles or content. If you see a lot of volume based on a subtopic, this might be a great idea for a future post.
- Understand the gaps in optimization. For example, are there any additional queries that you think the content should be ranked for? If so, you can always update your post to focus more on those topics.
- Understand the difference between queries by device. Depending on your niche and the specific topic, there could be some differences in how people search on phones versus desktops versus tablets. Understanding these differences can help you think through, develop, and optimize future pieces of content.
- Export filtered data for further analysis in Excel. Additionally, you can archive the data because the Search Analytics report only contains the last 90 days of data.
Summary: The importance of analyzing requests by page
The new Research Analytics Report offers several ways to explore your website’s search data. Identifying queries by URL is a smart way to display all the keywords that users type that lead to specific pieces of content. In doing so, you can identify topics for future articles, understand the query differences between devices, find all the pages ranked for specific queries, and more.
I recommend that you take this tutorial and spend some time with the new Search Analytics report. Data can lead to better optimization, intelligence-driven content strategy, and more targeted traffic. Filter now!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily of Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.