Importance of Google Search Data
Within the organic search category, Google is far and away the largest Search Engine out there, accounting for 64% of all search queries, roughly double the next largest competitor (Bing) coming in at 33%.
Based on this, it is critical to have as much Google search data as possible in order to make organic strategy decisions. Given the need to collect and utilize as much Google search data as possible, the next logical question is where can this data be found and how do you get a hold of it. Fortunately Google themselves actually provide users with a number of different tools that can help provide this data.
Let’s take a look at these tools and see what data you can find in each one.
Sources of Google Search Data
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is the primary source of search-related data that Google provides to site owners. It is also the portal which you use to manage your sites and make sure Google is aware of all the content that you have published.
Here’s a list of valuable metrics that you can get from GSC:
- Top performing search queries
- URLs submitted
- URLs indexed
- Internal Links
- Crawl Errors
- Mobile Usability Errors
- AMP Errors
As you can see, there’s a significant amount of Google search data available in GSC that can inform you about how your site is doing in Google’s eyes. However, it while it has solid breadth in terms of the metrics available it doesn’t always have as much depth as one might like. For instance, it limits you to seeing the top 999 keyword queries referring traffic to your site.
Google Analytics (GA) is Google’s Web Analytics offering. Web analytics used to be the primary source of Google search data because it provided specific information about how much traffic each keyword was referring to a website. This capability was removed with the introduction of secure search in 2013, reducing GA’s usefulness as a data source. It does still provide a lot of valuable data, some of which can be valuable to search marketers.
Here are some examples of valuable metrics you can find in Google Analytics today:
- Traffic to your site from Organic Search or other channels
- Pages that have high numbers of visits from Organic Search
- Geographies that are driving significant organic traffic
While Google Analytics doesn’t have as direct a connection to search as it once did, it is still the central way to understand how people are getting to your site and what they are doing once they arrive there. It is incredibly difficult to make a real business case for search without using data available in GA.
Google Trends is a tool that Google provides to help people understand what topics and keyword queries are popular in the market at any given time. It has a significant amount of data on different stories in the news as well as trending research topics and the relative popularity of searches within a given industry.
Here are some interest metrics you can find in Google Trends
- Trending queries by region
- Related queries to one you identify
- Relative popularity of different queries within the same space
The only concern with Google Trends is that it doesn’t give you very much specific data on how many people are searching for a given query. Instead it focuses on relative popularity within a given industry or space. This makes broader comparisons more difficult.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner (GKP) is a part of the Google Adwords suite of tools that can provide some excellent data to marketers focused on organic search. GKP is a solid source for identifying keywords that are related to each other and for understanding how many people are searching for any particular keyword over time.
Here are the metrics to look for from GKP:
- Related Keywords
- Suggested Bid Value
- Search Volume
Trying to do demand planning without data from Google Keyword Planner would be very difficult, since it is the best available source for Google search data on volume.
Driving Business Value from the Data
There is a huge amount of Google search data as we’ve shown up to this point. You can find in a variety of places and all of it seems like it could be useful. The next key step is how to turn all of this data into actionable insights that you can use to drive business value.
Having data which is spread out across so many sources can make it difficult to consolidate it and mine for insights manually. This is where BrightEdge can help out.
The most obvious way that BrightEdge can help in leveraging the Google search data mentioned above is through data integrations. From the list above, BrightEdge supports direct integration with your data for both Google Search Console as well as with Web Analytics platforms such as Google Analytics. BrightEdge will pull in this data and associated with other data across the platform so that you can easily tie Google search data back to true business metrics.
BrightEdge also helps you with gathering and understanding Google search data with our keyword reporting framework. We collect not only keyword rankings data for your domain and your competitors, but we also pull in Search Volume Data from Google in order to help you understand your performance compared to the demand seen for any particular keyword or group of keywords.
To cap it all off BrightEdge has StoryBuilder, which allows customers to take any data that you have available across the BrightEdge platform and create powerful visualizations and dashboards that you can use to drive performance and report on success across your organization.