New Features in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics in Late 2010

Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are continually improving and adding new sets of features. This article is a review of these new features and how they can help the webmaster in optimizing their websites for search engines and increasing traffic.

Complete information about your “back links”

There is great improvement in Google Webmaster Tools as far as providing information about your website’s back links. To see the data, log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account, and in “Home,” click the website for which you would like to see back link data.

Then, under “Dashboard,” expand “Your site on the web,” and finally, click “Links to your site.” If your site has received back links, you should see something like the screen shot below:

You can get the following information:

  • Who links to your site. You can even see the details by clicking the “More” link. Using this data, you can examine the websites that link to yours and find out if they are relevant and authoritative.
  • What page on your website has the most back links. This information lets you know your most popular content in terms of links.
  • The back links’ anchor text. Look under “How your data is linked.” By relating this information to the content of your website, you will know whether or not the anchor text for the back links is related.

There are a number of common back link questions that can be answered by this feature.

1. Am I getting organic links through my “link bait”? To answer this question, examine the domains that link to you under “Who links the most.”

If you see domains linking to you, but you have not asked for a link or exchanged links with them, then you are getting organic links because of your content.

2. Can I know the exact URL of the back linking pages?  Follow these simple steps:

  • Click “More” under “Who links the most.”
  • Click the domain that links to your site.
  • Click the site page that has been linked (e.g. your home page, etc).
  • You will then see the complete list of back link URLs from that domain that link to a page on your website.

3. Am I getting quality links that relates to my content? You can answer this question by comparing the anchor text of your back links (Links to your site -> click “More” under “How your data is linked”), the keywords of your website (Your site on the web -> Keywords) and the nature/theme of your back linking domain (Links to your site -> Who links the most -> click “More”).

If the anchor text of those back links is similar to the keywords found by Google in your website, and the back links came from related domains, then you are getting quality links to your website.

4. Can I find out the back links from my previous domain which are now 301 redirected/link rel canonical to my present/canonical domain?

Yes. For example, a lot of domains link to your old domain. And then your old domain is 301 redirected or receives the link rel canonical tag pointing to your new domain. You can find out all of the active back links pointing to your old domain using New Domain in Google Webmaster Tools.

5. Does the link report includes those links with rel= “nofollow”? The answer is yes, the link report in Google Webmaster Tools does includes links with rel= “nofollow.”

Go to “Your site on the web” and click “Search queries.” You will see this data:

It shows the performance summary of your keywords in Google. This is how you interpret this data:

  1. The most popular keyword in Google based on the above screen shot is “php preg_match” because it receives the highest impressions.
  2. However, a 0% CTR and a decreasing trend in clicks can be a problem for “php preg_match.” Improving the quality of snippets and title tags appearing in search results can be a solution.
  3. You will know the ranking trend of your keywords. For example, the keyword “php developer” climbed 10 spots in the ranking positions.

This can be important if you are monitoring the ranking change of your keywords.

In-Page Analytics Feature in Google Analytics

There is a useful feature in Google Analytics that can be used to analyze user click through of your navigation. To see this data:

  1. Log in to Google Analytics.
  2. Go to Dashboard -> Content -> In-Page Analytics.
  3. You will see a page of your website with clicks analysis, similar to the screen shot shown below:

It shows the percentage of visitors that will click on the navigational links of your website. For example, about 17 percent of visitors will click on the category “PHP Programming,” compared to only 2.2 percent for “Blogger Tips and Techniques.”

The reason is obvious; since the website is all about PHP development, most visitors are interested in PHP programming, much more than other tips. This provides important clues as to whether certain parts of your website appear to not be interesting for your visitors. To optimize visitor experience you can either remove them or replace them with more related topics, in which visitors are interested, and on which visitors will click. .

The orange banner that says "~41% clicks below" means that “41% of visitors will still click on the region below this orange line.”

You might notice that if you scroll down near the center of the page, this is what it looks like:

This means that only 9% of visitors will further click below this region. It also provides a detailed click through of your sidebar links.

So, what is the significance of this information for improving your website?

First, you need to place the most important content at the upper portion of your website. Most users pay attention to this area first, and if you are aiming for a higher click through rate for those links (whether internal or external links), it might be better to put them in the upper section of your website.

Second, the In-page analytics reveals which of the pages included in your sidebar and header section navigation are weak. These weak pages are just taking up space in your template, and are not getting significant click through from visitors.

In this case, it might be better to remove these pages and replace them with much more interesting/related content to read, which your visitors will click through.

Low click through of navigational links will result in low page views or user engagement activity in your website. This is because users will not be interested in further clicking through your pages, and might navigate away from your website in search of more interesting content.

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