The best data in the world isn’t useful if you don’t know what’s behind it. Below is a rundown of how Keylime Toolbox data is generated. Keylime Toolbox focuses on how your site performs in Google organic search, so most data is specific to that.
Reporting Groups and Sites (Domains, Subdomains, and Subfolders)
All data and reports are organized by reporting group. A reporting group can contain one or more “sites”. A site can be a:
- root domain (like www.example.com)
- subdomain (like mysubdomain.example.com)
- subfolder (like www.example.com/folder 1, mysubdomain.com/folder2, or www.example.com/folder1/another-folder).
Generally, a reporting group contains a root domain and all related subfolders, but can contain any combination of domains, subdomains, and subfolders you’d like.
Google Search Console considers each domain, subdomain, and subfolder a separate site and reports data separately for each.
However, Google Analytics only segments subdomain and subfolder data separately if configured to do so, and otherwise aggregates all data for a domain into a single view.
This means that:
- If you create a reporting group for a subfolder (or set of subfolders), Keylime Toolbox won’t include data from Google Analytics unless GA has been set up to report separately for that subfolder(s). However, that reporting group will include Google Search Console data.
- Google Search Console includes data for each domain, subdomain, or subfolder and the subfolders under it. If a reporting group contains overlapping subfolders (for instance, both www.example.com and www.example.com/folder1), Keylime Toolbox eliminates duplicate entries when aggregating the data.
You navigate between reporting groups either by using the dropdown in the top left or by clicking the reporting group from the Search Analytics Dashboard. You can see the sites contained in the reporting group by clicking the Downloads tab.
Keylime Toolbox reports traffic in several ways.
Google Analytics provides information on the total number of visitors that came to the site through Google organic search, but most traffic is not associated with a specific query (called “not provided” traffic). That means that while you can segment queries into topics, the traffic totals for those segments will always be much lower than the true totals.
In addition, Google Search Console often doesn’t report 100% of traffic (although it does report 100% of traffic for the queries it does provide). Because Keylime Toolbox aggregates (and deduplicates) data from multiple subfolders, it often reports a far greater number of queries than you’ll see in the Google Search Console interface, but even those aggregated totals are sometimes still a sample.
Keylime Toolbox does smart calculations to come up with an estimated total traffic for each query segment using the segmentation distribution from the larger query set from Google Search Console applied against the total Google organic visits provided by Google Analytics.
If Google Analytics data is available, the Traffic Dashboard provides total visit numbers from each acquisition source.
This is the number of visits reported from the available queries.
- Provided traffic from Google Analytics is based on the traffic from “provided” queries.
- Provided traffic from Keylime Toolbox is aggregated from Google Search Console.
Provided traffic is typically not the same as the actual visits for all the queries in that segment (provided traffic is typically lower).
- In the case of GA data, provided traffic may be lower than actual traffic because most visits aren’t stored in GA with an associated query (they are “not provided”). For GA data, the number of visits associated with a provided query may be lower than the actual number of visits for that query.
- In the case of Google Search Console data, provided traffic may be lower than actual traffic because not all queries may be provided in the Search Console. However, for Search Console data, the number of visits associated with a provided query is the actual number of visits.
Keylime Toolbox reports all visits from Google organic search (from all properties, like web, images, and mobile and from all countries).
Estimated Total Traffic
Keylime Toolbox estimates the total traffic to each segment by distributing the visits not associated with a query based on the ratios of known traffic. You can choose the estimation method based on the distribution of provided Google Analytics data or the distribution of provided Google Search Console data. Since Google Analytics data tends to be almost entirely not provided, it’s generally more accurate to choose the Google Search Console distribution.
The combined data Excel download provides even greater insight into the distribution of “not provided” traffic.
Keylime Toolbox gathers query data from both Google Analytics and Google Search Console and then segments those queries into topics. Keylime Toolbox enables you to view both individual query data and topic-based data. For topic-based reports, you can typically view both provided traffic and estimated total traffic.
The combined data Excel file aggregates both data sources and provides even more detailed information about the number of queries that Keylime Toolbox provides.
For instance, in the example below, you’ll see that Google Analytics provides 58,860 queries and Google Search Console provides 521,597 queries (after Keylime Toolbox has aggregated all the subfolders and eliminated the duplication). But only 6,273 of those queries are overlapping. The rest are unique to one data source or the other.
Keylime Toolbox matches the overlapping data and aggregates the rest. The “not provided” traffic is reduced from 96% to 68% and the level of information about what audiences want and what topics are performing well in search has increased significantly.
Keylime Toolbox organizes all queries and traffic into segments. Tracking specific keywords isn’t generally useful or actionable, both because so many queries are no longer provided and because you can lose sight of the big picture if you look at a keyword and not a topic.
Audiences search for the same thing lots of different ways, and Keylime Toolbox rolls all of these queries into segments to make it easier to see overall patterns in both traffic and SEO-specific data points, like ranking and click through rate. In particular, it’s useful to segment branded and non-branded traffic.
Keylime Toolbox calculates SEO data points by segment based on Google Search Console data. In addition to generating segment-level data in Keylime Toolbox interface reports, you can see SEO data for individual queries on the Query Details tab and can download these into an Excel file.
Google counts an impression any time a searcher sees a listing from your site in search results. Some queries may have no visits at all, and may have only impressions.
Impressions may not be the same as search volume. For instance, if your site’s listing generally ranks on the second page of search results for a query, than the impression count would reflect only the number of searchers who clicked past the first page of results.
Impression data can provide useful context for traffic data. Often, a traffic change is due to seasonality (more or less people searching) rather than other factors. For instance, when the number of queries provided, average ranking, and average click through rate remain steady for a segment, but traffic and impressions both decline, seasonality is likely at play.
Example: Seasonal Search Spike:
Tracking individual rankings can be a frustrating effort. Rank checkers generally capture ranking for a static list of queries and that can cause you to miss the big picture (maybe your site ranks OK for one query, but it’s just lost ranking for a thousand other long tail queries). In addition, every search result is personalized (in a hundred ways) so rank checkers may not reflect where searchers actually tend to see the site ranking.
Keylime Toolbox helps reduce some of this frustration in two ways.
- Keylime Toolbox uses Google-provided ranking data, which comes straight from query logs and reflects where actual searchers saw the site listed in results. For instance, if 10 searchers saw the site in search results, and 5 saw the site at position 5 while the other 5 saw the site at position 9, Google would provide an average ranking of 7 for that query.
- Keylime Toolbox aggregates ranking data for all queries in a segment and provides an overall average ranking for that segment.
Ranking Distribution by Segment:
Click Through Rate
The click through rate is the percentage of time a searcher saw the site’s listing in search results and clicked that result. Keylime Toolbox displays this data for each query (on the Query Details tab) averaged for a segment of queries (throughout most reports) and for each position in search results, both in aggregate and for each query segment (on the Click Through Rate tab).
Trended Click Through Rate for Branded and Unbranded Query Segments:
Click Through Rate by Segment By Ranking Position: