Below is live coverage of the Making Data From Google Webmaster Central & Bing Webmaster Tools Actionable panel from the SMX West 2012 conference. This coverage is provided by Avi Wilensky of Promedia Corp.
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Technical SEO Track
Making Data From Google Webmaster Central & Bing Webmaster Tools Actionable (#smx #24C)
The search engines make more and more data available all of the time, but how can you determine priority and impact to use that information to influence your overall marketing and technical development roadmap? Learn what the data really mean and how can you use it to your advantage.
Moderator: Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land (@vanessafox)
Q&A Moderator: Jeff Ferguson, CEO, Fang Digital Marketing (@fangdigital)
Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager, Bing (@DuaneForrester)
Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land (@vanessafox)
Neil Walker, CTO, Just Search Ltd (@theukseo)
3:32:57 PM Avi Wilensky: Talk about where the data comes from and what it means.
3:34:41 PM Avi Wilensky: Categorization of XML sitemaps. Based on type of page, by topic.
3:35:52 PM Avi Wilensky: Google keeps track of how much a particular sitemap is indexed. Very useful tip.
3:36:56 PM Avi Wilensky: Helps identify problems with particular types of pages.
3:37:35 PM Avi Wilensky: Also track history of them over time.
3:38:46 PM Avi Wilensky: Download the crawl errors and content analysis. Can track spikes and that will alert you.
3:39:28 PM Avi Wilensky: Maile: What's the best way to categorize them? Vanessa: Best by template type. Or by topic area.
3:40:06 PM Avi Wilensky: Deduping of sitemap urls is done at end. Make sure they are comprehensive and canonicals are proper.
3:40:32 PM Avi Wilensky: Autogenerated XML sitemaps typically will submit the non-canonical versions.
3:41:03 PM Avi Wilensky: Bing: Recommend also an RSS feed. Keep XML sitemaps fresh and clean and always up to date.
3:41:35 PM Avi Wilensky: In analytics, you are not going to see CTR, position, impressions. In GWT you do.
3:44:47 PM Avi Wilensky: Look at impressions from a trending perspective.
3:45:27 PM Avi Wilensky: Google has updated what they are providing. Can download charts.
3:46:18 PM Avi Wilensky: For queries, we don't want to look at each one - we want to look at categories. Can see how well doing over topic area over time.
3:47:22 PM Avi Wilensky: Use regex to grab the terms.
3:48:10 PM Avi Wilensky: It's a way to make sense of the data, but need to think of it as a trend.
3:49:09 PM Avi Wilensky: There is an API but not everything is available. Can download CSVs. New Python script to get the top search queries. Drawback is that date range is last month.
3:49:56 PM Avi Wilensky: The API has not been updated in a while. Can only get sitemap data from ones you personally submitted vs. the web interface where you can see others' sitemaps.
3:50:53 PM Avi Wilensky: Neil Walker is up next from getupdated.com
3:51:12 PM Avi Wilensky: Will talk about his agency use the data to encourage sales.
3:52:00 PM Avi Wilensky: Wanted to download all data from all clients and put in big XLS spreadsheet.
3:52:48 PM Avi Wilensky: Took an average position, CTR to give guide for how much positions are worth investing in.
3:53:26 PM Avi Wilensky: But things change. New blended results, previews, new things in results.
3:54:22 PM Avi Wilensky: Compared the data from 2 years ago to now, and shows a dramatically lower CTR for same clients with new position. These SERP pages have an impact.
3:54:31 PM Avi Wilensky: So is SEO Dying? No, just evolving.
3:54:47 PM Avi Wilensky: Making sure feeds are OK, optimizing for local, reviews, plus, etc.
3:55:41 PM Avi Wilensky: Looked at mobile CTR vs. desktop. Top 5 results on mobile are doing better than on desktop.
3:57:24 PM Avi Wilensky: Forecasting SEO: How can I predict? For them, it was to show client when to start to expect a return.
4:01:38 PM Avi Wilensky: Follow Neil @theukseo
4:02:31 PM Avi Wilensky: Vanessa: Again stresses the usefulness of categorization.
4:03:45 PM Avi Wilensky: Tip from Vanessa: Personally wouldn't worry about the priority attribute in XML sitemaps
4:04:09 PM Avi Wilensky: Duane Forrester from Bing is up.
4:04:37 PM Avi Wilensky: Will talk about the newest features announced early yesterday.
4:05:33 PM Avi Wilensky: Launched a new keyword research tool. Powered by organic, not paid. Get rich and detailed long tail information.
4:05:55 PM Avi Wilensky: Exact match filtering, export data. Updates every 2 weeks. Oldest the data will be.
4:06:04 PM Avi Wilensky: Can be as fresh as today. Can look back 6 months.
4:07:42 PM Avi Wilensky: The idea of data being actionable.
4:08:07 PM Avi Wilensky: There are actions the webmaster needs to do. Need to say it's OK to communicate with you. Malware warnings, etc.
4:08:32 PM Avi Wilensky: Also crawl errors, indexing issues, etc.
4:09:52 PM Avi Wilensky: Track action: Inside reporting, will show keyword driving traffic. Bring in average CPC data. Helps make decision if to by the phrase.
4:10:50 PM Avi Wilensky: Average impression position is critical. As the number gets closer to 1, means Bing trusts you more.
4:13:21 PM Avi Wilensky: Bing Webmaster data is now available via API. Hopes it will plug into GA fine. Everything in the tool is in the API with the exception of keyword research tool and messaging. Audience applauds.
4:13:47 PM Avi Wilensky: The API is fun, its exciting, its like Xmas every day!
4:14:25 PM Avi Wilensky: Index explorer tool shows what's in the index. Upload it, and then export it and will be able to see in the XLS.
4:14:38 PM Avi Wilensky: If it's in the index, it will be in index explorer.
4:15:04 PM Avi Wilensky: Can query the index directly for a URL to see if its indexed.
4:15:24 PM Avi Wilensky: Can insert the content in index, however, some out there might spam us!
4:16:43 PM Avi Wilensky: Can submit the URL in the index, but the CTR will determine if it will be able to sustain itself. Limited amount of these submissions permitted per month. 50 per domain.
4:17:51 PM Avi Wilensky: Bing wants clean sitemaps! Again! 1%. If 2 out of 100 URLs are not good, we dont trust it.
4:18:11 PM Avi Wilensky: RSS is always clean, so its a win win to submit it.
4:18:59 PM Avi Wilensky: Control the crawler. Tell Bingbot when to be there, and how hard to crawl. Helps control bandwidth. First reference point for Bingbot.
4:20:11 PM Avi Wilensky: Use your webmaster accounts! Helps make decisions, get funding for projects, prioritize.
4:21:34 PM Avi Wilensky: If there is a malware warning, may not be on your site. May be from a third party site that you are linking to or partners.
4:22:11 PM Avi Wilensky: You can take an object out of the page to test, and resubmit and check if its clean. Will speed up process on their end.
4:22:23 PM Avi Wilensky: Thank you Duanne.
4:26:24 PM Avi Wilensky: DF: Bing passes link value through 302's.
4:27:56 PM Avi Wilensky: Microsoft no longer offers analytics, Vanessa jokes.
4:29:20 PM Avi Wilensky: Recommends agencies put all clients under one login.
4:32:17 PM Avi Wilensky: Data from within the tools is much more reliable than doing the standard link: etc.
4:34:09 PM Avi Wilensky: Maile asks Duanne: What is the logic behind the 1% threshold.
4:35:34 PM Avi Wilensky: Duanne: It's a big resource for us, and we want to know that is trustworthy. There are rarely clean sitemaps. What we don't tell people is that there is leeway, work towards it.
4:36:22 PM Avi Wilensky: Maile asks a follow up: An error would be a 404 - for Google we don't want to encourage webmasters give the wrong status code. Duane- do not create soft-404's or I will kick your ass!
4:38:01 PM Avi Wilensky: Duane: If see 302's for along time, action indications more permanent home.
4:38:42 PM Avi Wilensky: 307's: Noone knows how they are treated. VF: Most used for geo-serving. Not handled well from personal experience.
4:40:33 PM Avi Wilensky: Bing: Last modified valuable, Google: not so much.