Late in 2011 Google launched Authorship home page and Author stats within Google Webmaster Tools. It's widely used, and also not necessarily wisely used based on the few articles I see about the Authorship stats. In this post I'll just cover the basics, because to be honest I'm no expert. But what I have found for my own use I will share. (You can find expert diagnosis from people such as AJ Kohn and here from Mark Traphagen.)
Presuming that you have set up Google authorship and let's explore a little. First thing that you'll see is the search statistics for pages for which you are the verified author. Learn more about verifying authorship.
For example for me you can see the statistics for one month between April 25 and May 25, 2013.
You can see that I was attributed as the author of 226 pages with 15,000 impression and 400 clicks from Web search, if we include mobile and image search that goes to 228 pages with 35,000 impressions and 500 clicks.
Of course what is immediately interesting is which were the most popular pages, and hence topics. From the details page and the list of pages you can see that my blog post on auditing social media on our Kinship Digital site received top ranking appearing 900 times garnering 60 clicks and 6% Click-Through-Rate (CTR). What else do I notice, that the actual average position of this top link was 14 - that means people actually went beyond page 1 of their search and found this link. So average position was not good, but it produced the highest impressions of all my pages.
Where things get a little intriguing is in the bunch of posts which are ranking highly but are old ones from this blog. Posts 2,3, and 7-11 are all from this blog and between 2 and 3 years old. One referring to complaints about Telstra, and one about social media in sports, had 1600 and 2000 impressions during the month - both 3 years old. That's an insight about what is popular, and the kind of keywords which bring your posts out of retirement!
Also intriguing, because I don't really understand it, is that when image searches are included new page emerges as rank #3 with 3,000 impressions and 50 clicks - on the company blog "10 Ways Online Communities Benefit Marketers". How this happens from image search I am not sure!
Of course the purpose of the report is to be able to ask questions, and then figure what actions you can take.
Question: what pages are surprises? Not from my blog or company blogs?
The first post from Google+ appears at rank #31. Perhaps I need to be more active there? The first Tumblr impression is ranked #57, I thought that would have done better as I am more active with short posts on Tumblr than here and on Google+.
Question: which pages have the best CTR?
My post on this blog Apple's success Dr Deming's legacy - continuous improvement had a 12.5%CTR and achieved an average postion of 3.1 over 400 impressions. It was clicked 50 times. That's a good result for a post written 1.5 years ago. I didn't know that it was so active.
The next two were both from the Kinship Digital Blog with 6% CTR, one on brand and reputation management in social media, and the other being the 3rd post in a series on auditing social media for internal auditors.
Question: which pages ranked best in search results?
Well it turns out that of the 226 unique pages which showed up during the month 172 were ranked #1 in search results. That's the good news. That bad news is that of the 172 ALL earned less than 10 clicks, even though the top 8 had 1220 impressions in total. Seems like the content was relevant to the Google search algorithm but not to the people searching.
Mobile showed good results, but old pages from this blog ranked #1 and #2 ahead of three more recent pages from the Kinship digital blog. Overall there were many more pages from this blog and my Tumblr than from the company blog, which perhaps means we need to pay attention to how the company blog is resolving on mobile?
Question: are there geographic differences in what people are pulling up of mine?
The stats show the US, Australia, China and the UK, in that order, as the top locations for viewing my pages. For the US my post on social media and sport ranked #1, and then from the company blog on auditing social media and B2B communities. But 58 pages from the global stats were not viewed at all from the US. However from Australia 98 pages were not viewed among the 228 viewed in total. And in Australia 7 of the top ten posts were from the company blog. From China the first 27 ranked posts were all from this blog, but with very few clicks. The UK had auditing social media, B2B communities, and brand and reputation risk all from the company blog ranked highly, and then social media in sport from this blog. India was next with the same profile as the UK but many more clicks on auditing social media.
And what else can we learn, well checking a longer period we see a peak, a massive peak rising to 6,500 impressions on April 8th.
The details show the B2B communities company blog post with 2,000 impressions, and 4 other posts with about 1000 each including 3 on auditing social media. I'm not sure what we did right on that day since as it happens there were no new posts on the 7th, 8thy or 9th of April. Someone found us, I'll have to check our other activities!
Just a basic play with the Google Author stats gives some useful insights into what is popular in search traffic, and sparks ideas about which content can be further developed. Also, what content could be further developed for different platforms - web, mobile, and image - and for different geographies.
If you have not linked set up your authorship linkages do it now, and then enjoy your own stats.