While in a session at Pubcon yesterday, I was checking on my site in Google’s Webmaster Tools (WMT) when I noticed something new and interesting. Later in the day during the Google vs. Bing Smackdown session, Matt Cutts confirmed that this new feature had been added to Google’s WMT. Read on to get the scoop on the new keyword significance details now available.
New Keyword Details Feature
If you select a site from the Webmaster Tools dashboard screen, expand “Your site on the web” in the left navigation, and click on “Keywords” then you will see the following:
While Google has shown the most commonly used keywords on your site on this screen for quite some time, there are two new features on this screen.
The first new feature is the “Significance” column above. The keywords on this page are sorted in descending order by the number of times they occur on the site. The keyword with the most occurrences appears first with 100% significance.
The significance of the subsequent keywords in the list are calculated based on the number of occurrences of each keyword compared to the number of occurrences of the keyword that appears most on the site.
You will notice that rather than simply listing the most popular keywords on the site, the page has each keyword hyperlinked. If you click on the hyperlink for a given keyword you will get a new screen similar to the following:
This page shows the number of times the keyword appears on the site and lists the URLs of the pages on which that keyword appears.
Why Show Keyword Significance Details in Google’s Webmaster Tools?
One might ask “why” Google decided to begin displaying the keyword significance information, the number of occurrences, and the pages on which each keyword appears inside of Google’s Webmaster Tools.
Similar to other recent changes to WMT like the “Labs” section and its “Fetch as Googlebot” and “Malware details” pages, these new features will be valuable in assisting webmasters in tracking down which pages on their site might have been compromised in cases where their site has been hacked.
For example, if the site is hacked and links to drug sites are added all over the site, this keyword significance details data can be used to track down the pages which are affected. The list of keywords could be scanned for drugs like Viagra and a list of pages where Viagra appears can now obtained using this new feature in WMT.
This feature will likely prove useful to SEOs as well who are looking for opportunities to interlink relevant pages based on some targeted keyword. If I have a new post about page rank, I could use this feature to identify other pages on my site with the words “rank” or “page” so that I can create links to my new post from old but related content on the site.
It is nice to see Google continue to add more and more features to Webmaster Tools. The more features that are added, the more useful the tools become.