Every time someone enters a keyword or query for which your website appears in the search results, your site generates an impression. Google Search Console (GSK) tracks this information along with the number of clicks (among other things). By connecting this data with the total number of searches for the given queries, you’re able to establish your Share of Voice (SOV).
Before we get into the details, let me construct an example:
Your website ranks for 100 queries and in sum generated 5,000 impressions last month. These same 100 queries were searched for 50,000 times last month. Given that you appeared 5,000 times out of the possible 50,000, your share of voice is 10%.
This means that for all the keywords your website ranks for, your site appears on every 10th search.
Defining impressions differently
One thing to note is that Google’s definition of an impression is not based on the link actually being seen:
“Impressions – How many links to your site a user saw on Google search results, even if the link was not scrolled into view.”
Impressions are limited to the search page the user is on. So if your website ranks 9th for a certain query, your site generates an impression, regardless of whether the user sees it or not. If it ranks 14th though and the user doesn’t go to the second page of search results, it will not generate a search console impression.
Creating a quantified snapshot of how well your site performs and improves in terms of SEO
Determine your current share of voice, improve your SEO (e.g. increase site speed, optimize meta tags and descriptions, etc.) and take another snapshot of your share of voice in the future.
Because the delta compares you to the other sites ranking for the same queries, it provides a more holistic picture than just looking at your site’s performance in isolation.
You can filter your search console data in many ways (e.g. brand vs. non-brand), which you can use to focus your SEO efforts.
Step-by-step guide for calculating share of voice
Sign into your search console and navigate to Search Traffic -> Search Analytics
Next, check clicks and impressions and enter a data range. The date range should be a full calendar month (you’ll see why in a minute).
You should also enter a filter for the country that matches your primary market.
If you wanted to split between branded and non-branded searches, you would set the appropriate filter in the ‘Queries’ option. But for this guide we’ll keep all queries unfiltered. Scroll down and hit ‘Download’ (we’ll choose CSV).
A limitation: Search Console only allows you to export 1000 queries, which usually suffices for most. If you do rank for more than 1000 queries, I suggest filtering your queries to make them mutually exclusive (e.g. brand vs. non-brand).
Open the file and transform the data to get all queries into a single column (if you’re using Excel, highlight column A, select the ‘Data’ ribbon, click ‘Text to Columns’, choose ‘Delimited’ and check ‘Comma’ as the only delimiter).
You should now have the Queries in column A, Clicks in column B, Impressions in column C, CTR in column D, and Position in column E.
Find the sum of all impressions (column D) and note this down. This is the number of impressions your queries generated over your selected time period. Do the same for clicks (column C).
In my example excerpt, you see 1,424 clicks and 4,723 impressions during the month of February, which is a CTR of 30.2%.
Using Google Keyword Planner for historic data
Next, select all queries and copy them to your clipboard, then head to Google Keyword Planner. Because we’re looking at historic data, we’ll choose ‘Get search volume data and trends’.
Paste the keywords and set the same country and date range you had in GSK. In our case it’s the United States for February 2018.
Hit ‘Get search volume’ to see your results.
By looking at the graph below, you can see that for the queries we rank for, there were roughly 8,460 searches in February 2018.
Putting it together:
We now know how many searches there were (8,460) and of those, how many many impressions we generated (4,723).
This means our share of voice is 55.8%.
Now that you’ve established your share of voice, you should focus on increasing it. This might include overarching site speed improvements, or focusing on improving a number of pages that are at the top of page 2, in order to move them to the first page.
Taking another snapshot the next month will quantitatively show whether your efforts paid off.
Share of Voice in summary
- Sign into Google Search Console
- Choose your primary market and select a whole calendar month for the date range
- Download the data and determine your total impressions and clicks
- Copy all queries and go to Google Keyword Planner
- After selecting the same country and calendar month, paste your keywords to get total searches
- Divide your impressions by total searches to calculate your share of voice
That’s it! Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!