Blueprint - General

Does Blueprint show trended ranking data for each query?

Blueprint is based on founder Vanessa Fox’s approach to SEO, and a large part of that philosophy is that individual keyword rankings aren’t useful or actionable. Blueprint is built around categories because there is value in looking at larger trends. But individual keyword ranking positions will always fluctuate. When you look at individual queries too closely, you miss the larger picture of what’s happening with the site and might spend a lot of time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

How flexible is Blueprint if some data is unavailable?

From time to time, Google Webmaster Tools data is unavailable. Blueprint reflects the data available from Google Webmaster Tools so reports up to the latest date available. Blueprint attempts to fetch the latest data each night and will fill in missing days when the fetch is successful. Any missing days are noted in the graphs, which are skipped when charting. When server log data is unavailable (for instance, if logs have only been uploaded for some days rather than all), the graphs skip the missing days.

How accurate is the data?

We are pulling data daily, so it’s as accurate as the information Google Webmaster Tools provides. For all <10 data, we convert to 1 (and exclude them from CTR calculations). This is to provide insights into super long tail traffic. Future versions will include integration with all major analytics platforms. Our server log data provides a complete picture into how search engines are crawling the site, as long as you provide complete server logs (vs. a sample).

Should I be concerned about the privacy of my data with Blueprint?

Blueprint is built with privacy in mind. No personally identifiable customer information is stored (Google webmaster tools provides only anonymous aggregated data and Blueprint processes only search engine bot entries from server logs). Your data is hosted on secure Amazon Web Services and Blue Box systems and all data is behind a secure login.

Our site is small and we don’t get much search traffic. Will Blueprint be able to provide value to us?

Blueprint query analytics are valuable as long as the site is getting enough search traffic for Google Webmaster Tools to report it.  If Google reports > 10 impressions or clicks, we convert that to 1, which isn’t exact, but does at least surface lower volume queries. You can see segmented queries, find out what topics your audience is most interested in, and monitor improvements. Blueprint server log analytics are useful even if the site gets no search traffic at all, as you can see if search engines are fully crawling the site and what issues may be keeping the pages from getting indexed.

Is the analysis of data based on search queries?

The current version of Blueprint includes query-based reports. The product roadmap includes URL-based data (using Google Webmaster Tool’s top URLs data, analytics data, and other input sources).

Our site is huge and we get tons of search traffic. Google Analytics only provides sampled data. Will Blueprint be able to provide value to us?

Blueprint was built to scale and can process any number of queries and any size log file. Since the initial release focuses on Google Webmaster Tools data, which reports only the top 2,000 queries each day, some long tail terms will likely not surface in Blueprint. To get a sense of what will be missing, check the total number of clicks vs. displayed clicks in the Google Webmaster Tools search queries report. Even if the displayed number is significantly less than the total number, Blueprint still provides substantial value as it shows you trends for each topic.

Blueprint - Google Webmaster Tools

How granular is the reporting data?

The most granular data is daily with weekly and monthly views available as well.

Blueprint is based in part of Google Webmaster Tools data. How is Blueprint different from logging into Google Webmaster Tools directly?

Blueprint combines the data in various ways and provides insight and recommendations based on the resulting analysis. For instance, Google Webmaster Tools shows data about queries individually and Blueprint categorizes queries so you can see trends for different audiences and topics. Google Webmaster Tools only shows data for the past 90 days, but with Blueprint you can access all historical data (beginning with 90 days before you sign up).

Is there a limit on the number of categories that can be created?

There is no limit on the number of categories that can be created. The right number of categories depends on your site’s topics and audiences. Too few categories and you won’t be able to see patterns. Too many categories and the data will be too granular. We’ll work with you to set up the right number of categories for balanced insight.

Google Webmaster Tools seems to have a lag in reporting. How does Blueprint handle this?

Blueprint imports the most recent data available from Google webmaster tools each evening. What you see in Blueprint is the latest data available from webmaster tools (which is typically about 4 days behind). Occasionally,  a particular day is not available in Google webmaster tools. In these instances, Blueprint skips that day (and reports that it’s missing) and imports it when it is available.

How are query categories created?

Blueprint segments queries into categories to provide insights based on patterns. Blueprint does this through a combination of automated and manual configuration. It’s not based on a finite list of queries, but rather all queries that match configured patterns (of both inclusion and exclusion) are sorted into corresponding categories.

Blueprint - Server Log Analysis

How does Blueprint access our server logs?

We provide instructions for uploading log files to a private Amazon Web Services bucket, which Blueprint then reads from. We recommend setting up a script that uploads log files daily or weekly.

Do we have to upload all server logs or will a sample from one server be sufficient?

We recommend providing full log files if possible. This enables us to do things such as provide diagnostics for indexing issues. For instance, if we find that some URLs are not indexed, we can determine if they’ve ever been crawled. And we can provide data such as how long it takes for a site to be completely recrawled. And if the site is load balancing, having logs from all servers helps us find misconfiguration issues with a single server that may not be evident. However, if we have only sampled logs, Blueprint can still provide substantial information, such as canonicalization issues, server errors, problems with redirects (302s instead of 301s for instance).

We can’t provide you with our server logs because they contain customer data. Do we have any alternatives?

Blueprint processes search engine bot data only, so you can exclude all customer data before uploading the log files. Our instructions provide details of writing a script that parses out only the data we need before uploading.

Our log files are huge! Is there anything we can do to make them smaller before we upload them?

As noted above, Blueprint processes search engine bot data only, so you can exclude all customer data before uploading the log files. Our instructions provide details of writing a script that parses out only the data we need before uploading. That alone should make the files significantly smaller. In addition, you can set your script to upload the logs at any interval you’d like. Rather than uploading an entire week’s worth at once, you can upload daily or several times a day. You can also compress the files before uploading them.

How far behind does Blueprint report server log data?

Blueprint processes server log data each night, so by uploading daily, you’ll always see information from the previous day.

I don’t have access to my site’s server logs. Can I still use Blueprint?

Without server log data, you can still take advantage of a number of Blueprint features. Unfortunately, you won’t get insights about how search engines are crawling the site, but you’ll still get substantial data about how audiences are finding the site, search engine rankings, and searcher interaction with the listings. As we add more technical features that don’t rely on server logs, you’ll begin to see more technical data about issues search engines are having with crawling and indexing.

Blueprint - International Support

What countries and languages does Blueprint support?

While the user interface is currently in English-only, Blueprint supports all languages and character sets supported in Google Webmaster Tools. We may need a bit of help from you in configuring categories for non-English languages though. Note that since the Google Webmaster Tools API currently only provides data across all countries, the query data Blueprint provides is also not country-specific. In early 2013, when we add web analytics integration, we’ll be able to break out traffic regionally.

What search engines does Blueprint provide crawl analytics for?

Our server log analytics shows data for all major search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Naver, Yandex, and Baidu.

More Questions?