Google have this week announced that they have added a brand new notification to the Google Webmaster Tools message centre. This new message informs webmasters when their sites experience big fluctuations in traffic from search queries.
The new “Search Queries Alerts” will alert webmasters when major changes occur with regard to search queries to a given site the usual way and may highlight both expected and non-expected changes. Spikes and lulls in impressions and clicks may be flagged as well as potential technical issues with the site.
What is important to bear in mind with this new notification is that it is not the same as the “Big Traffic Change for Top URL” alert that was implemented earlier in the summer. Although similar, this newer message simply refers to search queries and not all traffic coming into a website. The official line from the powers that be at Google goes as follows:
The Search Queries feature in Webmaster Tools shows, among other things, impressions and clicks for your top pages over time. For most sites, these numbers follow regular patterns, so when sudden spikes or drops occur, it can make sense to look into what caused them. Some changes are due to differing demand for your content, other times they may be due to technical issues that need to be resolved, such as broken redirects. For example, a steady stream of clicks which suddenly drops to zero is probably worth investigating.
This notification is still being worked on by Google as they develop the sensitivity threshold of the messages and they urge anyone with any feedback on this alert to post some feedback to their help forum.