Google is always adding new features to its products and giving webmasters and SEO’s more data to pore over. In the last few months Google has added some new data in webmaster tools. Is this data accurate and can it be of any use? Let’s have a look at what it offers to see how useful it could be.
Adwords users have had impression data for years but now organic SEO webmasters are getting a chance to play. Google has offered up click data to webmaster tools users which on first glance appears to be quite impressive. Data is shown for the key terms that a site is displaying in the search results for including which position(s) the keyword is displaying at. This shows that it is common for a site to no longer sit at one position in the rankings as it is dependant on factors such as search history and location.
The new data in webmaster tools shows how many impressions the site has received from particular keywords in Google as well as the number of clicks received from each keyword. The data also comes with a click through rate percentage which is useful to be able to see which keywords are bringing in traffic. That’s all well and good if the data is accurate.
To examine the data I’ve looked at traffic for May in Google Analytics and click data in webmaster tools for the same period. For the keyword “insert example here” the Polr site was displaying according to webmaster tools at positions 1, 4 and 5. The impressions for that keyword is 210 with the number of click throughs showing as < 10. When I look at the same keyword in Google analytics it gives a figure of 3 so for that keyword the webmaster tools data looks accurate.
However for the next five search terms I tested three gave data that conflicted with what analytics showed and the other two were correct.
So this data isn't to be taken as law but can it be useful in other ways. It could be used as a keyword generating source once your site is seeing some traffic. The data allows you to see keywords that have a lot of impressions that you could attempt to rank higher for. Also by comparing analytics traffic with webmaster tools search impressions you can work out vaguely how much traffic you should expect for terms which you are showing up on the second or third page for.
In conclusion this data won't replace your analytics but it can be another string to your data bow.