New Google Webmaster Tools Data – Yay or Nay?

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Last week, Google announced a few new reporting features to their Webmaster Tools. I don’t think I have been this excited since I heard Kate Gosselin was going to be on Dancing with the Stars. OK, I couldn’t care less about watch Dancing with the Stars, but I am thrilled about the data we are now able to pull regarding impressions and click through rate on organically ranked keywords.

Up until now we’ve done a solid job of reporting SEO success based on data pulled from the analytics in conjunction with search result positions, but that leaves out significant details about what is occurring in the search results before the user reaches the site.  Now in GWT, we can dig into individual keywords and see what positions they have ranked on over the designated time frame, approximately how many impressions they received within those given positions and what the click through rate was. This comes at a perfect time, as we are testing out various title structures to see which ones work best in terms of CTR. It’s as if Google was reading my mind and said, here Tarla, maybe this will help! Thank you Google, I think it just might.

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Uh oh, but is this data accurate? I’ve heard speculation on the side of “nay”, and my own observations are worrisome. Some comparative research from Carla Marshall showed significant differences between the data provided by Webmaster Tools, Adwords keyword tool and the Google Analytics. If the source for all these points of data is Google, why the discrepancy, and more importantly, which one do we believe? I think for now this information may still be useful in testing the effectiveness of various titles on the search user, but we should still approach the results with caution.

If you’ve had a chance to try the new reporting, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

 

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