Google update Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools has been a part of SEO and web developer’s toolkit for some time now – provided by Google with the intention of giving webmasters actionable insights into the performance of their websites.
The data it provides however has been a bone of contention for webmasters and SEOs over the years. In 2011 a study by Search Engine Roundtable discovered that 68% of SEOs believed that the information provided was either partially, or wholly inaccurate and the sentiment still exists today.
The latest version of Webmaster Tools hopes to change these opinions by providing more accurate information that Google believe will offer more actionable insights. The search queries data is where the biggest improvements are being touted as having been made. The information provided is no longer rounded/bucketed – previously the data was rounded to the nearest hundred, thousand or million, meaning that for some publishers the data would be widely inaccurate in terms of real site performance.
There is still concern over the level of accuracy and how much it has actually improved since the update. From personal testing, comparing the information found in Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics data, there is still inconsistencies across the two sources.
Another feature that webmasters should find very useful, depending on their setup, is the ability to filter the results if they have mobile on a separate subdomain to their main site. It is well publicised that mobile search differs from traditional desktop searches, where mobile searches are often based on their environment, as well as behaviour, intent, and requirements.
This ability to filter out mobile results makes the information found in Webmaster Tools a lot more actionable if you have a .m mobile site. You can now get a better understanding of the keywords bring visitors across the different platforms, how these terms differ and how you can create a more focused SEO strategy across both the main and mobile parts of your site.
Developing your Click Through Rates (CTR)
Aside from these two new features, Mike King also discovered that within the new update, it’s now possible to create your own CTR model using Webmaster Tools meaning you can now create specific CTR models for your industry rather than relying on more general industry models. This is a great feature whether you’re working in an agency, providing specific CTR models for each client or if you’re an internal marketer developing a better idea of CTR models for your market.