So, yesterday Google updated the Google Webmaster’s tool with a nice little improvement to the search query report.
Sitting under Your site on the web > Search queries menu, this tool now shows more than 2000 queries, let’s you download the search query data programmatically and shows all the (read entire) search data to your website for the last 90 days (was 35 earlier).
This is a great improvement, because webmasters used to rely on Analytics data for search queries so far, which is more “complex” compared to Webmaster’s tool. However Google analytics data is more accurate as you can fine tune the details with filter settings. Webmaster’s data was kind of a little “vague”, since it used to show just the top queries from last 35 days – it was more like the most popular ever keywords that got you clicks. And now, it has changed for the good.
Webmaster’s Tool and Analytics show search data differently
If you compare search query data with Google analytics data, there is a good difference in numbers. May be it’s a little too early to judge but the difference is pretty awkward. Check the below example.
On Google webmaster’s for Site A, from Jan28th to Apr 27th, its showing 110,000 impressions and 15,000 clicks.
However for the same site on Google Analytics, shows 22,990 visits.
That is a discrepancy of 7000 visits. That is weird.
What could be wrong here?
- Google Analytics tracks the JS code and only actual browser visits are counted. If this was the case, the number would have been smaller here, but no.
- Google Analytics could be mixing up the data with another traffic source like websites referrals. Good possibility but in that case it means that Analytics is flawed and so far its been showing be number mixed up – may be even other metrics too?
Search Queries itself is misleading on Google Webmaster’s Tool
Hmm..looking at the search queries on Webmaster’s tool, is kind of confusing. The queries are very broad, mostly “broad matches” and phrases that weren’t original full queries but triggers of some sort (most likely).
For example, the top most query for Dailybloggr.com is “www facebook” and the second one is “google plus”.
For “www facebook”, Analytics shows 59 visits, during this time period and Webmaster’s shows 320 clicks! Whoa!
This data from Webmaster’s tool could only be a broad match keyword. Because the average position of 30 shown, is no where to be found as well.
So, to summarize, the search queries data on Webmaster’s tool is more like an indication tool, that reports data in a bird’s eye perspective, but not fine tuned. Analytics on the other hand, is more fine tuned and accurate.
One could probably, check the search graph from webmaster’s tool and figure out if there are any health issues with the site, that’s about it.