Search Queries Improvement in Google Webmaster Tools
As announced over at the official google webmaster central blog, more detailed search queries have arrived at Webmaster Tools. Previously, search impressions and clicks had been bucketed and rounded into groups of 10, which was very inconvenient, especially for small and local companies. This enhancement allows online marketers to regain some transparency into search terms that was lost when Google decided to make search terms 100% secure.
My previous blog on SEO reporting post-secure search discussed the difficulty in tracking keyword referrals and ways that we could solve it, with using Google Webmaster Tools as a possible option. The weakness there was its lack of accuracy, but with this latest update the information is much more reliable. GWT will not be a more usable tool in analysis and communicating results.
Not only are clicks now displayed, but impressions as well. Previously, you would have needed to refer to Adwords data to get exact impression numbers (assuming your ad was shown 100% of the time), but now that GWT displays exact impression numbers you won’t need to do that. This is actually better in that respect than anything Google has provided before, extending Google Keyword Planner’s estimations to actual search data on terms that you already rank for. Now, once the general keyword research is done, you’ll be able to transfer analysis from the more general estimates that Adwords provides to the exact impression data now displayed in Google Webmaster Tools (once you start ranking).
Data has been added to GWT retroactively starting December 31.
Google Analytics is not displaying the exact numbers from Webmaster Tools yet. We’re not sure if they’re going to extend this functionality yet, but it would make sense if they did. If that link is completed, strategies for tying keywords to performance will be much more feasible.
After 2014 update:
So if you’re a website with low traffic volume or you’re engaging in a long-tail search strategy, this update is great for you! Now you can find low volume terms, summarize with filters, and relate that data with performance data in Google Analytics (likely based on landing pages).