As one door closes another opens, or something like that. Google, it seems, isn’t all about withholding data as most speculated after the full-force shutdown of free range organic keywords, aka the evil [not provided]. How can I, an organic search marketer say such a thing? Well, in their overarching generosity, Google announced today that they were introducing deeper keyword data points in Google Webmaster Tools, retroactive to December 31, 2013.
Mobile Changes and Updates
The Google Webmaster Tools (GWMTs) update centers around mobile, as the change was implemented to support Google’s focus on moving webmasters to maximize users’ online experience through quality mobile websites. In two announcement posts on the official Google blog by Maile Ohye, the Developer Programs Tech Lead, first shares a simple guide for making mobile-friendly sites search friendly through the incorporation of canonicals, defined user agents headers (
HTTP Vary: User-Agent), and verifying ownership of mobile sites in GWMT to receive valuable feedback.
For many, the mobile element may be a moot point because of the growth and support of responsive website design. With responsive websites, the browser and/or width of the viewable area, say a tablet browser, determines the stylesheet used for the website; changing the look and feel of the website without changing to a mobile sub-domain or folder.
Google Webmaster Tools Keyword Details and More
In the second post, John Mueller of Google Switzerland shares the big news, finer details are now available in webmaster tools! With the loss of keyword data in Google Analytics, many wondered what was next for organic. Many moved to using page analytics with GWMT to isolate keywords that fall into [not provided]. This finer detail change allows for a simpler, more impactful examination of page information surrounding clickthroughs from search, search queries, and exact numbers related to organic traffic. An alert is displayed concerning the update in GWMT:
Although the post states the updates are retroactive to 12/31/2013, all history available in your updated GWMT shows exact numbers (exact numbers according to GWMT, of course). Some in the marketing industry and other webmasters are reserving excitement to see how accurate these number actually are.
@randfish skepsis seems well-founded: at first glance devations between GWMT data and GA data is around 45% for our client sites.
— Barry Adams (@badams) January 7, 2014
But, I suppose beggars can’t be choosers, right?!
Enjoy it! Even if the data isn’t as exact as some believe it may be inaccurate, it is a starting point for strategy. The data from GWMT is and has always been focused on helping webmasters maximize their website’s visibility. This change is a move in a good direction. I would rather data that is slightly off than the rounded to the nearest thousand that was the standard before.