If you are looking for an intelligent way to create your SEO strategy then you would want to consider taking advantage of your website data from Google’s Webmaster tools. You could argue that there is Google Analytics for that. However the difference between Analytics and Webmaster Tools is in the fact that Analytics helps you track who is visiting your site, while Webmaster Tools enables you to see your website with Google’s eyes. Webmaster Tools provides ways in which you can improve your website structure, and hence enable it to rank better on Google.
With Webmaster Tools you can get traffic and keyword data as well as data on Google Authorship. This data is readily available, downloadable and manipulatable, raising the meaning of the maxim that information is power to a whole new level.
This is especially so in the case of search query data. A majority of the search queries in Analytics are now masked by the “Not Provided” column. This is due to Google’s decision to encrypt all user activity on their search engines. Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) search query data includes the data that is lost to secured search.
There are some drawbacks to using GWT search data. For example GWT uses buckets to display results, which are rounded off to the nearest ten, hundred or thousand. So if a listing gets 985 clicks it will be rounded off to 1000. So in terms of tracking accurately as Analytics it does fall short.
However GWT search data’s strength lies in its ability to track historical trends. You can track ranking, clicks and click-through rates over a period of time.
So while many companies would dismiss the insights provided by GWT search data, it remains a useful tool in any SEO expert’s arsenal. Downloading, categorizing and measuring trends over time is still the best method of understanding user interaction and hence developing better marketing and SEO campaigns for your organization.