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Webmaster Tools And Analytics Discrepancy


Best Answer Alan Perkins , 12 March 2013 - 12:37 PM

Check your WMT filters to see which types of search and locations you are viewing, and ensure you are viewing all impressions. (Search Queries->Top Queries->Filters)

 

Check GA to ensure you are comparing the same thing - all searches, all locations, all clicks from Google Organic (I assume when you say "Organic" you mean Google Organic - right?  As if it's Bing, you're not going to see it in Google WMT!)

 

As far as the date range goes, I'm tracking week to week since the beginning of this calendar year

 

Yes, I'm saying you don't want to do that.  You want to focus on a period in which this keyword was seeing a high number of clicks.  This month would be good.

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#1 qwerty

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:54 AM

I know I shouldn't expect data from WMT and GA to match up perfectly, but this is just too weird.

 

There are four reports I run every Monday morning that involve exporting the top 50 organic keywords sending two of our sites traffic every week -- there's one report for each site for the top 50 and another for the top 50 with branded keywords filtered out. The vast majority of our organic traffic comes from branded search and a lot of my work at this new job is going to involve improving our traffic for the non-branded searches, so it's important for me to keep an eye on them, even though none of my recommended changes have gone into effect yet.

 

So this morning I'm looking over the data since the beginning of the year, and there's a particular keyword that's been showing a pretty steady rise in traffic. It's shown up in the top 50 non-branded list every week. It's been doing well enough to even make it into the overall top 50 for the past 6 weeks. The attached screen cap shows the rate of growth (I've left out the numbers and the identity of the keyword itself).

 

Capture.PNG

 

As I mentioned, I can't take credit for the improvement in traffic for this keyword, since nothing I've recommended has actually gone live yet. But I wanted to see what's been going on for my own edification, so I popped over to Webmaster Tools to see whatever I could find out about impressions, rankings and click-throughs for the keyword. It's not in the top 50 for the past month. It's not in the top 100. I opened it up to the top 500 and there were only 499 keywords returned. It's not on that list either. So I expanded the date range to cover all of 2013 so far, and I finally managed to find it in the list.

 

According to Webmaster Tools, the keyword has had less than 10 impressions, less than 10 click-throughs, and an average rank of 250 from January 1 to March 11. GA tells me its worst week this year had significantly more click-throughs than that, with a total YTD in the thousands. This is in Traffic Sources > Search > Organic. I'm sure I'm looking in the right place.

 

So how is it possible to see such a giant gap between the figures?



#2 Jill

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:12 AM

All I can say is that I've never seen GWMT to seem to provide very accurate keyword data. But I've never tried to compare them that closely. It always looks like useless junk to me (that aspect of GWMT).



#3 Alan Perkins

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:45 AM

I normally see a pretty good correlation between WMT and Analytics. WMT numbers are normally higher because WMT does not suffer from Analytics' "not provided" problem.

 

 

Are you looking at an appropriate date range?  Rather than looking at the last month, then expanding that out to the last year, why not look at last week - it's only recently that the keyword has been most active, after all.

 

Also, are you sure it's not a paid keyword that Analytics has mistakenly labelled as organic?



#4 qwerty

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:00 AM

Also, are you sure it's not a paid keyword that Analytics has mistakenly labelled as organic?

That's what I'm worried might be the case. If the Organic report with the Non-paid Search Traffic segment is reporting paid search as organic, I can't trust any of the data. I can check with our PPC guy and see if he's seen a rise in clicks for that keyword.

 

As far as the date range goes, I'm tracking week to week since the beginning of this calendar year. In WMT, I've looked at both the past month and the entire year, and as I noted above, the weakest week of the year according to GA had many times more clicks than the entire year in WMT. That simply can't be right. WMT says less than 10 impressions all year and GA says more than 5000 clickthroughs for the same period.



#5 qwerty

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:50 AM

I'm looking at the landing pages for this keyword in GA, and these are not the tracking URLs we use for PPC, so I'm pretty sure I'm not seeing paid clicks.



#6 Alan Perkins

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:37 PM   Best Answer

Check your WMT filters to see which types of search and locations you are viewing, and ensure you are viewing all impressions. (Search Queries->Top Queries->Filters)

 

Check GA to ensure you are comparing the same thing - all searches, all locations, all clicks from Google Organic (I assume when you say "Organic" you mean Google Organic - right?  As if it's Bing, you're not going to see it in Google WMT!)

 

As far as the date range goes, I'm tracking week to week since the beginning of this calendar year

 

Yes, I'm saying you don't want to do that.  You want to focus on a period in which this keyword was seeing a high number of clicks.  This month would be good.


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#7 qwerty

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 01:30 PM

Nope. If I set WMT to display all of the keywords for the period from March 1 to March 12, I get 325 keyword phrases to look at, and the phrase in question is not even on the list.

 

Looking at the filters was helpful, to a point. It was set to all locations and all queries, but only web, so I expanded that to all search types, and the list grew from 325 phrases to 361, but guess which keyword still wasn't on the list.

 

But then I went back into GA, and added Source as a secondary dimension. The traffic's coming from Yahoo -- 88% of it, with the rest coming from MSN (yes, MSN and not Bing). I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Yahoo in question is Yahoo Games rather than Yahoo Search, as both Yahoo Games and MSN Games happen to be partners of ours.

 

If that's the case, I'm not exactly thrilled with GA referring to referrals from partner sites as "organic search" traffic, but this certainly explains why WMT is telling me the keyword isn't showing up in Google searches. It isn't showing up in Google searches.

 

I bow before your GA powers, Sir :)


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#8 Alan Perkins

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:05 PM

Woo-hoo!






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