I want to talk about Google Webmaster Tools


I have a few clients that keep complaining to me about how bad the webmaster tools data is. These are things I have seen so far.

  • Webmaster tools will say you are ranking for a kerword phrase in web but actually it is in image search that you rank for that phrase.
  • It tells you you rank in a particular country for a keyword but you don't.
  • I have one client who hasn't ranked for a particular keyword for 2 years yet webmaster tools says he does. Frustrating as this guy calls me once a month to complain about it.
  • I am finding ahrefs lists lots of backlinks that webmaster tools isn't finding. Is google really that crap at finding links? or as I suspect they just don't show you many
  • keywords that appear at position 50 or so in webmaster tools are never there. It is usually just multiple links from a brand site that is dominating the niche.
  • I have had clients who have had the massive change in traffic message. Only to realise that is just holiday traffic.Google can't seem to recognize the difference.
  • I have had clients who have had huge boosts in WMT for a keyword .. yet never get that boost in RL and a week or 2 later WMT shows them back at their old position.

These are just a few of the complaints I get. For my pesonal sites I rarely look at WMT anymore I find it so inaccurate and pointless. Is this a part of Google's attempt to spread FUD? Kind of like the "not reported" in analytics?

Anyone got any others to add to the list?


I agree with all the faults

I agree with all the faults but use it as just a tool.. It just gives a indication of what may/is happening.

I've found the trafficed a site is the closer it is to "real" stats for clicks etc.. 
It is a sampling tool a not a live data tool which in most cases it's good enough..  

How about all the false

How about all the false positive alerts we get.  That is never fun digging into.

Totally agreed! All I am

Totally agreed! All I am using GWT now is to check if any of my websites got Unnatural link warnings lol

It just makes me think, is it because Google don't want to show us what they know or is it because they actually lack understanding of what is going on on the web? :)

Reference Tool

I use GWT as more of a reference than a definitive a 'here's all your data'. It seems that, what you see on the surface, is heavily aggregated data useful for only for narrowing down any issues. But take it with a grain of salt and make sure your investigation shows similar results.


Some of the data is fairly accurate, for instance whith regards to sitemaps/indexation. I frequently check the status of any new sites for indexation against the sitemaps I submit to ensure that the content pages are being found and the site as a while is indexed.


In any case it's always handy to login and check every now and again to ensure your sites haven't got any warnings/penalties but like everyone eventually notices: the data is not up to the minute and what you see in reports is heavily aggregated/filtered.

I understand that it is not total analytics package

but like I said I got one client who hasn't ranked for a keyword in nearly 2 years but WMT still showing that it is? It is almost like ti is deliberately being misleading.

I also feel it is getting worse. once it was VERY accurate now it is really crap. I am thinking it is another thing that Google is losing interest in. They may even drop it in the not to distant future. Anything they are about to drop stops being updated and stops being accurate. I have the same feeling about Google alerts. If it isn't make them money then they aren't interested in it anymore.

I've had the same thought...

about GWT features at least being cut way back. I doubt they'd close it down entirely, though - at least I'd hate to see that happen. I think it's automated enough that machine resources would be the only motivator for doing so.

For my part, when I do an audit, I usually combine my findings from GWT, ahrefs and Majestic, and while I still find some on ahrefs that don't appear in GWT, I usually find even more on GWT that ahrefs doesn't find. I have, though, recently been finding links reported in GWT that haven't existed for many months. I agree, the quality of the data is declining.

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