Last week, Google introduced several new features to their free Webmaster Tools service to help website owners get a firmer grasp on their search engine optimization efforts. This web-based service was already a very powerful tool, allowing one to view a site’s crawl rate, internal and external links, indexation statistics and more. The new features, while not monumental, are just a few additional reasons why anyone with a website would be remiss not to use Google Webmaster Tools.
Webmaster Tools previously only provided an average position of a site based on its top Google search terms. The new interface introduces impression and click through rate data for the top 100 search queries that lead visitors to a site. This data isn’t just limited to the domain as a whole. Those who use the tool can also look at this information for individual pages on their site.
Google personalized search: how can Webmaster Tools help?
Some have expressed confusion over the ranking data presented in the new Webmaster Tools. Users will likely notice that many pages are reported as holding multiple positions in Google for certain keywords. While this may seem like inaccurate reporting, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Late last year, Google introduced personalized searches for ever computer that uses its engine. This means that, based on your search history, your results will differ from those of the person sitting next to you.
There has been some uncertainty as to how personalized search will affect SEO strategies. If your site is showing up first in Google for a few users and 50th for others, how is it possible to keep track of that data and monitor the effectiveness of your SEO work? The new features in Webmaster Tools seem to be Google’s way of showing website owners and online marketing companies that personalized search will not be the end of SEO.
That’s not so say it will alleviate all concerns, as there is no way for those working in this field to ensure a first place ranking for everyone who uses Google search. Still, allowing website owners to monitor impression and click through statistics for personalized search results is a step in helping them understand how to comprehend the impact of this relatively new concept.
Organic Search Analyst