3

I've run into various problems with GWT over the past few years and the answer to my question is always "There's a reporting error" or "GWT data is made to be inaccurate".

What's the point of using such a tool if it's so unreliable?

For instance, I ran across a problem where indexed pages dropped 90%, CTR dropped 30%, impressions dropped 80%, and keyword clicks dropped from about 300 to 3.

After having this checked out by various people I was told it wasn't an issue and that it was just a reporting bug and that data on GWT is often innaccurate anyway.

If so, then why use it at all? Shouldn't Google be giving webmasters accurate data on the performance of their website?

  • I won't assume that you're using different names for the same thing, so I will post this for clarification: Announcing Google Search Console - the new Webmaster Tools – Jay Coyote May 17 '16 at 16:59
  • It's 2016 - enough time has gone by - let's start calling it what it is - Search Console. It may help make this discussion more relevant in search...not. – Munimula May 17 '16 at 20:42
6

No it is not.

What's the point of using such a tool if it's so unreliable?

[...] why use it at all? Shouldn't Google be giving webmasters accurate data on the performance of their website?

First of all please remember that GSC is a free tool. If you want reliable data and insights you may need to pay for professional tools.

You state that the data is incorrect. Yes sometimes GSC data is quiet bad but it's still better than nothing.

Further even if most of the data is incorrect. You miss a very important point of GSC: Google tells you about Hacking and Spam issues, indexation troubles and manual actions. They inform you about your website's health from their point of view. Where else would you get this information?

They serve tools to check you site and maybe think about the way it works. And they give you direct access to their data "behind the serps" - something most people don't even know about.

If you don't like it don't use it. But do not complain about a free tool that serves insights no other tool is abeled to give to you.

Your question is deeply subjective and thus the answer is, too. Hope it helps anyway.

| improve this answer | |
  • "If you want reliable data and insights you may need to pay for professional tools." - although any third party tool won't be able to report on some of the metrics that GSC is able to report on. – MrWhite May 17 '16 at 22:51
  • That's what I wanted to imply. – Seb May 18 '16 at 10:58
2

GWT is a job unto itself. It may be someone's full-time job. There are lots of ins-and-outs and I don't expect someone to just sit down and make it give you what you want. You need to study how it works and learn to code it. There is a ton of data and doing it wrong will give you the wrong data.

I don't believe the data is wrong. It's just how it's put together and it will be you that needs to learn how to put it together correctly.

| improve this answer | |
2

I've run into various problems with GWT over the past few years and the answer to my question is always "There's a reporting error" or "GWT data is made to be inaccurate". What's the point of using such a tool if it's so unreliable?

I think reliability here has to do with how quick you expect results and how large your site is. Google's robots deals with (I'm guessing here) billions of pages per day. If you have a large site and you just submitted a sitemap to GSC (new name for GWT) for indexing and you expect decent results within an hour, then you might not get what you wish for.

For instance, I ran across a problem where indexed pages dropped 90%, CTR dropped 30%, impressions dropped 80%, and keyword clicks dropped from about 300 to 3.

So have I but I don't think to that extent though. Its quite possible that your content is a duplicate of other content or google may have added a new algorithm and your website has been badly hit by it. You may want to visit the search analytics section of GSC to see what people want then talk about those keywords more often in your site to increase the CTR.

After having this checked out by various people I was told it wasn't an issue and that it was just a reporting bug and that data on GWT is often inaccurate anyway.

Go into GSC, then select your domain then select the gear icon, then "site settings". Select Limit Google's maximum crawl rate, and move the slider all the way to the right for a chance to get better data sooner.

It will tell you the number of seconds it will wait minimum between requesting any two pages on your site. If you move the slider all the way to the left, you can see the maximum waiting time in seconds. Take this value and multiply that by the grand total number of pages you allow google to access on your site for indexing/crawling, etc.

Let's say you moved the slider so the value is:

 2.033 requests per second
 0.492 seconds between requests

And assume your website has 1,000 pages total. Then you take 1000 and multiply by 0.492, and you'll get 492 seconds which is how long you can expect google to take to index everything. Wait this amount of time at the very minimum before claiming that data from GSC is incorrect. I'd even add an additional day for good measure.

I also notice that search analytic data is only available for up to the last three days as the end date.

Shouldn't Google be giving webmasters accurate data on the performance of their website?

You may want to access Google's page-speed insights where it measures the performance of your page right away. A better tool I recommend is at webpagetest.org.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.