Webmaster tools CTR, what does it mean?


JordanJCaron

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Mar 20, 2014
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Just wondering if anyone trusts or believes the CTR's from Webmaster tools search queries tab?

My clients numbers are pretty decent. Anywhere from 25-50% if there in located in the top three for various search terms.

I took a look at mine earlier in the month as I rank high for SEO related searches in my city. When I saw the results, I just about puked at how low my CTR's are.

However, I think they are way off.

Example, my Analytics reports 23 people (not counting how many people might have searched that term logged into their Google account) from December 25 to March 25 landing on my site searching "Victoria SEO". But Webmaster Tools says only 12 clicked through from 418 queries. That puts at 3% CTR which is disgusting!

I use BrightLocal to track my results and wonder if that adds to the queries.

Do you trust these numbers and are they a factor when it comes to rankings?
 

Colan Nielsen

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Jul 19, 2012
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Hi Jordan,

Webmaster tools search query data is very useful but definitely needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Some possible reason for discrepancies:

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35252?hl=en
About Search Queries data

Webmaster Tools aggregates query information. Once the count of each query reaches a certain threshold, it will appear on the Search Queries page.
Webmaster Tools data may differ slightly from the data displayed in other tools, such as Google Analytics. Possible reasons for this include:

  • Some processing of our source data might cause your stats to differ from stats listed in other sources (e.g., to eliminate duplicates and visits from robots). However, these changes should not be significant.
  • Some tools, such as Google Analytics, track traffic only from users who have enabled JavaScript in their browser.
  • Some tools define "keywords" differently. For example, the Keywords tool in Google AdWords displays the total number of Google searches for that keyword across the web. The Webmaster Tools Search Queries page, however, shows how many of those keyword searches returned your pages in Google search results, and this is a smaller number.
  • There can be a lag between when the numbers are calculated and when they are visible to webmasters. Although data gets published in intervals, we continually collect it. Normally, however, collected data should be available in 2-3 days.
  • Time zones matter. Search Queries tracks daily data according to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). If your other systems use different time zones, your daily views may not match exactly.
  • To protect user privacy, Google doesn't aggregate all data. For example, we might not track some queries that are made a very small number of times or those that contain personal or sensitive information.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2013
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It's a rough estimate.

But don't complain too much, we never used to get query data.

Unfortunately the price we paid was referral data, not the best trade, but yeah.....
 

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