This a guest post from Alan Salmoni.
How to get good keywords from GWT
Warning! Google’s Webmaster Tools might not be as reliable as you thought! As seasoned SEOs, you’re probably well aware of that, but it doesn’t hurt to talk about it does it?
This article is about how to get good keywords from GWT, which is naturally a good idea! Google is still the target we all want to bullseye, so we have to take note of what scraps of information filter down to us. It helps enormously if we can pinpoint the things that are a waste of time before we invest our precious time in them and hopefully this article will help you get there.
This experiment used GWT’s API to extract a number of keywords for a particular site and compared them against the keywords extracted from GWT using a Python script. The results were different enough for all the SEOs I know to sit up and really listen!
A broad figure: using the API, we retrieved 128 keyword suggestions. Of these, 6 were rated relevant to the website for a hit rate of just under 5%. Less than 1 in 20 suggestions, apparently based upon data, were of any use to practical SEO. This result does not bode well for those relying blindly upon Google’s data.
In comparison, we modified Google’s Python script to download GWT Search Query data. This script didn’t use keyword suggestions but rather provided n-grams based upon what people searched for that was provided by the site. Curiously, we found slightly more suggestions (133 in total) but far more relevant ones – 51 in total for a hit rate of over 38%.
Why this jump from less than 5% to almost 40% using the “same” data? That’s a much longer story and we’re not sure how it ends yet. As soon as we do, we’ll be posting. For now though, it seems that using our Python script to get keyword suggestions is a better option.
Final notes: Yes this was just one site and the plural of anecdote is not data so we tried with 3 client’s sites by taking the 50 best placed keywords (greatest number of impressions) from our Python script and the highest search volumes from GWT’s API.
These results imply that GWT is good for keyword suggestions but not if you use the standard Google Webmaster Tools API.
In a later blog post we’ll also explain how you can modify Google’s Python Script to download more specific search query, impressions and ranking data. In the future, we’ll pull some of this data automatically into our platform for you.
We only checked through 50 because frankly, we’re up to our eyes in creating some cool things like a keyword suggestion tool, localised SEO tools, natural language processing things, page level optimisation, and how you can tell if a link is relevant or not to your site. All this SEO goodness takes time to make.
We’d be ecstatic if you’d help and send us your data to confirm, deny or even confuse the issue more. We’re not a massive corporate like Google so we don’t have the resources to do cool research without the help of interested folk like yourselves. If you’re in, contact us here.