Saturday, May 21, 2011

Webmaster tools - is it accurate?

I have been puzzling over the data in webmaster tools and I'm now wondering if the data makes any sense. Here's the case that has me doubting its basic accuracy.

There are a lot of searches on my site's name which is a term that I created. There are dozens of searches on variations of the site name. Here are a few for example from the top ten terms for my site listed in Webmaster tools.

The site is There are searches for:

spelling city
etc etc etc

Here's an actual piece of data from Google Webmaster Tools with monthly data regarding the key phrase search query: """"

Impressions 140,000
Visits 22,000
Click thru rate. 16%
Average position. 3.2


1. As far as I can tell, my site is always first on google when you search on "". I'm also 2nd -5th (with different pages from the website). Why would they think that on average I'm around 3rd?  Are they averaging all the different pages on my website or just averaging the first time that my website appears for this search?

If people typed my actual URL into the search box, aren't they looking for my site? I mean if someone actually searched on "", I would assume that they are trying to get to my site but are using the search bar instead of the address bar. I assume that they use the searchbox instead of address box is a sort of lazyman's way to not having to typed it accurately or completely.

Here's the questions: Where are the other 84% clicking through to?  Did they change their mind and not come to my site?  Why? Google has pages from my site as the first five results so I would just assume people would come to my site. Are they saying that 84% didn't go to the first instance of my site?

 There is of course the paid search possibility.There are some people placing paid ads next to this search.  For instance:

Spelling City Games - Get Spelling City Games |

Search for Spelling City Games

Spelling City Games 

Search for Spelling City Games
Find out more on Yahoo!

My conclusion: the data is just way wrong or I'm totally misinterpreting it. Or maybe ASK and Yahoo have unlimited budgets to snatch my users on the way into my site.  

Any ideas?

John, aka the Confused Mayor of

Are they really getting 84% of the clicks of people who put my site's URL into the search box?  THAT's ANNOYING.  But frankly, I just don't believe it.   It just makes no sense to me.

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