If you are a business owner we hope you have a website! If you don't, then stop reading and give us a call today! With printed media ROI at around 1-2% and even Social Media click through slowing down due in part to the saturation of ads, there seems to be a renewed interest in ranking websites.
Ranking a website entails a process most commonly referred to as SEO or Search Engine Optimization. This is a variety of procedures that enhance your visibility and entice search engines to favor your website in SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position). One of the most important parts of any SEO campaign is measuring and tracking the success of your SEO strategy. Although as a professional SEO Company we employ different tools than small business website owner may, there are many low cost and FREE tools available, some better than others to track your results.
Out of all these tools we have always favored Google Web Master Tools. Many internet marketing firms doing SEM will tell you that Google analytics is better, but we find that for SEO and for website owners with little experience - Google Web Master Tools "was better". For years we have literally forced our customers to get and maintain a Gmail address in order to facilitate access to this tool. Without complication, Google Web Master Tools allows you to track for what keywords you were ranking for, what your average position was, and the most important - it easily identifies via a percentage how you were doing on a month to month bases.
However, Google has recently replaced or should I say downgraded this tool and removed many of the tools that facilitated website owners to understand what their website was doing. Here are the 3 major downgrades:
- They have removed the percentage measurement. This means the graph move up and down but you really don't know in a percentage bases whether you are up, down, sideway or what!
- The tools no longer have the capability to remember how you want your screen or report to look. This to me is one of the most annoying changes! The new tool has a set of check boxes at the top labeled Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and Position. While it is nice that you can hide each of these reports or graphs, it really sucks that every time you visit the page you have to click on the report you want to see.
- They have made the entire DIV or area where the keywords or queries are listed, below the graph, a clickable area instead of just the keywords itself! This is really annoying especially if you are trying to run report with other tools. Even more annoying is the fact that once you have clicked on a keyword or query (almost impossible to do anything without tripping the link) they have nested the DIV or cell holding the query! This means that it is almost impossible to copy and paste the keyword without picking up the main DIV and all the text around it!
These are just some of the reasons why I have to give this so called "upgrade" an "F". There also seems to be a lot of other issues like huge number of jQuery scripts running in tandem. For example, the check boxes on top seem to be slow reacting and sometimes they check and uncheck themselves. This may have to do with the massive number of websites on my console but nevertheless very novice.
Perhaps, all of these changes have something to do with things to come or perhaps Google feels that they were disclosing too much information. Nevertheless, if you are a Google Web Master Tools user you will probably agree with me and say that this latest revision is a huge downgrade. On the same note, I urge you to let Google know. If you are logged in to your WMT console, the last option on the HELP tap at the top has a "Send Feedback" option. Please take a minute to let Google know what you think about these changes.