Update Oct 2 2013: It’s back! But read on for some interesting points.
Update Dec 18 2014: I still use Google Webmaster Tools all the time. However, I now also depend heavily on a keyword research tool called Long Tail Pro.
In case you are an avid user of the Search Queries part of Google Webmaster Tools, as I am, you will probably have been using the refresh key quite a lot since about September 23rd. And of course nothing is refreshing.
Given the recent decision to encrypt all Google search data, you could well be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that the GWT search query page is part of the fallout.
Bug or Ban?
And of course one looks for confirmation as to whether or not this is a temporary glitch in the system or in fact a decision to move away from providing this internal data.
The Search Queries tool is one of many in the suite of Google web master tools. Many bloggers have written in the past that the results from the search queries tool are dubious. But I have found it to be extremely useful and we need to remember that keyword positions vary considerably anyway because of individualized search results being served up to browsers. So any ranking tool needs to be taken with a “grain of salt” or simply as a guide.
I find the impressions data very useful and certainly a guide as to whether your content is click-worthy or your titles interesting enough to explore the content behind them.
The Good News
However, it would appear that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to this post Google Data Goes Missing Again ….., by Thom Craver, it would appear, after searching the Google Webmaster Tools forum that the problem is in fact a glitch and should therefore be rectified soon.
In fact, searching the forums further we find “It is an issue that has been escalated to the appropriate Google engineers.”
The Additional Good News
I am naturally looking forward to the “return” of the tool but in the meantime, just when I was assuming that it had been retired, I decided to look at Bing Webmaster Tools.
Like GWT it takes a while for the data to be crawled and reflected in reports so I can’t yet do a definitive comparison.
But I must say, I was very impressed with their series of help videos. Regardless of your tool of choice, there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of useful SEO information in these videos.
So going forth, I expect that I will use both of these tools and it does no harm to be prepared for a possible world without the Google Search Queries data.
What tool are you using? Are you using the Google Web master Tool?
Teaser image courtesy of By Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net