Google’s blog article highlights three areas the new report can help.

  • Discover additional paid search terms – identify keywords you are ranking for organically but not bidding on.
  • Optimise presence on high value queries – monitor your high value queries for organic results.
  • Measure changes - website improvements or AdWords changes are more easily monitored across paid, organic, and combined traffic.

We asked Rishi LakhaniDan Barker and Matt Holland for their thoughts on this new report.

Why is Google doing this?

Rishi Lakhani:

Fairly simple, to show people using the very flawed Webmaster Tools click through data how much more money they could be spending.

Dan Barker:

It’s a sensible thing to do from a ‘user’ point of view, and from a business point of view.

From a user point of view: Marketing teams will often look at this data across four or five different reports in Google Analytics (or an alternative), or will manually join together this information in spreadsheets to understand performance.

Adding it into AdWords makes it a little bit easier, and frankly gives a more useful, ‘actionable’ view of the data than most other tools. The one caveat there is it will be interesting to see how accurate the ‘organic’ data is there.

To get the data you have to link your AdWords and Webmaster Tools accounts. The Webmaster Tools ‘organic search’ data has been notoriously inaccurate, and rounds that inaccurate data to the nearest thousand/hundred/ten. The screengrab in the announcement seems to suggest this data is more accurate (it’s not rounded), but without actually using it and checking it, it’s tough to tell.

From a business point of view this benefits Google too: Showing users “hey, you’re getting all this organic search traffic, why not pay us a little bit of money for even more traffic?” is a really useful thing to be able to do.

If they present this information in Google Analytics, you’re two steps away from actually spending the money to increase PPC traffic; here in AdWords you can bump up bids instantly, add extra keywords to campaigns, etc.

Matt Holland:

The new report will enable search marketers to understand the opportunity when paid and natural is combined, and consequently amend their bidding strategies of paid keywords. There will be additional analysis required by search marketers but they will have a more integrated view of performance which will influence their strategies for both paid and natural moving forward.


How will this affect search marketers, day-to-day? 

Rishi Lakhani:

Too early to tell, but PPC agencies will have a ball. Google’s case study insists 18% uplift in click-through rate (CTR) with combined SEO and PPC. So they are trying to get businesses to pay more, by running more ads. It’s really that simple. 

There may be other implications, but it’s early days.

Dan Barker:

The big question here is around ‘not provided’ search data. Google have been hiding a lot of keywords from users over the last couple of years. At present, there is no accurate (or even semi-accurate) way to get that data. If these reports are better than the usual Webmaster Tools data, it may become a standard place for search marketers to go to check organic performance.

Aside from the ‘not provided’ issue, and the ‘accuracy’ issue (both of which are pretty big), the data here is mostly available elsewhere, but most users would have to do some manual work to join it together and analyse. From that point of view, if users have been joining that data together, this will save them time; if they haven’t been using that data this is another tool to help them understand where their site’s traffic is coming from, how it fits together, and how they can improve it.

What impact, if any, will this have on search agency client relations?

Rishi Lakhani:

More money for paid search agencies, so better relations? ;( 

Dan Barker:

From a search agency perspective it’s interesting. If you’re an agency managing both SEO & PPC, it helps you understand where you could steal budget from one area to bump up another, or where you have gaps between your different channels that can easily be plugged.

Where companies use separate PPC and SEO agencies, this report pits them against each other a tiny bit more. From an agency/client point of view, it’s another area where clients will be asking for reports and, hopefully, more testing around the effects of PPC vs SEO vs both together. Two of the numbers here that you don’t often see elsewhere are ‘listings per query’ and ‘total share of search clicks’. Those are both useful for judging yourself against the market, and (for clients) pushing agencies to do more. 

Matt Holland:

Clients who have separate agencies managing their paid and natural search will need to ensure that they link their AdWords and Webmaster Tools accounts together. However, issues may arise where the paid search agency has data on natural agency in AdWords, and is suggesting joined-up strategies on data that the natural agency will not have access to.

The paid search agency could give read-only access to the natural agency, in order to see this data, but it remains to be seen if this will be necessary.



Rishi Lakhani:

The major drawback I see is for SEO. By using data from Webmaster Tools, you are using flawed data to overvalue PPC. CTR in webmaster tools is a joke in my opinion, however, it’s an opinion; maybe this tool will help confirm or disapprove that.

Either way, I assure you PPC data will look better, which means more direct money will be ploughed into the Goog. Which may leave even less investment in SEO

On the other hand, it may be interesting to finally be able to judge position/keyword/CTR for SEO, if the data is correct. That may actually grow the need to fine tune top tier rankings. 

Dan Barker:

If the data is anywhere near accurate, this is really useful for clever marketers. There are lots of nice, simple things you can test here. One of the big messages Google have wheeled out over the years is “when you’re present for both PPC and SEO traffic, 1+1=3”. This puts that data in the hands of AdWords users.

The only major drawbacks are:

Drawback A) it’s yet another report to look at, yet another source of data to try and align with everything else, and yet another thing to learn about/decide whether it’s useful/fit into your process. It adds a little bit of complexity.

Drawback B) is slightly more theoretical, and is related to encouraging PPC spend. If everyone starts using this, and takes the nudge to spend extra on PPC wherever they’re having success via organic search, it means the PPC market gets a little bit more competitive, bids bump up a little bit more, etc.

Matt Holland:

A drawback is the data in Webmaster Tools only goes back 90 days currently. It would help to be able to look back further when advertisers are trying to analyse data to plan ahead for seasonal events.