Google Search Console August 19th Query Report Drop Clarified

Aug 29, 2018 - 6:56 am 0 by

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Remember we reported that Google dropped anonymous queries from the Search Analytics and Performance reports in Google Search Console on August 19th? Well, Google is now clarifying that the data was never displayed but the queries they hide were previously used in the total sum but are now being removed from the total sum.

This goes back to when we reported that many webmasters and site owners were noticing huge drops in traffic on August 19th. We thought it was a bug, but Google posted on the data anomalies page it was a change in reporting and nothing has changed with your rankings that relate to the drop you see in these reports.

Google this morning clarified on Twitter that:

  • Previously, we included the sum of queries that weren't tracked in Search Console in the totals for "query not containing". Eg, we might not track some queries that are made a very small number of times or those that contain personal or sensitive info. ("anonymous queries").
  • Going forward, we're only including the sum of those that we track and can match in Search Console. This change doesn't affect the queries shown in Search Console, nor how we treat these untracked queries.

Google also added "It also doesn’t change views of this report that do not use the “query not containing” filter. We've added an annotation in Search Analytics to notify users of this change," which is why so many are seeing drops when they add the query filter to these reports.

It also impacts Google Analytics Search Console integration and the API, Google said: "Going forward, Google Analytics will no longer show a placeholder with "other" for these filtered queries. It also won't be possible to add this to the API. We made this change to account for more queries and to support exciting Search Analytics features down the road."

Here are the tweets:

Of course, this makes the data from those reporting to clients a huge mess and it does look bad. I guess SEOs need to explain that this does not reflect any ranking changes and is just a reporting change.

John Mueller from Google responded to a few more questions on this:

Here is some of the industry feedback on the explanation from Google:

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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