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Why Search Console Query Reports Are Inconsistent

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Why Search Console Query Reports Are Inconsistent


Google’s John Mueller answered a question about discrepancies in Search Console query reports. John explained why page and site level reports can report different numbers of search queries than the search console query report displays.

Discrepancy in Search Console Query Reports

The person asking the question wanted to confirm if anonymized queries were the reason for a discrepancy in reported search query data.

The person asked:

“In Search Console, when look at the pages report, I click on one page that has 241 clicks.

I click on the queries report and the queries add up to 148.

Do we attribute this to the anonymized queries mentioned in the Help Center?”

Google’s John Mueller Answers Search Console Question

John Mueller answered:

“Yes, usually that’s the case. So in particular, when you look at the page level, we can show you all of the information in Search Console.

And that is because there’s nothing kind of unique about the individual page requests.

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But when it comes to queries, there are queries that have only very limited use.

And we would not show those necessarily in Search Console.

That means when you look at the report, you’ll see on the one hand, the number on top of the report, where it says like total impressions or total clicks. 30:40

And you can look at the individual impressions and clicks for each individual query.

And sometimes when you add up the table, it doesn’t match up.

And that’s essentially due to us dropping those queries that are kind of anonymized queries.

And that’s kind of the differences that you would see there.

So in Search Console, if you look at it on a page level, you’ll see slightly different numbers than on a per-query level.

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And on a query-level when you look at the table itself, you might see slightly different numbers than the summary on top.

And from our point of view, if you want to look at the individual queries, then the query-level data is definitely useful.

But if you want to see the full picture of the impressions to the site, then you kind of want to look at the page-level or the site-level results and use that for tracking the trends and changes over time.”

Anonymized Queries

Google doesn’t reveal some search queries that may contain “personal or sensitive information.

Google’s support documentation doesn’t say what kind of data is personal or sensitive.

A Webmaster Help discussion topic started by someone relating that 90% of queries are anonymized noted that many of the site queries contain a person’s name. That discussion gives a clue to one kind of query that may be anonymized, a search query with a person’s name.

Google’s documentation states that queries that contain personal or sensitive information are anonymized.

Google’s support page explains:

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“Very rare queries (called anonymized queries) are not shown in these results to protect the privacy of the user making the query.”

Elsewhere on that same Search Console support page Google states that the report might not track queries that aren’t made very often.

“For example, we might not track some queries that are made a very small number of times or those that contain personal or sensitive information.”

Citations

Webmaster Support Page for Search Console

Why Search Console Query Reports Don’t Match Up

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 29:47 minute mark

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Fact Checking: Get Your Facts Right

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Fact Checking: Get Your Facts Right

In the last decade or so, the concept of “fake news” has become a major thorn in the side of consumers and content writers alike.

Digital marketing experts who write SEO content at the enterprise level might not consider themselves journalists or news reporters – but there’s a greater overlap between the roles than many people realize.

Like journos, enterprise SEO content writers need to earn the trust of their audience by demonstrating authority, relevance, and experience.

And while you might think that, as a content marketing specialist, the only person you’re serving is your client or employer, the truth is that good SEO content provides just as much service to consumers.

You’re not just advertising to people; you’re helping them find answers, information, and solutions to their problems.

That’s why, for SEO content writers, getting the facts right is crucial.

“Fake news” has eroded a lot of people’s trust in media. Online content, in particular, is always fighting an uphill battle due to the oversaturation of the digital space – and the sheer amount of misinformation that finds its way into blogs and social media sites with little quality control.

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Today, fact-checking is arguably more important than ever before.

One little mistake is all it takes to lose a consumer’s trust forever.

But what does it mean to get your facts right? Is it just ensuring every name is spelled correctly, and every claim has an attributed source?

Both of these things are an important part of SEO fact-checking, but they’re only a small piece of a large puzzle.

Enterprise SEO Fact Checking Best Practices

Fun fact: Even when consumers don’t know you’re lying, Google does.

Web pages with deceptive, inaccurate, or poorly vetted content are penalized and less likely to appear in search results.

Want to avoid the wrath of the almighty algorithm? Here’s what you need to do:

Get The Basics Right

A few paragraphs back, I mentioned that fact-checking isn’t limited to correctly writing people’s names, ages, positions, and pronouns.

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Nevertheless, getting the basics right is still important. If you can’t do at least that much, then you won’t be prepared to do more in-depth fact-checking.

It’s especially important to get this information right when you’re quoting multiple people.

Not only do you need to attribute quotes and ideas to the proper sources, but you also have to make sure the information they shared with you is accurately reproduced.

Double Check Everything

If you get a quote from someone that says the sky is blue, go outside and look up, just to be sure.

Okay, that might be an exaggerated example – but you get the point.

Double and triple-check everything.

If you find a useful quote or statistic online, track down the original source. See if you can find other reliable web pages with the same information.

Don’t be afraid to do a little research yourself. Crunch the numbers and try to find corroborating evidence.

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Never take anything at face value.

Go To The Source

Speaking of tracking down the sources of stats and quotes: That’s a cornerstone of fact-checking so important, it merits expanding on now.

Have you ever had a teacher or professor tell you, in no uncertain terms, never to use Wikipedia as a source?

Well, that’s just as true when writing enterprise-level SEO content. Wikipedia might be useful in pointing you toward helpful sources, but it shouldn’t be your primary text.

Nor should any second-hand source. If another web page states something as a fact, confirm where it got that fact.

If it’s a disreputable source and you parrot it, then you become a disreputable source, too.

Understand The Information

Content writing – especially at the enterprise level and especially in an agency (rather than in-house PR team) context – often requires authors to cover many different areas of expertise in many different industries.

It can be tempting to regurgitate and plagiarize information that already exists, but if you do that, you won’t be able to offer any meaningful insights.

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You have to understand the information you’re relaying.

That will help you spot contradictions and factual errors and demonstrate genuine authority.

Is AI Automation The Future Of Fact Checking?

Enterprise-level content fact-checking requires a lot of time and effort, but cutting corners is a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, just as it has with many other aspects of SEO, AI automation may soon be able to simplify the process.

U.K.-based independent fact-checking organization, Full Fact, has been leading the charge in recent years to develop scalable, automated fact-checking tools.

Full Fact’s efforts have already garnered the attention of the biggest names in search engine technology.

In 2019, the non-profit organization was one of the winners of the 2019 Google AI Impact Challenge, which provides funding for potentially revolutionary automation research projects.

Full Fact’s stated goal is to develop AI software capable of breaking down long content pieces into individual sentences, then identifying the types of claims those sentences represent, before finally cross-referencing those claims in real-time with the most up-to-date factual news data.

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Though Full Fact is still years away from achieving its goal, the benefits of such a breakthrough for SEO content writing are self-evident.

That said, you don’t have to wait for the future to use AI automation and other software tools to help you fact-check.

For example, the Grammarly Plagiarism Checker not only identifies duplicate content taken from another source but also highlights portions of text requiring attribution.

Commonly used enterprise SEO tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz, meanwhile, can be used to investigate a domain’s authority, helping you decide which sources are considered reputable.

Fact-checking in today’s oversaturated news and information marketplace can be intimidating at first glance. But the number of resources available to content writers is growing by leaps and bounds every day.

Making full use of these resources better enables you to win consumer trust in an age when that kind of trust is a very delicate, precious, and valuable commodity.

More resources:


Featured Image: redgreystock/Shutterstock

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