What happened to Google Search Console Impression Data?

This is an extract from TWIS SEO News & Updates 21 July 2017.

Read about the upsets caused by Google Search Console’s modification to impression and ranking reporting, as well as actionable insights to deal with them.

If you would like to discuss the ways implementing Google Search Console and analysing its data could impact your web business, please feel free to contact me.

#SEO #GoogleSearchConsole #KnowYourNumbers

Google Search Console Impression Data Change

GSC Impression Data Summary:

  • In a sneaky move last week, Google Search Console modified the way it calculates average impression data and average search positions.
  • This led to a drop of in Average Position for a lot of webmasters and an increase in impressions.
  • Google has been generic and bland in its explanations, but essentially, they are now showing impressions and data from positions well beyond P100.
  • This means that a site will have increased impressions, since more rankings are taken into account and lower average positions, as those additional rankings are at the lower end of the scale.
  • This took place on / around 14th July.
  • This just goes to show that the Average Position is not a trustworthy metric. It should only be relied upon on a per keyword basis.

Google Search Console Data Anomalies July 2017

Actions to take:

  1. Log into Google Search Console to check your website’s average position and impressions.
  2. Review changes around 14th July.
  3. Keep an eye on the Average Position and Impressions data, but don’t rely too heavily on them as indicators of search performance.
  4. It is better to track rankings through a third party tool, ven if it more difficult to track clicks, owing to Not Provided.
  5. If you don’t have a Google Search Console account, then follow this Basic Google Search Console GuideAction 2
  6. Contact me if you would like help setting up Google Search Console, or if you would like help interpreting and analysing the data for actionable insights.


Every time there’s a slight change, lots of webmasters get their undies in  twist. All of a sudden the world is caving in and they’ve been penalised, or Google is rolling out a massive update and nobody else is affected.

It is mildly annoying that Google has been really bland and generic in its messaging around feature change. It would be helpful if they gave more of an explanation to webmasters. Yes, they’ll confuse some, but the majority will be aided by the deeper understanding. Sometimes, Google dumbs it down too much.

Google Search Console impression data is a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes it is ver useful, but mostly it isn’t. When it comes to the Average Search Position, you have to remember it includes the normal variation and fluctuation, personalisation and, of course, the impact of RankBrain on user intent based fluctuations. I’ve always looked at the data, but never relied upon it.

More info:

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The State of SEO Mid-2017 Released

The State of SEO Mid 2017

We recently released the super-exciting The State of SEO in mid-2017. Read it now.

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Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss what these changes mean for your web property, or would like to know how to implement them, please feel free to contact me.

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