Higher Education Marketing

Google Updates Top Search Queries Feature

Date posted: January 26, 2012

Google continues their busy pace, announcing an update to their Top Search Queries feature. In the past, Google reported the average position of all URLs from your site for any given search query. Now, it will only report the top position that a URL from your site appeared in. It’s hoped that this change will make it better match expectations about search engine rankings.

Historical data will not change, as this update will only affect Top Search Queries data going forward. It’s also helpful to remember that the change in calculation means that the Average Position metric will usually stay the same (or decrease), since lower-ranking URLs will no longer be averaged.

This is the example that Google provided of how the change will look:

Let’s say Nick searched for [bacon] and URLs from your site appeared in positions 3, 6, and 12. Jane also searched for [bacon] and URLs from your site appeared in positions 5 and 9. Previously, we would have averaged all these positions together and shown an Average Position of 7. Going forward, we’ll only average the highest position your site appeared in for each search (3 for Nick’s search and 5 for Jane’s search), for an Average Position of 4.

You can test the updated Top Search Queries data feature here.

Meanwhile, Google is also making it possible to download Top Search Queries data programmatically, allow access to your search queries data in CSV format with an open source Python script. Click here for an example of how to download your search queries data with a Python script and upload it to a Google Spreadsheet in Google Docs.

Check out a screenshot of a Google Search Queries spreadsheet:

What do you think of this update? Will it better reflect your search engine rank expectations?

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