Hidden keywords for 46% of clicks on Google Search Console: Ahrefs study

A new study by patrick stoxBrand Ambassador at Ahrefs, finds that on average, Google Search Console hides the keyword term for 46.08% of clicks.

The study looked at a month’s worth of data from 146,741 websites, involving almost 9 billion clicks in total, and finds that Google is likely leaving a lot of long-tail keyword data hidden from GSC users, according to its author.

Percentage of Clicks Missing Keyword Data by Traffic Volume

Each point in the scatterplot below represents one of the websites studied.

The horizontal or x axis illustrates the total site traffic, and the vertical y axis represents the percentage of clicks for which the keyword is hidden.

Scatter plot to show percentage of missed clicks and site traffic, reprinted with permission from Ahrefs.

Stox notes dramatic variations in these numbers and cites two sites with traffic of 60 million to 100 million clicks showing 2.27% and 90.3% hidden terms respectively.

In its analysis, Stox notes, “You see a lot of sites around the middle and a big spike at 95%-100% missing clicks. So many sites are missing about half of their data, but a large number of sites are missing most of the data.

Stox also shared his thoughts on the types of keywords most likely to be obfuscated. in a tweet and say:

“Google gives a few reasons for this discrepancy:

  • Privacy
  • Requests made a small number of times

I doubt many are for privacy, which leaves a lot of long-tail queries that Google doesn’t expose to website owners and SEOs.

Keywords hidden by traffic range

A second data visualization in the report illustrates that websites in the lower and upper extreme ranges for traffic volume tend to have more hidden data.

Terms hidden in GSC by traffic volume: Ahrefs.Box plot to show how data varies across different traffic ranges, reprinted with permission from Ahrefs.

Stox notes that Ahrefs pulled its data from the API to get all the available data.

How much of your GSC keyword data is hidden?

The study shows that the volume of hidden data varies considerably from website to website.

Stox has created this Data Studio report that you can copy and use to check for missing data on your website.

If you wish, you can report your findings yourself to Stox, who intends to aggregate and share them in an update.

Do you want to know more to enhance your GSC data?

Roger Montti has written an excellent article on why your Google Search Console and Google Analytics data never matches – and how this affects the insights you can get from each source.

Read Ahrefs’ full GSC Clicks study report to learn more about its findings and methodology.


Featured Image: Shutterstock/Alones