Why Search Console Query Reports Are Inconsistent

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

Gap in Search Console query reports

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

The person asked:

“In Search Console, when I view the Pages report, I click on a page that has 241 clicks.

I click on the queries report and the queries total 148.

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

Google’s John Mueller Answers Search Console Question

Jean Mueller replied:

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

And that’s because there’s nothing unique about individual page requests.

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

And we wouldn’t necessarily display them in Search Console.

This means that when you look at the report, you will see on the one hand, the number at the top of the report, where it is indicated as the total number of impressions or the total number of clicks. 30:40

And you can view individual impressions and clicks for each individual query.

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

And that’s basically because we’ve dropped those queries, which are sort of anonymized queries.

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

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

And at the query level, when you look at the table itself, you can see slightly different numbers than the summary at the top.

And from our perspective, if you want to look at individual queries, query-level data is definitely useful.

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

Anonymized queries

Google does not reveal certain search queries that may contain “ppersonal or sensitive information.

Google’s support documentation does not specify what type of data is personal or sensitive.

A webmaster help thread started by someone saying that 90% of requests are anonymized noted that many of the site’s requests contain a person’s name. This discussion gives a clue to a type of query that can be anonymized, a search query with a person’s name.

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

Google’s support page explains:

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

Elsewhere on that same Search Console support page, Google says the report may not track queries that aren’t performed very often.

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

Quotes

Search Console webmaster support page

Why Search Console Query Reports Don’t Match

Watch John Mueller answer the question at minute 29:47