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5 Things To Know About Google Search Console

Google Search ConsoleBefore you fully embrace Google Search Console (GSC) in your analysis, reporting and strategy formation process… there are some things you need to know. There are a couple things I’ve noticed from heavy usage that I think could easily trick someone brand new to the platform. I could easily see a new GSC user making a big strategy move based on something they see; only to find out that the figures didn’t mean exactly what you thought it did. I’ve already run into these “Gotchas” so I can explain them to you before you run into them yourself!

1) You are looking at sampled data.

(regarding Search Analytics & Search Queries reports)

If you’ve looked at your search query data and wondered why it never lines up with the traffic you are seeing in Google Analytics then you should know the difference is that the data in Google Search Console is sampled. Assuming Google is using proper statistical techniques for gathering this sample then the Google Search Console data should be ‘representative’ of the full dataset so that means the exact numbers are not going to be the same but the same trends should be evident proportionately.

2) You are looking at filtered data.

(regarding Search Analytics & Search Queries reports)

Google Search Console Search TypeBe aware that there are multiple filters that are usable right off the bat in the Search Analytics report. In fact, one of them is on by default. Make sure to either turn this off; or atleast be cognisant of the filter.
Google Search Console Search Queries Filters

3) You can’t download all your search query data with the new Search Analytics report.

(regarding Search Analytics & Search Queries reports)

The new Search Analytics report does not allow you to download more than 999 queries at a time. To download your full dataset in ‘one-go’ then you will need to use the older Search Queries report which had the ‘download this table’ feature. I recommend using that report so you can get all the data in one download.

4) Don’t rely on GSC notifying you about SERP warnings.

(regarding the Security Issues portion of Google Search Console)

If you have had the unfortunate experience of getting flagged by Google; or have seen Search Results with the warning; then you know what I am talking about. Though Google will not pull your site entirely from the search results, it will show a small warning – and it will be very detrimental to click-thru-rates on your SERPs. The issue with these warnings is that sometimes it’s not all that clear WHY you are seeing the warning. One would expect any time this pops up that there would be a corresponding message in the Google Search Console Security Issues area but that is not the case. In my experience, Google will only send you a notification about a hack/malware incident if they are the authority to discover it — if one of Google’s blacklist partners (there are like 12 of them) flag you then you are going to see the SERP warning and NOT receive a message in Google Search Console. If this happens to you then you are on your own to hunt down those partners and figure out why you got flagged, and then work from there to remedy the issue.

5) You only have 90 days to save off your data.

(regarding Search Analytics & Search Queries reports)

GSC sliding windowWhile I think the data in the search queries reports is awesome to have; the problem is that Google has a sliding window of time where they will let you download the data. Google only holds onto your search query data for 90 days. I recommend downloading your prior month’s data in one file, early on every month. That way you will be able to do comparisons over-time and do more meaningful analysis than just the strict month over month provided in GSC.

Bonus Tip #6!

If you want to turn the dial to 11; and really reap the rewards of having acces to your pre-click data then you should use a cutting edge keyword data analysis tool like Query Hive™ (created by Philly Marketing Labs). Query Hive™ is most useful for sites receiving large amounts of organic traffic (500+ unique queries per month in GSC); with it you can get higher level reports that really crunch and analyze that same keyword data you were looking at in GSC, but with a focus on segmentation according to business objectives and over-time analysis.

Well that’s all for now. I think you should now be well-equipped to avoid these potential hiccups in GSC. Good luck keyword exploring!