Update of Top Search Queries in GWT

search queries average positionI never liked how Google shows top search query rankings in GWT, the average date is less than average quality wise, and I’ve always wanted a more precise answer directly from Google, as we said in our post on GWT rankings before, but with personalisation and all that, it’s not a great option as they could never match the changing results. I guess we all knew that, but nevertheless, it gave us something to complain about. In fact Dan did complain before and he also asked in a Google hangout[2]:

“1) fix positions to the highest ranking page

2) fix sorting”

Google now rolled an update to top search queries[1] in GWT and how the average rankings are calculated, which is another GWT update in January.

Until now Google calculated the average rankings for out top search queries by adding and averaging all the searches for our URLs on one given keyword. So if I was to search for a term and find my URLs in positions 3, 9, 10, and someone else would find my site for the same keyword at 4 and 8, Google would add all those up and find the average. That is what we were seeing in GWT until now.

From now on Google will only take into account top positions for our searches, so for my search it would take position number 3, and for the other guys search it would take position number 4 and average it to 3.5.

Google also updated their explanation page[3] as well:

“Average position: The average position of your site on the search results page for that query, and the change compared to the previous period. Green indicates that your site’s average position is improving. To calculate average position, we take into account the ranking of your site for a particular query (for example, if a query returns your site as the #1 and #2 result, then the average position would be 1.5).”

Does that change anything for us? Well yes, it surely does, but only for “top” search queries as Google will also stop showing and calculating average rankings for lower ranking search queries. They say historical data will not change, I’m personally curious to know how that will impact lower ranking search queries average position results in GWT.

On the positive side, with this update we can make our Phrase Potential Calculator work even better and give more accurate results.





Zac is a link building specialist and a seasoned SEO professional. He manages a team of link builders and actively promotes some of Australia's biggest brands. Zac is an active blogger and also maintains Dejan SEO's news and updates section.

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