There is no doubt that Google continues to make changes in its search algorithm to return more and more accurate results. This is evident by the latest change – the ‘Top Search Queries’ feature has been updated so that it lives up to the expectations of its users.
With this update Google has given a new definition to the “average position” term as used in Google Webmaster Tool’s search query reports and Google Analytics SEO reports. Previously Google reported the average position of all URLs from your site for a given query, but now Google will average only the top position that a URL from your site appeared in.
Confused? Don’t worry, we were too. Luckily Google has provided an example to explain the situation better:
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.
With this change Google expects that this new method of calculation will more accurately match the expectations of how a link’s position in Google Search results should be reported.
What will this update mean to webmasters?
Your data in the Google Analytics Search Engine Optimization reports will be calculated using the new method and you will see a change in
- Your Top Search Queries data reports
- Your SEO reports
However your data will not be affected historically since this change in calculation method is based on the principle that ‘the Average Position metric will usually stay the same or decrease, corresponding to the same or improved search ranking.’
Average Position in Google Webmaster Tools :
Average Position in Google Analytics :
If you’re still a little confused, check out the Google Webmaster Blog and Google Analytics Blog for more info.