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SEO: Make sure you understand Search Console’s hidden data

If you want to handle your Search Console dashboard like a true professional, you need to understand every detail, including the stuff that isn’t obvious.

… Like how Google “hides” particular data, and why.

Google recently published a guide to how it limits and filters data which you can apply to your analysis and make your website more visible. So let’s dig in.

First, the basics: Every performance report has four key metrics to show how your organic traffic changes over time, including clicks, impressions, click-through rates, and position.

And you can analyze these metrics for different dimensions, such as queries, devices, countries, and more.

Why does Search Console limit data? There are two answers to this:

  • First, to protect user privacy.
  • Second, to assist with logistic purposes such as preserving latency, storage, resources, and more.

Let’s unpack this a little more…

#1 – Privacy filtering. If a query is coming from just one user, for example, the data for that user’s other parameters can become vulnerable, like country, device, etc.

So Google hides some of the queries to make them anonymized—and that can distort your reports a bit. For example,

  • You may have 450 clicks for visible queries in your report, while the total number of clicks is 550. That’s because 100 clicks are anonymized to protect user privacy.
  • You may notice that when you apply filters, some clicks “disappear.” That’s because Search Console won’t display anonymized clicks.

#2 – Daily data row limit. To preserve resources, the maximum number of data rows you can export is 1,000. But if you’re using Search Analytics API, the number is 50,000.

So if you’re running a large website, or a website with diverse traffic coming from many queries, you should know that some data could be lost during exportation.

Why hidden data matters: Because when you’re building reports, your clients or higher-ups may notice the discrepancies—and you should be able to explain them.

Plus, knowing this gives you a better understanding of your own website and can help you scale traffic. And that’s always a good thing, isn’t it?

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