Google Search Console and the average position in Search Analytics

Yesterday at Search Leeds the last question that Kelvin asked the SEO panel was around “if you had a free morning what would you do?” this silenced me for a while.

After a moment of clarity, it came to me; I knew this was the takeaway question the one thing that the attendees could take back to their offices and action ( I hate this question btw 😉 ).

So I said “I would try to get a better understanding of Google Search Console due to the war on proxies”

I went on to explain how Googles Javascript tracked clicks could be misinforming Search Console on the ranking position…. the onmousedown tracking seems off.

example: onmousedown=”return rwt(this,”,”,”,’1′) that 1 would indicate a position 1 in the organics results.

Now this was fine when we had ten blue links, but with Images, news and local map blocks I can see how the position could start to be misreported.

Now if Google’s Search Console > analytics is using the click tracking in the onmousedown event, and I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t at this moment in time

So a quick way to better understand what I’m talking about is in Chrome do a quick search for something that will trigger a one box, I used “pictures of VW t5” use the right mouse and select Inspect on the first organic listing

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.14.41

When you look closely at the number in my case 10, you can see that vwt4forum is at position ten, but in my option that’s a position 1

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.52.12

So why does this matter well if you don’t track rankings in Google, then it doesn’t matter to you at all, But Google declared a war on proxies that scrape their results page and that war is getting close to being over (btw Google is winning)

So when the commercial rank checking platforms and the services that provide proxies for products that scrape Google stop working or become too expensive to be commercially viable we will have to look at Google search console, but we will need a better understanding of what that data means.


Thanks : for the Image

and thanks to the people that made me look Good 😉

Paul Madden

Kelvin Newman

Patrick Altoft and Branded3 Team

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  • Bonnie Jean Stefanick

    This is an interesting check and a great post 🙂 ..yeah, definitely agrees that for a long time keyword data has been directional though, pretty much every tool that i’ve personally used had limitations and did not 100% reflect reality . In GSC…i’ve mainly been looking at the position data as a secondary data source, if there has been a sudden drop during a seasonal period, where i can’t tell by impressions because of the seasonal volume shift but as far as looking at growth…with that said, I use impressions as a proxy for ranking in GSC and I ‘ve been creating some cool reports off of that…would be curious on thoughts regarding if impression data is reliable and a good proxy for ranking data…

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