Google Search Console Reports Removes “Anonymous Query” Data


Last week we reported that some were notice huge drops in their Google Search Console reports when using the query filter starting after August 19th. Well, Google just posted on their data anomalies page that they have removed what they call “anonymous query.”

Google said they are now omitting anonymous query data because “these queries from results to protect user privacy.” I am not sure what this means exactly but that is what the page says.

You may or may not notice the drop in data, Google said “some sites will have very few unique queries; other sites will have a large proportion of anonymous queries.”

Here is what Google wrote:

August 19 onward:

Chart totals no longer include anonymous* (rare) queries when you apply a query filter. Previously, the chart totals included all anonymous queries when a “Queries not containing:” filter was applied. Because of this, you might see a drop in clicks and impressions when adding a filter that excludes specific queries. We believe that omitting anonymous queries from all query-filtered results is more consistent.

* An anonymous query is a query submitted only a few users. We omit these queries from results to protect user privacy. Some sites will have very few unique queries; other sites will have a large proportion of anonymous queries.

Of course, this brings back bad memories of the “not provided” days where Google Analytics stopped showing query data. Webmasters and SEOs and publishers are not going to be happy about not getting additional query data, espesially within Google Search Console.

John Mueller responded that the situation is complicated:

Here is a screen shot of how a site can be impacted by this:

click for full size

Tony McCreath explained these queries were filtering out for some time, but clearly something big changed for some people:

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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