Many website owners depend on data from Google to judge how well their site is doing. By monitoring the SEO activity, visitor counts, and more, it’s possible to fine-tune a website to provide the greatest benefit to the business. While Google’s data is impressive, it’s not flawless. If you’re reviewing your reports for April and things seem amiss, it’s not your fault. Google has admitted that much of the Google Search Console data for April is inaccurate.
Issues with data occasionally happen at Google, and the company issues reports, so SEO managers know what to expect. Typically, these issues don’t last very long, and the effect on reporting is negligible. However, a recent data problem has thrown out much of the month of April.
According to Google, “Search Console experienced a data outage that ceased on April 26. The outage affected all reports except the Performance report. All missing data from April 9-25 was replaced with the data from April 26, when data began to be available again.”
That statement represents a period longer than two-week where data is missing. This is on top of other reported outages on April 3 and April 5. Each of those anomaly reports covered issues from the days before the notice. This means that much, if not all, of the data from April is unusable. Essentially, if a website is lucky, it will have data from April 6-8 and April 26-30.
According to Google, the Performance Reports won’t be affected by the bad data, but any other reporting from the Google Search Console will need to be taken with a grain of salt. At the beginning of the month, Google stated that reports were starting to use more data sources, which would affect the data received this month.
Since the Performance Reports are useable, webmasters will still have accurate data for many of the most important questions they have about their site. These reports show “important metrics about how your site performs in Google Search results: how often it comes up; average position in search results; click through rate; and any special features (such as rich results) associated with your results.”
Because the Performance Reports can be used, it’s still possible to see how your search traffic changes over time, where it’s coming from, and what search queries are most likely to show your site.
In certain situations, missing data from Google becomes available later, but this probably won’t be the case here. As Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal explained, “In a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, Google said the missing data is related to last month’s indexing bug. The bug was said to be fixed at the end of April. Apparently, that meant everything will work going forward, but the missing data will not be recovered.”
For more recent news about updates and changes to Google, read this article on the new ability to add products to a company’s Google My Business profile. This feature allows businesses to answer one of the questions that many customers have by letting them know which popular products are available at their location.