The Google Webmaster Blog announced a “slight change” to how the search queries reports are displayed. Google will be rounding the impressions and clicks to one or two significant digits instead of with two or three significant digits.
What does that mean? Basically the reports are less accurate because they are more rounded. For example, instead of Webmaster Tools showing you 246,000 impressions, it will now show 250,000 impressions. Google says this is “a nicer representation for a better, less confusing experience.” They also promised they have “not altered the way we calculate the numbers internally, but only changed how we round them in Webmaster Tools.”
Google added impressions and clicks to the search queries report back in April 2010. In December they expanded the report to show page level detail. This update, although maybe more visually appealing, is a step back in transparency to webmasters. I suspect this was done because the numbers were anyway about 90% accurate due to rounding.
Here is a before and after screen shot. The numbers on the left are the old numbers and the numbers on the right are how those will be rounded going forward.
- Google Webmaster Tools Expands Top Search Reports & (Now) Charts
- Google Webmaster Tools Adds Page-Level Query Data
- Google Webmaster Tools Gets Major Overhaul