Google Search Console query reports now exclude ‘anonymous query’ data from chart totals

When applying a query filter to reporting in Google Search Console, anonymous queries will be removed from click and impression totals.

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Google has quietly posted that it is now removing query data from the Google Search Console report chart totals that they identify as “anonymous queries” when a user applies a query filter to the report. That means reported clicks and impressions may drop when applying a filter. Google says “an anonymous query is a query submitted [by] only a few users.”

The company said the amount of queries removed from report totals depends on the site, Google said “some sites will have very few unique queries; other sites will have a large proportion of anonymous queries.”

Google wrote on the page:

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.

In a help document, Google explains why it removes these types of queries from reporting. “To protect user privacy, Search Analytics doesn’t show all data. For example, we might not track some queries that are made a very small number of times or those that contain personal or sensitive information.”

Back in 2011 Google removed query data from reports when it  began moving Google search results to HTTPS. When Google made this move, it was about protecting user’s privacy to disallow people from sniffing Google’s searches. But Google told webmasters that they will be able to get all this data securely in Google Search Console. Now, with this change, Google is now also removing some query data from totals in Google Search Console as well.

Update 8/29/18: Google has issued a clarification on this change.

About the author

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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