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Google reports 2.0 "Avg.position" but not in SERPs for me?

 8:23 am on Aug 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Within Google Webmaster Tools > Search Traffic > Search Queries, for a particular (highly competitive) single keyword, my site is showing "Avg.position" as 2.0 for the last 30 days. However, if I search for this keyword then my site does not appear at all in the SERPs (checked the first 10 pages, logged in/out, different Google sites).

Could this just be a bizarre "blip" in Google Search? Presumably it must have appeared at #2 in the SERPs at least momentarily for someone?! Am I missing something?



 8:41 am on Aug 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Perhaps it was there some days ago but not now. Did you try to narrow down reporting period by week and then check the report? For example, if it was ranked well up to few days ago, and then dropped, then the average over the month would still be high, but you will not be able to see it now.

Second possibility - when you checked SERPS, did you pay attention on local results and strip of images from the SERPs? Image from your site may be one of the images within 4 image strip, or it may be local map entry.


 11:21 am on Aug 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

According to GWT my site appears to have ranked for this particular keyword over the last 3 months (as far back as GWT reports).

1 Jun - 28 Aug - Avg.Pos 2.0

1 Jun - 30 Jun - AP 7.8
1 Jul - 31 Jul - AP 6.0
1 Aug - 28 Aug - AP 20

1 Aug - 7 Aug - AP 73
7 Aug - 14 Aug - AP 8.9
14 Aug - 21 Aug - AP 5.7
21 Aug - 28 Aug - AP 2.0

It does fluctuate, so maybe it has suddenly dropped off completely? I've just checked the first 20 pages (200 results) and it is nowhere to be seen. I guess I will have to wait until at least next week to find out if Google is still reporting it?

Why would the average position for the 3 months June, July and August be 2.0, when the avg. pos for any single month is lower?

This is for "Web" search only. But I have also excluded all images in robots.txt. The images that appear in the SERPs are not from my site. I can change my location under "Search Tool", but it does not appear to affect my site - I can't find it in the results. My site doesn't appear in the local Map search - even for a more specific search query.

To be honest, I would not necessarily expect my site to appear so high in the search results for this keyword in the general web search. So, like you suggest, I think this must have something to do with local search results. However, I am in that locality and I don't see my site in the SERPs for that keyword no matter what I do.

Impressions and Clicks are both "<10" (except for the whole of Aug where the Impressions = 16) so this must be a specific local search result I guess?


 12:15 pm on Aug 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Impressions and Clicks are both "<10" (except for the whole of Aug where the Impressions = 16) so this must be a specific local search result I guess?

I think this explains it. You say that the keyword is highly competitive. So one would expect that this highly competitive keyword has more than <10 searches in the period you look at. Hence if you steadily rank on the first page for this query, you would have much more impressions reported, in fact impressions should then be close-ish to monthly search number in Google Keyword Planner.

However, if your site has <10 impressions, this means it was rarely shown for this query, but when it was shown, it was at (around) #2.

This suggests personalised results, which would explain why you cannot find it when you check SERPs.

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