Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 126.96.36.199
If I'm wrong, then I'm willing to be educated, but the question is about the utility of the tool, not how the average is arrived at.
BTW - while our positioning has been all over the place on multiple datacenters, it has never once been above what is called the "average" over the last 3 weeks.
One of the things I find about google is that they are relentlessly precise , this results in a lot of work for webmasters to master all the variables,
Webmasters tools is a worthy attempt to provide a snapshot picture, of your websites standings ,
you cannot freeze time, nor can google really be expected to give up a realtime picture of our Serps position,
a weekly update is quite decent an I hope yahoo & msn provide something similar soon
Over the last three weeks none of our averages have changed - for over a dozen search strings. This doesn't make sense with a constantly/weekly updating Google.
Over the past few months as I've worked through the threads on datacenters I seen folks obsessed with they "why" of differing results and the location, hops, loading, and so on of the different datacenters. What I haven't seen is a coherent discussion of which datacenter, or colelction of datacenters, you should use to determine where you rank out and how you compare...hence my use of "technobabble".
I can only assume (since there's only two of us here) that you have not had the same experience. That leaves two options: 1) that there is something wrong with the tool as it relates to my website/search strings or 2) that there is something wrong with my website as it relates to this tool. I'm looking for other opinions of the tool to try and narrow down which of the two issues it might be.
One hopes that they read this an go push that update button again, an again, every week
And I find it quite usefull , sometimes , my current SERPs position is within 5 positions of the stats figure for one or two keywords,
Our rankings still change daily...likely due to the datacenter idiosyncracies. But that is not what the original question pertains to. What I am talking about is the "Average Top Position" in the Webmaster Tools (Statistics/Query Stats) section of Google.
If the "average" that I see there is higher than any of the rankings I have seen when surfing or checking the datacenters, how is it an average? What is it really an average of? Or, what could I have wrong on my website that is providing an invalid result.
I am also curious as to why more people don't do threads about these statistics
But I think its because most people are used to google not updating the public figures,
eg toolbar pagerank, links etc etc
For the webmaster statistics to be really usefull, they should be more regular, like clockwork, like every Monday 9 am GMT or USA time whatever :-)
Let me know if you have more questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
It has few incoming links from other sites, is several clicks away from the home page, and there's nothing special about it that would make it stand out in any way.
The PR in Google Toolbar shows a 2 for that page, with many others in the site showing 3 or 4, and the home page showing 4 or 5, depending on datacenter, and sometimes 6. It makes no sense to me at all.
If the rest of the stats are as reliable, I don't trust any of them.