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Keywords Hidden For 46% Of Google Search Console Clicks: Ahrefs Study

A new Ahrefs study finds that close to half of clicks in GSC result in hidden terms. How does this impact your SEO strategy?

A new study by Patrick Stox, Brand Ambassador at Ahrefs, finds that, on average, Google Search Console hides the keyword term for 46.08% of clicks.

The study examined one month of data across 146,741 websites, involved close to 9 billion total clicks, and reveals that Google likely leaves many longtail keyword data hidden from GSC users, according to its author.

Percentage Of Clicks Missing Keyword Data By Traffic Volume

Each dot in the scatter plot below represents one of the websites studied.

The horizontal or x-axis illustrates the site’s total traffic, and the vertical y-axis represents the percentage of clicks for which the keyword is hidden.

Ahrefs study: percentage of hidden keywords in Google Search ConsoleScatter plot to show the percentage of missing clicks and site traffic, reprinted with permission from Ahrefs.

Stox notes dramatic variations in these figures and cites two sites with traffic from 60 million to 100 million clicks showing 2.27% and 90.3% hidden terms, respectively.

In his analysis, Stox notes, “You see lots of sites around the middle and a large spike at 95%-100% missing clicks. So many of the sites are missing about half their data, but a large number of sites are missing most of the data.”

Stox also shared his thoughts on the types of keyword terms most likely being hidden in a tweet and said:

“Google gives a few reasons for this discrepancy:

  • Privacy
  • Queries made a small number of times

I doubt that many are for privacy, so that leaves a lot of long-tail queries that Google isn’t exposing to website owners and SEOs.”

Hidden Keyword Terms By Traffic Range

A second data visualization in the report illustrates that websites in the extreme lower and higher ranges for traffic volume tend to have more hidden data.

Hidden terms in GSC by traffic volume: Ahrefs.Box plot to show how the data varies across different traffic ranges, reprinted with permission from Ahrefs.

Stox notes that Ahrefs drew their data from the API to get all data available.

How Much Of Your GSC Keyword Data Is Hidden?

The study shows that the volume of hidden data varies widely by website.

Stox created this Data Studio report that you can copy and use to check for missing data on your website.

If you choose, you can self-report your findings to Stox, who intends to aggregate and share them in an update.

Want to learn more to enhance the value of your GSC data?

Roger Montti wrote an excellent piece on why your Google Search Console and Google Analytics data never match – and how that impacts the insights you can take from each source.

Read the full GSC Clicks study report from Ahrefs to learn more about its findings and methodology.

Featured image: Shutterstock/Alones

Miranda Miller

Writer, editor & marketing professional; digital nomad, feminist and mother bear. 15 years of experience planning & executing engaging digital ...

Keywords Hidden For 46% Of Google Search Console Clicks: Ahrefs Study

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