Google SEO Tip #6 – Why Doesn’t Search Query Data in Webmaster Tools Appear to Match What I See When Searching?

Matt Cutts: There are a few reasons why this might happen. First off, maybe you’ve got personalized search and maybe you’ve clicked on things or not clicked on things and so you’re getting different search results than a lot of other people might be seeing.

The second thing is it can depend on the country so maybe the query bank returns you number one in Australia but not number one in America or the United States, something like that. We can even personalize down to a metro level. So you might rank well in Chicago but not rank all that well in Orlando or Miami Beach.

The other thing to think about is that the rankings do change over time. So you might be hitting a different data center than some other places. And you might have ranked for a while and then not be ranking now, or you might be ranking higher and you didn’t rank for a while. So be aware of that the algorithms do change and the rankings do change as a result, and then as we are pushing data that can result in different rankings as well.

Those are at least three reasons why you might not be seeing yourself but let me give you a little bit of an optimistic reason to pay attention. The fact that the search queries report in the Webmaster console is showing that you ranked somewhere in the world for this is a really good sign.

In fact if you don’t show up that means there’s a keyword that you have ranked for that you don’t currently see yourself for. So that is sort of a keyword that you want to put a little more attention into and try to optimize so that you show up on the first page or number one or whatever for more places, for more personalized search results and that sort of thing.

In essence whenever you see something showing up in the search queries report and you don’t see it whenever you do that search that might be a reason to be very happy because you have now identified a keyword which if you put a little work into it you might be able to help have the query rank you just a little bit higher to where everyone will see it and not just some people.

Don’t just get discouraged. There can always be data differences and reasons why you might or might not see it. But if you keep working you might be able to see it a lot more often which will also mean that a lot more people see it a lot more often.

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