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Google search webmasters console, which provides statistical data regarding your website on Google’s search engine, is truly a powerful analytical tool, for free. One of the key stats that Google displays webmasters is the average page position. As it states, this is the statistic which tells webmasters what the average page position is for 1) their website as a whole and 2) individual keyword search phrases. This is a really useful number to refer to since it makes clear:

  1. What the level of competition there is for your website’s sector and keywords
    1. How you rank against them
  2. How good the SEO is for your website and articles for key search phrases.

From this, it is possible to improve your SEO and target certain keywords better, as well as seeing if the general SEO of your website improves, as it should do if you continually publish high quality unique content, particularly in niche fields.


However, a recent problem (end of July 2017) saw something quite perculiar with the average page positions. To illustrate this, here is the average page position of a content mill I own:

Straight away, you should be able to see the point on the graph for which the drop in average page position happened. Interestingly enough, there is also a note allocated to the point the drop happened too, for which forwards webmasters to the following link.

The main part to take away from this article by Google is that:

An  incremental improvement in Google’s logging system now provides better accounting for results in lower positions. This change might cause increase in impressions, but also a decrease in average positions. This change only affects Search Console reporting, not your actual performance on Google Search.


Analysis: what does this mean?

For webmastesr, you should not panic. Google has merely updated their algorithms to provide a more accurate numerical value for the average page position of websites, since the lower position results were not as accurate.

For the traffic, there should be no difference in impressions a website should achieve, since this is merely a change that affects how the statistic is shown on the Webmasters console, and does not affect the SEO of the website.

Be this as this may, it is interesting how my content mill website has reacted in spite of the average page positions. At first, there was a drop. But, it seems that the value is decreasing to what it was prior the change.

This does need to be taken with a pinch of salt, since the content mill is continually pumping out new content all the time in niche areas and generally does not have many low ranking articles. However, it appears that whatever Google has changed uses some sort of iterative process to converge to the true value for average page position. For many websites, this should mean that the average page positions should convevrge back to close to what it was before the change.

Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money developing himself into an expert in PPC, blogging SEO, and online marketing. He now runs others websites such as Poem Analysis, Book Analysis, and Ocean Info. You can follow him @willGreeny.

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