A Comprehensive Look at Search Console Performance Data Filtering and Limits

October 19, 2022

This article explains the data available in Google Search Console's Performance report in detail, including how Google processes the data (privacy filtering, latency, storage, and processing resources). It also provides an introduction to the Search Analytics API.

The Performance report contains four metrics that show how your search traffic changes over time:

  • Clicks: Count of user clicks from Google Search results to your property.

The Google Search Console is a free service that helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google Search results. The Console provides data on three key metrics: Impressions (the number of times your site appears in search results), CTR (click-through rate, or the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions), and Position (the average position in search results).

You can use the Console to see how different queries, pages, countries, devices, or search appearances are performing, and to troubleshoot issues. The Console also offers an API and a connector for Looker Studio.

The following text discusses the performance report in Search Console and how to use the data to improve website visibility. It also outlines the two main limitations of the data: privacy filtering and daily data row limit.

The performance report in Search Console provides aggregated and filtered data that can be used to find ways to make a website more visible and get more traffic from Google. The report interface and exported data are both filtered in different ways, with the two main limitations being privacy filtering and daily data row limit.

Privacy filtering anonymizes queries that aren't issued by more than a few dozen users over a two-to-three month period to protect user privacy. This is why actual anonymized queries are never shown in the tables, but they are included in chart totals unless you filter by query.

The daily data row limit restricts the amount of data that can be exported from Search Console on any given day. This limit is in place to prevent any one user from exporting too much data and affecting other users' ability to export data.

Let's say you have a website with traffic coming from various sources, some of which are anonymized and some of which are not. The table below shows an example of traffic from non-anonymized queries.

classic literature150
science fiction100
non fiction75
Total for itemized queries450
Total overall550

As the table shows, there were 450 clicks from itemized queries, and 550 overall clicks to the site (including clicks from anonymized queries).

When using Search Console reporting, you may notice discrepancies between the data in the reports and the data in the chart totals. This is because some queries are anonymized in the reports, and these queries are omitted whenever a filter is applied.

Due to limitations related to serving latency, storage, processing resources, and others, Search Console has a limit on the amount of data that can be displayed or exported. These limits won't affect the majority of properties in Search Console. A few very large websites can be affected by this, but even for those we believe the remaining data will be large enough to create a representative sample of data.

The maximum you can export through the Search Console user interface is 1,000 rows of data. Currently, the upper limit for the data exported through the Search Analytics API(and through the Looker Studio connector) is 50,000 rows per day per site per search type, which may not be reached in all cases. The default returned by the API will be 1,000 rows, but you can use rowLimit to increase it to 25,000 and startRow to pull the rows 25,001 to 50,000 using pagination. Check this guide to learn how to get the available data.

For requests that don't involve query or URL dimensions, such as countries, devices, and Search Appearances, Search Console will display and export all the data.

Resources and feedback

If you'd like to learn more about the subject, read the Performance documentation. You'll find in-depth explanations about the available data, how to use the Performance report, and more details about discrepancies you may find in the charts.

If you're a webmaster with questions or concerns about Google Search, you can reach out to the Google Search Central Community for help. The community is a great place to get answers to your questions, or to help others with their own Google Search issues.

You can also find help on Twitter by following @googlesearchc.

Introducing Site Names on Google Search
Google Search is introducing site names on mobile search results to make it easier for users to identify the website associated with each result. Site names are currently available in English, French,...
Read More
Elon Musk Finally Owns Twitter – Fires CEO and CFO
Elon Musk has completed his purchase of Twitter and immediately fired the CEO, CFO as well as the executive in charge of legal, policy and trust. Musk fired the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, the CFO...
Read More