‘Top Search Queries’ Data in Google Calculated – Here’s How They Do it
Google is updating the way their Top Search Queries data is calculated in Webmaster Tools. Previously it was an average of all the spots you would rank for. For example, if you have a site about tents and a person does a search for tents where your site appears in position 3, 6, and 12. Then another user searches for tents and your site shows up for them in position 5 and 9, Google would average those to give you an Average Position of 7.
The change is that Google will take the top ranked position from each query your site showed up for and average those to get your site’s rank in those queries. With the new update, Google would only take the highest ranking from each of those queries. So the 3 from the first query and the 5 from the second query would average at 4. Google thinks this will match your expectations about how the site position ranking should be reported.
All of your site’s historical data from before this update (which came into play on January 25th) will not be affected by this update, only new information.