3 reasons why Google My Business search queries don’t match…


Search Queries launched in Google My Business in July of 2018, but they didn’t become available for everyone until the end of August. Now that this new feature is fully rolled out, the biggest issue I have run into is understanding how it differs from Search Console data.

I wanted to highlight three reasons why your Google My Business Insights data might look different than what you see in Search Console.

Search Console is reporting on traffic from Google My Business along with traffic from organic (yes, it tracks both). You can separate this traffic by adding UTM codes to your website field in Google My Business.

The resulting data can be enlightening as it will help you gauge where to spend more efforts since the two algorithms are getting increasingly different.

If you’re ranking both organically and in the local pack, Search Console will be counting this as two impressions for your site. You can break this down if you’re using UTM codes.

Here is an example of what it looks like for a client of mine for a specific keyword. In this case, the organic reach is larger because the searcher’s location doesn’t impact it. However, clicks on the 3-pack for this keyword are still higher even though almost a third of the impressions are coming from to organic.

Search Console is reporting on impressions and Google My Business is reporting on unique users. These two things are extremely different.

According to Google’s Help Center, an Impression in Search Console is recorded when the website appears in a search result for a user. This is vastly different than “unique users” since one user could search the same thing multiple times.

Additionally, it’s important to note that your business may appear in results without the website URL or a link to the website being displayed. Google My Business will report on these queries — when your listing shows up in results without your website attached. But Search Console won’t.

Let me explain. When I was looking at one client’s account, I noticed that “best criminal defense attorney near me” showed 12 unique users in Google My Business Insights yet Search Console showed one impression.

How is that possible? How can you have more users than impressions? The reason for this is that mobile searches often return 3-packs that don’t have the website field displaying.

Similarly, some desktop searches return 3-packs that have images instead of the website field.

In both these cases, Google My Business would be reporting on searches whereas Search Console would not.

The main takeaway here is that if you work in the Local Search industry, you should be adding Google My Business Insights to your list of places to gather keyword research. You might be surprised at what you find.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Joy Hawkins is a Local SEO expert who is a Google My Business Top Contributor. She regularly contributes to many online communities in the Local SEO world, including the Google My Business forum (Top Contributor), the Local Search Forum (Top Contributor), and the Local University Forum (Moderator). She is also a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors survey. Joy is the owner of Sterling Sky in Canada and is the author of the Expert’s Guide to Local SEO, which is an advanced training manual for people wanting a detailed look at what it takes to succeed in the Local SEO space.

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