John Mueller from Google answered a question about the accuracy of the Average Position Metric, which appeared in the search performance report in Search Console.
This question was answered in the last part of the Ask Googlebot video series on the Google Search Central YouTube channel.
Mueller believes that the Average Position Metric is based on real data. This is a reliable measure, even if it doesn’t always match what the website owner sees when checking their ranking position.
John Mueller on Average Position Metric
Mueller began his answer by clarifying that the Average Position Metric is not a theory. Like all metrics in the search performance report, the average position is calculated based on data from actual search results.
Google Search Console tracks the average top position of the URL to calculate the data reported by the search results.
If multiple website URLs appear in search results, Search Console will use the highest ranked URL to calculate the average.
The dashboard may be different from what the website owner sees when searching for their ranking on Google.
Mueller said this may be due to factors such as personalization or geo-targeting.
At the end, Mueller advises website owners to be aware that their URL may appear in Google images in regular search results.
When calculating the average position, those positions must be considered.
Google Search Console help page further explains
- If a query returns its attributes in positions 2, 4, and 6, its position is counted as 2 (the highest position)
- If the second query returns its attributes at positions 3, 5, and 9, then its position is counted as 3
- The average position of these two queries is (2 + 3) / 2 = 2.5