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Why are there search terms missing in Google Search Console?

Many users of Google Search Console notice that the data does not always seem to be quite complete. Let’s say that the report shows 176 clicks, like this:

We download the full dataset, and see that there are 78 queries shown, with the most popular one having generated 18 clicks, and the least popular ones just 1 click each. Then we add up the clicks and… it comes to less than 176. Quite a bit less, in fact. What’s happening?

Here’s what Google says: “Some queries (called anonymized queries) are not included in Search Console data to protect the privacy of the user making the query. Anonymized queries are those that aren’t issued by more than a few dozen users over a two-to-three month period. To protect privacy, the actual queries won’t be shown in the search performance data. While the actual anonymized queries are always omitted from the tables, they are included in chart totals, unless you filter by query.”

I think we’re missing out on a lot of interesting information here, but I can understand how some queries might identify the user, and I can see why Google might withhold that data.

While we’re here, note that the data downloaded directly from the Google Search Console results page is limited to 1000 items. However, it’s possible to get 50000 items with the Search Console API, if you’ve got a friendly programmer to hand.